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Garmin Nuvi 880 GPS Review

written by: Tolga BALCI•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 2/27/2010

In this review, we'll take a look at the popular Garmin Nuvi 800 GPS navigation system. This unit is a bit pricier than some of Garmin's other models, but is it worth the investment?

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    In previous reviews, we looked at the Garmin Nuvi 255W and the Garmin Nuvi 265WT models which offered very good price to performance value. We have also noted that they were lacking some features such as automobile location, voice commands and Bluetooth (Garmin Nuvi 255W only). Does the discontinued Nuvi 880 fill all these gaps? Why is it so popular and still available on the market?

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    Rating Average

    Garmin Nuvi 880’s dimensions are 12.5 x 7.8 x 1.8 cm (W x H x D) at 176 grams. The screen resolution is 480 x 272 with a 4.3" color touch screen. The battery is rechargeable lithium-ion and lasts for 4 hours. The vehicle car charger and a suction mount is included in the box.

    As with other models, Garmin does not disclose the receiver chipset. It would be nice to know which technology is being used since a SirfSTAR III receiver is much preferable.

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    Rating Average

    Garmin Nuvi 880 4.3 The quality standards of Garmin are reflected in this product. It is solid and it does not look like a cheap device. There are no buttons on the navigator, and the menu is a soft menu where you tap the screen to enter commands. The micro SD and the mini USB slots are located on the left of the unit. The USB cable comes in the box. The ON/OFF switch is at the top, a little bit to the back. Sliding the button to the left turns the unit on/off, and sliding it to the right locks the screen.

    The securing of the device to the windshield is by the almost-standard vehicle suction mount. However, the suction is for the glass surfaces only. So if you want to go for a dashboard mount, you will need to purchase the accessory additionally.

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    Rating Average

    The Garmin Nuvi 880 supports voice in both directions, to and from the user. The unit has voice navigation which commands you during the navigation, including preferred lanes. The preferred lane feature is not available in the budget products, but since this device is a middle-tier product, it is present. The speed compensation is a little bit questionable – it is certainly very good, but a little bit less than excellent.

    You can also give voice commands to your Nuvi 880. For the voice recognition, the Nuvi 880 comes with a small unit, which is actually a “voice remote control." You say “listen" to put the unit into listening mode and say “stop listening" to get it out of listening mode. In between, you can say something like “find nearest coffee shop" or “find nearest Chinese restaurant" and let Nuvi 880 find and display it for you. With the 6 million Points of Interest (POI) that are already loaded in the system, finding a location nearby does not seem to be a problem. And if you can’t, you can add your own. There are also proximity alerts for the POI.

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    Read on for additional features, price to performance and our overall opinion of the Garmin Nuvi 800.

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    As we continue our Garmin Nuvi 800 GPS review, we look at the additional features of the GPS navigator as well as the price to performance. We present our overall evaluation to see if the Garmin Nuvi 880 GPS is a product that we can recommend to our readers.
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    Features - continued

    Garmin’s emergency button is also present in the navigator. When you tap the button, it displays your latitude and longitude, nearest street, intersections, hospitals, police and gas stations.

    Send Panoramio Images to your GPS JPEG images are also supported in the Nuvi 880. It has been Garmin’s custom to import addresses and Panoramio photos from Google. The Nuvi 880 is no exception and you can plan your trip and download all the addresses and the attractions to your device. As is the case for almost all recent Garmin products, you can purchase Garmin Travel Guides. Just plug it in to your device’s card slot and enjoy your trip.

    In addition to the standard navigation features such as traffic alerts, route choice, route avoidance, and route recalculation, the Nuvi 880 supports multi-destination routing, which is not present in the entry level Garmin GPS navigators. An FM transmitter is present and the unit receives traffic information over the FM channel. The Nuvi 880 comes with a 3-month trial MSN Direct subscription, but the MSN Direct connection cable is not included. So, either you will not be able to use the free subscription or you'll need to purchase the additional cable if you want to test this feature out. The Garmin Nuvi 880 has Bluetooth and supports hands-free communication. One of the features worth mentioning is the “car finder." When you detach the unit from its holder, it records your position. If you are a person like me who loses his car every time he parks somewhere, then you will find this feature amazing. It also comes in handy when you are in a place you do not know well and cannot figure out where you parked.

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    Price to Performance

    Rating Average

    The Garmin Nuvi 880 can be purchased for USD 495.99 from To get the MSN Direct subscription working, you'll need a receiver, which is USD 82.18. After 3-months if you like the MSN Direct feature, you will have to purchase it for USD 129.95. The warranty is 1-year limited.

    Although Garmin Nuvi 880 is a little bit expensive, the features it offers are really remarkable. It is obvious that you will get what you paid for, in Garmin quality.

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    I personally find the Garmin Nuvi 880 to be a very good solution for intermediate users as well as for people who are making their first GPS navigator purchase. The unit is beautiful and of high quality, and the features offered are simply the ones that make a GPS receiver “complete." The price may seem high, but the Garmin Nuvi 880 is not a budget product; it should be considered a mid-range device.

    In summary, the Garmin Nuvi 880 is a product that we can safely recommend to our readers.