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Garmin 1390LMT: Lifetime Maps but limited memory and difficult process to install updates
on May 29, 2011
Garmin 1390LMT comes with great features and is very intuitive to register, set-up and use. I purchased primarily for my trip to Boston and it worked but it's not without it's quirks. At the time of purchase, I felt extra features such as Lane Assist, traffic and Life Time Map updates were worth the extra money.
Lane assist flashes a picture of the lane you should be in during your journey. It's quite handy when driving unfamiliar roads by keeping you on course. On units without, I would often drive unknowingly onto the wrong lane, then hear, at the point of no return, "Recalculating".
Traffic is also something that is quite handy as well. GPS warns you of impending traffic ahead. In Settings, the unit defaults to avoid Traffic and in theory you can proactively drive around it if you're familiar with the roads. The advertisements that pop up of local businesses, and coupons are not that obtrusive.
Life time maps was also something I thought would be valuable. Maps are updated by Garmin 4 times a year. I have not tested however if the updates include new sub-divisions. I also don't know if it corrects Points of Interests (PiT).
When I was in Boston, I plotted "Fish Shack" in PiT. Driving there, the GPS thought Fish Shack was on the other side of the road. I have no way of testing whether the update corrects this until I revisit Boston. Which brings up the actual Map Updating process. It's not documented and difficult.
The Garmin 1390LMT comes with 2GB of memory on board. If you want the entire map available, including all of North America, parts of Mexico, etc, 2GB is insufficient. You'll need to narrow down maps to install. Then there's the updating.
Two nights ago, I noticed a new update available. Since the unit was full (with the old map), it didn't allow for the update. Sure I thought, buy a MicroSD card*. (Garmin 1390LMT accepts MicroSD. I figured buy the largest one. Problem though is that largest MicroSD card I found at Future Shop was 2GB. Larger cards are MicroSDHC. Largest card it can read I was told is 8GB MicroSDHC). After purchase and installing the MicroSDHC card, the software still thought there was insufficient space ???
After scouring the unhelpful manual, freeing up space on unit (by deleting unwanted language support, pics etc), I discovered in Garmin Forums that you need to delete the base map which is in a hidden folder. There is no setting to choose MicroSD for extra storage. On a design stand point this makes sense. You don't want to remove the base map accidentally (effectively making your GPS useless) however, it's disconcerting reading in the forum,
"You can delete the internal pre-installed map by locating and deleting gmapprom.img from your device. ONLY DO THIS IF YOU KNOW WHAT YOU DOING!"
Anyhow, after backing up deleting the .img file on unit, Map update software did indeed work.
Overall, I'm very happy with the unit and the features make it a 4 star GPS, however, limited memory makes it difficult to utilize 'Lifetime Map updates' (or to install the whole map-set for that matter). The process (or rather work-around) is not documented and difficult which for me negatively affects usability of this feature and lowers my rating.