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Garmin Nuvi 885T Review: Perfect Blend of Superb Routing Engine and Voice Recognition

written by: Om Thoke•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 9/9/2009
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The excellent Garmin 880 is replaced by Garmin’s Super Nuvi 885T that comes with extra goodies, but at a reasonable price tag. It features the most advanced routing engine built to date, along with nearly flawless voice recognition. So, let us now take a detailed look at the Garmin 885T GPS unit.

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    Pleasant Appearance and Improved Touch Screen

    garmin-nuvi-885t-gps-unit The Nuvi 885T has a bronze color around the display, provided with greyish border, while its plastic case is fully black. This combination gives a pleasant appearance to the device. You won't find any visible controls, save the power switch, located on the top of the case.

    The operations are mostly performed either by voice commands or through the high resolution 4.3" wide touch screen.

    The additional goodies provided in the 885T include Photo viewer, Audible book player and a music player. With the assistance of embedded GPS data, loading of panoramic photos is a snap, and these can later be navigated.

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    Operation and Improvements Over Its Predecessor

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    You can find, on the right and left side of the LCD display, two speakers of front-firing. It has a lithium-ion battery which is replaceable. With the easy opening of the sliding door of the battery compartment, the battery can either be replaced or removed with great ease.

    On the top of Nuvi 885T, is the power key. Sliding the switch to the left keeps the unit either in ‘on’ or ‘off’ mode. If you slide the switch to the right, the screen gets locked with absolutely no possibility of pressing it accidentally.

    Features like MSN Direct have been improved with better coverage of traffic, information of flight status, and improved movie listings, but unfortunately free live traffic updates are not available anymore.

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    The Good: Excellent Voice Recognition, Lane-Assist and Superior Routing Engine

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    Here are the major strong-points of the Nuvi 885T.

    Excellent voice recognition: It is child's play to enter th complete address of a street using voice command.

    Lane assist with Junction View integrated with maps.

    Improved touch screen, which is sunlight-readable.

    • Support for navigating to geo-coded photos and importing .gpx files.

    • The device features the most superior routing engine available.

    • Permits the user to find destinations with a PC and send them to the Nuvi via wireless connectivity.

    Moreover, the improved "Where Am I" feature not only gives one-touch access to the current location of the user, but also lists out nearby landmarks such as police stations, hospitals and most importantly gas stations because that’s what you may need badly when you’re on the move, in an unknown location.

    The voice recognition of Garmin Nuvi 885T can control the GPS almost without the need to take your eyes off the road even for a split second.

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    The Bad: Unpowered FM transmitter, Limited Detour Function and More Miseries

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    Here are some of the downsides to the Garmin Nuvi 88T GPS navigation unit.

    • Can’t exclude an unwanted road from your route.

    • Dual firing speakers aren’t too satisfactory, in comparison to the older single speaker units featured in earlier Nuvi GPS units.

    • If you’re travelling through areas with a crowded radio dial, the underpowered FM Transmitter is simply good for nothing

    • Category-wise search of POIs requires a whole lot of time.

    • Limited detour function.

    • Can’t alphabetically list the favorites.

    • Setting up the Nuvi 885T in off-road mode is a bit tedious.

    A very apparent downside is 885T’s internal FM transmitter that is very underpowered, making it very bad, which is a hindrance to the most lucrative feature. At times, its inability of excluding particular roads from the planned route can be quite frustrating.

    Furthermore, one of the biggest downsides to the Garmin Nuvi 885T is that real time traffic updates and MSN Direct services cost $130 for a lifetime subscription, but this is available for free in some low level Garmin and TomTom models.

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    Games

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    The Nuvi 885T doesn’t lag behind its competitors in terms of the popular games such as Sudoku, Solitaire, Interceptor, Video Poker, Brick Breaker, Space Shooter, Crumble, Boxing, Temo, Bubbles, Rock Slide and the likes, which come pre-installed on the device. Of course, you can always download additional games from Garmin's official website.

    You need to tap on Tools -- > and scroll down to the Games icon, in order to access the Games menu.

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    Pricing and Overall Performance

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    As far as pricing is concerned, the Garmin 885T GPS unit costs around $350, which is extremely reasonable keeping its extensive features in mind. And, depending upon the additional accessories that you opt for, the price of the package may go up to $599.99.

    As a whole, the Garmin Nuvi 885T delivers extremely satisfactory navigation and smooth operation, though the unpowered FM transmitter and the lack of options to alphabetically list Favorites, POIs and exclude a particular route can be a bit annoying at times. But, it is definitely worth your money, considering its nearly perfect voice recognition and the best-ever routing engine featured in the device.