Garmin nuvi 880 4.3-Inch Widescreen Bluetooth Portable GPS Navigator Reviews

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3 Responses to “Garmin nuvi 880 4.3-Inch Widescreen Bluetooth Portable GPS Navigator Reviews”

  1. Vito Asaro says:
    141 of 141 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    One of the Best GPS units available today!, July 16, 2008
    Vito Asaro (SAN DIEGO, CA USA) –

    This review is from: Garmin nuvi 880 4.3-Inch Widescreen Bluetooth Portable GPS Navigator (Electronics)

    I have been using the Nuvi 880 GPS for a couple of weeks now, and it is the best Garmin unit to date, and possibly the portable/handheld/car GPS available at this time. The Garmin Nuvi GPS units are probably the easiest to start using out of the box without reading any manuals.

    The new line of Nuvi units have done away with the small flip-up antenna, opting for a internal antenna which is much nicer. This GPS is also VERY thin and can be carried in your jeans pocket (front pocket-without the leather case/protector) if you’re traveling in another country. Because the 880 has done away with the external antenna, it also maintains the same thin dimensions for the length of the backside of the unit, finally losing that small bulge as on the back of the 670 (and other 600-series) Nuvi units.

    The speech recognition is about 90% accurate, but this may be due to the higher amount of road noise in my car (and/or the air conditioner fan noise). When it’s quiet, however, the voice recognition is surprisingly accurate.

    The ability to have a user-changeable battery is featured on the 880. I can’t tell you how many times I wish I had this feature with our Nuvi 670 on our trip to Italy when we were out all day on foot and the GPS battery became depleted, (though it did last for 5-6 hours). The only thing lacking is that Garmin should sell some sort of external battery charger for the extra batteries rather having to charge them in the unit itself.

    Another reviewer mentioned that the Garmin doesn’t have intelligent street recognition (such as with Google) to ask the user if a different spelling for a street/highway was intended when the unit doesn’t return any results with the spelling it was given. This is not true, and perhaps that reviewer should have another read of the documentation to understand this. If you provide a partial text street or highway name to the Garmin it will return a list of possible matches. The Nuvi 880 works slightly different than previous Nuvi models in that the earlier models would provide an “active lookup”, listing the possible matches as soon as the user had typed enough characters to determine a match. The 880, however, allows the user to provide (enter) the partial or full street/intersection AND THEN it will display a list of possible matches. This works a little more efficiently than the previous models because it allows the system to do a single fast search, rather than searching after each letter, and it allows the user to correct any typing mistakes before searching on them.

    Another nice feature of the Garmin unit is that the virtual keyboard for spelling can be QWERTY style now.

    The built in MP3 player is fun. For example if you have a music (or any MP3) that you want to hear via the car’s stereo, you simply tune the FM radio to an unused station and configure the Garmin to output to the FM transmitter. Music and guidance prompts will be played via the car stereo. This is also nice for extremely noisy car environments if the Garmin’s (loud) volume isn’t enough, then the GPS prompts can be played via the car stereo. Other utilities on the 880 are very helpful, such as the unit and currency converters.

    I’ve also tried the TomTom units, which I found to be slower in computing routes, and having far too many user configurable options. If you want to spend hours “customizing” all of the screen colors and every other aspect of your GPS, then maybe a TomTom would be a good choice for you. However, if you want an easy-to-use unit, the Garmin is a better choice.

    The screen brightness can be set by the user, but 70-80% will suffice in all but the highest glare situations, and the large screen is very clear.

    With ANY touch-screen device I always recommend purchasing clear screen protector sheets. These clear sheets stick via friction (no residue), and will help to greatly extend the life of your GPS or other product.

    Lastly, another very nice feature on the 880 is the addition of MSN Direct which I renewed the subscription to a lifetime (guaranteed until 2012) extension for about $120 flat (there are other renewal options available). One of the best features of MSN Direct is updated traffic reports sent to your GPS. Even while not navigating a route, and simply viewing the map, a traffice “incident” icon will show on the display if a traffic event lies ahead in the direction you’re traveling in case you want to have your GPS route you around the traffice. MSN Direct also features such things as a little icon for weather warnings on your GPS, full weather for your location, a selection to pop up a quick list of gas prices/station near your location, another selection to pop up a quick list of movie times listed by theater or movie title, news, stocks, local events. It is a very nice feature.

    All in all this is one of the best portable GPS units…

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  2. G. Hubbs "Biologist" says:
    76 of 76 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    Completely Handsfree (Almost!), July 31, 2008
    G. Hubbs “Biologist” (San Jose, CA) –

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    This review is from: Garmin nuvi 880 4.3-Inch Widescreen Bluetooth Portable GPS Navigator (Electronics)

    I gave the Garmin Nuvi 880 4 stars because, for me, it really does what I want and need. I have run into a few minor glitches that are NOT the 880’s problem, but a Garmin issue.

    First, the pros:

    1. It gets me just about anywhere I want to go. Look, I don’t care if I know a shortcut, but the Nuvi 880 doesn’t. I really don’t need it when navigating to places I am familiar with. But, in unfamiliar places it does a real nice job of getting me to my destination.

    2. The voice activated system is great. I have used it for around a month now, and I am having few problems with it.

    3. The MSN Direct has really been a nice feature. On trips to the Los Angeles area and Las Vegas it “kicked in” automatically to warn us of severe traffic situations ahead, and closed roads. I have used it to find movies and show times, as well as weather reports.

    4. I am hard of hearing and use hearing aids, so I like using the connection from the Nuvi to my AUX port on my radio. I can easily hear everything the Nuvi is telling me.

    5. I used it in pedestrian mode once. It worked really well. I bought a fanny pack to take it with me when I leave the car. However, it actually fits in the pocket of cargo pants.

    6. I use the bluetooth feature all the time. It was absolutely no effort to sync with my phone.

    7. On a recent trip I was using the “Where Am I” mode a lot. It has an elevation feature built into it. We were traveling high mountain roads and we used the Nuvi to get the elevation. It was all in fun.

    Now, the Cons:

    1A. I don’t know why Garmin leaves every house on my street off it’s maps. The street AND street name appear, BUT try putting in an address of any house on my street, and it chooses another street in the neighborhood instead. My wife has had a Garmin 300 series for a couple of years and has the same problem. She tried updating the software, but nothing changes. How many other locations are missing?

    1B. Just for fun I was going to navigate to our Credit Union. The Nuvi wanted to send me to where the Credit Union Used to be located. This could be an updating issue, but the Credit Union moved around 4 years ago. This bothers me because I don’t know how many potential places I could navigate to are actually in a different location, and have been for years.

    2. The voice system is great. I have no real issues with it. However, it has a hard time understanding your commands if there is too much noise. Road noise is not the problem. It happens only when others are talking at the same time you are trying to give it commands. Also, my a/c was too loud once.

    3. The MSN Direct is a nice feature. I would like to see it expanded into more areas. You have to be in the few service areas it has in order to receive the info. However, I know the service areas are expanding all the time. My one “BIG” complaint is the updating of this service. I used it the other day to find a movie and the times it would be playing. I should have called ahead because the movie was NOT playing at the two theaters I went to. This is no big deal because I called a third place I found. I used to Nuvi to give me the theater’s phone number!

    4.I tried using the FM transmitter to have a wireless hookup to my car’s radio. I have had no success with it. But, the AUX port works fine.

    5. As for pedestrian mode! Well, I would like to see some type of mode indicator on the main map. Why? It’s no big deal, but I forgot to put the mode back from pedestrian to automobile when we in Las Vegas. On the day we left everything on the Nuvi seemed really messed up. It was telling us we wouldn’t get home until some rediculous time, and it would stop telling us as we drove down the road that it was recalculating the route. It thought we were walking home (about 800 miles). My fault, and it will never happen again.

    6. Bluetooth. My cell phone syncs with the Nuvi 880. But not entirely. The only thing it will let me do is make and receive calls. Not a real problem. However, my wife sync’d her phone up and got just about all of her phone’s features such as address book, texting, etc. I don’t text, but I would like to use my address book.

    Not much to complain about. I found the Nuvi 880 to be very useful for me. I don’t consider it to be an expensive toy. I really do benefit from the features it has. One more thing to consider:
    I have recently (Last Year) been diagnosed with an eye condition called Macular Pucker. It does not lead to blindness, but straight lines aren’t exactly straight anymore. It could clear itself up on it’s own, or maybe surgery is in the future. I can read road signs, menus, and other printed material, but it is frustraing as small print letters can “run” into each other sometimes. The hands frre, voice…

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  3. Wingspinner "Wingspinner" says:
    50 of 50 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    Best there is for a handheld, July 19, 2008
    This review is from: Garmin nuvi 880 4.3-Inch Widescreen Bluetooth Portable GPS Navigator (Electronics)

    I recently bought an 880 having using a 660 for the last 1.5 years. I have owned 5 Garmins, 3 Lowrances, a Magellen, and have borrowed several of the latest TomTom’s on occassion and I can say that, without a doubt, this is the most complete and easy to use hand held/portable navigator I’ve ever used. Let me explain….

    Garmin packs an amazing amount of capability into this device – Routes, amazing POI search capabilities, a HUGE database of POI’s, extensive customization options, beautiful, easy to read display, decent battery life for use when walking, an array of charging methods (will even charge via USB from your computer) MSN, and many more. No other portable navigator has the breadth of features of the 880. It’s truly the “top of the line”. For this I give it a 5+

    Ease of Use
    Thte Nuvi OS in general is quite easy to use. It was the first ever GPS navigator that my wife, who is not into gadgets, could use with absolutely no instructions. In fact, it’s so easy to use she WANTS to use it. Same goes for my father-in-law who is completely technology challenged. He learned how to use it with only about 5 minutes of basic instruction. As easy to use as it is, you still get access to advanced features and the “ease of use” doesn’t get in your way. Once you learn some of the “shortcuts” (like holding down a “back” button to go all the way back to the main menu in one press) it becomes even easier to use. Without a doubt this is the easiest to use of all portable navigators I’ve used (which is quite a few). I give ease of use a “5”.

    Searching for POI’s on the Nuvi continues to be quite good. However, I’d like to see some improvements to the categories. For instance, it’s amazing that all Nuvi’s don’t have a category for RV related POI’s like “RV Resorts”, “RV supplies”, etc. You have to search by spelling for “RV” which also returns things like “Joe’s Soft SeRVe Ice Cream”. A nice improvement on the 880 is the capability to skip putting in the city when searching for an address. Over all the search functions are the best I’ve seen on a portable GPS navigator but because there are some small and basic improvements I give searching a 4.5 rather than a 5.

    The maps are “good enough” for the most part on the 880 and the other Nuiv’s however, having used quite a few other navigators I have a few gripes.

    1. My overall biggest complaint is WHY doesn’t Garmin have a more frequent update capability for their maps? They know how to do this stuff because their aviation products have it where you can subscribe to updates every 28 days. Other manufacturers are no better but Garmin has the know how (in partnership with Jeppesen). We should be able to get incremental updates rather than waiting for 1-2 years for a complete map database update. This is a huge issue.

    2. Accuracy. The maps Garmin uses (which they buy from Navtek) are “acceptable” but in my travels I find annoying errors. For instance, I’m currently staying with my son at a USAF base. The Navtek maps are mostly accurate for the base (missing one of the entry gates) and surrounding areas but when I ask the 880 to take me somewhere off the base it tries to route me straight through a 10 foot tall barbed wire fence rather than through the main gates. This is a map problem not a GPS software problem.

    3. POI’s display. The 880 and the other Nuvi’s give you the option of displaying POI’s on the map page but they don’t show all of them for some reason. This is not a map problem but rather they way Garmin has choosen to display the maps. If I tell it to display all POI’s on the map then it should do it.

    4. Map Detail. My aviation Garmin units have very detailed maps which include lots of detail on unpaved roads and associated POI’s and when you use them in automotive mode you get to see this detail. My cheap, difficult to use and unreliable, Lowrance 350 shows a lot of this as well. This is very useful for off-roading. To get this for the Nuvi’s you have to buy Garmins Topographical maps.

    Overall, I give the maps on the 880 (and other Nuvi’s) a “4”. The maps are probably good enough for 90% of owners but could be improved in my opinion.

    Voice Recognition
    To be succinct, the voice recognition is AWESOME. It works incredibly well even in the high noise of my Jeep Wrangle. It is nearly flawless. I’ll caution that I do not have any sort of accent though and I have no idea how it behaves if you do not speak “standard” english. Of course it would be great if it was just like “Hal” on 2001 A Space Odessey where you can just talk to it conversationally but that capability is still a few years away because of the computing power required. The 880 only responds to specific commands but it works amazingly well. Give that I understand the state of the technology, the only improvment I’d like to see is the ability to…

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