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.