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Customer Review

297 of 320 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Visually stunning, great features, but......traffic is poor, October 21, 2011
This review is from: Garmin nüvi 3490LMT 4.3-Inch Portable GPS Navigator with Lifetime Maps and Traffic (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Wireless Phone Accessory)
The unit looks great, it has very vivid graphics with sharp detail. The navigation features seem good, although it does work a bit differently than other Garmin units I own, so I am working through a learning curve. The "Voice Command" feature is GREAT. It has lots of functionality, and recognizes my voice commands very nearly flawlessly, available commands and options are presented to you on each screen so you don't have to memorize options, it's a CLEAR winner of a feature. The mounting system is easy to use and well designed (I own a Tomtom unit as well, which has a horrible mount system, so this comment is actually important to frustrated Tomtom users). Routing speed is fast (another clear advantage over my tomtom). There are lots of other options I haven't even begun to play with, like Exit Services, points of interest, customizable buttons on the screen, multiple destination routing, and on and on.

So what's not to love? In a word - TRAFFIC. Or the lack of it. And the advertised "HD Traffic" (whatever that means) was one of the main reasons I bought the unit. I live and work in the Pittsburgh, PA area, and normally drive up and down the turnpike (I-76) to/from work. My tomtom receives the traditional NAVTEQ traffic signal for the entire route at full strength. The first 3490LMT I bought never picked up the traffic signal on that route, not once. I called Garmin tech support, they ended up suggesting I return it for another, which I did. The second 3490LMT got a SNIFF of traffic the next day, for about 60 seconds, then gone again. To check it, on the way home I actually detoured through downtown, and sure enough, it finally began picking up signal, although never at full strength that I noticed. The NAVTEQ signal my tomtom picks up without issue is not even registering with the Garmin, much less any of the sexy "update every 60 second traffic" features. Maybe it was supposed to say "updates FOR 60 seconds" not "EVERY 60 seconds." Har har.

So....I'm at a loss as to whether to keep it or return it. I would rate everything but the traffic a solid 5 stars. I rate the traffic a solid 1 star. You can make up your mind how important that feature is to you. For me, I paid a premium price for the unit, with a lot of value deriving from the traffic feature, and without it I'm very disappointed.

UPDATE 26 Oct 2011: I ended up returning the unit. I really did like everything about it except the anemic traffic a lot, and tried to talk myself into not wanting the traffic feature. But in the end I decided that only having a traffic signal for the few blocks surrounding the downtown Pittsburgh area was just too silly - Pittsburgh does actually have a lot of traffice outside those few blocks - and it had to go back. I see other reviews complaining about the traffic as well. I'll wait, and if Garmin releases a new production run with an updated receiver I'll consider buying then. Until then I'll plod along with my Tomtom, which annoys me more every day it seems, heh...
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Tracked by 6 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 14 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 22, 2011 4:49:18 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 27, 2011 9:05:32 PM PDT
Joseph F. says:
I've had mine for 2 days and am really disappointed with the traffic signal. I have mine mounted on the windshield for "maximum" signal strength. I got a weak signal once in a rural area and of course zero signal on the highway or city in Providence, RI, which according to the traffic map is a fully covered area. I too am disappointed. May have to go back to my android phone which gets better traffic with Google maps.

Posted on Oct 22, 2011 10:04:56 AM PDT
Sheraz Hanif says:
thanks for posting the comments. I live in Nashville, TN area and have the exact same issues you described with the traffic. I have been working with Garmin support almost every day. They have told me the similar story to exchange it with another 3490LMT. I have done it 3 times times already. This is my third unit and traffic is a hit and miss thing. I am giving myself another 3-4 days and if Garmin does not provide a solution, I am returning it.

Posted on Nov 28, 2011 9:48:59 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 28, 2011 9:51:58 AM PST
Allen1 says:
Jackson, thx for the review. I was on the fence about this one as I'm looking to update my older Nuvi 1300LMT. It's a great GPS but the vast amount of traffic it DOESN'T report is embarrassing. This is a huge feature as I'm driving into San Francisco from the valley on a normal basis and when the unit does report traffic it says theres a "5 min" traffic delay which of course turns into a 30-45 minute delay. How Garmin has dropped the ball with this specific function is still a mystery. It's important enough to several of us to be forced to simply wait for a unit that can actually do the job it says it can. It's nice to have lane assist and 3d graphics, but it all quickly falls to the side when the traffic alerts don't function properly.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 17, 2011 2:06:39 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 24, 2011 1:54:50 PM PST
Steve T. says:
I live in the Providence area myself. I just got my unit a few days ago, and haven't had a chance to use it yet.

Edit: I finally had a chance to use it, and the green traffic signal has been lit the entire time during my recent trips around the Pawtucket and Attleboro area. These were at times that the traffic would be light (6:30-8:30pm) - but the light never turned from green to gray (which is what I understand as being "no signal").

At least in my experience, the traffic signal has been fine in the Rhode Island area. Now I just have to wait and see if it offers a detour during a real traffic tie-up.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 17, 2011 7:08:52 PM PST
Radio Man says:
Thanks for the great review. I am a Salesman so traffic reporting on a GPS is almost as important to me as accurate routing. I'm constantly driving from point a to b to c and so on. I have the Garmin 3790t but it's traffic reporting is pretty much useless. I had some interest in this 3490 because it has new HD traffic.? But after reading a bunch of reviews here it seems Garmin still doesn't have the traffic thing down too well. I jumped ship about 6 months ago to a TomTom GO-2535M and it's HD traffic is AMAZING in how accurate and fast is. I prefer Garmin's UI and the size, screen,..BUT when I really NEED to get somewhere, the TomTom has blown away every Garmin I ever had and I've had four Garmins so far. If Garmin could make a gps with traffic alerts that really work I'd go back to Garmin. But I guess I will stay with my bulky TomTom for now BECAUSE of it's great traffic accuracy. It's so accurate I almost wonder if somebody up above is watching me. For example if the TomTom says there are 3 minutes of heavy traffic shows a red alert on the right side of it's screen, the SECOND I pass the accident, construction, whatever the screen clears all traffic and I am always struck by how accurate it was. I wasn't trying to write a book here..just saying I'm a guy who actually prefers GARMIN to Magellan and TomTom, but I now prefer TomTom because it does what a GPS is supposed to do best GETS you there in the fastest time. As to ease of use etc..Garmin still leads the way. If you want to get home WAY faster..check out the TomTom GO-2535..anyway this has been my gps experience. The TomTom has horrible software however so I'm just saying traffic alert wise the TomTom is the leader here it seems based on many negative reviews about the 3490's traffic reporting.

Posted on Dec 24, 2011 12:10:13 PM PST
I had a very similar experience with a 3490LMT in the Los Angeles metro area, with traffic absent or spotty in areas where it should have been strong and consistent. I returned the unit. Rather than write my own review, I am giving Jackson a big thumbs up. He nailed it.

Posted on Jan 5, 2012 7:46:11 AM PST
M. Duran says:
I was going to buy this for my dad who is in the New York City area. Because of these and other reports on bad traffic signal I cannot consider this product any longer.

Posted on Jan 16, 2012 7:35:11 PM PST
Same thing in the Minneapolis area. Basically no traffic at all. According to Garmin, no one has reported this issue to them. I finally returned my fourth unit and did not get another. Support people are nice, but clueless when the problem is with their product.

I sent them the files from my last unit over a month ago for them to analyze and get back to me and have yet to be contacted. Not surprised.

Excellent unit, except for traffic. Stay away from buying one until they admit the problem and there is a verified fix.

Posted on Jun 29, 2012 5:22:57 AM PDT
Great review, I'm about to replace my old Nuvi 265 with a unit with traffic infomation. this was very helpful.

Posted on Jul 11, 2012 9:04:29 PM PDT
Jim says:
Guess I'll wait until Garmin figures out the traffic aspect as I live in the Puget Sound area and this is more important than the route taken. I hate being a Beta tester on any product. Hey Garmin-could you let me know when you correct this flaw?
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