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Garmin GPS - Nuvi 850 and 880

Updated on May 3, 2010

The Garmin Nuvi GPS collection has been topped off with the most recent addition - the 800 series. The Garmin Nuvi 850 and the Garmin Nuvi 880 are packed full of high end features.


Garmin Nuvi 880
Garmin Nuvi 880

Voice recognition on the 800 series has an added twist. Addresses as well as the asking for the closet restaurant can be entered by voice command. This is a huge convenience and safety issue. Keeping your eyes on the road and your hands on the stirring wheel avoids dangerous situations. Voice recognition is available on both the Nuvi 880 as well as the Nuvi 850.

MSN Direct is available on the Nuvi 850 and the 880. This is a subscription service and the cost could be as high as $50 per year or a one time fee of around $130 (3 months free trial on the Nuvi 880). What do you get for your money? The feature that will help pay for the initial investment is the ability to know current gas prices. Next in line would be real time traffic reports. The MSN Direct is available on the Nuvi 880 but is not available on the Nuvi 850. However, the Nuvi 850 can use an optional receiver to receive the MSN Direct.

The integrated FM receiver allows the Nuvi 880 to receive MSN Direct real time traffic and weather reports. If that is not enough you also can get reports on Gas Prices and Movie schedules. The enhanced MSN Direct will give you even more such as events happening near you stock quotes and News Headlines that you can expand to read the story. The reports are continuous but do not interfere with listening to the radio.

Bluetooth has become an important feature for many GPS users. Handsfree calling on cell phones is not only convenient and safe but in some states it is the law. Bluetooth is available on the Nuvi 880 but it is not available on the Nuvi 850.

Picture this. You go to a garage sale and find a very cool mid century modern chair. You have to depend on a friend to pick it up for you by 6:00PM. You have a Geotag capable digital camera so you take a picture of the garage sale and the chair then upload it to your Nuvi 880 or Nuvi 850. Your friend is guided directly to the address and the chair is yours!

I'm sure you have visited web sites that have a Google Map or Mapquest feature to help customers find them. Even if they don't have the maps featured you can easily transfer their address to your Garmin Nuvi 880 or Nuvi 850 (small plug-in required). Attach the Nuvi 880 or 850 to your computer's USB port then bring up your requested address on Google Maps or Mapquest. Click on the "Send" button and the address will be included in your favorites for later use.

Both Nuvi 880 and Nuvi 850 share many other features.

  • 4.3 wide Touchscreens
  • Built in antennas allow for a very thin GPS unit
  • Maps for North America are preloaded
  • Over 6 million Points of Interest (POI) preloaded
  • Multiple Destinations can be routed and stored
  • Never loose your car in a parking lot with "Where's my car?"
  • Always feel safe with "Where am I? to tell you all of the closet emergency services
  • Store extra maps, digital photos and MP3s on MicroSD cards for use in the MicroSD slot
  • Jpeg Viewer for viewing your personal digital photos
  • MP3 player to share your music collection
  • You never know when a calculator, a currency converter and a measurement converter will come in handy.
  • Have a little fun with the custom icons to depict your location
  • If you do not want anyone else using your Garmin Nuvi 880 or Nuvi 850 lock in down with a four digit pin code
  • You can be reminded of upcoming POIs that you enter in yourself
  • All most up to date maps are sold on each new Nuvi - other maps can be purchased from the Garmin Store


Both the Nuvi 880 and the 850 are top of the line GPS units. The prices are high but after reading many of the reviews of people that own these units they seem to be happy with what they got in return for their hard earned cash. Remember that these GPS devices can also be used outside of the vehicle. They can be used as portable digital photo viewers and some of the other features are also available whether in or out of your car.

The choice that you have to decide upon is whether you would use all of these cool features. If not, there are other Nuvi GPS units that cost hundreds less. But if you think that you may want these features now or in the future maybe you should just go for it.


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    • Debbie Cook profile image

      Debbie Cook 7 years ago from USA

      So true - same thing happened to a family member.

      Police said to always record the serial number in case it gets recovered. You have to be able to identify it.

    • 2patricias profile image

      2patricias 7 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

      This sounds great! Pat writes: everybody in my family has an older model Garmin. Actually, my son told me tonight that his was stolen a few days ago.

      He left his car outside the building where he lives - it was hot and he accidently left the passenger window open. He was only popping in to collect something, got chatting with another resident (he lives in a hotel) and when he came out, his SatNav had gone.

      Moral - no matter how high tech, it can still have an old-fashioned (sad) end.