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Garmin Aera 500 or 550


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Garmin are about to release a new GPS called the Aera range.


Garmin intros aera GPS devices for pilots, drivers | CommsXpressRaw


4.3" touch screen, similar spec to the 495 but also is fully road capable out of the box.


And looks like it could be much cheaper




us site so not suggesting to buy from here but the specs are detailed here


Any thought on these - only the 500 & 550 are Aus suitable.



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Garmin have ceased making the 296 so the only ones left would be old stock.


The new Garmin Aera range will be available at Clear Prop the day they are released which I am told will be in Dec some time, probably about mid Dec.


I will try and set up a pre-order function in the shop in the next day or so should anyone wish to reserve one



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Ian, I was told late November. Though I know it is nearly over.


I spoke to someone here at another Garmin aviation place and she had spoken to Austral-Asia garmin and was told that it was to be late November.


Garmin (Australia) deny all knowledge as the unit is aviation. Garmin Australia only do programs and non-aviation.


I love the specs on them! They have stuff!


Alas the 550 has too much/many stuff which wouldn't be applicable in Oz.


The 500 is definitly on my "To get" list.



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That's the date they told me today however with them I am just as likely to get a phone call tomorrow and say they have arrived - as soon as I can get my hot hands on any stock of them I will let you know although it may be better to pre-order one if you want to make sure you are first in line.


Click here for the 500


Click here for the 550



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Thanks Ian.


What would be the "advantage" in paying for the 550 (nearly twice the price of the 500) to get:


Speed limit indicator (displays speed limit for most major roads in the U.S. and Europe): yes (auto mode) FM traffic compatible: and


XM WX Weather & Radio for U.S. & Canada compatible:


To me you are paying for things which we can't use.



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Based on the specs, the better value for money in AUS will be the AERA 500 compared with the AERA 550. I'm not sure that all the extra features of the AERA 550 will be available in AUS release.


If it's a choice between the GPSMAP 495 and AERA 500 then consider the following:


1. The AERA 500 is based on the NUVI 800 automotive series of GPS units. Think of it as a car GPS with AVIATION logic added on. It can easily migrate between the car and the aeroplane. If you want to use your GPS in a car AND in a plane then the AERA series will suit you. The GPSMAP 495 can also do car navigation but you have to buy extra memory and City Navigator software which adds to the price and realistically makes it unviable.


2. Screen:


The AERA 500 = 3.8" x 2.25", 480x272 pixels


The GPSMAP 495 = 3.2" x 2.1", 480x320 pixels


So the 495 screen is a bit smaller but displays more information than the larger AERA screen. The AERA screen is a touch-screen which will impact it's visibility in sunlight. The latest 495 (which have brighter screens) will be better in this regard.


3. Interface: The AERA is touch screen which has to be pressed to activate (not just touched). The 495 uses keys. Generally in bumpy conditions keys are more reliable.


4. Cost: The AERA 500 is currently listed online in AUS for $1049.00. The GPSMAP 495 can be purchased for $1575.00.


Summary: The GPSMAP 495 (or 296 for $1300 if you can still get it) is a proven aviation unit which is well debugged and tested. They just work. If you need a reliable GPS then you can't go past the 296 or 495. The AERA is a new entrant to the market which is based on the Automotive NUVI 800 range but has had aviation software grafted into it. I expect the screen won't be as clear to read in sunlight and it may not be as reliable due to it being release 1. Personally I'm not sure I'd want to use a $1000+ GPS in a car. May just be too tempting for someone walking by. So to get reliability in the air I still recommend the 296 or 495. But if price is the issue and full car functionality is your major requirement with occasional flying then the AERA 500 would be my choice.


Please use the above as pointers to help you make up your own mind. I have extensive experience with the 296 and 495 but at this stage have only read specs and reviews of the AERA series. So please don't accept my comments as gospel truth!



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Oh, and not wanting to be a "spoil sport",


I would like to get a bit of "hands on" to see how good it is before buying.


It would be nice if they had the compas function and the Oregon GPS with the Barometric Altimeter function.


Seems stupid that aviation GPSs don't come with this function/feature.



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Then again you could always go for the tried and proven Geopilot 11PLUS which has a fast processor, large 5" screen, auto brightness and you can even record your voice on it doing your down wind checks or a video 040_nerd.gif.a6a4f823734c8b20ed33654968aaa347.gif



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Ian, $945 at ClearProp is a good price for the AERA 500.What's the cost of a GPSMAP 495 from ClearProp?

Hmmm, not sure where you got that price from as the 500 is at the moment $1,049

The 495 is $1,575


The Geopilot 11PLUS is $995



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Hi Ian,I got that price from your link earlier in this thread ...


GPS :: GPS Units :: Garmin aera? 500 - Aviation Pilot Supplies Shop | Flight Gear | Aircraft Instruments


It offers a 9% discount.

But if you read -


List price: $1,150.00 Discounted price: $1,049.00


You save: $101.00 (9%)


Jay Kay


The touch screen / bumps do have me concerned - that's why I have started looking at the Slarti solution with my existing car GPS, at least if I don't like it I have only done a couple of hundred on maps and software. :hittinghead: , No think again probably only $40 as the maps and PC software would still be most useful and I think Oziexplorer can now download to Garmin anyway.


$1000 is not too much dearer than a top of the line Garmin, Tom Tom etc system. and the Nuvi is a tried and proven system with probably far more units in service than the 495


Not sure you would really even notice the screen size difference - size cancels resolution? 034_puzzled.gif.ea6a44583f14fcd2dd8b8f63a724e3de.gif but the screen brightness could be an issue.


OK Ian, maybe I need to consider your Geopilot 11PLUS :) too, but I have been a Garmin fan for quite a while and my recent deviation to my hated Navman has me cautious about deviating out of the comfort zone again real soon.


Maybe the Geopilot 11 Plus needs a review / comparison ?



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But if you read -List price: $1,150.00 Discounted price: $1,049.00


You save: $101.00 (9%)

Hi Tracktop,


When I checked ClearProp just before my earlier post the listed prices were lower. Now when I check I get the prices in English Pounds so not sure what's going on.


BTW, As far as I know Oziexplorer can't download maps to a Garmin 296 or 495.



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Hi Tracktop,When I checked ClearProp just before my earlier post the listed prices were lower. Now when I check I get the prices in English Pounds so not sure what's going on.


BTW, As far as I know Oziexplorer can't download maps to a Garmin 296 or 495.

Just checked and mine is still in $


Agree OziExplorer can't do maps to Garmin but I thought I read somewhere it could now do waypoints and routes ?


so you could still maybe use it as a planner



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I told you at the beginning of this thread that although they told me mid dec for the arrival of these units yet they are likely to ring me any day and say they have arrived...they just rang, they have arrived and I will send out the pre-ordered ones today (Monday 30th Nov)



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Ian, I've heard they've arrived for some shops.


WRT the "touch screen" issue.


Yeah, it *may* be a problem. But if it is a REAL problem is a question.


"We" are used to the 495 style units and so are accustomed to the use of them and how to press their buttons.


I've just done my first flight in an A380 and the first one in a "wizz bang" plane with built in entertainment in each seat.


It was a touch screen - and a removable handset kind of thing too.


Using the touch screen was a bit annoying, sure, but using the detachable phone/keyboard was just as difficult.


The touch screen would take getting used to, but I don't think it is a "failure" of the unit.


My "resolution" would be to to hold the GPS in your hand (with fingers) and use the index (or prefered) finger to press the screen as required.


Yes, it would be tricky, but with practice, I think it would become possible.



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