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Tags: 1450LM · 5Inch · aldemon · Garmin · Navigator · nüvi · Portable · prefer · Touchscreen
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Having been a Garmin owner for about 5 years I had no doubt what brand I was going to buy, my old Garmin served me well but it was time for a new one and the wide screen was a key feature I wanted in my new one.
The screen is impressive, while going from 4.3″ to 5″ does not sound like much it is really amazing how much more map and information that fits well on the screen. The screen itself is anti-glare that works, and very bright if you want it, I have the brightness at 60% and that is fine even in bright sunlight. The images are very crisp and clear, street names and such are auto-sized to not obstruct the map but big enough to read easily. The volume when it is reading out direction is also outstanding, so loud I have it also on 60%. So a solid 5 Stars on the screen and voice volume, as well as the pronunciation of the street names!
Quirk: When I first got it I was in my office and opened it, plugged it in to just power and fired it up, it kept asking for me to agree to the license terms and no matter how I answered it rebooted itself, did this like 4 times and then was ok. This would happen each time I turned it on. Not a big issue really, as soon as it “sees” the sats it stops doing it and is fine. Little off for the scare factor, it has never done it again.
The update process is very easy but long, likely very long on a slower PC and/or slow internet connection, the map data is huge. That said it is the nature of the beast and Garmin makes it as painless as possible, the registration and update process was very slick.
Once all updated and ready to go it is time to go through the options, you don’t have to, out of the box it picks everything, but I think most will find it worth it, there are a lot of options on how you want it to find routes, deal with traffic (comes with lifetime traffic info), how you want the maps to look in many aspects, 2D, 3D, Track top to your direction or top to always north, and all kinds of additional information that can optionally be on the map screen. Out of the box Garmin has every bell and whistle turned on which I guess I understand but this is why I say it is worth getting it where you like. From the factory you will only see 4.3″ of map on route as it has 4 tabs of optional information along the right side. I wanted 5″ of map so I disabled the side tabs in settings, very nice option, you can also pick what tab is showing what information from a good selection of options.
Quirk: If you are using the traffic information and have the traffic avoidance enabled you can get some really odd routes, since I was just trying mine out around town and to work and back I knew it was telling me wrong turns, a little time in the manual and I found out why, it was automatically altering the route around traffic alerts, while this may sound like a good thing and would be if it told you it was doing that, in my case it was not, no other route is going to help and I did not know what in the heck it was doing I found you can have the best of both worlds, keep trafic information turned on but disable traffic in the avoidances setting tab. Then it warns you of traffic on your route, lets you see where, and gives you a detour option at that point you can take or ignore. It would be better during the route calc process if it said it had added detours, and when it does it on the fly it should also, minor quirk once you know. This is a 3 star feature in the auto mode. 5 star would be to tell you and offer y/n detour options for each point.
Junction View to me was one of the most impressive features, I go through one very complex set of interchanges for 3 freeways with express lanes to bybass interchanges and local lane to pick up any direction to or from any free way, many a folks have left on the wrong path… When I was aproaching it the garmin flipped to junction view and wow, it had a clearly marked path through the maze, and nailed every lane on the money, and the optimum lane for the follwing turn if there was more than one lane leading into it. Very nice! Another 5 star feature, this would have made my first time through that a lost safer than the old garmin with just a yellow line through it.
The routes it comes up with are 4.5 star, it hits most very very well but will toss a few more odd ones out than my old Garmin did, they all do some, I think this could do better, the good news is these are not horrible routes, just not the better or best always.
The next 4 star item is the power cord/FM Traffic radio, it is like having jumper cables going up your dash, why it is not in the unit is beyond me, I am stumped so far as to how to route the cables a lot more cleaner than this and have traffic info.
Another option is to skip the traffic radio and run on battery, with the right settings you can get 3 hours, but with my settings I can get just over 2 hours on battery before the warning…
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*** UPDATE at the bottom of this review (February 2012)****** UPDATE at the bottom of this review (September 2012)
Background – I own a lot of technology. I like electronic toys and I indulge myself in whatever the latest gadget is. This has given me a broad taste in different segments of gadgets, and a pretty good eye for what works and what does not work.
Some convergence works but to date, most just plain suck (January 2011). Prime example of poor convergence is my iPhone 4 and Apple App Store GPS software like Navigon, Garmin, TomTom, MotionX, iGO, GlobalNav, MapQuest, Google and others. I tried them all – and in one way or another, they all suck. Why? Because the iPhone is primarily a mobile phone and an iPod. When an SMS message comes in, or a Facebook alert, or a Calendar alert, or a phone call, it either distracts or switches away from GPS navigation. Not a good idea when driving, far less when driving in unfamiliar areas!!!
Convergence in GPS mapping systems is completely understandable. Magellan, Garmin, TomTom and others are scrambling against an ever increasing golden horde of Androids and iPhones, other smart phones plus in-car navigation and GPS stereos, OnStar and other competitors. The GPS manufacturers HAVE to offer everything under the sun to keep in business – MP3 player, Audiobook player, Bluetooth connectivity, JPEG player, USB hard drive, Travel Guides, Traffic updates, offline maps, nearby shopping coupons – you name it, there is a GPS unit that has it. Long gone are the days of the single purpose GPS unit. Now most of them include the proverbial kitchen sink.
This Garmin 1490LMT replaces my still fully functional 2008 model 3.5 inch Garmin nüvi 370 3.5-Inch Bluetooth Portable GPS Navigator. Prior to that, I had other older Garmins dating back to the StreetPilot days. My 370 has old maps, but it is a workhorse. It has never failed me as a GPS unit. Battery life on the 370 was a healthy 8 hours. The 1490 is about 2.5 hours with my settings. However, my Nuvi 370 has a raft of useless features – a Bluetooth hands free system, a MP3 player, a Travel Guide etc. – and well, frankly, those features sucked. And they sucked bad. But then, they all do. No one unit can do it all and do it perfectly. Not yet. See above.
Things to do before you first use your 1490 :
Go to “my dot garmin dot com” and register your device. Update the firmware first – it takes a while primarily because the Garmin website is horribly buggy and unstable. But keep trying to update the firmware until it is the latest version. Then update your maps. This takes even longer, but is worth the frustration and the long wait. Keep trying and eventually it will complete and your GPS unit will be the better for it. My updates from start to finish took just over 4 hours. I have read of people taking 12 hours (unconfirmed) and most taking about 3 hours for this laborious process.
Garmin Nuvi 1490LMT : My Review :Firmware 4.90, GPS 4.30
>Pros :There is much to like about the 1490.
GPS functions – Outstanding! With all due respect, all of the GPS mapping nay-sayers must be mentally deficient (no offence meant). Big, bright, loud, 5 inch screen, beautiful resolution, extremely fast GPS lock and lightning scrolling as smooth as butter with maximum map detail switch on. It’s like my Nuvi 370 on steroids.
Screen – 5 inches of wonderful. Did I mention it was big? It is HUGE. I absolutely love it. I do not need to look away from the road to see where I am and where I need to turn – it is in my peripheral vision. I keep the brightness at 70%. It is that bright. Polarised sunglasses do NOT black out or dim the 1490 LCD. They have no effect. My 370 could not be seen with polarised lenses. Major plus for me as I wear prescription polarised sunglasses.
Volume – loud. Really loud. And clear. I use the British Daniel TTS voice (taken from my 370) and it is crystal clear, no “crackling” or distortion at 80% or less. Maybe other negative reviewers had older firmware. More about Voices later in this review.
Interface – clean and clear and simple. A small child could use it. In fact, small children have used it without instructions or tutelage.
Keyboard – QWERTY, at last! That stupid ABCDE Nuvi 370 keyboard drove me to distraction. Now you can choose between QWERTY and ABCDE keyboards.
Traffic – Many have complained that the “traffic does not work”. Actually, the traffic works perfectly in the areas it services. But first you have to go into the “Tools/Settings/Navigation/Avoidances” and make a change. Set Avoidances to clear (no green tick mark) next to Traffic and press OK. Make sure your Route Preference is set to “Faster Time” and you are all set. Traffic now works like a champ. For my thoughts…
Researching GPS devices was and is worse than buying a car with all the different product offerings and features plus none of the model numbering seems to make sense which was even more frustrating. You can’t tell a low end unit from a high end unit. Garmin is no different either.
Through all of that I am very pleased that I settled on the Garmin 1450. IMO Garmin has made a wonderful device. The UI is very intuitive and very easy to operate even with my big hands. The touch screen is very accurate and responsive. From power up to satelite acquisiiton takes seconds. The turn by turn instructions are very clear but a bit too chatty. We have found the street name pronunciations fairly entertaining. The points of interest have been pretty accurate as has the gas station mapping and the hospitals and such. The bread and butter of a GPS is really whether it can get you where you need to go especially if you as the operator have no idea. I have travelled outside my area of familiarity a few times now and this GPS receiver has been flawless. The screen size is very nice and easy to read while driving.
This unit I purchased has liftime maps and traffic. So the first thing I did was register the unit and update the maps. The web site is pretty easy to navigate on. The map update was simple but just expect it to take awhile. The traffic portion seems to work however to date it has not offered any alternate routes so I can’t judge its effectiveness. Nor have I tried the blutooth functionality.
This unit comes with everything you need so unless you want extra power cords or something there is no need for anything extra. The window suction cup works well. The unit fell once but I found I did not seat the suction cup very well. They do have a weighted mount that sits on the dashboard which would be better if you have a co-pilot and you need to look for alternate addresses or something. I found putting the unit in the middle of the window creates an annoyingly large blind spot. So I now put it to the left of the steering wheel.
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