Garmin Nuvi 3700 Series: 3750, 3760T, 3790T
Today, Garmin introduced a new line within their Nuvi series GPS devices, the Garmin Nuvi 3700 Series. While the full details are still trickling in, we’ve got the goods on these new devices and will take you through the highlights. The most remarkable features are the redesigned hardware featuring full glass in the front, an even thinner design, and historical traffic data built in presumably via Navteq Traffic Patterns.
As you can see by the image to the right, the new devices are very thin, 9mm in fact. It is very difficult to look at the device and not think “iPhone”. The glass itself, black border around the edges, the silver edges, and thin design all very closely resemble an iPhone. The new design is also accompanied by a new mount. After having ditched the “active mount” on some of their more recent releases, they are back with the 3700 series. (An active mount means that the power cord connects to the mount, rather than directly to the GPS, the GPS gets its power from the mount.) But there is more than just convenience tied to the active mount– there is also a secondary speaker on the mount for even louder, more clear voice prompts.
Garmin has added 3D terrain and 3D buildings to some models in the Nuvi 3700 series. While previously available in other models, this trend is rapidly becoming standard in new models as the base devices start to have enough horsepower to handle the advanced graphics. You can also use (again, iPhone like) multi-touch gestures to make certain changes to the interface. For example you can switch between 2D and 3D modes or rotate the map. A screen lock button (hey, just like an iPhone) can prevent accidental touch input. You can also pinch our double tap on the map to zoom in and out. (The iPhone similarities are getting old.)
Voice recognition also gets a minor update where the GPS will listen to a use-specified “wake-up phrase”. I remember when voice recognition first came to computers many years ago that feature was fun. You could set the “listen phrase” to “Hey, computer” and it would only listen to instructions after that phrase. The feature works much like the kids game “Simon Says” and on my computer it mimicked the game so well that it was occasionally wrong.
Perhaps the most important new features are called Garmin trafficTrends and Garmin myTrends. Garmin trafficTrends on the Nuvi 3700 series is an implementation of a feature similar to TomTom IQ Routes. Historical traffic data is built into the device so that it recognizes that a major feeder highway might be smooth sailing at 5:00 am, but more closely resemble a parking lot by 9:00 am. Assuming they are using Navteq TrafficPatterns data (we don’t know) the data isn’t as good as what TomTom IQ Routes has so far, but if these devices end up feeding data back to Navteq via software updates we could see the data improve rapidly.
Garmin myTrends is an interesting concept– based on the time of day you turn on the GPS and where you turn it on, the GPS will try to guess where it is you are going. For example if you leave home every day at about the same time and start in the same direction the GPS might assume you are driving to work and will automatically build a route to that destination. Clever, although not a significant advantage.
While mocking the design for how “iPhone-like” it is, those same design principles also make me want one more. I also particularly like that it appears you can use the GPS in both landscape and portrait modes. But the biggest new feature in the Garmin Nuvi 3700 series is Garmin trafficTrends. It might not be better than IQ Routes yet, but it has loads of potential.
All models expected around Q3 (July-Sept)
Garmin Nuvi 3750 – $349
Garmin Nuvi 3760T – $399 (adds live traffic)
Garmin Nuvi 3790T – $449 3790T (live traffic, voice control)