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 [TOPIC] Nuvi 1690 GPS w/nüLink - Reviews - v3.90
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624 Posts

Posted - 04 sept. 2009 :  20:25:17  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Service coverage areas are:

They would need to sign up a Canadian cellular carrier for the nuLink services (including traffic) to work in Canada.

So technically the Canadian cities are part of the Navteq Traffic coverage, but if you can't get the US carrier's EDGE data while in Canada it won't work.
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1163 Posts

Posted - 05 sept. 2009 :  02:26:24  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Obviously, a lot of the nulink features are straight from what MSN Direct offers. Is Garmin going to be terminating its ties with MSN once they have nuLink running?

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551 Posts

Posted - 25 sept. 2009 :  02:46:36  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I am still reading some of the posts on this, but I am wondering if this device has the ability to use A-GPS data to navigate when it can't get direct satellite signals? Granted, there are few times when I am using my GPS that I lose signal, but for those folks driving in areas where they do lose signal, would that be a worthwhile function? From what I have read, A-GPS is not as accurate as GPS, on the other hand if this is already equipped with a GSM cellular chip, why not take that data as a back up when the device loses regular GPS signal.

Also, I have been looking at some preliminary data for the forthcoming Garmin Nuvi 1820 and 1860. I wonder if next year we will see an announcement for a Garmin Nuvi that takes the best features of the 1690, along with the best features of the 1820/1860, and roll out a Garmin Nuvi 1920!
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94684 Posts

Posted - 25 sept. 2009 :  22:09:57  Show Profile  Visit gpspassion's Homepage  Reply with Quote
We have a topic about the 18xx models -> I posted an update over there.

As for A-GPS, not sure what you read, but A-GPS only helps with initial acquisition not for tracking and these days GPS receivers seldom lose the fix, accuracy goes down in dense urban areas, you might want to read my latest article on GPS performance -> 09/2009 - GPS Performance Compared : SiRAtlasIV Impresses. I was told yesterday that the 1690 will have access to full network AGPS, like the iPhone, so it will certainly help for the initial fix than the current "hotfix" technology that only makes synthetic ephemeris data available.

I need to sort through my pictures, but here is one of the "hardware list" in the "secret" menu, no clues as to what hardware they are using. They said it was a new platform, but the GPS firmware is v3.90 so that sounds like it could be the ST Micro Cartesio platform used on the nuvi 1490 for instance.

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71 Posts

Posted - 29 sept. 2009 :  00:52:01  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I know that the 1690 has the live service (USA only) but is it also compatible with MSN Direct(For Canada)? Does it use the same mount as all the other Nuvi series? Same cable input?

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7895 Posts

Posted - 29 sept. 2009 :  01:24:19  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
No it doesn't support MSN Direct. No it doesn't use the same mount as all other Nuvi's, in fact other Nuvi's use at least 2 different mounts and the 1xxx maybe a third type. Input cables I have no idea but there will be a standard USB cable for sure.

All specs are at

Rick James - Nuvi Forum Moderator
Nuvi 350 - Nuvi 760 - Nuvi 1695LM - Nuvi 3790LMT (with ecoRoutes HD) - Nuvi 2460LMT - Nuvi 3597LMTHD (with ecoRoutes HD) - DriveLuxe 50LMTHD also TomTom 540S for side by side comparison >> Here <<
2016 Chevrolet Equinox LTZ 6 CYL AWD and 2006 Chrysler Town & Country Limited (Arizona Vehicle)

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94684 Posts

Posted - 29 sept. 2009 :  01:48:14  Show Profile  Visit gpspassion's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Right and I was surprised to find it wouldn't work with the GTM-21 or GTM-25 RDS TMC receivers, surprised because the TomTom connected devices can fall back to the paid-up receivers if you don't want to renew your monthly subscription.

I have pictures of the car mount that I will upload tomorrow, it is "active", i.e. powered, unlike the current mounts of the 1xxx models. It only has a USB plug though, no audio out, or GPS antenna connector. Apparently some of their OEM partners might add that type of connectivity for custom versions, not sure what they would be, maybe deals with car makers who would offer an optional factory installed mount.

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94684 Posts

Posted - 29 sept. 2009 :  22:50:33  Show Profile  Visit gpspassion's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Here is the cradle and its many pins with the USB plug in the back :

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1815 Posts

Posted - 01 oct. 2009 :  18:48:53  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks for posting the cradle pic, gpspassion. Looks like no release mechanism (push button) and it's just held onto the unit by the spring tension of the plastic, much like the majority of the other nuvis which don't use a powered cradle. This looks like a combination of the two. It's a much simpler design which is good but looks like it may require a two-hand release (pull the top section towards the rear and tilt the unit forward) to ease the unit out of the cradle.

Regardless of the actual design and ease of use, I still like seeing this more advanced type of mounting system being used with the newer units. Now all we need is a unit to match the mount.

nüvi 3490LMT, nüvi 3790LMT, nüvi 765T, nüvi 855, nüvi 760, nüvi 750

Edited by - SergZak on 01 oct. 2009 18:51:28
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94684 Posts

Posted - 01 oct. 2009 :  18:58:32  Show Profile  Visit gpspassion's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Hadn't thought of that, yes no release button, like on the 1490 where it snaps pretty well into comes the unit, with all its pins ;-)

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58 Posts

Posted - 05 oct. 2009 :  22:26:13  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The 1690 is now shipping from Amazon.

First impressions -

They've gone back to the quiet Nuvi's. At 80% volume, I think it is borderline acceptable. At 90%, The voices are distorted.

Weather is pretty cool, you can save up to four different cities, and then cycle through them. And it has a 6 day forecast for each city.
This is available even when the unit isn't connected to the power cord.

The Ciao service - I don't know anyone else with the service, so I can't really do anything with it. But it allows you to invite people using their e-mail address or phone number.

Ads appear on several screens, including the Fuel screen.

It causes interference when I have it on around my PC speakers, like a cell phone does when it is connecting to the network. That buzzing whine.

It doesn't appear like you can rate and delete POIs like you could on the 1490T. Maybe I am just missing it, but I don't see the option anymore.

Edited by - moofy on 08 oct. 2009 03:41:03
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94684 Posts

Posted - 08 oct. 2009 :  18:34:05  Show Profile  Visit gpspassion's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Thanks for sharing, I guess the advertising explains why the US is getting two years of nuLink and then $5/month vs 1 year and €79/year.

Sorry to hear you have interference too, I've been plagued by such interference on my car radio with the TomTom GO 740 and my iPhone, especially when they are being powered by the car. I had put that on account of my car being old and not well isolated, but maybe not. Interestingly 3G doesn't interfere with my radio, only GPRS and EDGE do, different frequencies.

I was at the official launch of the 1690 (and nuvifone) in Paris today and played with it again. It won't be available here for 2/3 weeks. It felt pretty light compared to the 1490, must be due to the smaller screen.

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58 Posts

Posted - 09 oct. 2009 :  15:47:14  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Traffic - Acquisition is much faster for me than the MSN traffic. On my 40 minute commute home, it would take 20 minutes for the MSN traffic icon to appear (I am on the fringe of coverage). The 1690 had the signal in 3 minutes.

Reboots - Have had reboots when trying to delete favorites, and also when returning to the map screen after viewing some menus. It is obvious when this is going to happen - the map turns blue, like I am driving on water, and then tries to correct itself. At this time the unit will reboot.

Bugs - When viewing the Traffic on my route, it showed the slow traffic continued for 24012.1 miles. lol. This has only happened once so far.
Favorites - It doesn't have the 128 limit bug, but it does have the bug that requires resetting the user settings (pressing on the lower right hand side of the screen while booting). Until you perform that reset, you can't view your new Favorites (at least imported ones anyway). This should be easily fixed on the next update, as it was for other units.

Updates - Upon first connection to Web Updater, it updated the firmware and the Bluetooth software.

Screen size - I sure do miss the big screen of the 1490! This thing seems so small after using the 1490 for awhile.

Fuel Prices - Don't seem to be updated as quickly as the MSN ones. But they are mostly only a day behind. Out of several pages of prices, only two or three will be from today. I expect this to improve as time goes by.


Update - I mentioned above about not being able to rate/delete POI's. That was not correct. You can rate/delete the Garmin POI's, but not the ones displayed during the Google search.

Edited by - moofy on 09 oct. 2009 21:00:56
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62 Posts

Posted - 11 oct. 2009 :  16:53:56  Show Profile  Visit ssandhaus's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I've been using the 1690 for a couple of days (purchased from Amazon). This replaces my Nuvi 660, a GPS that has never failed me and that I found served me very well over the years. I switched because the battery on my 660 stopped holding a charge for more than 30 seconds, and that seemed like a good excuse to see what's up in the GPS world. I spent last weekend doing a bike trek in Cape Cod and was driven around by people with Magellans and TomToms and iPhone Navigons and always found that the Garmins seems to give the most efficient and accurate routes. I also liked the new screen layouts. So I decided to go with the latest Garmin.

So, my bottom line is that I like the 1690 a lot and see it as a major improvement over the 660 (admittedly an unfair comparison). What can I say that hasn't been said? The volume of the speaker is about twice as loud as the 660 and can be heard over my NPR easily and over my music loud enough to alert me that it has something to say. I was taken unaware by the fact that the unit has no audio output (line/headphone out; FM; etc.) I think this is a mistake, especially if I'm going to use it's bluetooth feature on an extended basis (such as a teleconference while driving). Another issue that surprised me: As the unit comes from the factory, of the 2 Gb of memory in the unit, all but 50 Mb seems to be used. This seems quite close to the edge and I wonder what will happen if map updates take up a bit more room or you want to load something else onto the unit. I guess since this doesn't have the MP3 and audiobook features of the 660, this shouldn't be a problem, but it does have a picture viewer feature, so it seems this limited headroom could be taken up quickly. Perhaps I'm misunderstanding the memory read-out of the unit in the Get Info list on my Mac.

Since I'm several steps behind in GPS updates, I was wowed by the junction views. They sure look great, seem to be accurate (even in the representation of walls and bridges) and appear at an appropriate interval before the lane change to be useful. The 660 has always been known for its map lag (the icon representing your car always seemed to be about a half block behind your actual position until you reached a stop). This is not the case with the 1690.

Some have commented that the case seems cheap or low tech. I find the case of the unit to be sleek compared with the 660. It's nice to lose the antenna pop up. I wish the speak faced forward but its on the back. The mount for the unit has the same ball size as the 660, so mounting the unit in my car's permanent locations was a simple as popping out the old and popping in the new. The power cord is different however, so that had to be changed.

I haven't had any reboots yet. The NuLink! service has worked flawlessly in my local area (Denver). I've been comparing back and forth the Google POIs and the 1690's built in POIs. They are pretty close, perhaps a few more on Google. I suspect this difference in number and accuracy will widen as the unit ages and the POIs on the unit become older (and therefore less accurate) while the Google ones are updated.

Oh, I really like that fact that you can touch and hold virtually any item on the top main menu and be taken to another area of the unit. There was a little of this on the 660 (touch and hold the GPS signal, touch and hold the bluetooth icon), but much more on the 1690. The additions on the 1690 include touching the car image (or man etc.) takes you to the usage screen and you can select what the "vehicle" is (car, pedestrian, bicycle), touching the time to change the time settings, touching the outside temperature to get the weather info, touching the NuLink! signal strength to get network info.

I'm happy to answer questions, if you've got 'em.

Continued : One additional comment. I find the touch sensitivity of the screen to be very low. That is, I have to press hard and long before the unit seems to respond to my touch. This is especially noticeable when entering using the onscreen keyboards. Hope I find some trick to getting this to work better or there is a change in upcoming firmware updates.


Nuvi 1690 (350 & 660 previously)
Other: MacBook Pro OSX 10.6, Audi S4 Quattro
Location: Denver, Colorado, USA

Edited by - ssandhaus on 12 oct. 2009 04:59:40
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94684 Posts

Posted - 13 oct. 2009 :  02:04:15  Show Profile  Visit gpspassion's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Thanks for sharing, very interesting. The 1690 will likely be an easier sell in North America than in Europe since it comes with 2 years of nuLink service (close to the average life expectancy of a GPS I'm guessing), and then a reasonable $5 per month, in Europe it's 1 year and then €79/year [ed]. This wouldn't be so bad if you could add an RDS of MSN receiver, but you can't, silly "ploy" by Garmin to force people to subscribe to nuLink I think, as a result many people will just pass.

Anyway back to your comments, yes 50Mb is not much, it seems an extra microSD card will be required for the next map update. I wouldn't say it feels "cheap" but it certainly feels "light" based on the limited time I spent with a test unit last week. Not really a problem. I take it you're not getting any GSM/GPRS/Edge interference with your car radio ?

Talking of "pop-up" screens, here is a hidden, and useful, one, the hidden raw datalogger discussed here :

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