GPS Navigating

While I was down in Portland, I did a little random shopping and somehow ended up buying the Garmin nüvi 1390LMT. It’s not that I really needed a new portable GPS navigator, but I convinced myself that this unit (at the price that I paid) was worth buying.

You see, up until then, I had been using my old Garmin nuvi 250. I bought that nearly four years ago. The maps are severely outdated, particularly when it comes to points of interest and newer developments. The familiarity with the Garmin interface had me leaning toward getting another Garmin, but there were other reasons why I got this too.

Free Lifetime Map Updates

Not every GPS navigator on the market today includes this invaluable feature. As mentioned above, my old nuvi 250 had very outdated maps, making it sometimes less than useful on my trips. Buying new maps costs almost as much as buying a new GPS device altogether. With lifetime maps (updated four times a year by Garmin), I don’t have to worry about upgrading for quite some time… assuming they stay in business.

Subscription Free Traffic Alerts

Navigation is one thing, but finding the optimal route is another thing altogether. The nuvi 1390LMT also comes with free real-time traffic alerts, helping me avoid the bumper-to-bumper gridlock that can sometimes occur. I haven’t used this feature yet, but it’s good to know that it’s there.

Garmin nuvi 1390LMT

Lane Assist and Junction View

My old nuvi 250 didn’t even speak the road names, but this nuvi 1390LMT does. It was an expensive feature at the time, but it’s become standard. Helping the navigation experience even further are these two additional features.

Lane assist helps you get into the right lane well ahead of time. That way, you don’t have to frantically cut across several lanes of traffic to make that right turn. You can see that in the top-left corner of the photo at the top of this post. When it comes to complex highway crossings, the “junction view” depicted here is very helpful too. From what I remember, it displays an actual photo!

No Need for Wireless Data

When researching routes from the comfort of my home, I use Google Maps. Even when I’m on the road, I’m more inclined to whip out my Android phone and use the corresponding app. However, the app uses a lot of smartphone data. I’ve scaled my cell phone plan down to save some money, so it’s good to know that I can rely on the Garmin for navigation without using data.

This is particularly true when I am traveling in the United States. I don’t want to use roaming data on my Canadian phone and my American prepaid phone plan isn’t necessarily the cheapest option when it comes to wireless data either.

The Little Extras

Many people will tell you that the standalone GPS navigation device has gone the way of the dinosaur thanks to the rise of the smartphone. There is some truth to that, to an extent, but I feel that having a separate GPS navigator still has its value. And I’m happy with the Garmin nüvi 1390LMT.

Added bonuses like Bluetooth connectivity and ecoRoute are nice. I also like how the speed limit is clearly displayed on the lower-right corner next to your current speed, just in case you’re driving along an unfamiliar highway. The only downside is that the Garmin nuvi 1390LMT only comes with North American maps. International maps would come in handy during this Aussie trip.