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Garmin Nuvi 880 Voice-Controlled GPS Lightning

Garmin Nuvi 880 Voice-Controlled GPS Lightning

Garmin’s flagship Nuvis, the 880 responds to commands from your voice, triggered by a little remote control you attach to your steering wheel. The popular opinion is that it’s the best all-around GPS on the market, but there are too many halfway decent Garmin models for less than half the price.

The 880 isn’t the first GPS with voice command, but it’s definitely the best. The remote button that you strap to your steering wheel makes activating it easy, and being able to dictate addresses including obscure street names is only part of the fun. When you’re in POI search, you can name popular locations (“Starbucks”) or categories (it actually understands synonyms like “Fuel” and “Gas”). Most importantly, you can tap the button and say things like “Cancel Route” or “Volume Up,” commands most likely to be issued while driving, ensuring you stay safer than if you were to try to do these things with your fingers while keeping your wheels on the road. The only problem with voice command is that, to function, it requires the remote (pictured above). If somehow you break off the remote or lose it, you will forever lose the ability to talk to your 880, so be careful.

With the exception of its inability to understand “Cancel” or “Exit” while performing certain functions, it responds extremely well to natural speech:

Again, popular opinion is that Garmin is the best bet for anyone shopping for GPS, and the 880 demonstrates this to be the case. It doesn’t mean it’s perfect, it’s just by far the least infuriating navigator on the road today. Garmin often adds features later than others, but this only strengthens its predominance, since those like TomTom and Magellan, not to mention the innovative but ailing Dash, rush revolutionary features without spending time on core interface issues, and fail because of it.

SIt has a Bluetooth speakerphone with seemingly cheap Bluetooth chip, and MSN Direct service that the 880 offers “free” for 3 months). Its main feature is the traffic reporting, but that information, even in massive metro areas, may not appeal to everyone. The 880 is as dumb as the lowliest GPS when it comes to awareness, and my hope is that historic traffic trends will soon be better integrated at the map database level, ie with Navteq and Tele Atlas, in order to make routing more smart even without the need for connectivity or any kind of realtime guesswork.

The Price: Garmin says $800, but you can find it online for $690.

About Craig Hill

Social Justice Campaigner, Writer, Teacher and Business Consultant. Lived in China and USA. Dealing with disability. My articles have been cited in New York Times, BBC, Fox News, Aljazeera, Philippines Star, South China Morning Post, National Interest, news.com.au, Wikipedia and many other international publications. Please consider donating, to support our social justice campaign, by clicking on the "Donations Page" button in the top menu.


5 thoughts on “Garmin Nuvi 880 Voice-Controlled GPS Lightning

  1. Someday maybe I will buy a talking navigator device. Usually whoever is in the car must navigate:) My daughter did this for me back in the day. I’ve heard that most men use maps and most women use landmarks to navigate. Hum. My son uses GPS something or other in land surveying. (He did this in New Orleans after Katrina).

    Posted by Brook | March 7, 2012, 12:19
  2. Driving truck over the road, I have tried a few GPS systems out there. First one was Garmin, something happened to it and bought another. I think it was a Cobra, I did not like the cobra GPS at all. I was in Houston Texas, and wanted to go to Salt Lake City Utah. It thought and thought and thought, and could not find it. even after half an hour waiting. I for sure took that back, what a piece of junk. Than i tried a Tom Tom It, was ok. But I have found that with my experience, that Garmin is the better of all out there for GPS systems.

    Posted by savageindian | March 7, 2012, 12:29
  3. In Canada, you can’t have those on the dash anymore – obstructed or distracting views not allowed… man, gotta love this place, feel like we’re the little kids at kindergarten and the politicians are the old, cranky principles!

    Posted by Marc Phillippe Babineau | March 7, 2012, 13:48
  4. Use my Garmin Nuvi – older relative – when walking – and then buy their “cityXplorer” for the city I’m visiting – excellent – free from holding up the map and even worst to fold the together again.
    The only thing is that it doesn’t talk when you put it on pedestrians. Did Paris and Berlin with it – fantastic.

    Posted by viveka | March 7, 2012, 23:21

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