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Garmin nuvi 3790T - Route Calculation and Map Views

By James Morris


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Review Price £220.10

Route calculation has also been enhanced in the 3790T. Garmin now incorporates a system similar to TomTom’s IQ Routes or Navigon’s MyRoutes, in this case called nuRoutes. There are essentially two parts to the latter. The nuRoutes myTrends portion analyses your driving behaviour and adjusts its routes accordingly, so you need to have used the device for a while to feel the benefit. The nuRoutes trafficTrends portion takes a note of traffic behaviour to calculate the fastest routes. So regular historical jams at certain times of day influence navigation, as well as the live traffic updates provided by the built-in RDS-TMC system, although we didn’t find this quite as effective as IQ Routes for our test journeys.

You can install cityXplorer maps to provide walking routes, which include public transport in their calculation. However, these are quite expensive, with prices starting at £7.49 per city, so you will only want to purchase them for cities you plan to spend a lot of time in as a pedestrian. Garmin has made your life on foot easier, though, by giving the 3970T an accelerometer and allowing the interface to switch automatically from landscape to portrait, depending on how you orient the device. Whilst landscape mode is traditional when driving, portrait is much more comfortable when using the sat-nav handheld.

Another useful function for handheld usage is Park Position Recall, which automatically stores your location when you most recently removed the device from its mount. This can then be found in the Parking POI section. So if you’ve left your car on the street, or in a huge car park, and then promptly forgotten the location, the 3790T makes it easy to find your vehicle again.

The basic navigational map view is virtually the same as previous Garmin sat-navs, which is no bad thing as we find it mostly clear and aesthetically pleasing. However, the full-screen graphic displayed at major interchanges has been further enhanced and is now called PhotoReal Junction View. Where the previous version provided generic signpost images, PhotoReal’s signs look even more like what will be visible through your windscreen, and the accompanying scenery will be more lifelike too.

Garmin also promises 3D Building and Terrain views to help you get your bearings more easily, but we found coverage doesn’t extend particularly far in the UK. In fact, we didn’t find anywhere with 3D Terrain during testing, and 3D Buildings were only available in the very centre of London. We weren’t able to test any other major cities, but with so little of London included we don’t expect much difference elsewhere.

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Wayne Harris

November 17, 2010, 4:58 pm

Mmmmm, great review James, looked on Amazon and there are many unhappy owners of this, do you think id me mad to sell my TomTom 940 and get the Garmin? anyone else done the same?

James Morris

November 18, 2010, 2:45 am

@Wayne Harris Actually, yes, you would be mad! If you've still got the LIVE services on the 940, it will be a pretty handy device. Much more chunky, but very effective.

On the Amazon review front, I only found a few negative reviews when I looked. I agree that rerouting and route finding is slower than TomTom, particularly the GO 1000. But I didn't encounter any instability or crashes during testing. The 3790T was pretty dependable.


December 26, 2010, 11:58 pm

Hi james, i really can't make my mind up between this and the tomtom go live 1000. I hear the 3790t has issues when acquiring satellites? i'm also concerned that people say the 3790t cant get you from a to b? i've never had a sat nav but have found both are now within £10 of each other,which would you rec? many thanks

Steve D

December 29, 2010, 6:01 pm

I have a 3790t and I've not had any problems with it acquiring satellites when outside or in the car. It's been very reliable. As for getting from A to B, again, I've not had any problems.

Trevor Lewis

January 31, 2011, 11:01 pm

I am underwhelmed by three features of my 3790T.

First, the traffic update is sporadic. For much of any long journey, the normal green 'traffic info' is 'greyed' out and not being udated. Indeed sometimes, the symbol doesn't come on at all. I used to have a gizmo that picked up updates from the trafficmaster blue roadside posts which, while primitive, gave me instant data when I passed them. The is a step backwards.

Secondly, the system warns you not only of upcoming fixed gatsos but also tells you when you are in a mobile camera zone. That appears to include most of the main roads in Norfolk, with the result that it's sending you pinging warnings about this non-stop for minutes on end. I can't find any way if disabling this.

Thirdly, unlike my old Tom Tom, it DOESN'T give an audible warning when you exceed the speed limit, which is what I would like (or, if it does, I can't find how to do it). Call me old fashioned, but what I want to do is to keep within speed limits, not just to slow down to legal when there might be a camera about.

Garmin nuvi 3790t

June 12, 2011, 3:17 am

Garmin nuvi's are a very good brand. They have come a long way.

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