First Look – The All-Purpose Garmin nüviCam

Garmin nuviCamYou know how, when you drop a piece of toast, it always lands butter side down? And you know how, when changing TV channels, there’s always stupid advertisements on? Oh, and you know how, when trying to find a page in a book, you always flick just past the page required?

Well, this phenomenon is known as Sod’s Law and it clearly applies whenever you use a dashcam as you can be certain that nothing will ever happen in front of you. That’s an actual fact. I’ve been using the featured bulky but rather splendid Garmin nüviCam for a week now and everyone else’s road manners have been impeccable. Certainly I’ve saved some video of pleasant drives along bosky sunlight lanes and the like but nothing untoward has occurred. It’s very frustrating.Garmin

So – a first look at this extremely well-specified device. Garmin, obviously, are good at Sat-navs; I have had one of their’s for seven years now (with lifetime updates) and it has never let me down. Time marches on however and the use of dashcams has become increasingly prevalent thanks in part to the ‘crash-for-cash’ scumbags and also outrageous insurance quotes. Anything we can do to mitigate both seems like a good idea.

Thus Garmin have combined a camera with a sat-nav. Genius. The screen suction clip hangs on like a limpet and the unit itself attaches via magnetism. This is useful for quick removal. In these first few days of use I have noticed particularly – with low, bright sunlight and dense shadows – how well the camera copes with exposure. Images are consistently clear and it will be interesting to see how it fares in rain and on darker days.

Garmin haven’t stopped there though with the nüviCam. They have also added a forward collision warning and lane-keeping warnings for both sides. If there’s a demarcation line kerbside or on the crown of the road then the device can spot it and give a visual and audible warning if you stray. The collision warning also sounds an alert.

Unfortunately I am not able to take photographs of these features because they only work over thirty miles per hour and if I started snapping away then I would be as bad as the numpties you see on ‘road-shaming’ videos. You can site the device centrally as is usual and which makes sense, or on the left or right (depending on navigation use) and align the camera to suit. The warnings are maybe a tad hypersensitive, like having your mother-in-law sitting next to you, but I guess there’s no sense nit-picking about road safety.

So far so good then. The issue you are all thinking about however is of course that increasingly cars are being offered with navigation as standard or as an option. Also, you can buy cameras much cheaper than the Garmin nüviCam – find it for around £300 depending upon where you google (yes, it must be a verb by now) – that do much the same job; but think about it.

This device has navigation, a dashcam, lane-departure and collision warnings, speed camera alerts and an array of navigation features all in one handy unit. Not all of us can afford, or indeed even want, all the latest bells and whistles available from car makers these days, often as pricey options, so why bother? Budget cars don’t feature them at all so this Garmin kit ticks all the boxes for all the right reasons and thus makes a lot of sense.

All I’m waiting for now is for some miscreant to do something stupid and at the touch of a button they’re mine. On a more serious note, if you are unfortunate enough to have a shunt then the camera saves the recording automatically. Ideal for insurance claim evidence. More follows with some movies as I get to grips with the device.

By the way; it records sound too, so mind the language okay? Just sayin’. Geoff Maxteda3