The Nuvi 1490T is one of the latest GPS navigation devices from Garmin. It features a large 5-inch LCD touch screen, free lifetime FM traffic data, Bluetooth calling, and much more. For those interested in saving fuel and the environment, this Garmin unit includes advanced economy features.
The Garmin Nuvi 1490T is a new 5-inch GPS unit that really uses that added inch of screen space to show more information, details, and easier to view while driving. Because of the larger screen, inputting text is also easier because the onscreen buttons on the keyboard are larger. Despite having a larger screen, Garmin didn't bother to bump up the resolution from the old 480 x 272 pixels, which means some of the graphics look jagged and hard-edged.
The body of the device is glossy black around the edges but has a matte black finish on the back side. The back contains the mini-USB port and the speaker. The unit can be attached to a windshield by means of the included bracket and suction cup. It can also be mounted on a dashboard using the included adhesive mounting kit.
The 1490T's user interface is extremely easy to use. When you first turn on the device, you're prompted with two choices: browse map or find a destination. Choosing a destination is very easy, just enter in an address or search from a preloaded database of points of interest. Searching for a location includes a type prediction feature, which after a few letters have been entered, it will show a list of possible locations based on your already entered text. The size of the keys have been increase, thanks to the larger screen, and they really allow for easy text input. However, the resistive touchscreen isn't as responsive as we would've liked to see.
While viewing the map, the unit shows the status of GPS signal & battery life, navigation mode, current time, and Bluetooth status along the top. Navigation mode is a quick way to switch the GPS from car, bicycle, or pedestrian modes. The bottom of the screen shows navigation options, like pausing/stopping/detouring your route, and if you have paired your Bluetooth phone, your phone menu.
While in navigation mode (aka: while the GPS is navigating you to your destination), the screen changes slightly. The top bar now contains the road currently on and the next turn name. The bottom shows statistics for your route, like estimated time of arrival, elevation, ordinal direction, current speed, and more. The left side of the map shows a green icon when no traffic situations are ahead and turns yellow when a possible traffic situation is coming. The Garmin Nuvi 1490T receives this information by means of the included FM radio antenna that receives free, lifetime traffic updates. In map view, the unit also overlays green/yellow/red colors over sections of highway that correspond to that traffic situation.
While the traffic data is completely free for the lifetime of your unit, there are advertisements that appear on the screen. These ads are usually location based and show ads for restaurants, stores, and hotels that are nearby. We found the traffic data to be almost always accurate, with only a few occasions where it was wrong.
The maps are either always in 2D, but can also display 3D maps when in an area this is supported. We also liked that it shows the road's speed limit when the information is available.
Garmin includes a feature called EcoRoute in this model, which helps drivers reduce fuel consumption while getting them to their destination. When this feature is enabled, you can choose a route to your destination as being "Less Fuel" along with the other standard options (shorter distance, no highways, faster time, off road, etc.). All of this is available after you enter in some information about your vehicle, like the rated gas mileage for city/highway driving. The Garmin unit then uses this data in conjunction with your data from the GPS satellites (speed, distance, etc.) to calculate your fuel economy and can show you if the way you drive leads to better or worse gas mileage. It then offers you tips on ways to increase your mileage and economy.
Garmin also sells an optional EcoRoute HD device, which connects to your car's diagnostic port, usually located under the steering column. This device wirelessly transmits engine and economy data to the Nuvi to help give you an accurate picture of your car's fuel efficiency. One other nifty feature is the ability to diagnose trouble codes when your car's check engine light is on.