Garmin Nuvi 1490T Review - A Large Screen GPS with Traffic and Eco Mode

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If you are looking for an easy to use navigator, the Nuvi 1490T is a good choice. It has a 5-inch touchscreen interface and is portable too, while the built-in traffic receiver can update you on traffic jams and roadworks. The Navteq maps have close to 6 million points of interest, so finding a fuel pump, somewhere to eat or a rest stop close by, is quick and easy. But is the 1490T really as good as the spec sheet makes it sound?


Features (4 out of 5)

Compared to the predominance of the 4.3 inch devices, Garmin’s 1490T definitely has larger display area. This helps in two ways. Firstly, you get to see more details on the maps, and you are able to discern your location on the map a little better than the smaller devices. Secondly it gives you a little more flexibility in placing the device on the dash or the windscreen, as ability to see the display is not going to be an issue.

Spoken directions and the preloaded Navteq maps, combined with the typical easy interface of Garmin devices, make navigation easy. Lane assist is available, and ensures you are on the right lane for the upcoming turn that you ought to take. It is a reassuring feature. Read about lane assistance available on Garmin devices here.

If you do not like the default voice, custom voices can be downloaded, while the 6 million or so POIs in the maps makes finding, motels, eating places, rest sites or fuel pumps in your current vicinity fairly easy. When you take the 1490T with you at the destination, or at intermediate stops, pedestrian maps available helps you navigate a unknown city/town. Lastly, hands free calls through the Bluetooth makes the Garmin Nuvi 1490T even more attractive.

Talking of fuel pumps, you could probably reduce visits to the pumps if you choose to use the eco-routing option of navigation. This finds you the path that should cost you the least amount of fuel. That must be a combination of shortest route and the less heavily traveled sections of the route from you start point to the destination. The standard built in traffic receiver helps. This is a FM traffic receiver with free service but supported by ads. The traffic data in FM-RDS format is used to update a traffic overlay data that show traffic incident, wherever available.

Features Not so Great! (3 out of 5)

The large display can cause you problems at times, particularly with small icons and straight lines. The display resolution has not be increased so on a larger display area jagged edges show up and traffic incident icons may not be clearly visible. Ads in the traffic data may cause irritation to some users and there are some areas not covered by the traffic data, so you can still end up crawling behind traffic!

Bang for your Buck (4 out of 5)

The device is available at Amazon for around $250. If you add a lifetime subscription for nuMaps, (up to 4 updates a year), the price rises to around $295 at the same place. In this price range, the Garmin Nuvi 1490T is a good buy, particularly if you are looking for a easy to use device with a competitive set of feature. Yes the screen resolution could be better, and the traffic data is not as comprehensive as it might be, but the 1490T is still a compelling choice for drivers.