The Brunton MNS is one of the larger units listed on our handheld marine GPS review page. Its big?nearly three inch on the diagonal?display screen is located toward the bottom of the front panel with a leveling bubble in the extreme lower right corner.
Nine pushbuttons are located above the screen. The unit fits comfortably in hand and has pushbuttons that can be operated with the thumb without blocking your view of the screen.
Pushbuttons are marked with symbology only, no nomenclature, this required referring to the manual for pushbutton function information.
Five main function pages, Position, Altitude, Baro(meter), Time/Date, and GPS are each selected by pressing the up or down arrow keys. Sub-menus are available by pressing right or left arrow keys. Pressing the center button accesses the Compass page. It can be selected with the power on or off.
The waypoint main page is selected by pressing the waypoint key then hitting the arrow keys to scroll through sub-menus. Thats right this unit has no map display, not that maps have much value with the small screens used on handhelds. Its more akin to a vintage GPS with text-only display.
In our opinion, using this Brunton handheld GPS is like stepping back in time to the days of the original Garmin 50.
In addition to the standard GPS functions the Brunton MNS has an altimeter, compass, and barometer. In our opinion, the altimeter has little value for boaters.
The compass reads in degrees and could come in handy in the unlikely event your onboard compass failed. We found it fairly accurate when held stable but the reading jumped around somewhat when pitching and rollingnot unlike a wet compass.
The Brunton screen has a proprietary layout with text above and below a compass rose located center screen. We found the information displayed on the screen easy to see in direct sunlight and shade.
Viewing in daylight conditions with polarized sunglasses does darken the screen a bit. With the backlighting turned on night viewability is excellent and all pushbuttons are lit.
The battery compartment, containing two AA batteries, is located on the bottom the unit with the data port and carry strap. With the batteries the unit weighs in at a hefty nine ounces. A 2-year warranty is standard on the MNS.
The day after we dunked this unit to check its waterproofing it failed to operate. The Brunton MNS is not WAAS capable and is now out of production.