Garmin Nuvi 1390 and 1390T Review - Part 2

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First drafted: 30 May 2010
Last Updated : 02 July 2012

Continued: This is page two of my long term review of the Garmin 1390 and 1390T portable GPS systems and review the navigation testing which I did with the unit.

It is hard to report on how good or bad the unit is without some comparison of earlier and other manufacturer's GPS models. Each unit have their own good and not so good points but it is impractical to compare them all. So I'll try to limit any cross overs.

The Garmin navigation software that the 1390 and 1390T runs now is version 4.10 but the GPS software is actually version 4.30 which is the most current one available. The Bluetooth software is version 1.73. 

Using the 1390 or 1390T is still really simple, press the Where To? icon select the type of destination and enter in the details of the destination. There a variety of types or categories to choose from, like a home icon, POIs, recently found, junctions, cities or suburbs, and favourites. You can also browse the map and select on the map where you want to go. Point to a place and it displays the address details and anything of interest at the destination. If you've filled in the Ecoroute profile destination details include fuel costs. The calculation of the route takes a few seconds dependent on how far or complex it is to get there and that's it. The system analyses what you input as you type it in and offers a selection if it finds matches.

The most noticeable change to the latest Garmin OS is the implementation of single finger 'kinetic like' scrolling 90% throughout the operating system. Basically instead of pressing the up and down buttons you just touch the screen then drag it up or down. It it fiddly at times on the icons but when it does work it works well. Although the menu responsiveness has improved, unfortunately the speed which the maps refresh when scrolling about has not.

On the road the display screen has a number of new bits of information to display. They include direction of travel based on north, the 'Eco challenge' icon and the lane guidance section. It is getting crowded on the screen but it is not too bad just yet.  Screen images

Route navigation options on the system have improved and include the avoid u-turn, traffic and car hare lanes. 

The navigation algorithm that the 1390 uses has been updated - however this is based on using the older GPS to see the difference. It could just be that the 1390 has updated map data compared to the older models.

The Ecoroute application is a new feature that all Garmin GPS systems have. All you have to do to activate it is to input the details of your vehicle or transport type and fuel cost and consumption. Bear in mind this is feature only approximates the fuel and other eco credentials. Remember to input real world fuel consumption figures not the best laboratory claimed figures the companies publish. Even though the results are only approximate you should fill the details in so that the additional trip details can be displayed.  For example when turning the unit off or arriving at a destination it reports how much fuel you used and how much the trip costs. It is quite a reality check when you see the results. You can see pictures of the Ecoroute app - when I upload them shortly.  Dependent on which version of the Ecoroute software you get a nice graphic representation of the trip from an eco prospective.  (The 265W version does not have any graphics)  Screen images

Conclusion so far...

So far so good the 2010 Nuvi 1390T and 1390, work as advertised. The difference between the older 265W and 265WT models vs the 1390and 1390T are noticeable but not huge. If you are happy with a slightly slower system then go for the cheaper 200 series. If you want to go modding - which the 265 will now be used for, which is one of the reasons why I got the 1390T as second unit.

One thing I noticed was that it had trouble with receiving satellite signals when in the city, specifically when not left attached to the window. Since the initial test was during a especially wet day I will update the page when the weather is not so overcast.

Garmin have increased their online support with a variety of forums and knowledge databases over the last few years so any problems can be discussed openly? Their website is much easier and faster to work out then Tomtom or Navman.

If trying to decide between the 1390 and the 1390T is simple. If you already have the Garmin GTM traffic receiver cable then the 1390 is the choice. If you don't have the cable but still want traffic data then the 1390T is the one to choose. 

Price range for mid-2010 for the 1390 and 1390T is clearly mid range, between $250-300 AUS. 

Over the next few weeks I'll put up a comparison between the 265 and the 1390 for my take on how well the newer GPS works in terms of navigation your interest. Note that if you reading this

Part 1:
Garmin Nuvi 1390 and 1390T Review
Part 3:
Garmin Nuvi 1390 and 1390T screen images

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Garmin Nuvi 1390 and 1390T - Important Specifications

Dimensions W13.7 x H8.6 x D1.5cm


Not mentioned.


4.3" (10.3cm) 480 x 272 pixels colour TFT LCD


928mb RAM (1GIG) 366MB used and 572MB free


Internal Li-Ion

GPS Receiver

Not mentioned


Internal loud speaker

Connections Mini-USB for power and data
Wireless Bluetooth & GTM-25 Traffic reciever
Memory 2 Gig internal & microSD expansion card slot
In the box 1390 series GPS unit
Basic manual and promotional documentation
GTM-25 integrated as part of the power cable

Windscreen suction holder
USB cable
Dashboard disc

GPS Navigation equipment reviews - Main Menu

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