Garmin Nuvi 3790T

It's not quite as smart as it claims to be, but the Nuvi 3790T's alluring design, responsive screen and almost hands-free operation, is a winning combo.


8.6
CNET Rating
4.7
User Rating

About The Author

CNET Editor

Derek loves nothing more than punching a remote location into a GPS, queuing up some music and heading out on a long drive, so it's a good thing he's in charge of CNET Australia's Car Tech channel.


Design

At the launch of the Nuvi 3700 series, the team from Garmin Australia brought a StreetPilot III model from 2001 for show and tell. Its roast beef-sized body, natty colour screen, scattershot approach to button placement and the new-found ability to discern roads from, well, everything else sat in stark contrast from the lithe and lovely Nuvi 3790T.

We thought that the Navman MY500XT and the S300t before that were good-looking portable nav units, but the 3790T and its identical twin the 3760 socks it to them like a 29th second knock-out punch. The body is made from machined metal and not only feels fantastic to touch and hold but, weighing just 113g, somehow marries both lightness and rock-solid sturdiness.

Garmin Nuvi 3790TGarmin Nuvi 3790TGarmin Nuvi 3790TGarmin Nuvi 3790TGarmin Nuvi 3790TGarmin Nuvi 3790TGarmin Nuvi 3790TGarmin Nuvi 3790TGarmin Nuvi 3790TGarmin Nuvi 3790T

Click through for a complete photo gallery, including unboxing.
(Credit: Garmin and Derek Fung/CNET Australia)

With its 4.3-inch touchscreen, the 3790T is wider and taller than popular smartphones, such as the HTC Desire and Apple iPhone 4 — designs which, in many ways, it resembles. Without any cellular technology on-board, though, the 3790T is waif thin at 8.95mm.

As the 3790T's touchscreen is capacitive in nature, it responds accurately to both presses and swipes, as well as multi-touch zoom. Graced with almost triple the number of pixels of a standard 4.3-inch GPS unit, the 800x480-pixel screen is not left wanting for sharpness and clarity, making it the second portable nav we've used that almost justifies itself inclusion of a picture viewing app. While its glossy glass screen makes colours pop, it is a magnet for both reflections and fingerprints, requiring both care with viewing angle and the cleaning cloth.

An accelerometer allows the unit to flip the screen between portrait and landscape modes, so you could conceivably use it on foot. There's a suitably loud but tinny speaker on the unit itself, as well as a powered speaker on the windscreen mount that's both loud and clear. It's a shame that although the mount does its job well, it's pretty much a standard ball-jointed Garmin affair and lacks the flair of the device itself.

Garmin's simple-to-use interface is largely unchanged: two large icons (Where To? and View Map) dominate the main menu and are underscored by smaller icons for settings, volume, Bluetooth phone connectivity and route modification. The map screen is clear and crisp, and thanks to a more powerful than usual brain animations are smooth and the map redraws quickly in nice little chunks. Neatly, the unit zooms out and changes perspective for distant manoeuvres and zooms back in for nearby turns.

Features

As Garmin's flagship GPS units for 2010, the Nuvi 3760 and 3790T come well specified. Common features include text-to-speech for spoken street names, lane guidance, junction view, Bluetooth hands-free, speed and red-light camera alerts, lane guidance, speed limit display, historical traffic information, and maps for both Australia (Whereis) and New Zealand.

The extra AU$100 investment required for the Nuvi 3790T nets the owner lifetime traffic information via the Suna network, voice control and activation, 3D buildings and terrain view. Neither unit comes equipped with an FM transmitter, MP3 playback or internet connectivity.

Bluetooth hands-free worked without a hitch on a number of phones, including the hot-to-trot Apple iPhone 4 and HTC Desire. However, on several Apple iPhone 3GS handsets running either iOS 4 and 3.1.3 our calls would disappear into the ether whenever we used the voice command system to dial a number.

Like most recent Garmins, the 3790T features ecoRoute that attempts to get you to drive more economically via a host of visual aids, such as an on-map score and leaf display. At the time of writing, though, it doesn't support the ecoRoute HD Bluetooth dongle that plugs in a car's OBD-II port. On Garmin GPS units that support ecoRoute HD, drivers can view car diagnostic data and a wealth of sensor information, as well as more accurate fuel economy readings.

Talk to me

The voice recognition feature works brilliantly, but only if you're endowed with an Australian or neutral accent; unfortunately, the system can't be trained. Unlike some other voice recognition systems, no buttons need to be pressed to activate it, just utter a customisable set phrase — for example, "voice command", "Shelly sells shells" or "Randy rumbles Rambo".

Once activated, the voice recognition system shows a list of available commands, saving users from the hassle of scratching at the corners of their minds for suitable commands. The system allows you to search for street addresses, points of interest, recent destinations and even phone-book entries via spoken whole words — no need to spell each word out letter by letter. So long as you're in a modern, quiet vehicle with the windows up and the music off, it works perfectly a vast majority of the time.

The list of verbal commands covers most everyday functions, so much so that we were able to keep our dirty mitts from smearing the 3790T's lovely screen from a majority of the time. It does somehow manage to omit a few key functions, such as access to detailed traffic information, as well as the ability to dismiss dialog boxes or enter an intersection as a destination.

Check out the Nuvi 3790T's voice recognition system in action in our video review above.

Performance

Equipped with Whereis' latest maps of Australia, there's lane guidance for most multi-lane roads and a junction view mechanism that primarily uses real-world photos, as opposed to somewhat unrealistic graphic renders.

Nuvi 3790T owners also get to enjoy 3D landmarks and buildings, which while nice to look at, do get in the way of route display. To our eyes terrain view is more useful and adds a greater sense of reality to the maps.

By default historical traffic information, supplied by Suna and dubbed TrafficTrends by Garmin, is enabled. Routes generated with TrafficTrends are a mix of genius and sheer breathtaking stupidity; on the one hand it will avoid known bottlenecks, but on the other it will route you in circuitous routes, down unfriendly back alleys and across busy intersections without the aid of a set of traffic lights.

With TrafficTrends off (go to Tool > Settings > Navigation > Car > NuRoute) route calculation is at least 20 per cent faster on the 3790T/3760 than other Garmins and routing reverts back to the GPS norm of main roads, main roads and a few more main roads. Unlike many prior Garmins, tapping the power button puts the 3790T into sleep mode from which it can wake instantaneously.

GPS reception is fine in the suburbs and beyond, with the occasional drop out or confused position when surrounded by buildings that scrape the sky. The Nuvi's text-to-speech engine handles Australian pronunciation, as well as Aboriginal street names, pretty well.

A lifetime Suna subscription is included with the Nuvi 3790T and like other units that feature traffic information is — let's get out that scratched record out again — nice to have, but quite frequently we ran into displayed delays that had already cleared or incidents that had yet to be registered by the system. As always the traffic-receiving FM antenna is wrapped in a thick charger cable with a rectangular section that bangs and scrapes the dash.

Conclusion

It's not quite as smart as it claims to be, but the Nuvi 3790T is the first high-end portable GPS we've been able to whole-heartedly recommend in a long time. Once TrafficTrends was switched off, its mix of alluring design, responsive screen and almost hands-free operation, not to mention its ability to get us from A to B, proved to be a winning combination.

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MarkB5 Facebook
10
Rating
 

"Awesome device"

MarkB5 posted a review   

The Good:Size and speed.. Zooms in on the corners.

The Bad:WWould have liked an audable alarm for over speed. so that as you approach a lower speed limit area it beeps to ensure you know.

Have had mine or nearly two years and its been flawless.. even bought anotherone for my parents and its been the same... Im in darwin and it sits o the windscreen in the heat all day.. never fails.. has never stopped.. perfect operation and thats for both mine and my parents.. just bought another one for my wifes car... im that impressed with it...Having said all that, I did read the instructions, and know how to use it..maybe thats the difference..

MarkB5 Facebook
10
Rating
 

"Awesome device"

MarkB5 posted a review   

The Good:Size and speed.. Zooms in on the corners.

The Bad:WWould have liked an audable alarm for over speed. so that as you approach a lower speed limit area it beeps to ensure you know.

Have had mine or nearly two years and its been flawless.. even bought anotherone for my parents and its been the same... Im in darwin and it sits o the windscreen in the heat all day.. never fails.. has never stopped.. perfect operation and thats for both mine and my parents.. just bought another one for my wifes car... im that impressed with it...Having said all that, I did read the instructions, and know how to use it..maybe thats the difference..

Stiffys Jaffa Vodka
1
Rating
 

"better to have tarot cards or tea leaves"

Stiffys Jaffa Vodka posted a review   
Australia

The Good:your joking!!!!!!!a satnav that doesnt nav....UNIQUE!!!

The Bad:it doesnt work

I bought one of these a year ago in uk before coming to Oz for an extended visit.
I was sold on the voice activation as a safety feature and that it would work best in the city envronment. I also liked the walking mode for inner city.
All of this worked fine in Europe including densely populated areas like London,Paris,Madrid etc.
I arrived in Sydney and found that ......."The voice activation system is not available in Australia"...........It constantly remaps the route in densely populated cities.......Sydney,Melbourne,Brisbane etc...............When positioned on the screen it overheats VERY easily...........sometimes it looses the visual and only works in speech..............
In fact I have rarely come across any product that looked so good and just plain ordinary didnt work.
I have done all the upgrades.............still no good.
At least some of you have had the benefit of a reply from their customer service team........On the many occasions I have tried to contact them by e-mail or phone I have never received a response.
in a word ......USELESS
ps ......If any body wants to buy this piece of crap....PLEASE buy mine......
I observe there is no 0 on the ratings......there should be.......I have read all the crap about a fantastic package,features etc...........Garmin should be ashamed stealing money from people under false pretences.......or maybe they have invented a new category......THE SAT........as it certainly doesnt NAV.

Emkay
9
Rating
 

"Don't be put off by these user reviews!"

Emkay posted a review   
Australia

The Good:Great looks, great touch screen, voice commands, dynamic views

The Bad:Some mapping errors

I almost didn't buy this, put off by the many negative user reviews on this site. Fortunately, I thought Derek couldn't be so wrong, and looked further afield. I found the 55 pages of user comments and discussion at:-

http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/forum-replies.cfm?t=1436181

OK, there have been some frustrations, but issues have been addressed in firmware upgrades, and some users have found they were using it incorrectly. And yes, it suggested I drive up the (pedestrianised) Queen St mall in the centre of Brisbane, but i had entered an address up there, and I don't turn off my brain when I turn on the satnav, and i expect that Whereis will address this problem in one of their frequent map upgrades.

I admit its early days yet (only had it 5 days) and I will let you know if I change my mind, but so far I think it's great. What an improvement on my Navman S80! Touch screen is accurate and responsive. Voice commands work perfectly for me (but I can understand how they might not in a high ambient noice situation). And I won't be leaving it in the sun - I have mounted on the dash rather than on the windscreen of my Holden Calais to reduce the direct heat load, bring it closer to me for touch and voice.

 

Stiffys Jaffa Vodka posted a reply   
Australia

Buy a map..............you will need it!!!!!!

 

"Piece of rubbish"

janajk1 posted a comment   
Australia

The Good:slim look and screen

The Bad:everything else

I just read all reviews now , shame I did not read them before I bought mine Garmin Nuvi 3790T. It was time to get new GPS so I thought voice command option will be great and live traffic updates as well. Purchased it last Saturday 3.9.2011
My comment will be very short but I think very accurate. COMPLETE PIECE OF RUBBISH DO NOT BUY IT!!!!

Worked quite OK on Saturday when we took it around our local area for test run. I did not like very late command for turns, if I would not know where I am going I would not have time to slow down and turn.
Also red light camera warning did not work, it was very surprising as well. On Sunday afternoon voice command stoped working totally. So my husband took it to work for test run next morning, well all the way from Castle Hill to other site of Sydney was recalculating roods for no reason, life traffic function did not work and voice command was dead totally.
So I rang up GARMIN Customer support, I just can say I never experienced such unprofessional and rough people. First person who I spoke to, would not even listen problems we have with GPS, when I asked him any question his answer was YES. He constantly asked me to make updates and he said we are not using it properly. I was so frustrated I asked to speak to supervisor, he refused and also refused to give me his name and hang up on me. Well I rang up again, had no luck to speak to supervisor again. On third attempt I was lucky and finally I spoke to supervisor. I explained him all problems we having with GPS his answer was that we need download some upgrades , he asked for my email address to send me files, but he never send it to me.
On the way from work last night GPS got totally frozen and we could not to turn if off or do anything with it at all. So this morning I took it back to the shop and returned it. For that amount of money I would expect much more, my son got cheep GPS form Aldi and it works better than fancy Garmin. So I do not know what GPS we going to buy now, definitely it is not going to be Garmin. It was just experience from hell and Garmin can be ashamed for this product and very poor customer service.

RahulG Facebook
1
Rating
 

"Derek Fung....you are so wrong on this one!!"

RahulG posted a review   

The Good:All the features promised...!

The Bad:Heating, Bad performance after a month, Software updates bad, serious problems with Route recalculation!

-Does not work after software updates....no matter what you do. Even support staff have no idea!
-Heats up way too much and resets after a while upon heating. Not worth the money (that too heavy price tag!!) just for this negative point!
-Software updates are amazingly stuffed up! Wonder what went wrong with Garmin and their updates!
-Lack of accessories in market, even the Garmin website does not have any! Not for the last 8 months they haven't had anything available! Wonder what the idea is...sell product but then leave your customers high n dry!? Hmmm.....
-Route recalculation really sucks on these! I mean you miss one turn then forget it, it will never come back to you in time! And given Sydney's busy rods these days, Garmin 3700s just can't hack it!

All in all, a BIG THUMBS DOWN! Giving them 1 out of 10 for the nice sleek look and thats about it! Infact i do not like the sleek look either now coz its useless!

3790T RUBBISH
1
Rating
 

3790T RUBBISH posted a review   

The Good:NO!

The Bad:YES!

total crap, I have replace this unit 4 times now and still issues. I am wanting my money back now

thubleau
2
Rating
 

thubleau posted a review   

The Good:nothing

The Bad:complete piece of rubbish

This is my second review because I reread some of the comments and that spiked my memory.
The first thing was the rating from the reviewer who rated the voice recognition as brilliant.Did you actually test this unit while talking to a passenger ?????
You are supposed to use a code to get the thing to activate but in mid conversation a voice pops up with a menu asking me to say a command.
I thought , what the hell were we talking about that activated the voice feature?
I looked at the commands on offer, but unfortunately the command I wanted to use was not on the list and I can't use it here as this article will not get published.
In the end my passenger said , just turn it off,I will find Paramatta Rd for you, there it is turn into Old Canterbury Rd, next turn to your left.
Voice actuation came to life again"please say a command " or something to that effect.
I even got to the stage where i bought there mapping software thinking I could change that stupid alert that kept telling me there was a 60KMPH camera ahead when it is actually a 80KMPH camera.
Also be aware ,when you buy a map update it is only for one of your units if you have more than one registered on there site.Here I was, thinking, I will go ahead and buy the Lifetime map updates and then use it on the 3790, then was told after the event that it had been used on the unit I gave my son and it belongs to that unit errrrrrr............about that 'T" prefix the USA site said when you buy a 3790T you get map updates for life.Mr Appleseed sold me a 3790T on the invoice with lifetime map updates but turned out to be a 3790 with a bonus lifetime map update attached to it and to activate you had to go on line and jump through 20 hoops of red hot iron to get it to register.Now I read...............the lifetime thingy does not exist, you now get a 60 day guarantee that the maps are up to date. What date they don't say but seeing that it took 2years for the maps to realise that the RTA had built a flyover and you had to pass underneath I guess it was maybe just before Christ was nailed to the Cross.
Garmin needs to be nailed somewhere for turning out a unit that can't find its way to the toilet without going around the block 10 times.

 

Stiffys Jaffa Vodka posted a reply   
Australia

totally agree.................its aweful.........I crossed a bridge in Brisbane last week that wasnt on the screen and ended up switching it off as it kept rerouting in the area of Hope Street on West Bank...........only 18ks from my destination which I found using my I Phone.
Someone should sue Garmin for theft or certainly misdescription.

thubleau
2
Rating
 

thubleau posted a review   

The Good:nothing

The Bad:just awful, routes a mess gets lost all the time

This is my third Garmin and I bought this after my last one was stolen and expected according to the blurp to have bought a superior product, but alas, it is a heap of junk.

First , it had no idea of the route to my house and always sends me in another direction, recalculating, recalculating, recalculating.It can't even find it's way to a destination stored in the favourites without attempting to send me down a side street or in the opposite direction,the trouble is you cant fix any of this stuff.

Coming off the f3 at the roundabout on the Thornton end it wants to send me to the third exit and in a loop instead of the second exit and straight ahead to where I live.
I have tried both modes but they are just as bad as each other,both getting confused and the worst is giving false reading of when to turn and where to turn in city traffic.On an excursion to Bankstown from Maitland I ended up in a line of traffic waiting to turn with an arrow and sat there for over 20 minutes till I finally got round and then the polite voice on the 3790 informed me it had to recalculate because I made a wrong turn.Well the right turn was 500 metres away.Anyway, so it sent me down a street and demanded I turn right , sorry no right turn allowed,hmmm interesting also was when I missed the exit to Cockle Bay wharf and then was half way across the Sydney Harbour bridge it asked me to do a U turn,WOW!!!! that would have been interesting.The trouble is, when in the city and two streets run parallel it does not know what street it is in.I was heading for the Sydney dance and Theatre company and was on a road that it kept telling me was Hickson RD and that I had reached my destination and woops you missed it do a U turn.I am just at the point of throwing it out of the window or letting someone steal it.Please TOM TOM,is the 1050 GO any good?
The other problem is even though I have no avoidances turned on it just damn well refuses to send me onto a motorway and always sends me into the most confusing route possible.Simply do not buy this product, it does not work as it should.Somewhere I read in the promotion literature that when it first came out it intuatively learnt the routes that you take what a load of rubbish , I always take the same route down the F3 and it persistantly sends me to the same spot I never go,it just reminds me of a small child, maybe a 3 year old that refuses to learn.I noticed they changed the wording know to say it sort of guesses where you might be going and then gives you a route..................ummmm, sorry Lin , I ended up at Mary's and that's why i am...what? dont bother ?
Women!!

Ghani
2
Rating
 

Ghani posted a review   

The Good:No

The Bad:Yes

Garmin 3790 is not an interesting gadget as I though comparing with other cheaper prices of other brand model available in the market.

Maps are accurate comparing with the existing HTC Touch HD that I am using since 3 years ago until now.

HTC are so much better.

I had bought this unit since august last year. Rarely utilise due to lack of mapping details.

Today, i used for my local tyravelling, after I had dislog from the dock station and exist/stop before shutdown. I could not ON again and is Dead.

I do not work either with the Car Socket nor AC Socket.

What a shame.

I don't think so that I future, Original Garmin Set is in my mind. Just buy the Cheaper Brand & China Made Unit will do. Cheaper and do not get heart pain if spoiled within 1 year os usage.




I had Been Using HTC Touch HD for almost 3 years and still using until nowand Just bought Garmin TUV3790 Last August 2010.


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User Reviews / Comments  Garmin Nuvi 3790T

  • MarkB5

    MarkB5

    Rating10

    "Have had mine or nearly two years and its been flawless.. even bought anotherone for my parents and its been the same... Im in darwin and it sits o the windscreen in the heat all day.. never fails...."

  • MarkB5

    MarkB5

    Rating10

    "Have had mine or nearly two years and its been flawless.. even bought anotherone for my parents and its been the same... Im in darwin and it sits o the windscreen in the heat all day.. never fails...."

  • Stiffys Jaffa Vodka

    Stiffys Jaffa Vodka

    Rating1

    "I bought one of these a year ago in uk before coming to Oz for an extended visit.
    I was sold on the voice activation as a safety feature and that it would work best in the city envronment. I..."

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