Garmin nuvi 1490T Sat-Nav - Garmin nuvi 1490T

By James Morris



Our Score:


The 1490T isn't just for car users, however. Although most sat-navs have pedestrian routing options, the 1490T now also supports cityXplorer maps. These aren't included as standard, and cost from £7.49 each per city, with London coming in at £10.99. The maps allow pedestrian routes to be calculated which make use of public transport. They also provide detailed top-down maps that are more appropriate for use on foot. The 1490T is perhaps a little bit big as a pocket pedestrian navigator, but it's still useful to have the cityXplorer option there, for example when on holiday. This is particularly likely when you consider that European driving maps are supplied as standard.

Other than these enhancements, and the 5in screen, the 1490T is a regular Garmin sat-nav. You can create a custom route using a series of destinations as waypoints, and save this for future use. There's a Picture Viewer for JPEG images, a World Clock showing three customisable time zones, Calculator, and Unit Converter - all potentially handy, if not exactly core features for a sat-nav.

We've always liked Garmin's navigational map design. It's both clear and easy on the eye. The 1490T makes no significant innovations here, and the usual contemporary sat-nav widgets are available. Speed camera warnings pop up onscreen as a discrete block, which turns red if you're actually breaking the limit. Lane Assistance with Junction View shows which carriageway to be in at a complex motorway interchange. Signposts are illustrated realistically, to further enhance your chances of following the right route. This is now a standard feature in virtually all sat-navs, but it works well and is always welcome.

As we mentioned earlier, the 1490T also includes a subscription to RDS-TMC traffic updates in the UK. As the receiver for this is built into the car power adapter cable, the service only functions when the device is receiving power in this way. Warnings of traffic on your route will pop up onscreen, but you can also press the traffic icon to call up options and browse current incident reports. Although RDS-TMC has been usurped by the next generation of traffic update services, currently epitomised by TomTom's HD Traffic, it remains a useful resource. It still provides the ability to find a new route round a long motorway jam, even if it's useless for snarl-ups on roads without the necessary Trafficmaster cameras.


There's nothing particularly revolutionary about the Garmin 1490T. Aside from the free searching of address and POI databases and the cityXplorer compatibility, its features can be found in any number of alternatives. However, at £215 it's already good value. Factor in the larger screen, and the 1490T looks like a bargain. If you do happen to find regular 4.3in sat-nav widescreens too cramped for comfort, the Garmin 1490T could really expand your horizons.

Overall Score


Scores In Detail

  • Value 10
  • Features 8
  • Design 9


November 22, 2009, 10:55 pm

Dreadful. The software on my four-year-old TomTom One was far more sophisticated than this!

The volume doesn't increase/decrease with the car's speed, the voice is tinny and hard to understand, there is no option to fine-tune a route (eg by avoiding a certain road or town), the speed camera warnings are frequently at the wrong speed, causing unnecessary beeping, and the camera warning flash obscures the next section of road.

Fortunately, the traffic information didn't work on mine, so I was able to return it.

NB My model was the 1390T (same but 4.3" screen)


December 2, 2009, 4:56 pm

Most of your comments seem to revolve around the speed cameras, these don't need to be activated, the only worthwhile speed cam database is that from, much cheaper and way more accurate in every way.


December 4, 2009, 5:17 pm

No, that was the least of my problems with it. Had I had to keep it, I would just have disabled speed cams and forgotten them. I just found the device and its software such a backward step.


May 14, 2010, 7:54 pm

I find your comments interesting Biggles, particularly as I would like the feature you describe "...option to fine-tune a route (eg by avoiding a certain road or town)..." Do you mind telling me if you found that feature on any other sat-nav device, if so, which one? I can't find it in any manufacturer's literature.

... also, I would like to be able to plan my routes on my PC and then download them to my device. Have you come across that feature anywhere?

Thanks Martin


June 21, 2010, 10:49 pm

Biggles I'm not trying to be rude, but I've now read a lot of reviews on this sat nav and your comments are the only ones to mention this things. I don't quite understand the extreme determination with which you are bad-mouthing it, having seen this precise comment now on reviews of several different related nuvis on the Which reports, and elsewhere. Why comment on every Garmin to complain about the 1390? I appreciate the 1490 is virtually the same, but you've commented on other models with entirely different features for no apparent reason. Not entirely sure I understand your motive for the spatter approach of criticism.

Ron 1

October 27, 2010, 11:42 pm

I've had this model for a month or two now.

Positives - large screen - easy to read.

Good turn by turn instructions.

Negatives - estimated journey times are far too optimistic and misleading and there's no way of tweaking the settings as there was on my old TomTom Go 300.

Exceeding the speed limit warnings kick in far too early and are constantly chiming out. On the Go 300 you could set them to come in at say 10 mph above the limit - to sort out those times when you may just be a tad over the motorway's 70 mph.

Phoned the Garmin Support line and their attitude was 'tough - live with it'.

In summary - it's good but by no means perfect.

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