I just flew with my new Garmin 396. It appears to be the same as the 296 except for the addition of the weather. I will not comment on the features similar to the 296 as these were well covered in the comments about the 296.
The 396 replaces a 295 connected to my 430. The 295 was so big that it blocked the lower instruments when mounted on the yoke. The 396 is small–the screen size is the same as the 295, 296 and 430-and fits between the horns and does not block any of the instrument panel. The review of the 296 mentions the automotive kit-this is available free with the purchase of the 396. I have ordered but not received it yet.
XM Weather…this is ‘better than sliced bread’. You have another small antenna for the XM that you can set of the glareshield. It has a Mag Base but I checked and when set to the front side it had no effect of the compass with or without being powered up.
The weather display is worth the money! I was considering going with the Anywhere Map system but that uses a PDA that it had to use in the cockpit. The 396 is much easier to use. When mounted on the yoke you can hold the right horn and operate the 396 with your thumb, giving a steady hand. The display quality it very good and can be easily read in daylight conditions. We had some returns of the rader about 40 miles away and also was able to check out the SC Coast from North Georgia.
I really like the Metars and TAF’s. They are marked on the screen with a colored triangle. When you move the pointer over them the show the FAA shorthand. When you hit enter they give the English translation. We also had a visit from Bush in Atlanta yesterday and the TFR showed up on the screen yesterday and was gone 2 hours after it expired. I could write much more about the weather but if you go to the XM Weather site it will give you more info.
The cost is high $2495 but they gave me $500 credit for my 295. The cost is very competitive with Anywhere Map but I prefer the 396 over the PDA. If you have another Garmin product it will talk with it ( I can still connect it to my 430 ) The 396 also can receive XM Radio but I did not subscribe to the radio part. Mike Dawson N6715H
Submitted by Mike Dawson