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on 7 January 2010
Eventually selected this Garmin after looking at a lot of other GPS units.
I've used TomTom for years, so my main decision was whether I stuck with them - or finally bit the bullet and tried out another manufacturer.
I'm used to TomTom's UI - but every extra feature seems to cost a fortune and I loathe their customer service.
Quick summary - I'm glad I changed.

Bad things:
The Power Lead. Power lead for the unit is a thick cable that's like having a boa sprawled over your dashboard. I've absolutely no idea why they've made it so chunky. On the bright side though, I've got no worries that it's going to snag or break, I'm quite convinced it's going to outlast me.
It's crashed a couple of times. When it does crash it restarts and you with one button push you're back on your route. Not good it crashed, but at least it's a reasonably pain-free crash.
Manuals. Useless. Traffic was flakey on my first trip and I'd no idea why. I'd used the power lead, but kept on losing signal. Only when I got home and noticed another lead in the box, I realized that there was a separate FM antenna you have to plug into the power lead.

Good things:
Build Quality. It feels well made. Big sold slab of nice rubberized plastic, with a lovely bright massive screen on the front.
UI. Didn't take me long to realize I preferred it to TomTom.
Full Post-code recognition. Many units have this now, but it was lovely to get it.
Bluetooth Handsfree. Works beautifully. I turn on my GPS and it now automatically routes all calls to it - can just leave your phone in your pocket.
Traffic. Not a lot to say. It works, and it comes free with the unit (yes I'm talking to you TomTom with your overpriced optional FM aerials).
Road Names. I liked the sound of this, but definitely my favourite feature. Rather than just saying "turn left in x", it actually tells you the name of the road you need to take (and quite remarkably pronounces everything correctly). Makes a massive difference when driving in a town as you no longer have to glance at the GPS screen to check where it thinks it is, and therefore where the 2nd left actually is.

In summary, it's not perfect (so close it hurts a bit) - but I think it's the best value unit out there.
Lovely large screen, full post-code search, lane guidance, road-name speech, bundled FM traffic, nice simple, clear GUI, European Maps. As far as I'm aware, there's no other unit that will give you all this for the price.
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on 15 November 2009
This seems to be a product that divides opinion. Yes, I recognise most of the criticisms that have been made by other reviewers, but I also believe they can be overcome to a large degree. For example:
1. Buy a dashboard mount: I find this invaluable, providing somewhere to tuck spare wiring, as well as making removal from the car that much easier.
2. True, the touchscreen can be frustrating at first, but with practice errors become much rarer.

Of course, the simplest way to use a SatNav is just to put your destination in and let the SatNav take you there, but we all know the difficulties that can create, when the SatNav thinks that impassable track is a great short cut, avoiding the need to take the main road miles further. The great advantage of the Nüvi 1490 is that you can use it away from the car to plan and simulate routes. If you think the SatNav is wrong you can always change the route by adding Waypoints.

As with human beings, it cannot be expected to respond to information it hasn't received, so if there is no FM signal or no information available, you may still be stuck in a queue. However, whilst driving from the North East to the Midlands recently, I twice had reason to be grateful for its ability to re-route in the face of traffic problems up ahead, so this is a useful feature, despite its limitations.

Finally, the Nüvi 1490 is not just a SatNav for the car. It's light-weight and its pedestrian mode means you can continue to us it when you have left the car, enabling you to avoid getting lost in town.

So, all in all, this SatNav may not yet be the answer to ALL our dreams, but it's still the best I have come across.
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on 29 October 2009
Nearly caused a divorce the first time we used it but that's not the machine's fault! Worked O.K. out of the box, easy to set up - connect to computer to update firm ware (do this on a regular basis for ongoing updates). Maps clear,(although a few glaring errors)spoken instructions clear although female voice less distinct. Traffic jam updates good. Third party POIs plentiful but remember to upload everything at one go as previous inputs are overwritten. Works for me - a decent piece of kit.
Addendum to above - If you are updating maps make sure you have, a very fast internet connection, a fast CPU, plenty of time... and patience. Took me about nine attempts over three days to finally get everything sorted. If the downloader looks as if it is doing something, it probably is! It's just flaming slow. Also I hope the update is major otherwise it's a lot of effort for maybe very little.
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on 16 January 2010
This is my second satnav, bought to replace a very good one produced by Sony, who have now ceased to produce satnavs, so that getting map updates was a problem. I went for the Garmin 1490 because it came out top in a very exhaustive review carried out by a respected consumer magazine - and I haven't been disappointed. It's even better than the Sony, getting me to my destination correctly each time I've used it. And it's quick in "translating" the satellite info to my actual position - for example, when I go under a railway bridge, the screen shows that (the Sony sometimes showed this a little too late or early). Its estimate of arrival times is a bit optimistic, but, there again, I haven't connected the traffic info aerial yet, so maybe that can be excused. The maps appear to be very up-to-date - it was good to be able to get a free update just after purchase. (But they're not up to date for everywhere - our house in Spain doesn't apparently exist, although we moved in five years ago, and I've just been looking at it in a photo on Google Earth! On the other hand, it contains full details of a new housing development in Scotland that had its first occupants only last year!) I haven't found anything to moan about, although I would say that the manual is sometimes not as clear as it might be, but that will be sorted out by experience.
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on 10 January 2010
Firstly thank you to everyone else who's taken the time to review this. On the strength of opinion I did buy this unit- and have found the following points with it:

1) Hefty cable- yes it is bulky- but in my opinion only slightly moreso than my old 205W power lead- and is powering the traffic aerial to boot- so understandable. I personally wrap the excess bulk around my cupholder- but can understand other reviewers concerns over this.

2) The additional aerial and suckers I find too short.. I could do with it being 50% longer, and another sucker- and I suspect causes a poor traffic reception- moreso than it should. I have lost reception for upto 1hr on a 4hr journey east-west via Birmingham. When the traffic work though it is brilliant- and is as good as having AA traffic reports right under your nose.

3) Software issues. When I first received it- and used it on one of my journeys I did experience issues over it locking up- which it did 3 times over said 4hr journeys. This seemed to be related to a) Poor connection with the lighter socket and b) just using the device sometimes also caused a lockup and reset- at some very bad moments! Fortuantely it went back to where it left off.
I did update the firmware- and it made little difference, but since then Garmin have releaves another software update through their site and as of 27th Dec this appears to be giving the unit reliability on a par with the 205W- as I was expecting in the first place!

4) Map updates. Yes I have downloaded my free update the unit did need it- a number of junctions on the route weren't shown correctly but now are. Yes it is a whopping 3+Gb's worth and did take a good couple of hours on my 8mb Broadband verified running at 7.5Mb throughout) The uncompression and installation took a similiar time to the download- and I would strongly recommend a newer PC to do this on. Suggest to set the download going and then leave it- probably best done overnight. Do the same with the installation- this is one process that will take a long while- so just let it run its course.

5) Junction View- does what it says... But not for every single interchange. I've found it only does for major motorway and dual carriageway interchanges, but you can call it in advance by clicking the lane button in top left, and clicking Junction View. I find this a quirk- but personally find it nice it can be called on demand from about 2 miles beforehand. The overhead junction layout plan the unit shows I also find a nice touch- and helps keep things clearer- and much better that the 205W

I do like the bigger size #it allows a bigger speaker so you can hear the announcements easier) and always have liked the Garmin interface- which is pretty much the same as the 205W... It's nice put onto a bigger screen though.

Overall I like this. It would of scored it higher, had I not had the issue over the software updates.
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on 31 August 2010
I bought this satnav to drive through the wilds of the Gers in SW France but unfortunately, the first one gave up before I had left the wilds of SW london. Fortunately Amazon's fantastic replacement system meant that i still had one before setting off, although no time to try it out.
The fact that I'm still awarding this 5 stars in spite of that hiccup is an indication of how much I loved it.
Which magazine had recommended it and I totally see why. The most useful feature for me was the screen that popped up every time you had to change motorways in France showing the relevant motorway sign and highlighting the correct lane to take. This was my first time driving in Europe, I was alone, and this piece of equipment totally de-stressed the journey.
Couple of probs caused I suspect by my lack of time for try-out. Make sure that you choose fastest, not shortest, route otherwise you'll find yourself going cross country!
Apparently you can bluetooth your phone in to enable you to tap the screen to answer, but I haven't got around to that yet.
I was staying in a tiny hamlet in the middle of nowhere, but all the tracks were on the map unlike the borrowed Tomtom I used earlier in the year. The Garmin screen was also much easier and better marked out than the Tomtom.
Truly an excellent buy, and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to any-one, but particularly to any-one who wants a simple to operate piece of equipment that works effectively and isn't too expensive.
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on 24 July 2010
I had owned a Tom Tom 700 for several years and because it had been an expensive present from my wife I couldn't justify replacing it. However, it was stolen (not from in the car) so I had to replace it. Both sons had owned Garmins for some time and preferred them to my Tom Tom; the 1490 seemed to do everything that I wanted (and more) and I must say I've not been disappointed:
Thin, lightweight
Wide, clear touch - screen
Spoken street names
Speed camera audible warnings
New screen appears at a junction advising of lane positioning (excellent!)
Visual warning of speeding etc...
Full instructions need to be downloaded as a pdf and need close scrutiny - there are many features which at first, I didn't find instinctively. The screen layout can be changed, and a full readout of your planned journey in text or on a map is there. I'd recommend that you update maps immediately from the Garmin site (very easy) and also install a copy of Mapsource on your PC - this enables you to plan your journey in its entirety at your leisure, and then upload it to the GPS.

Touching the screen (which needs pressure, unlike the capacitance-type screen on the Tom Tom) brings up all sorts of sub-menus, and with a bit of trial and error becomes easy to use.
My only criticism (purely personal taste) is that the icons are a bit cartoon-like - I would prefer a cleaner, more business-like design.
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on 13 May 2011
This is the first Sat Nav I have owned/used. I researched the purchase for weeks and decided that the Nuvi 1490 was the best from reviews and feedback from other users. On first opening the box it was clear that this was a well made/quality item. It had a good solid feel. Finding my way round its various functions took time.It is necessary to download a handbook from Garmin to get a full picture of its functionality and operation. It is capable of doing quite a lot of things. Some things I suspect I shall never use e.g., using it to view photos from a micro SD card.
So there are a few suggestions I would make for people new to the Nuvi and perhaps the world of sat nav, from my first two or three months ownership. I would suggest taking time to explore the operation of the Sat Nav. Especially the multiple ways of finding a destination. Also the ways in which you can then view the proposed route. It is not straightforward - at least it wasn't for me. When you know what you're doing however it's easy. The next issue concerns its connection to a computer. A lead is supplied. There are a few steps you have to work through to register the Sat Nav with Garmin, and subsequently to receive updates, and to receive the latest map update (within 2 months). While all of this is relatively straightforward my view is that you need to be fairly computer savvy. The on screen instructions are clear enough but when you click on a certain function and not much appears to happen you might begin to worry a bit. Hold tight - my experience tells me that it all works - you just need to be patient. The map download for example can take several hours, and then it takes a further hour or so to install the downloads on to the Nuvi. The map download was successful I'm pleased to say, notwithstanding that I lost the internet connection half way through! So a good broadband connection is essential. This brings me to the other aspect of downloads. In three months I have connected my Nuvi to the computer several times and every time I connect I get the message that there are software updates available. Again instructions are provided about what you need to do. I have been amazed at the level of software support provided. It is clear that some of the gliches reported in the reviews are being addressed through these updates. My advice would be to check every two or three weeks for updates. Sorry if that's a bit obvious to readers. I feel as though I've stumbled across the fact that this needs to be done regularly.
Finally on functionality the Nuvi is brilliant. It has diverted me away from traffic congestion and accidents on at least 6 occasions. It does what its supposed to do very well. Just one last thought. I bought this sat nav with a travel pack which included a good quality case and a mains charger. I haven't used the mains charger yet as the Nuvi charges from the car when using the 'Traffic' connector. I'm really looking forward to using it in Germany and France this year.
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on 16 February 2010
I purchased the Nuvi as a present to replace a Travel master that was quite out of date and kept loosing signal all the time.
This unit is clear, finds a signal quickly and doesn't keep loosing it.

However I find that sometimes near really close turnings/ busy intersections it doesn't give its instructions early enough for you to be clear where you need to go. Also I used to like the fact that on my old machine I could have half the screen taken up by the "map type" instruction so at a glance you could see what was coming up. The Nuvi has this feature but it is takes up just a small square in the top left hand corner which when driving you can not glance at with ease.

The only other thing I don't like too much is the size of the in car charger, it keeps getting in the way, but you can get around this by buying the travel charger kit and charging up the internal battery when at home and using the unit without the in car charger connection.
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on 20 December 2009
Having had a TomTom in the past, I find the Garmin so much easier to use. The five inch screen is clearer and the lane indicator is superb. Directions to streets, rather than mere turns add to clarity and puts pinpoint accuracy beyond doubt. The sound is good and the warnings are timely. It was a bit more than I wanted to pay but I'm glad I bought it. The test comes next week when I visit my son in the Netherlands.
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