Pros: nüLink! Services, Hands-free calling, Elevation readings
Cons: Too many ads, MicroSD media
Launched in January 2010, Garmin Nuvi 1690 Hiking GPS is loaded with many features for easy navigation. Its nüLink! Services for Connected Navigators offers quick and real time updates on the gas prices, traffic conditions, flight status, weather and more. That’s a big plus as you can stay updated on all the info you want on the fly. And, it also tells you about local events, restaurants, movie times in theaters close to your location. It also lets you search Google using preset categories or search terms of your choice. NüLink! service works on AT&T’s EDGE network, and comes free for the first two years of use. You’ll be saving plenty of dollars there! After this free subscription time, you may have to pay a small fee to continue this service (that’s a real spoiler!).
When it comes to the design, Garmin Nuvi looks pretty sleek and stylish with its gloss-black frame and chrome trim. The 4.3-inch touch screen gives you a clear view of the streets and maps. The touch screen is a tad unresponsive at some times. The navigation, on the other hand, is a breeze. (Though you many have to press the buttons a little hard). You just have to press the up/down buttons or slide the screen to navigate the menu.
Like most Garmin nuvi models, the main menu on the 1690 is also very simple. It has two large icons – “Where to?” and “View Map” with a row of tiny buttons for Volume, Phone and Tools at the bottom.
The Bluetooth setting makes it super easy for you to pair your phone with the navigator to transfer all the phone numbers. But, the downside is that you can’t directly reach the number you want, but have to scroll up and down to get to the right number.
Garmin 1690 has just a microSD size card slot. It means less capacity, but it also means you can use a wide range of compatible SD cards. So, this feature neither gets a thumps up or down.
Nuvi’s Ciao Friend Finder is an interesting addition to the device. This patent-pending software helps you share your location and other details with shared friends. Could be useful, if you could take your eyes off the road to say ‘Ciao’ to friends!!