Garmin nuvi 855 and 855t Reviews
The 855 is Garmin's latest full-feature automotive GPS--or as they like to call it nowadays, "personal travel assistant". As is true of most of Garmin GPS releases, there's nothing dramatically new in the nuvi 855 that we haven't seen before. Instead, there is further refinement of various features that Garmin has been developing in its nuvi line over the past year or more.
The Garmin 855 follows the current trend toward slimmer and more streamlined design in automotive GPS navigators. GPS engineers face a tough design problem in trying to combine cell-phone-like portability with wide screen visual clarity and ease of use. The nuvi 855 solves this problem as well as any unit on the market.
[September 2010 update: The 855 has now become one of the best values on the market as well, now selling new for under $100 on Amazon.]
Driving instructions are clear, the 4.3inch touch screens are bright and responsive, and you can also put the thing in your pocket and walk away. I don't think I've ever taken my car GPS out for a stroll, but I guess some people do.
Both the nuvi 855 and Bluetooth-enabled 855T feature improved speech recognition technology. Upon installation the devices are ready to accept a full range of voice commands through a wireless remote that attaches to your steering wheel. Basically you can just press the button and tell the device where you want to go, without having to navigate the screen at all. The 855 and 855T also feature text-to-speech capability, which means directions include spoken names of streets and other landmarks. The delivery of turn-by-turn directions is crisp and in synch with navigational demands, thanks in part to HotFix technology that enables a faster satellite response.
The 855 and 855T also feature improvements in Garmin's Lane Assist with Junction View. This is a useful and much-praised feature that (once you get used to using it) can simplify navigation through complex intersections and freeway interchanges. Drivers are directed into the proper lane for the upcoming exit or turn, and warned if they are in the wrong lane. The screen even shows highway signs, just as they appear on the road ahead.
Like all new Garmin navigators the 855 comes loaded with the latest version of the City Navigator NT North America maps package. You'll also get more pre-loaded points of interest (POIs) than with previous nuvis-over six million. Garmin's "numaps guarantee" allows for a free download of any new maps that become available within 60 days of purchasing the GPS. Map updates after that can be purchased either individually, on an annual basis, or through the Garmin nuMaps Lifetime update program. This allows for quarterly downloads of updated maps and pois for the life of the GPS unit.
With the installation of a Garmin GDB-50 MSN Direct receiver , the Garmin 855T can also be configured to receive real time updates on road and weather conditions, traffic, and a ton of other information. This service is now available in over 100 cities, and includes everything from news and financial reports to local movie times and gas prices.
I found virtually no negative reviews of the Garmin nuvi 855. If you already own a similar unit, like the nuvi 850, this one may not warrant an upgrade. But if you are in the market for new portable automotive GPS with a lots of advanced features, this is a great choice. Especially at today's prices--the Garmin nuvi 855 and Garmin 855T are now selling for near half of their original suggested retail prices from just a few months ago.
Free shipping is offered on all of the Garmin nuvi 855 and 855t units listed below.