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Garmin nuvi 3790T review



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Review Price £220.10

Most of the excitement in the sat-nav market has revolved around mobile data-enabled live services and the increasing importance of smartphone apps. But the standalone personal navigation device (PND) has mostly remained quite chunky. With the nuvi 3790T, however, Garmin has put the PND on a serious diet. It’s less than 9mm thick, and nicer looking than most smartphones. In fact, this is one sat-nav you might even lust after just for its appearance.

Fortunately, there’s more to the 3790T than just a pretty chassis. It has a beautifully clear 4.3in widescreen as well. This has an 800 x 480 resolution, so shows more detail than other sat-navs. It’s a capacitive touchscreen, which is more responsive than the resistive touch systems employed by virtually all other sat-navs. It also lets you pan around the maps and scroll menus with a simple hand gesture, and even use pinch-to-zoom when browsing the map.

One of the most significant enhancements is the voice activation system. Garmin created one of our favourite verbal command systems a few years ago in the shape of the nuvi 860, which included a steering wheel-attached remote control for safer operation. The 3790T goes even better, as you can communicate with it using verbal commands alone. By default, the phrase “Voice Command” kicks off proceedings, but you can type in anything you like, and 3790T will give you a percentage score for your chosen command’s appropriateness.

In use, the voice activation is one of the best we’ve seen in any sat-nav. As long as you speak reasonably clearly, you can control most aspects of destination entry, including addresses, postcodes and points of interest. We found this system rarely misunderstood our speech, and even when it did, backtracking for a second attempt was easy. In fact, entering an address by hand began to feel clunky in comparison.

When entering a destination, you can search for an address by street only across an entire country without needing to know the town, and you can search for a Point Of Interest by keyword across an entire country. However, the two are separate, where some sat-navs allow you to search both databases simultaneously, such as the Mio Navman Spirit devices.

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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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