Garmin Nuvi 1690 – with new NuviLink data service

Car Tech — on March 16, 2010 at 9:53 pm | 1 Comment

Thumbs Up:

Garmin Nuvi 1690 offers free, but ad-supported two-year access to Garmin NuLink data service that provides real-time Bluetooth hands-free calling, Google Search for POIs, fuel prices and traffic data.

Thumbs Down:

Touch screen display shows some weird clicker while using data connection. Micro-Sd card slot does not support full SD cards, especially containing previous Garmin data.

The Whiz Kid Speaks:

Garmin Nuvi 1690 is portable GPS navigation device that has inbuilt antenna and micro-SD card slot. The inbuilt software is MapSource City Navigator Europe NT. Recommended usage is for Automotive and Hiking. Its GPS services include Lane Assistant, Date/Time, and Distance. The voice features are Street name announcement and Navigation instructions.

4.3 inches touch-screen LCD display of Garmin Nuvi 1690 has 480×272 pixels resolution. The device has USB connector, 10 navigation points and 1000 waypoints. The trip computer consists of Street address search, Fast/short route, Avoid toll roads, Quickest route, Avoid highways, Trip distance and Trip timer.

The additional features of Garmin Nuvi 1690 include Traffic Hands-free calling via Bluetooth, Message Channel (TMC ready), 2D/32 map perspective, Speed camera  warnings, Measurement converter, Speed limit warning, Currency converter, Preinstalled POIs, Downloadable POIs, Automatic routing, Inbuilt speaker, Garmin HotFix, Emergency Help, Garmin Garage, Photo viewer, Lock, Fuel prices, Garmin Custom POIs, Clock, Calculator and EcoRoute.

Garmin Nuvi 1690 has lithium ion battery that has a life of 4 hours. The GPS design features are Route avoidance, Picture viewer, Photo navigation, Auto re-route, Inbuilt speaker, Touchscreen, ABC or QWERTY keyboard, Calculator, Unit and Currency converter, and World clock. Accessories supplied inside the package are Car power adapter, dashboard disc and USB cable.

Razzle Dazzle:

Garmin Nuvi 1690 is 3.1 inches tall, 4.9 inches wide and 0.7 inch deep and weighs 6.2 ounces. It has black glossy frame with chrome trim surrounding the display.

Inside Dope:

When we talk about the GPS navigation device especially for cars, the first name to come our mind is – Garmin. The company has launched Garmin Nuvi 880 – first Internet connected portable GPS navigation device with MSN Direct Data service. Now, the company had partnered with AT&T to bring branded data service – Garmin NuLink. After this, Garmin has launched new – Nuvi 1690. Both NuLink data service and Garmin Nuvi 1690 works together for providing live traffic data and fuel prices, Google White and Local pages search in one package, and turn-by-turn directions. All these features do not have any annoying monthly fees and free at least for first two years.

Garmin nuvi 1690 review

4.3 inches touch screen display is located on the front. Garmin Nuvi 1690 has micro-SD card slot for external storage to save additional points of internet (POI) and regional maps. However, this micro-SD card slot does not support full-size SD cards already containing above data.

The previous power slider with lock mode is replaced with simple button. There is no physical screen lock on Garmin Nuvi 1690, but you can tap power button to display onscreen menu for screen lock, power and brightness. You can press the power button again to unlock the display. If you hold down the power button for 3 seconds, then it will shut down the device.

You will find single speaker on the back panel, mini-USB port and 10-pin connector for including suction-cup cradle. The cradle has strong actuated level suction cup and equipped with mini-USB port for charger. It is good that cradle’s charger port lets you to remove Nuvi with one hand for short trips without cars. Garmin Nuvi 1690 has improved menu interface with finer reflection, graphics and gradients effects. The menu button has small size and is located in the bottom left corner of the display. There is a status bar on the tops that indicates icons for battery life, NuLink signal strength, current temperature, current time, navigation mode (walking, bicycling or driving), Bluetooth connectivity and GPS signal strength.

The major advanced feature of Garmin Nuvi 1690 is the NuLink data service that operates on AT&T EDGE network and free for first two years of purchasing the device. After that, you have to additionally pay $5 per month for the same. In first two years of free service, you will receive periodic text advertisements and offers on the map, POI search and menu screens, but not on map screen for moving vehicle.

For Garmin Nuvi 1690, the NuLink service streams real time incident and traffic data, movie showtines, local events, airline flight information, White Pages search, Google Local POI search, weather forecasts, and fuel prices. The Nuvi 1690 has inbuilt antenna instead of using FM bands to retrieve data. It does not have inbuilt power cable, so it cannot work outside of its cradle.

There is Bluetooth wireless connectivity in Garmin Nuvi 1690 for hands-free calling, but there is no A2DP streaming profile due to absence of support for audio player. You can easily pair the Nuvi 1690 with your phone to access phone’s voice dialing function, 10-key phone pad and dialing from POI contact and select screen.

The other feature set of Garmin Nuvi 1690 includes text-to-speech turn-by-turn directions to read POI and street names; EcoRoutes; and graphic lane guidance that show visual representation of highway intersections plus highlighted valid lanes. EcoRoutes is a set of eco-friendly green driving tools that include series of green driving challenges, fuel cost assessment, and routing algorithm to calculate most fuel-efficient route between two points.

While testing, Garmin Nuvi 1690 was fast to boot and to lock the satellite signals within 2 minutes under clear sky. It did not take advantages of its method and looked confuse while driving in lower level of a long tunnel.

It took 12 second to locate a nearby restaurant online, but was very fast to search in preloaded POI databases. The touch-screen was less responsive as compared to previous Nuvi models. It took few seconds and more pressure to recognize our inputs. We also noticed some screen flickers while downloading the data through network. The overall performance of Garmin Nuvi 1690 was good while testing.

Garmin Nuvi 1690 has battery life of 4 hours continuous working. It still remains solid portable GPS navigation device.

Nitty Gritty:

If you need a quick GPS with long battery life and do not mind some advertisements on your GPS device while driving, then we will recommend you buying new – Garmin Nuvi 1690.


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