Garmin nuvi 1370T Automotive Mountable GPS Receiver Reviews

Garmin nuvi 1370T Automotive Mountable GPS Receiver

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It Works But With Flaws

Aug 6, 2010 (Updated Aug 7, 2010)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Easy to read screen;  helpful lane indicators

Cons:Faulty Navteq maps.  No GPS is perfect.

The Bottom Line: With a couple of reservations, it's a keeper.  The maps appear inaccurate but it will get you close.

I recently upgraded from the Garmin Nuvi 360 to the Nuvi 1370T.  I wanted a GPS with the European capabilities and that limited the field.

But first, please bear with me as I air a pet peeve.  The GPS unit is just a tool.  You are still the driver and in control of the vehicle.  You're still required to use some common sense as with any tool and the decision whether to follow the GPS directions should never be made blindly.  (Off of soapbox).

Pulling the unit out of the box, I really liked the black color versus the silver of my first GPS unit.  I thought it looked more professional and sleek.  The Nuvi 1370T is larger than my earlier 360 but also flatter.  I also liked the fact that it did not have any kind of flip up antenna like the 360.

I next pulled out the mount.  I was kind of surprised to see that it was a two piece mount that had to be snapped together but that was easy.  So far, I haven't even pulled out the owners manual.

Speaking of the owners manual, I eventually did look for guidance and was surprised to find that one is not included.  There is a "Quick Start" guide but no manual.  If you want a manual, you can go to the Garmin site and download it.  I did eventually download it (free) but have only referred to it once.

I already have the Garmin update program installed on my computer so downloading the latest updates was easy.  The 1370T maintains two maps in it; the USA and Europe.  I was given the choice of downloading one for free.  Since the USA map was $10 cheaper than the Europe map, I chose the Europe map.  I also noted that the maps that were factory loaded were from 2009 so they really not old.  The update gave me the 2010 map.

The screen is a bit more glare-free than my 360 and easy to read in bright sunlight.  I think it's very clear and intuitive to read.  The usual information populates the bottom of the screen.  In the lower right is your speed.  An interesting feature is that on highways/freeways, the posted speed limit appears next to your current speed.

In the upper left hand corner of the screen, if needed, a tab about as thick as your finger will appear if a lane change is needed.  It will show you upcoming lanes and which ones you stay in.  The lanes you want to stay in will be a white arrow.  The lanes to avoid will be grayed out.  It's pretty helpful and works well.

If you have the traffic feature turned on, commercial ads will pop it.  Just a small tab advertising Olive Garden or Red Lobster.  I notice that they only pop up when you're stopped (such as at a traffic light) and disappears within a few seconds after you start moving.  I found it a minor distraction, no more.  The only way to turn it off is to turn off the traffic mode completely. 

The "T" in 1370T means that this unit receives traffic updates (if offered in your area).  I have to say that so far, I'm pretty underwhelmed by it.  It will show a road as red in color for heavy traffic and black if it's stop-and-go.  I have yet to see it reflect the true conditions.

There is an ECO (economy) mode.  It tells you how economically you're driving.  It shows a leaf in the middle right of the screen.  If you're driving economically, it's a green color.  Drive at high speeds or acelerate quickly and it will turn yellow and possibly red.  I can live without it.  If I could turn it off, I probably would. 

My first chance to use the 1370T was while on a trip to Fort Meade, MD.  After flying from the west coast to the east, I turned it on to allow it to find itself.  It took about 5 minutes before it found itself and then I had 5 green bars of satellite strength.  My first destination was to a nearby sports bar to meet some co-workers.   I wasn't quite sure exactly where it was so I entered the address.  It took it readily and off we went.  I had been warned by a co-worker that the sports bar was really new and that GPS units may not find it.  But I had some confidence since the address was accepted and off we went.

The first glitch soon showed up.  As I headed north on Reece Road towards Annapolis Hwy, the GPS unit directed me to turn left into the Fort's visitors center, drive thru the parking lot and then turn back on the road I was currently on.  The road I was on was shown on the GPS and I could see the intersection just 100 yards directly in front of me that I would have to turn right at.  The GPS kept insisting that I turn left and as I went past the visitors center, it directed me to turn around.  I ignored it and within another 25 yards, it resumed the normal directions.

As I got closer to the sports bar, it directed me down a road before announcing that my "destination is on the right".  The only thing to my right was a grassy field.  I pulled over, stopped my car and got out.  I looked around and fnally spotted the sports bar sign about a half mile back and across a large parking lot. 

The next day, I decided to check out Chaps BBQ in Baltimore.  It had been featured on the Food Channel and I wanted to give it a try.  So I plugged in the address and headed out.  I was about 10 minutes from Chaps when the GPS directed me to exit the northbound freeway to a southbound highway.  It then directed me to a cloverleaf and kept me on the cloverleaf!  After I did one complete circuit of the cloverleaf, I got off and started driving in one direction.  It soon found me, directed me to make a u-turn and then guided me directly to the restaurant.  On the way back to Ft Meade, I was southbound on I-95.  There is a portion just before you get to downtown Baltimore that it's a two lane bridge.  The GPS suddenly announced, "Turn left in 50 yards".  Uhhh, I was on a bridge with no exits.  It then directed me to turn left onto a road that was quite a distance below me.  I ignored the commands and kept driving.  Within a minute, it announced, "Continue for 8 miles".

After Maryland, I headed to London.  While in London, it worked really well to find nearby restaurants, tube (subway) entrances, tourist attractions and more.  The directions worked really well.  A tip:  I switched the voice to "English Jill" as the pronounciation is different from "American Jill".  It really helped when you hear an accurate pronounciation of the street name or place.  There were a couple of times that GPS accuracy suffered due to the buildings.  When there is an error deviation, a circle will appear around the arrow indicating your location.  The larger the circle, the more the error.  There were a couple of times I was in a pretty big circle.  It also came in handy in the pedestrian mode.  While walking about London, I switched from auto to pedestrian.  Being able to find yourself, look at the map for where you want to go, and then track your progress as you stroll along was nice. 

The unit is rated for 4 hours on battery power and I found that to be dead on.  I found that I made best use of the power by turning it on, getting my bearings, and then turning it off.  By the end of the day, my battery strength meter was always red and blinking.  I wish it had a longer lasting battery but overall, I'm very glad I had it.

One feature that came in very handy in England is that this unit will identify upcoming traffic cameras.  Many places in England are under camera observation 24/7.  Traffic cameras are plentiful and if you're speeding, it will take a picture and the ticket arrives in the mail a week later.  With the 1370T, when you're about a half mile away from a known camera, a red camera icon pops up on your route.  When I was very close, I heard a beep and then an announcement "traffic camera".  A quick glance to the lower right to make a quick check of your speed and (beside that) the posted speed limit.  I will admit that this unit likely saved me from at least two speeding tickets.

Other features:  Other than the bluetooth, I haven't bothered using the other stuff so can't speak to it.  The bluetooth mode does work well but if you have a noisy car, that could be a problem.

Bottom line:  I think it's okay and will continue to use it.  Mechanically, I think it's accurate as a GPS unit but it's hampered by flawed Navteq maps.  I've had friends tell me that those quirky directions were unacceptable.  I'm willing to overlook them because I'm confident that I know how to deal with it.  If in doubt, I'll just choose a direction and go.  Eventually the GPS will find you and take you down the correct path.  A little bit of common sense and you're good to go.  But if you're the type that frets over the directions you're being given and will turn because the GPS tells you to...well, it's not for you. 

Recommend this product? Yes

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