Garmin Nüvi 3790T satnav
Review With the Nüvifone M10 Garmin seemed intent on making a phone like a PND. Now with the 3790T it's going the other way, making a PND that looks and feels like a phone complete with a capacitive glass screen, super-skinny profile and hefty £300 price tag.
Garmin's Nûvi 3790T: takes voice commands, but doesn't make calls
There is no denying the 3790T is a lovely bit of design that really does look like a top end touchscreen smartphone. Several people on first seeing it thought I'd gone over to the dark side and bought an iPhone.
At 8.9mm in thickness and weighing just over 113g it feels like a phone too. Being so thin and light the 3790T can be slipped into a pocket with the greatest of ease making it ideal for pedestrians as well as motorists.
Slick to look at, the 3790T is also pretty slick to use. The touch-screen UI is of near iPhone quality and even supports basic multi-touch functions like pinch-to-zoom. The voice command system is no less impressive. Bark "voice control" at it and finding street names and POIs is usually a one-try affair.
The built-in accelerometer changes viewing aspect according to positioning
Having a glass screen and a 480 x 800 resolution makes the maps very clear and crisp and I had no problems with reflections even in direct sunlight which, to be honest, I was rather expecting. That said at 4.3in the screen is a little on the small side for a high-end PND, as there are many now that are 5in between corners.
Unusually for a PND– perhaps even, uniquely – the 3790T has an accelerometer so it can be used in portrait or landscape. The windscreen bracket is a ball and socket affair that lets you turn the between the two in-situ.
Slimphone pocketability in evidence here
Garmin doesn't quote a battery capacity but says a full charge is good for four hours of use which is more than twice what I would expect from a run-of-the-mill PND. The best I managed was just shy of three with the Bluetooth radio on, but that's still pretty impressive.
Alas, the 3790T's navigational ability doesn't match its looks. The basics were fine, but map re-orientation was often slow and sometimes fluctuated badly during direction changes, leaving me confused as to my intended direction of travel, until the graphics settled down a few hundred yards along the road.
So there I was...
This was exacerbated by an occasional tendency to show the location icon to the left or right of the road I was on. This screen grab demonstrates the problem. At the time I was actually driving down Folly Lane which can be seen on the right of the image.
3D views of local terrain
Garmin's belief that road numbers should be read-out as hundreds and thousands didn't endear me to the 3790T either – admittedly a matter of personal taste. No arguments about the maps though, which are easy to read and come complete with 3D representations of terrain, city blocks and significant buildings.
While the 3790T proved to be a solid navigator, there's nothing really new or out of the ordinary about the system despite the presence of trafficTrends, which plans the optimum route based on traffic flow and myTrends, which learns your journey preferences.
The road ahead
Coming to the 3790T from the Navigon 70 Plus I missed the latter's offer of a choice of routes before starting a journey and the drop down POI menus. On the plus side, Garmin's multi-stop journey planner is a thing of sublime simplicity and you get you lifetime TMC traffic alerts and speed camera data across Europe along with Bluetooth.
Elegant, with many nice touches, but needs refining for its primary purpose
Without a doubt the most stylish PND on the market the 3790T has a superbly slick UI and a lovely screen. Also the size and weight make it perfect for carrying about with you when using shanks's pony. Yet the features alone didn't outweight the fact that I didn't find its basic navigational ability to be a match for the latest devices from the likes of TomTom and Navigon. ®
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