It appears that we've opened the box upside down, because the first thing we saw was the paperwork package, which contains the user's manual, a safety info sheet, and an accessory guide. There's also an adhesive disc for dashboard mounting with the suction cup. We tossed this aside and pressed onward!
On the back of the cradle, there's a Mini-USB connection for the 12-volt power cable. This means that the Nuvi 1690 can be placed on and removed from the cradle without fumbling with the power cable when exiting the vehicle for short periods of time.
However, this Nuvi gets a new frame design with a gloss black bezel with a chrome edge. Also barely visible here is the smaller microSD card slot, which replaces the full SD card slot of previous Nuvis.
Along the bottom of the unit, we find the 10-pin connection for the cradle and a Mini-USB connection that's used for syncing with a PC or a Mac, but can also be used in a pinch to charge the device, should your cradle be lost or damaged.
Older Garmins featured a power slider with a screen lock function, but the Nuvi 1690 uses a power button. Tapping this button calls up brightness adjustment buttons and lock screen soft key. Holding the power button for 2 seconds turns the Nuvi on and off.
Upon booting the Nuvi 1690, we're greeted by the standard disclaimer screen that essentially states that Garmin isn't liable if you drive into a lake while following the turn-by-turn directions. It's sort of a shame that such a screen even needs to exist...
The home screen receives a visual refresh but is immediately familiar with large icons for View Map and Where To? and secondary icons along the bottom edge.
The top status bar is where we find the largest change with status icons for GPS signal strength, Bluetooth connectivity, navigation mode (driving, walking, or bicycle), the current time, the current temperature, nuLink signal strength, and battery state. Since we've not yet set up the unit, some of these icons are still missing.
The map screen is also rather familiar to the Nuvi line of navigation devices. The only immediate change I was able to notice is the movement of the Menu button to the bottom left corner of the screen, instead of the large bottom center Menu button of previous Nuvis.