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Reviewed: Garmin Nuvi 1690
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MaFt
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Joined: Aug 31, 2005
Posts: 14101
Location: Bradford, West Yorkshire

PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2010 8:28 pm    Post subject: Reviewed: Garmin Nuvi 1690 Reply with quote

Garmin nuvi 1690 ReviewIt's been a long time since I used a Garmin so I thought it would be interesting to see how they've come on since February 2008 when I reviewed their (then) flagship nuvi 710. The nuvi 1690 is Garmin's current top of the range device.

So, what do we have with the 1690? The main feature is the addition of the “nuLink Real-time Services”. Put bluntly, this is Garmin's answer to TomTom's Live Services – I will stress, however, that this is a review of the nuvi 1690 rather than a comparison with the TomTom x50 series! Regardless, I don't have a 950 to compare it with anyway!

Click here to read the full review...
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gem
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Joined: Feb 06, 2004
Posts: 88
Location: Scotland

PostPosted: Sat Jan 30, 2010 1:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can I say what is Garmin's silly weakness. It's that bleedin colour scheme!

In America they love pastel coloured roads and maps. But in the UK I want to see a blue road for a motorway and a green one for a major A road and so on.

4 plus years ago and earlier Navman had this spot on and hence I still love the colour scheme on an old unit.

You can't change the Garmin units colours.


(And why are their downloadable position icons stupid old 1970s cars and a few sledges? Who uses a sledge to drive down the M74. I just wanted a red estate car but this is too normal for Garmin to have to download)
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mark1968
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Location: Northampton

PostPosted: Sat Jan 30, 2010 9:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent and informative review.

Can anyone tell me if it is possible to purchase an additional mount for this unit please?
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Feek
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Joined: Mar 04, 2008
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Location: Englandshire.

PostPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2010 9:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's a very good review, thank you.

I'm interested in how well the data link to the device works - My 765T has the classic problem of it hardly ever getting any traffic data. My aerial is well sited but it just doesn't seem to get through very well.

How well does the nuLink work? If it's good and gets signals all over the country then I'd be tempted to pick up one of these new units. If it's poor and doesn't work very well then there's no point in me changing.
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MaFt
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2010 12:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

i only had one 'outage' of the nuLink stuff. this was for about 2 hours in total and only occurred once since mid december when i received the review units.

it wasn't a loss of signal though, just a loss of service, as the signal strength was still high.

MaFt
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thezerocool
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Joined: Jul 23, 2005
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2010 2:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

could anybody please clarifty,

im currently running a 940 with HD Traffic. I was recently told that TomTom now cover 97% of roads and this is based on major and secondary roads, compared to the old days of TMC where the calculation was simply based on major roads.

So, I have looked and looked but cannot see Navteq or Garmin advertising any statistics to compare with this. This give me de ja vous from the xbox vs psx days where the company with something to hide wouldnt release the statistic in the hope that nobody would notice it was less than the competitor. I hope this is not the case because if nobody challenges the spec of their competitors and instead just mimicks the technology then what would promote the competition to improve further?

I would be interested to know the coverage if anybody has the data?
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spiro
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Joined: Jul 13, 2006
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2010 12:23 pm    Post subject: Garmin speed camera alerts Reply with quote

I recently came down the M6 and found my updated average speed camera information very poor where the roadworks had moved. I will stick with pocketgpsworld.
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MaFt
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2010 12:27 pm    Post subject: Re: Garmin speed camera alerts Reply with quote

spiro wrote:
I recently came down the M6 and found my updated average speed camera information very poor where the roadworks had moved. I will stick with pocketgpsworld.


a wise choice, sire Very Happy
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Dodgy
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2010 6:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's been a while since I looked at portable SatNavs, my current car has one built in the dash so excuse the basic question.

This reviewed device relies a lot on connectivity to the Internet (I assume) for updates, wireless transfer of POIs etc. Is the connectivity obtained by bluetooth to your mobile, or does it have a built in sim card for cellular?

It's not clear in the review, but again, this is probably more to do with the fact I'm a little out of touch!
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Feek
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 06, 2010 11:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dodgy wrote:
Is the connectivity obtained by bluetooth to your mobile, or does it have a built in sim card for cellular?

It's not clear in the review, but again, this is probably more to do with the fact I'm a little out of touch!


That was my concern - How does it actually get connectivity.

I've done some searching and have discovered that it has the cellular connectivity built in. I can't find which network it's using, nor the coverage. The cost of the first years data is included with the price and after that I think it's £69/year. You can't just put your own SIM into it.

I generally keep my sat nav units for a year to eighteen months and have already found a buyer for my 765T so I'll be ordering one of these on Monday.
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Dodgy
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 06, 2010 2:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Feek, I wasn't able to find that info anywhere, well not obviously anyway. I checked lots of sites. I reckon it's an important omission that needs to be made more clear - it's actually a benefit imho.
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Dodgy
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 06, 2010 2:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When it says you can transfer google map waypoints 'wirelessly', does that mean the unit has to be connected to your home WLAN? Or does it mean that there is some functionality on Google that gets the waypoint/poi to the unit directly?
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gatorguy6996
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 06, 2010 4:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The 1690 allows for wireless transfer of destinations, even out on the road somewhere. Particularly helpful for salesmen or company reps who may need to make an unexpected stop by a potential client's home or business. Or when the wife wants you to pick up the drycleaning. Driving Your office or home can pull up the destination and have it sent "over the air" to your device, using the built-n data connection via simcard.
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BAVC10
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2010 9:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MaFt - Great review.

I've just had a 1690 as a replacement for a 765T which bricked for no apparent reason. Personally, I like the clearer display on the 1690, the text in the blue border is larger and there seems to be more detail (road names) when driving in town.

Firmware 3.00 seems pretty stable and the traffic works fine. Garmin ask you to confirm that you are happy with you location / speed data being transmitted to their database - if you aren't you can't receive traffic!!!!

I also noticed that when uploading speed camera from this site using Ash's Camera Manager that the MP3 alerts don't seem to work - all I get is the standard boing - did you experience this too! I also don't appear to have received the promised Speed Camera updates via NuLink but then I do turn off the Garmin ones anyway.

Garmin have moved favourites to the second screen after the Where To screen which seems an odd move and the NuLink services seem to take priority on the first screen.

The other downside is that you have to pay £69.99 to receive data after the first year - including traffic. So even if you just want traffic you have to pay the subscription. Beware that as soon as you turn the unit on, the 365 subscription counts down - even if you haven't left the shop so I'd suggest that anyone who buys this waits until they are ready to use it - ie if buying as a present for someone don't be tempted to have a play with it.
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Previously owned: DriveLuxe 50 LMT-D, NuviCam LMT-D, Nuvi 3598 LMT-D, Nuvi 3490LMT, 3790T, 1690, 765, 760, 660, 610, 360, 310, 300 and Streetpilot i3
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Feek
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Location: Englandshire.

PostPosted: Fri Feb 19, 2010 11:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've had my 1690 for ten days or so now and I'm already very impressed. Some investigation shows that they've been quite clever regarding getting mobile data coverage in the UK. I've no idea how it's done in other countries.

The device is registered with the KPN network in the Netherlands and they have roaming agreements with Orange, T-Mobile, O2, Vodafone and 3 so theoretically the system could connect via any of those networks. I'm finding excellent coverage on my main daily commute from a small village in the corner of Essex all the way through the county via Colchester and into Brentwood. I even seem to keep the signal when I'm going through areas that I know Vodafone and Orange barely cover!

The screen seems much more vibrant than my old 765T and although there's no 3.5mm jack for audio out I'm finding the internal speaker more than adequate and I've only got the volume about half way up. Considering I drive a rattly old oil burning diesel this is impressive.

The weather forecast is rubbish though. Pretty much all the way through the county it only pulls up the weather for Rochford which is nowhere near. Even selecting my home village, it still shows Rochford. I guess this is just down to whoever the supplier of weather data is.

Google lookup seems to work and work well. I've not worked out how to send waypoints over the air to the unit yet though.
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