In searching for an alternative to needing to update navigational road maps maps every couple of years at nearly $100 a pop in my old (3 Â½” screen NavAtlas DUAL) GPS, I began to shop around and landed the Garmin Nuvi 1409T. This is a decision I don’t expect to ever regret. Packaged with lifetime maps, after several months of usage and many driving trips, I have found it to be a remarkable device and value.
Portable GPS (Global Positioning Systems) have been on the market for a good many years now. Many cars have them built-in but most do not. A reliable portable unit has become a technological boon to those of us who travel by car to unfamiliar places. It keeps us from getting lost. The Garmin Nuvi 1490T does the job in exemplary fashion.
In selecting the most appropriate portable GPS, there are two basic considerations. Firstly, the anticipated utilization will guide you toward which features are most important for the new device to have and 2) What is your budget for the GPS? Those available run a wide gamut in both areas, from the most basic (which can be had for around $100) to the most complex and sophisticated which can cost upwards of $400.
In the middle of the price range with considerably more features than most mid-priced units, is the Garmin Nuvi 1490T. The “T” designation at the end indicates the inclusion of lifetime traffic updates that identify, in real time, traffic snarls and delays along your route and allow you to request an alternated routing from the device.
Because map updates are quite expensive over time (reminiscent of an inexpensive printer that requires regular high-cost print cartridge replacements) I purchased mine with a lifetime subscription of map updates for North America (which includes Canada and Hawaii.)
Although there are many companies that make portable GPS units, the most commonly known used and purchased are those from Garmin, Tom-Tom and Magellan. Consumer Reports has consistently rated the Garmins as over-all best and as I tried out several before making this purchase, I must concur.
Garmin currently produces over 40 models of portable GPS units so shopping and sorting through what model offers what features and for how much and checking consumer and professional reviews of each is a time consuming activity. However, compared to the time it will save you hunting for places that are difficult to find in unfamiliar territory will make the investment of this research time well worthwhile. It just may lead you to this Garmin Nuvi 1490T as it did me.
As an aging person, I found the 5″ screen a real blessing. Also, the Garmin welcome screed is the simplest I have seen. It offers two large icon choices, either “Go To” or “View Map” along with smaller Volume and Tool Menu buttons. Everything is handled by touch screen and you can even elect which kind of voice you want to hear as it announces upcoming turns.
It indicates preferred lanes, gives plenty of warning for upcoming turns and exits and the display is uncluttered with irrelevant information.
The touch keyboard for entering addresses is also easy to navigate and responds quite easily.
The 1490T comes with far too many features to be itemized here. You can find them all listed on the Garmin site at www.garmin.com. Walking around in an unfamiliar city? No problem. This Garmin Nuvi 1490T also includes a Pedestrian function that will lead you, one street and turn and street at a time, to exactly where you want to go.
For a mid-price, large screen portable GPS, the Garmin Nuvi 1490T offers more than it seems reasonable to expect. It can also be set to be used while walking in a city (there is a Pedestrian setting), can indicate ‘˜Ecco-Routes” (most fuel efficient options) and is equipped for Bluetooth so you have a built in hands free speakerphone for your Bluetooth enabled cell phone as well.
The maps are clear, crisp and easy to read and it has yet to lead me astray. It boots more quickly than most other GPS units, fully connecting to satellites within ten seconds of turning the unit on and if you take a wrong turn, it recalibrates a new, corrected and accurate route within seconds.
The Garmin 1490T also accepts a MicroSD card, although the internal memory seems entirely adequate for my purposes but can be used to watch photos, videos, etc. I just wanted a “Don’t let me get lost” device and I think I got a good one!
For the money ($249. – $299. with Lifetime Maps) I don’t think there is a better all-around GPS value available, at least not one that I was able to find.