UPDATE: This model has been discontinued. For current recommendations, please refer to our auto GPS buyers guide.
The Garmin nüvi 1390T is a high-end unit in a line of Garmin GPS navigators introduced in 2009 (here is a list of more recent nuvi introductions). It offers lane assist, junction view (seen above), lifetime traffic, and Bluetooth for hands-free cell phone use. All of the new units in the 1200, 1300 and 1400 series come with customizable data fields and the ability to utilize the pedestrian and mass transit features on Garmin’s CityXplorer maps. They also have text-to-speech, so you’ll hear “drive one-half mile, then turn left on Main Street,” instead of just “drive one-half mile, then turn left.”
The 4.3” touch-screen nuvi 1390T comes with preloaded maps of the US and Canada.
- Now available bundled with lifetime map updates as the Garmin nuvi 1390LMT
- Step up to the nuvi 1490T to get a luxurious 5” screen and add multi-destination routing to the feature set
- Or choose the 1690 to get connected services like Google Local search
- Going the other direction, the nuvi 1350T has the same features as the 1390T, minus Bluetooth and junction view
- To see how the 1390T compares to other models, check out my Garmin nuvi comparison chart
Here is a brief look at new features found on the 12xx, 13xx and 14xx series, but not on previous models.
The nuvi 1390T can utilize the pedestrian / mass transit navigation features of these maps, as shown below. CityXplorer maps are priced at $9.99 to $14.99 per city; you can read more about them in my CityXplorer review.
This feature, added with the recent version 2.70 firmware upgrade, allows you to give feedback on points of interest (POIs). You can follow that link for more details, but basically, POIs can be rated and you can also report errors, removing them from your searches.
Custom data fields
The nuvi 12xx, 13xx and 14xx models allow you to customize the map screen’s lower left data field, a feature we first saw on the nuvi 7×5 series. Press this field to bring up the options listed below. When not navigating, the options are:
- Direction of travel (default)
- Time of day
When navigating, the options are as follows:
- Estimated time of arrival (default)
- Estimated time to destination
- Distance to destination
- Direction of travel
- Time of day
Furthermore, in the nuvi 13xx and 14xx series, you have the option to shift data fields to the right side of the map screen, as shown below. The top three fields can then be customized with the options discussed previously. This gives you the ability to display two more fields than can be shown in the traditional display mode.
Also new, your speed changes to red if you are exceeding the speed limit (assuming the unit has the speed limit for the road you are on). This is a nice feature, but I wish Garmin would allow you to customize this to changes colors at 5 or 10 MPH over the limit, so it’s not constantly switching back and forth if you drive right at the limit.
More nuvi 1390T features
The following features were first introduced on other recent nuvi models.
Trip log display
Trip log display, or as I prefer to call it ;-), tracklog display, shows where you’ve been and can be downloaded to your computer. Tracklogs can be cleared and the feature disabled for those of you with something to hide! The tracklog is the thin blue line trailing behind the car / current position icon, as shown in the screen shot above.
This feature adds a “less fuel” option to your routing choices and gives you fuel and mileage reports, estimated fuel cost for trips, and even a “driving challenge” to improve your fuel efficiency.
Here is a PDF version of the ecoRoute manual. ecoRoute is available for the nuvi 2×5, 7×5, 12xx and 13xx series.
NAVTEQ Lifetime Traffic
The nuvi 1390T comes equipped with NAVTEQ lifetime traffic, which is ad-supported. You can read all about that in my nuvi 755T review, but don’t despair, the ads are very low-key. What is more of a concern is NAVTEQ’s very limited traffic coverage, only 52 US cities at this point. You can see a full list at traffic.com.
Lane Assist and Junction View
The nuvi 1390T includes Lane Assist, as shown below, as well as Junction View, a photo-realistic image of freeway interchanges. These features help guide you to the proper lane in both freeway and surface street conditions; be aware though that coverage appears to be very limited.
Recent cities and streets
This feature was first seen on the nuvi 700 series. A folder icon appears in the upper left corner of both the city and street search screens. Tap it for a list of recent entries. This is so much better than having to re-enter your hometown all the time!
Where am I?
This emergency location feature provides your current latitude and longitude, the nearest address and intersection, and the closest hospitals, police stations and fuel stations.
Garmin nuvi 1390T pros
- Lifetime traffic
- Bright display
- Quick access to previously entered cities and street names
- Has lane assist and junction view
- Customizable fields on map screen
- Automatically powers on and off
- Compatible with CityXplorer maps’ enhanced pedestrian navigation features
- Trip log display
- Visually warns when speeding
Garmin nuvi 1390T cons
- Power lead must be plugged directly into unit (not the mount)
- Lane assist and junction view coverage extremely limited
- Traffic coverage limited to 52 US cities
- When you search for a POI, the POI balloon obscures a significant portion of the map
Conclusion and recommendations
As with the entire nuvi series, I expect that most buyers will be quite happy with the 1390T. If the use of CityXplorer maps is important to you, I highly recommend this unit.
More Garmin nuvi 1390T reviews
- Consumer-authored Garmin nuvi 1390T are being posted at Amazon
- GPS Magazine does their typically thorough job in their Garmin nuvi 1390T review
- About.com gives a 4 out of 5 star rating in their review of the nuvi 1390T
- GpsPasSion has a nuvi 12xx, 13xx, 14xx review thread
- PC World reviews the Garmin nuvi 1390T down under
- Another Aussie nuvi 1390T review from Cnet
- Smarter.com reviews the nuvi 1390T
- The Roaming Boomers have posted a Garmin nuvi 1390T review
- PC Mag gives their Editors Choice award to the nuvi 1390T
- A Garmin nuvi 1390T review from a Hayabusa forum
I’ll be posting more hands on GPS reviews as they appear, but in the meantime, here are some…
Other Garmin nuvi 1390T resources
- The official Garmin nuvi 1390T web page
- The Garmin nuvi 1390T owners manual in the language of your choice
- Want to see how the nuvi 1390T stacks up against other models? Check out this Garmin auto GPS comparison tool or my own Garmin nuvi comparison chart
- There is a dedicated Garmin nuvi message forum at GpsPasSion and another nuvi forum at GPS Review
- How to access archived nuvi trip logs
- Five more tips for nuvi newbies
- A nuvi 1390T video demo:
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