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.