Sunday, March 18, 2012

Garmin nuvi Prestige, Advanced and Essential series announced

Garmin nuvi 2012 Jct View

UPDATE: The nuvi Essential series is already shipping.

UPDATE 2: Read my hands on review of the Garmin nuvi 40.

UPDATE 3: The Garmin nuvi Advanced series is now shipping.

UPDATE 4: Read my First Looks – Garmin nuvi Advanced series post.

UPDATE 5: Read my hands on Garmin nuvi 2495LMT review.

UPDATE 6: Read my hands on Garmin nuvi 2555LT review.

UPDATE 7: Read my hands on Garmin nuvi 3490LMT review.

UPDATE 8: Read my hands on review of the Garmin nuvi 3590LMT.

Can Garmin really introduce 15 new models and at the same time simplify the nuvi line? That’s what they appear to be trying to do. Taking a page from Navigon, their recent acquisition, Garmin is rolling out three new series, the Prestige, Advanced and Essential lines. And while we don’t have an estimated street date, they are referring to these as their 2012 line. UPDATE: The product pages are showing a fourth quarter availability date.

Garmin nuvi Essential series

Available in 3.5”, 4.3” and 5” displays, the Essential series offers junction view (but not the new “photoReal” JV). Models and product page links:

Garmin nuvi Advanced series

Available in 4.3” and 5” models, the Advanced series has what Garmin is calling Guidance 2.0, which includes the following:

  • Faster routing and map displays
  • Faster, more intuitive destination searches
  • See and select businesses on map (no need to page through menus)
  • Subscription-free traffic – live updates, re-route options, traffic cameras
  • photoReal junction view highlights proper lane for interchanges and exits
  • Park position recall finds your car
  • Speed limit indicator
  • Automatic volume control
  • Exit Services – know what you’ll find when you exit the highway (pictured below)
  • Voice-activated navigation for hands-free operation (nüvi 2495 and 2595)
  • One Shot address entry (nüvi 2495 and 2595)
  • One Shot point of interest searches (nüvi 2495 and 2595)

Garmin nuvi 2012 Exit Services

All models in this series appear to have a dual-orientation screen as well. Models and product page links:

Garmin nuvi Prestige series

These models will have a capacitive 4.3” glass screen, and feature all the above 2.0 goodies plus Guidance 3.0, which gives you the following (depending upon model):

  • Digital 3D Traffic provides updates every 30 seconds
  • InstaSearch for faster spelling searches
  • InstaRoute loads maps faster than ever
  • Pinch-to-zoom multi-touch interaction
  • Automatic dual-screen orientation (horizontal/vertical)
  • Bird’s eye lane guidance highlights proper lane with overhead perspective
  • myTrends anticipates your destination based on your driving habits
  • SafeText reader – receive and hear texts without taking your eyes off the road
  • Voice-activated navigation for hands-free operation (nüvi 3495)
  • One Shot address entry (nüvi 3495)
  • One Shot point of interest searches (nüvi 3495)

While the text above from Garmin’s site refers to the 3495, the product pages show the model with those features as the 3490LMT. I suspect that all these models are really supposed to follow the 34×5 numbering convention. Also note that the 3490/3495 is the only model that appears to support the SafeText feature. All models in this series have a powered mount, 3D landmarks and terrain view. Models and product page links:

EDIT: Here’s the full news release.

About Rich Owings

Rich is the owner, editor and chief bottle-washer for GPS Tracklog. Connect with him on Twitter, Facebook or Google Plus.


  1. Where’s the 5″ capacitive model?

  2. They are not glass capacitive screens however.

  3. What do they mean by “Bird’s eye lane guidance highlights proper lane with overhead perspective” as compared to the lane guidance and JV they have now?

  4. Great site and I had my choice narrowed down to the 2460LMT or 3790LMT and was set to buy yesterday when I saw to expect an announcement today. Glad I held off. Do you have any idea if the new Prestige line will be significantly improved in speed of satellite acquisition, route calculation/recalculation? When do think you’ll be getting your hands on some of these? Do they give you early access? Keep up the great work!

    • Yes, route calculation should be faster. Satellite acquisition — hopefully they learned something from the 37xx series and have improved it. Unfortunately, I usually don’t get review units until they are available to the public.

  5. Anthony N. says:

    I’m definitely looking at the 3490LMT. As a current owner of the 3790T, I expect nothing but good things with this model. I will either keep the 3790T as a backup, or pass it on to my parents.

    One of the essential Nuvis, the Nuvi 40, is already available at Best Buy (at least, the one where I work), so Garmin must be rolling out with these quite quickly.

    If the Digital 3D traffic is along the same vein as Tom Tom’s HD traffic, that may hurt the Go 2×35 Live series of Tom Toms, especially since Garmin offers it as an included feature. I know it’s pure speculation at this point, but I have a few questions.

    Will the advanced/prestige series allow the ability to change/add speed limits, like the 2xxx series?

    If Digital 3D Traffic is along the same vein as HD Traffic, does that mean there will be extra emphasis on traffic based on flow of side streets, along with the usual construction spots and closures reported? That would be very helpful.

    Finally, will custom route avoidance be available, as well?

    Again, no quick answer expected, but being the tech geek that I am, I’m excited with what Garmin is set to roll out with! Thanks for your time; you have a good site here.

    • I agree – free 3D/HD traffic (even with ads) beats the hell out of $60 per year.

      No idea about changing speed limits, but I expect they will. It’s to Garmin’s advantage to include that as they can at least point NAVTEQ to errors to verify.

      HD traffic has more bandwidth, so they can utilize more data, but as far as side streets I think we’ll need to wait and see.

      Hopefully they will include custom route avoidance, but again, we’ll just have to wait and see which models get it.

  6. offthegrid says:

    Navteq’s NN4D website says they’ll have arterial flow coverage in the US – ‘soon’. It’s the first time I’ve heard them make the slightest commitment re greater coverage so I believe them when they say it.

    I’m figuring they’ll pretty much match what Inrix has on Mapquest. The HD Radio feed will update much more frequently than the 169X series do now and since its digital there are no issues with multipath or retransmission for error correction. Much better than the analog tmc that normally accompanies free lifetime traffic.

    Its a shame they aren’t throwing in gas prices on the same HD Radio feed. It can handle much more than traffic.

    Amazon shows the 3490 on preorder and available on October 1st.

  7. wow that’s crazy. will these new models replace all of the old ones? Or are they going to be selling 800 different models at once to confuse us all even more?

    • I expect we’ll see the nuvi 1xxx series discontinued by early next year.

      • offthegrid says:

        The European versions, according to Garmin, won’t be released till 1Q 2012 so the US is getting some early Garmin love.

        The 3D landmarks and terrain should be interesting to see.

        Also the UK announcement says that the SafeText feature also allows hands free responses to an incoming text. The US announcement does not mention that but te hardware must be the same.

        • Yeah, hopefully that was just an oversight, leaving it out of the US news release. It could be one of the best new features, IMHO.

          • offthegrid says:

            One thing to keep in mind on that is the phone needs to have the MAP bluetooth profile (message access profile) in order to work. This seems to be replacing the HID (human interface device) profile. HID was often implemented only in one direction but it would never be disclosed about which direction it worked in. As far as I can tell the MAP profile right now is only implemented by BlackBerrys and some Androids. I am wondering if MAP is backwards compatible with HID though. Smartphones have apps to read text messages out loud so its redundant to only have MAP on them.

  8. It appears that on the screenshots for the Garmin 3490LMT there are now POIs being shown on the display as icons (food, gas, hotel, etc). Go to the ‘more images’ link below the picture of the gps and look at the 2nd, 7th and 8th images. This is new, right?

    • It’s not really new, I had a Nuvi 1690 that showed poi’s on screen when zoomed it at a certain level. So it looks like something they are finally bringing back.

      • offthegrid says:

        I have 7-Elevens showing up on my 1695. I believe Boyd told me any custom POI starting with a number would end up showing on the map. I can’t get them to show on the map any other way.

  9. When watching a video of instasearch, there is an app button on the main screen. Wonder what apps they will have, unless that’s a new section they made for options already on current Nuvi’s?

    • offthegrid says:

      They’ve already got some FAQs up for these units no manuals yet but apps means EcoRoute at least and maybe more coming.
      To use the ecoRoute app on the nuvi 2405, 2505, and 3400 series devices, you may either purchase it from the Garmin online store or unlock it for free with the purchase of an ecoRoute HD accessory. Please note that the ecoRoute HD accessory is only compatible with Bluetooth-capable devices.

      The ecoRoute HD accessory may be purchased from our online store here:

      Once the ecoRoute app has been activated on your device, it may be accessed through the Apps button on the main menu.

  10. offthegrid wrote: “I have 7-Elevens showing up on my 1695. I believe Boyd told me any custom POI starting with a number would end up showing on the map.”

    Actually, what I said was that any POI containing a number in the name will behave as though it were a speed alert. So a POI named 7-eleven will warn you if you’re driving faster than 7mph – probably not what you had in mind. The 37×0 and 1695 don’t show the built-in map POI’s no matter what you do. But I have been told they *do* show custom POI’s that you install yourself. I can’t confirm because I don’t use custom POI’s.

    Older Garmin Nuvi’s all showed your POI’s when you zoomed way in (300 or 500 feet maybe). Garmin changed this behavior when the 3700 series was introduced. The 800, 805 and 5000 series had a map setup menu item where you could choose exactly which categories of POI’s to display, and that would make them visible until you zoomed out past .3 miles. I have a Nuvi 5000 but never used this because it just cluttered the screen. But many people say they want it.

    An oddity of the 1200/1300/1400 series is that they never show the name of your favorites on the screen, just the icon. That’s something I really disliked when I had a 1350. The default favorite icon is just a little dot that you might not even notice.

    To add insult to injury, a recent firmware update for these models changed ALL your favorite icons to these little squares, angering a lot of people. Garmin knows about the bug but doesn’t seem to be in a hurry to fix it. Starting with the 3700 series, both the names and icons of favorites are shown on screen again.

    These subtle differences in the different models makes the choice even more bewildering for new users.

    • offthegrid says:

      I see the 7-Eleven logo I installed with the custom poi when I drive close to them but yes there is a ‘speed alert’ also. I’m wondering if I can mute the speed alerts and just add a one in front of all my custom poi’s to have them show on the map.

  11. Anyone here know when the Prestige series will be shipping yet? I pre-ordered the 3490 a couple weeks ago and still tells me “Delivery Estimate: September 15, 2011 – September 22, 2011”, just not sure how accurate the estimate is.

    • I suspect that is incorrect. GPS City is showing most of the models as being expected to arrive on or about October 12. Amazon usually lags behind smaller, more nimble vendors.

      • Makes me wonder what info they got that made them send me the e-mail on Aug 29th saying:


        We now have delivery date(s) for the order you placed on August 27 2011:

        “Garmin nüvi 3490LMT 4.3-Inch Portable GPS Navigator”
        Estimated arrival date: September 15 2011 – September 23 2011

        • I had to talk with amazon twice before they agreed that the 3490lmt dates they gave me were wrong. They even gave me back my money for the 1 day shipping I asked for because they gave me the wrong dates, not gonna complain about that.

          • I just received an email from Garmin showing mine as being shipped due for delivery Oct 4th. I ordered direct from Garmin the last week of August. I’m hoping it’s an improvement over my 765T.

  12. Does anyone happen know if the 3490 will allow us to import custom routes? I severely dislike the 3790 that I purchased after Garmin indicated that this capability would be added with a future firmware update…

  13. Supposedly they will allow route transfer, but given Garmin’s track record you should wait until you see reports from regular users with final production models in their hands.

  14. Cary Nelson says:

    Rich, do you plan on getting one of the Prestige models to review and if so which one? Ever since I heard of your site I have looked forward to your reviews. I had a 3490 pre-ordered but decided to wait and see what people have to say about it.

  15. The manual is now available on Garmin’s site:

    Doesn’t look promising for route transfer. It has the trip planner and there is no documented way to import or export a route. See “file types” on page 48. They have specifically omitted “routes” from this sentence: “Maps and GPX waypoint files from Mapsource”

    Hopefully Rich or somebody will be able to give us a definitive answer soon.

  16. Rich ,

    When will you have 3490 LMT (Hand On) ?

    Coz. before I try to buy 2460 LMT … but now they have 2595 & 3490 for 2012 .

    Really want to know how great is the 3490 ?

    I’m still using nuvi 760 , want to upgrade .

    2460 , 2595 , 3490 which one will fit me the best ???

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