Garmin Nuvi 1690 GPS Navigator with NuLink!

The Garmin nuvi 1690 automotive (and portable) GPS navigator is the introductory model for Garmin’s new wireless communications technology enabled, Garmin nuLink!, which provides a suite of live search, information and traffic services. Other notable features of this device are; a large 4.3 inch widescreen display, text-to-speech for street and place names, HotFix for quicker GPS satellite acquisition and shaded contour elevation maps.

Garmin 1690 GPS Navigator with NuLink

Garmin nuLink!

As mentioned, Garmin’s nuLink! enabled by a wireless 3G transmitter/receiver delivers a number of live information services: traffic, Google Local Search, White Pages, gas prices, Ciao!, weather, movie times, local events, Send to GPS, flight status and a converter. Some good news is that you receive these services free for two years thanks to the some advertising on your GPS. We are all familiar with the advertising that pays for much of the content and services on the Internet so, this minor impost shouldn’t be too much of a leap for most. The trend for live services via GPS is set to expand in the near future as evidenced by TomTom already having its analogous Live Services in models such as its TomTom GO 740 Live and TomTom GO 630. For a more detailed overview read our technical guide covering Garmin’s NuLink!

Widescreen 4.3 Inch Display

The Garmin nuvi 1690 has a sunlight-readable, WQVGA (480 x 272 pixels) resolution, color TFT display which at 4.3 inches has 70% more display area than a 3.5 inch display. A larger display translates to larger, clearer map displays, menus and navigation icons. The display is anti-glare for easier daytime viewing (which is something many forget when considering a smartphone with a navigation app rather than a dedicated GPS device) and automatically changes its color palette for easier night time viewing.

Navigating with the Garmin nuvi 1690

Those familiar with older Garmin nuvi models will notice that the power slider has been replaced with a button but, will see the familiar �Where To� and �View Map� options once the unit has started. The graphics have improved with new colors and shadow effects. At the top of the home screen there is now a top status bar with icons for GPS signal strength, battery charge, navigation mode, time, temperature, NuLink signal strength and Bluetooth.

The 1690 with the inclusion of nuLink! provides an enormous array of possibilities for locating or entering ones destination. While there are the familiar direct entry options such as a virtual keypad or map browsing searching for a destination is brought to a new level from a static 6 million POI database. NuLink! Services such as Google Search or White Pages provide up-to-date sources with a virtually infinitely wider range of search criteria with which to find a suitable destination.

The Garmin nuvi 1690 marks a move to a microSD slot rather than a standard SD slot. While it matches the preferred slot size for mobile devices such as smartphones it does present some problems with devices such as digital cameras which mostly use standard SD cards.

Route Calculation Preferences

It’s possible to display the map screen in either 2D or 3D perspective view. At higher zoom levels, the nuvi 1690, through digital elevation model (DEM) mapping, is capable of showing shaded contours for a better idea of the surrounding terrain.

So that routes calculated will match driver preferences, Garmin have a number route calculation preferences which can be selected including; shortest distance, no highways, no tolls, no off-road and minimize fuel consumption. When fuel minimization is selected, the new ecoRoute application calculates the best route while considering fuel consumption rates, estimated driving speeds and vehicle acceleration data.

A couple of very useful tools for keeping one on track are included with the 1690 – Junction View which displays a larger, clearer view of an upcoming junction and Lane Assist which indicates the correct lane to be in to navigate a junction. If you are unfortunate enough to make a mistake the 1690 quickly determines a new route to bring you to your entered destination. Finally if things really go bad and you have an emergency situation the Where Am I? facility will help find the closest police stations, doctors, hospitals, police stations, fuel stations and provide the nearest address and intersection to give to emergency services operators.

For delivery drivers or parents with lots of errands to run the nuvi can auto sort multiple destinations to work out the fastest route to visit up to 10 destinations.

Included with the nuvi 1609 are travel tools such as JPEG picture viewer, world travel clock with time zones, currency converter, measurement converter and calculator. The 1690 features Garmin Lock, an anti-theft feature, and is compatible with Garmin Garage where you can download free vehicles and voices. It should be noted that the 1609 does not play audio files (MP3) or incorporate an audio book player.

Hands-Free Calling – Bluetooth Wireless Technology

Safety studies show conclusively that anything that distracts a drivers attention from the road reduces safety. So, the Bluetooth technology included can be thought of as safety equipment as well as a convenience. When a call comes in it is displayed and connects with a tap of the screen – other audio is automatically muted during phone calls. Calls can be made using the nuvi�s virtual keyboard. Calls can also be made from your cell phones call history log and directly from any phone numbers associated with POI entries.

Powered mount and Garmin Locate

As can be seen in the image below, the Garmin nuvi 1690�s power lead attaches to the mount instead of the unit itself. If you have ever left the miniUSB unplugged and tried to reach around the back of the nuvi in the mount and plug it in blind, then you will appreciate this small detail. This mounting arrangement facilitates Garmin Locate which is a feature where the n�vi 1690, when removed from its cradle, will remember where you parked your car by automatically saving its position as a favorite. There is still a miniUSB port on the nuvi 1690 device for charging while away from the car.

Garmin 1690 GPS Navigator Mount
The Garmin nuvi 1690 comes preloaded with City Navigator NT North America (U.S. and Canada). If you are going to use the 1690 in pedestrian mode then it is well worth considering cityXplorer maps with which it is compatible. They have enhanced pedestrian navigation features including directions for where to walk, where to catch the bus, subway, tram or other transportation. In some cities, transit schedules, such as subway or bus times, are available.

Garmin Nuvi 1690 Inclusions

  • nuvi 1690
  • Free 2-year data subscription to Garmin nuLink! services in the U.S.
  • Preloaded City Navigator NT North America (U.S. and Canada)
  • Vehicle suction cup mount
  • Vehicle power cable
  • USB cable
  • Dashboard disc
  • Quick start manual


Garmin nuvi 1690 Users Manual (pdf)

Garmin nuvi 1690 Quick Start Manual (pdf)

NuLink Services Coverage Map

User Reviews and Price Comparisons

Check out the following links to compare prices and read user reviews.

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