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Recommendation advice for car navigation

I am thinking of replacing my functioning but irritating Garmin Nuvi 3490LMT. The two things I would like to have are:

1. A way to select what information is announced - the unit I have always uses the local street names. When I am traveling on US 84 and it is about to make a right turn I'd like it to tell me the route number and not the local street name ("turn right on 4th Street"), which is unfamiliar to me. Since this is done in the context of following a planned route on the GPS, it seems like a no-brainer to me. We get a lot of laughs out of it telling us to go 150 miles on 4th St. in some town barely a mile wide. You can see the full info on the display but it is not announced.

2. The ability to change a route via the touchscreen by simply dragging the route, a la Google maps.

3. A better database of points of interest, restaurants etc. When in urban areas I use my phone for this but we are often out in the boonies. The Garmin database is way out of date. I do update my maps once or twice a year but it is full of restaurants that have been closed for years (not sure if map updates include this).

I have used only Garmin GPS to date. My total take so far after 2 handhelds and 1 car system is that the units are reliable, the map detail is great (important to me because I go to some out of the way places) but the software sucks. I am a meticulous route planner and value options to allow me to change routes, easily select via towns without having to locate them and save them (and then have the gps attempt to take me to the exact middle of town as we go thru). I am continually mystified by some of the choices the GPS makes and beyond irritated at the difficulty in getting it to take me where I want to go by the route I choose. I also like the ability to plan the trip via a computer app and then port it to the gps (IMO the Garmin program is a bit kludgy so I seldom use it.)



  • sussamb 764 Points
    edited August 2016
    Well I don't think you'll find a GPS that works exactly as you want. Street numbers rather than names are getting more common, certainly in the UK, but aren't yet universal. Some GPS allow you to drag a route but very few. POIs that are part of the map data are often out of date, but you can find 3rd party POIs that are more recent. I'm not sure which program you use for route planning but I've used BaseCamp for years and find it extremely useful; I'm constantly planning routes both for my handhelds and auto units.
  • Boyd 1953 Points
    edited August 2016
    1. I think any Garmin models will behave the same. It has to do with the way Garmin uses the map data.

    2. Don't think you are going to find this. When you use Google Maps, the "number crunching" is being done on their powerful servers. Garmin's dedicated devices have wimpy little CPU's that are several generations behind smartphone technology, I don't think they have the horsepower needed for this. Now they did introduce a feature called "easy route shaping" on their dezl series for trucks in 2015. Don't know whether this is available on their newer automotive devices. See this:

    3. This is always going to be way behind any "live" searching, due to the time needed to update the database and limited storage space. Think about it: they are cramming all the North American streets, cities and points of interest into a 2.5gb file. Something is bound to suffer…

    I have pretty much given up on dedicated GPS devices, having spent literally thousands of dollars on them over the past 15 years. I use the Garmin StreetPilot app on my iPhone 6s+ and it meets my basic needs. Not very interested in planning custom routes though, I doubt you would find it acceptable for that purpose. Garmin has intentionally crippled it to prevent competition with their dedicated devices unfortunately.

    My most recent Nuvi is a 3550, basically the same software as your 3490 with a larger screen. The trip planner on these old models is pretty terrible. My understanding is that it was greatly improved starting in 2013 with the ability to use "shaping points" but I have no personal experience. And of course Garmin no longer makes the Nuvi (although existing models are still shipping). They recently introduced several new "Drive" series to update their automotive devices. Some people have suggested that they offer very little beyond what was available on 2013 models such as the Nuvi 3597.
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