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Received the Garmin 3790T four days ago. I upgraded from a from a Garmin Nuvi 760. My first comment is Wow! The size and physical design of this beauty is amazing. That’s the same word that comes out of most people mouth’s when I show them my new toy. Physical beauty aside this new unit really is a huge step up from my 760. The 800 x 480 pixel glass screen is incredibly clear and a huge enhance over my old unit. The multi-point screen works great. Everything about the 3970 is an improvement from the old 760. One interesting point is the 3790 picks slightly different routes than the 760 used to. I assume this is the nuRoute/trafficTrends in action. Hands down my favorite feature on the 3790 is Voice Command. When I originally bought this item I had concerns about how well this feature would work. Let me tell you it works great. I can navigate to some place, add stops or phone someone without ever having to pull over or take my hands off the wheel. What a huge safety improvement. Another seemingly small item they improved that I really like is the zooming. The map zooms in as you slow down and out as you speed up. It does it very smoothly and provides the perfect amount of data for my tastes. The traffic data is also very useful in urban areas and well presented. However this area contains my only complaint about the product. Using the traffic feature causes small little adds to occasionally pop up on the screen. They are unobtrusive and don’t happen very often so far but I would prefer to find a way to turn them off. All in all I love my new Nuvi. It is one of the best purchases I’ve made in years.
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As a GPS Unit, the 3790LMT is phenomenal, and I’ll get to why in a bit, but first, I decided to write this review for those who, like me, live in a part of the world where the climate is extreme enough to make it a necessity to take your GPS in and out of the car on a regular basis to prevent damage (or crime).
I used to have a Garmin 765T, which was a great little unit, for all the reasons I personally purchase a GPS. I don’t care so much about playing MP3’s or viewing photos, or even bluetooth, I just want a fast, accurate, and user friendly GPS. And, I’ve come to discover that I also NEED one that is easy to take with me when I leave my vehicle.
So, when my 765T’s maps were out of date I was faced with a decision whether or not to upgrade the maps, or just get a different unit and I decided that for about the same price I’d “upgrade” to a new GPS that came with lifetime map and traffic updates rather than paying for a couple month upgrade to my old Garmin 765T.
After shopping around I settled on a TomTom XXL500TM. As a GPS, it was a good unit, but I immediately missed the “quick release” feature of my old 765T which allowed me to just pop it out of it’s charging cradle on extremely hot or extremely cold days or when parking in areas where having a GPS in plain sight might tempt the criminally minded beyond what they were strong enough to resist. After a couple 20 second episodes groping around at night in the dark to hook up the charging cable and snap the TomTom into its cradle, I’d had enough and I sent it back. It was simply impractical for where I live. If you live where you can leave your GPS in the car most of the time without it growing legs, melting, or freezing into a sub-zero brick, then save a few bucks, but if you don’t, read on…
Next, I began a search of the web looking for ANY gps units that had lifetime traffic and maps and some form of a quick release charging mount. That was literally all I cared about in terms of features, and I sadly came to discover that it was going to cost me a small fortune to get a GPS matching those simple search criteria.
Finally, after comparing mounts between the TomTom and the Garmin I broke down and tried the Garmin 1390LMT.
Same story, while the Garmin 1390LMT proved to be similar in quality to the TomTom XXL500TM in terms of response time and features. And while I did find its car charger and mount to be slightly easier to hook up in a dark car (maybe 15 seconds of fiddling around with the power cable and mount instead of 20), it was still a no-go.
That only left me with a couple other GPS models offered anywhere, by ANY manufacturer that had quick release mounts (at the time of this writing) and I was hesitant to spring the $499.00 sticker price (again, at the time of this writing), for a Garmin 3790LMT just for what I saw as “a few extra features” I’d likely never use, and a return to a somewhat quick release mount.
But then luck struck and I was able to pick up a 3790LMT here at Amazon for a little over 20% off and I simultaneously sold my old 1390LMT for more than twice what I’d just recently paid for it making the upgrade a wash. And what an UPGRADE it turned out to be!!
This GPS does what it is supposed to do, and it does it well. It’s quick. It’s sleak. It has great battery life. AND, most importantly to me, it has a fairly quick release mount (not the same old button release as the 765T, but it can still be done in a second or two using one, stiff, cold, gloved hand. And for me that’s not too bad at all).
Added Bonuses:I quickly came to appreciate the 3790’s “voice command” feature. NEVER thought I’d even use it, and really didn’t care one tiny bit about it when I bought it, but now I have looked up all my frequent destinations via Google Earth and entered their lat/long in as “Favorites” and using voice command I am quickly routing my next destination, and adding via points for coffee or gas, all while driving down the road, with my hands and eyes fully engaged in driving. On trips with frequent stops, the time savings really does add up.
Voice Command Tip: The Voice Command feature works nearly flawlessly with good diction, but even when munching on a snack (aka talking with food in my mouth… shhhhshh, don’t tell mom), it has still proven to be almost “false detection” proof when using the numbered destinations saved in my “favorites”.
Can it be improved upon? Yes.1. Garmin could go back to the old button release mount they used to have in the days of the 765T.2. Voice Commands could have more options such as zooming maps in and out, lane assist and junction view.
Conclusions:I heartily recommend this unit as one of the best all around GPS units at the time of this writing. All opinions and brand preferences aside, it is one of the ONLY offered by any…
I’ve been using Nuvis for years. Was very excited to get the new form factor Nuvi so I could give my well-worn 765 to my graduating daughter.
Received my fancy new device and put it directly into service on a trip to NYC–my first time there after all these years of exploring the rest of the country.
Made it through the northward routes of PA into Jersey, and then found myself at one of the famous “Jersey jughandle” intersections and unsure which lane to take for the direction I wanted to go. And the moment I stopped, I looked at my beautiful new Garmin to find out my next move.
And right on top of the map was a damn Red Lobster ad, hiding the info I needed. Couldn’t make it go away, couldn’t see my map underneath. Let loose a stream of profanity. Then the light turned green, I began to move, the ad went away and I found I needed to be in another lane, but my moment in traffic to plan the lane change had passed.
Garmin takes the only safe moment to check your map away from you–the moment you are stopped. So the only times you can check your map are when you are in motion and should have your eyes on the road.
Who is the genius that came up with this garbage?
I knew this problem was going to be bad in NYC traffic. But this POS had me steaming before I even entered the city. Inside the Lincoln Tunnel, once again hoping for lane info to get to my hotel, up comes a great big ad, WHILE THE CAR IS IN MOTION, obscuring the directions I paid my $450 plus tax to have. I damn near caused an accident with the “tourist slowdown” needed to find the right lane in time to get there.
Once in the city, this thing was the very definition of useless, with ads obscuring the map every time I was at a standstill and able to look at it. When I realized I was going to be more of a problem to surrounding traffic with this thing than without it, I put it in my suitcase and went to electronics alley and got the cheapest Tom Tom on the shelf–$79.
The Tom Tom outperformed this POS Garmin in every respect. If you must have the latest and greatest advertising-delivery technology, you can bid on mine on ebay.
UPDATE FEB 11, 2011:
Response poster Kevin looks to have solved it–the ads are the trade-off for ‘free’ traffic data. If I’d gone into the menus and turned traffic off, apparently the ads would have been turned off too.
Living in the Balt-Wash area, I’m jaded as to the traffic functions of Nuvi units anyway–3/4 of the time they route you over to the BW parkway for massive delays on the 95. I take the 95 anyway if I’m going to the north side of D.C., and the massive delays the instrument prophesies rarely materialize.
More often I get stuck on the BW Parkway and the Anacostia, where the brilliant Garmin device is routing me and everybody else who has one. So I’ve pretty much stuck to the 95 and had better luck in the past year or so. I’ve firmed up my ego by practicing my skills at saying ‘no’ to a female voice issuing commands. First I was answering her with unprintables, then I just smiled and said ‘yes, dear,’ while ignoring her and continuing my chosen route.
Now that advertiser-supported traffic is the norm for Garmin, if I should buy another Nuvi I’ll just remember to switch the feature off. It seems to have limited utility anyway.
So, potential Nuvi buyers: if the ads get in your way, pull over, go into the menus, and turn off the traffic update feature. Then I think you won’t have any more problems with gigantic banner ads obscuring your maps.