Get a loaded Garmin 4.3-inch GPS for $98

How loaded? In addition to its FM transmitter that plays MP3s and audiobooks through your car speakers, the Nuvi 855 recognizes your spoken voice commands.

The Garmin Nuvi 855 GPS offers some nifty bells and whistles, including voice recognition and an FM transmitter.
The Garmin Nuvi 855 GPS offers some nifty bells and whistles, including voice recognition and an FM transmitter. Garmin

Much as I'm a fan of GPS apps for smartphones, I usually prefer to use a standalone GPS so I can keep my phone available for, you know, phone calls.

Today only, Wal-Mart has the Garmin Nuvi 855 4.3-inch GPS for $98 (plus $1.97 for shipping and sales tax in most states). It's a new unit (though not exactly a new model), and it's loaded.

In addition to the usual navigation goodies--text-to-speech, lane assistance, and optional traffic updates.--the Nuvi 855 offers a feature I'm surprised you don't see in more nav systems: voice recognition.

All you do is a press a button on the included remote (which is designed to attach to your steering wheel), then say a command. You can use this to input an address, activate various functions, and even say "Where am I?" to find the nearest gas stations, hospitals, and the like.

The Nuvi can also play MP3 files and Audible.com audiobooks, and its built-in FM transmitter lets you hear both through your car's speakers. (The caveat here is that most FM transmitters I've tried over the years really suck, and I'm not sure if the Nuvi's is any exception.)

Other perks include the option to download directions from Google Maps or Mapquest (by way of a USB connection to your PC), a trip computer that records your mileage (very handy for business travelers), and support for Google Panoramio's geo-located photos (which you can download for photo-enhanced navigation). 

CNET hasn't reviewed this particular model; Wal-Mart's user reviews are mostly positive, averaging around four stars out of five. I'd say this is a very worthwhile buy if you're looking for a GPS with a few bells and whistles rather than the no-frills models that usually sell at this price.

Bonus deal: Remember that $98 Sony Reader Pocket Edition from last week? Um, forget that. SonyStyle now has the refurbished e-book reader for $79.99 shipped. (You have to add the device to your cart and head all the way to checkout before you see the discounted price--which is good through Oct. 16.) Wowza.

 

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