Thursday, February 23, 2012

Garmin Nuvi 3590LMT vs 3490LMT Comparison Pictures

I picked up a Garmin Nuvi 3590LMT today to replace my Nuvi 3490LMT.  The 3490 will grace my wife's car from now on.  On paper, I wasn't expecting a big difference between the 3590LMT and the 3490LMT, especially when looking closely at the specs.  My wife simply needed a new unit, so I figured I'd order the newest one for myself while I had the opportunity.  These two devices are generally referred to as a 5" model and a 4" model respectively.  But when you examine the spec sheets and look at the actual dimensions you figure out that there really isn't a 1" difference.  That led to my lack of expectation for a big difference.

Wow! Was I wrong.  I frankly don't care what the spec sheet says.  The 3590LMT is huge compared to the 3490LMT and I like it 100% better for that reason only.  I found myself having to really focus on reading text on the 3490LMT especially on things like photoReal junction imagery.  Those concerns are gone with the 3590LMT.

Here are some comparison pictures between the two devices:

The difference in the screen experience in this photo is real.  The 3490LMT is brighter, but the colors are more washed out.  The colors on the 3590LMT are more rich and deeper.  I much prefer the 3590LMT screen after having both devices side by side.

Something is up with the routing on these two devices.  I have the exact same route calculated on both devices.  The two devices agree 100% on the route to take. They agree on the miles.  But the 3590 has me arriving over 2 hours earlier than the 3490 on this 22 hour trip.  I've never driven it so I don't know which is more accurate.  Also note that the 3590 is 2 hours quicker WITH a red traffic icon, showing a 15 minute delay leaving Las Vegas.  The 3590 is getting a traffic signal through Smartphone Link.  The 3490 does not have a traffic source.

I wonder, since the 3490 has no traffic source in the photo above, if because of that it doesn't take historical traffic data into account?  Perhaps that feature only works when there is a traffic source connected?

The only other difference between the two units is that the 3590 has a firmware v4.70 upgrade available for download out of the box.  The 3490 reports the latest available as v4.40.  Not sure if the firmware update has any impact on routing calculation or not.

There is no difference in glare on the two device screens.  The apparent glare on the photo above is strictly a limitation of the environment that I took the photo in.

There is a thickness difference as well between the two devices as can be seen here.

I was somewhat disappointed to see that, out of the box this brand new unit had two-version-old 2012.2 maps installed.  I had to do a map update out of the box to get to 2012.4.  Not sure why a brand new device that just shipped two days again would have 6 month old map data on it.  I could see having 2012.3. Perhaps I simply don't understand the production cycle on devices like this.

Finally, note that currently the 3590LMT has the same problem of an incompatibility between Smartphone Link Live Traffic and the HD Radio traffic described in my earlier blog posts.  No update from Garmin as of yet to fix this problem.


  1. Thanks for the great info, Jeff!

    Does the 3590 have any type of weather feature without the link to an Android phone? I use a Blackberry, so I was just wondering if any weather features at all are available without the link.

    Thanks! Ed

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. No they do need the smartphone link app to get weather. The only US models that do are the 1690 and 1695.

  4. Looks like a much bigger screen, great photos Jeff.

  5. This information is greatly appreciated. Does either device provide fastest route based on live traffic conditions? Does it show multiple / alternate routes based on arrival time?


  6. Thanks for your information. I see in later posts that you may not buy another there another product you think is better? I use an iphone and am frustrated that Garmin only links with Android. I have to replace a crashed Nuvi 760 I purchased in 2008--Garmin will give me $70 off new unit since 760 discontinued and can't be repaired (after I bought new battery and cord). I usually use the Garmin and iphone maps together as each has features I really like (and often different directions to same place). The 3590LMT looks like the best choice, but I sure hate paying that price, even with the $70 discount, when life expectancy isn't great and they don't have features like alternate routes. Any suggestions?

  7. Garmin Nuvi 3490LMT 4.3-Inch Portable GPS Navigator with Lifetime Maps and Traffic
    Garmin nuvi 3490LMT‎ 4.3-Inch Navigator Lifetime Maps Compare Prices from Trusted Stores‎ Update your maps Get Lifetime Updates. Quick & Easy.‎