Garmin Nuvi 3790 GPS

Next time some­one tells you to get lost, say “why not?” It’ll give you a great op­por­tu­nity to bust out the sleek and un­be­liev­ably slim Garmin Nuvi 3790 GPS.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - FRONT PAGE - by shauN a. No­ordiN

When we were asked to re­view a new GPS de­vice, the first thought we had in mind was “road trip!”

We hopped into our car headed off to ran­dom and un­fa­mil­iar desti­na­tions, and the only com­pan­ion we had to point us in the right di­rec­tion was the Garmin nuvi 3790.

It’s a good thing that this in­cred­i­bly slim, well-de­signed GPS de­vice works so well — oth­er­wise, we’d have had to write this re­view while lost in San­dakan or some­thing.

Stan­dard Nuvi-gation

If you’ve ever been in mar­ket for a nav­i­ga­tional de­vice — and as­sum­ing you didn’t get lost on the way to the shop — Garmin’s prod­ucts would’ve been among the top items on your shop­ping list.

Garmin’s GPS de­vices have gen­er­ally been very re­li­able and user friendly, and if you’ve ac­tu­ally used a nuvi de­vice re­cently, you’ll al­ready be fa­mil­iar with the qual­ity and func­tion­al­ity that the 3790 has to of­fer.

Like its nuvi sib­lings, the 3790 comes with a slew of stan­dard but handy fea­tures to get you from point A to point B.

This in­cludes a “points of in­ter­ests” sys­tem which marks nearby petrol sta­tions, restau­rants and such on the map; a 3D view which shows the map con­tours (in case you re­ally want to know how the ter­rain around you looks like); and, our favour- ite, the junc­tion view fea­ture which re­duces amibi­gu­ity (“which ‘left exit’ are you talk­ing about? There are three!”) by graph­i­cally ren­der­ing up­com­ing turns/ex­its.

That’s all nice and good, but what re­ally sells the 3790 is the sleek­ness — and slick­ness — of the pack­age.

The 3790 is an un­be­liev­able 0.89cm thin; com­bined with its gen­er­ally smooth, flat and black de­sign, the 3790 could be mis­taken at a glance for a rather wide iPhone or iPod.

It’s strange to say, but the new nuvi’s de­sign makes it feel more like an “ev­ery­day” de­vice that you’d keep in your back pocket in­stead of your car, as­sum­ing that you don’t mind a voice go­ing “please drive straight and en­ter tun­nel” em­a­nat­ing from your pants.

At a touch

The phys­i­cal sleek­ness isn’t the only leaf that Garmin took from the iPhone’s de­sign book, how­ever.

The 3790 also ben­e­fits from a highly re­spon­sive ca­pac­i­ta­tive touch­screen, mul­ti­touch fea­tures and the abil­ity to auto ro­tate the screen when turned hor­i­zon­tally or ver­ti­cally.

The up­shot to these new ad­di­tions is that this nuvi has a very friendly user in­ter­face: Typ­ing an ad­dress or nav­i­gat­ing through the menus on the 3790’s screen is way eas­ier com­pared to older mod­els.

In­for­ma­tion — such as car speed or time to des­ti­na­tion — is quickly ac­ces­si­ble from the map screen, which counts for a lot when you’re on the road.

We par­tic­u­larly liked the op­tion to eas­ily switch from see­ing the area around us to the road ahead of us by tilt­ing the dis­play from hor­i­zon­tal to ver­ti­cal.

We think that the nuvi 3790 is an ex­cel­lent GPS de­vice thanks to its in­ter­face, de­sign and solid nav­iga- tional func­tion­al­ity, but it still has some flaws worth men­tion­ing.

The most prom­i­nent one is that — again, like most GPS de­vices — the robotic english voices can’t pro­nounce Malaysian names for nuts.

Un­like some de­vices which only state “turn left in 500m,” the nuvi tries to take it one level up by get­ting spe­cific with the road names, such as “turn left in 500m into ev­er­green Ter­race.”

Un­for­tu­nately, Malaysian names are never that sim­ple, and you’ll re­alise this when it con­fus­ingly says “in 10m turn right into Labour Ayer Per­se­cu­tion” and you miss your turn into Le­buhraya Perseku­tuan.

Al­though in our ex­pe­ri­ence the hi­lar­i­ous/frus­trat­ing mis­pro­nun­ci­a­tions didn’t de­tract from the nav­iga- tional ex­pe­ri­ence, (the di­rec­tions still made sense, and you can choose voice sets that don’t try to read street names any­way) you may be tempted to swear at the de­vice the first time it tries to tell you to go through “Buck It Gel Ill (Bukit Jalil).”

We ad­vise you not to; you might ac­ci­den­tally give it strange com­mands.

That’s right, this com­pact de­vice has one more neat fea­ture up its sleeve: It re­sponds to voice com­mands in case your hands are too busy hold­ing the wheel.

In our ex­pe­ri­ence we stuck to the touch­screen most of the time, but we thought it was cool that we could say “Voice com­mand... find by cat­e­gory... gas sta­tion” to get a list of all nearby re­fu­elling places.

Still, while the voice com­mand re­acts rather well to com­mon english words, spe­cific Malaysian names are still a prob­lem.

Good luck try­ing to pro­nounce “Tay Mann Tonne Der Is Male” in a way that leads you to Ta­man Tun Dr Is­mail.


De­spite its quirks, we have to say that over­all, we like the Garmin nuvi 3790. It’s got a slick user in­ter­face, it’s packed with fea­tures that helps us find our way, and, gosh darn it, it looks good.

Whether you’re set for an ad­ven­tur­ous road trip or just try­ing to get to some­where un­fa­mil­iar, the Garmin nuvi 3790 is one of the best com­pan­ions that you can have on your jour­ney.

Just don’t try to hold a con­ver­sa­tion with it.

Pros: ex­cel­lent GPS in a slim pack­age; friendly in­ter­face.

Cons: Voice-ac­ti­vated fea­tures can be hi­lar­i­ous.

WheRe to, AGAin?: The Nuvi pro­vides very clear and help­ful nav­i­ga­tion to the driver, right un­til the au­to­mated name-read­ing screws up. The driver will then be con­fused with a “turn right at Kggh-pah” as he passes KGPA.

thin iS in: This Garmin Nuvi is thin­ner than its pre­de­ces­sors.

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