Navman brings the car camera and GPS together

When products come together for a good reason, there’s a good chance we’ll be all for it, and with Navman’s converged navigation and road monitoring camera, that’s our attitude, too.

The car dashboard and windscreen is beginning to deal with gadget clutter. You have your smartphone stand to because holding your phone while you drive is now illegal, and there’s a car camera if you’re overly cautious or concerned about being hit, as well as the GPS navigator which just continues to get larger; it’s a wonder you can see the road at all!

With that last part in mind, two products are coming together, converging in a product that looks to make a lot of sense, with the navigator integrating the car camera. Called the MiVue Drive, it’s a 5 inch touchscreen GPS with a camera on the back, providing the both worlds in one product.

“At Navman we are always searching for new ways to help enhance the driving experience and offer our customers more,” said Wendy Hammond, Country Director for Navman Australia.

“Digital drive recorders have really seen a surge in popularity in the last few years and have become just as essential to have in the car as a sat-nav, so harmonising the functions of both in the one device just made sense,” said Hammond. “We believe the MiVue Drive will really help make the in-car experience superior, easier and more importantly will help drivers feel safer on the road.”

It’s not the biggest GPS out there, but a 5 inch display should be plenty for most drivers, though it is an older resistive display and won’t perform like the capacitive touchscreen used in smartphones. That said, you’re not going to be touching it all the time, especially when driving, so this should be totally adequate.

Navman tells us there’s 4GB of storage built-in, with room for more through a microSD slot, though the maps for Australia and New Zealand are preinstalled, and Navman promises free monthly map updates through its “rapid map refresh” feature, which will send you an email when there’s an update to get you to plug the unit in for a speedy change to your preloaded maps.

Aside for the GPS, which includes typical features like spoken safety alerts, merging lane warnings, and guidance to landmarks by using buildings you can see as you drive, the Navman MiVue Drive also includes a camera at the back for monitoring your drive, recording incidents and saving the information as a file for police and insurance providers.

A three-axis shock sensor will tell you roughly where an impact came from, too, providing more information, as well as the speed you were travelling and the location from the GPS, handy if you need as much information as possible when you’re telling the authorities and who you pay your premiums to.

There are some catches, though, as we’ve noted through a brief play.

One of them is that the MiVue Drive isn’t a replacement for a crash cam, with this camera mostly made for driving videos. We’ve looked at the settings, and it doesn’t look like this could sit on your dashboard monitoring your car 24/7, even if that would be a great inclusion. Perhaps something for later in a firmware update.

Also a touch concerning is the camera, which is rated only for one megapixel, and is capable of only shooting in high definition and out from the front.

We’ve heard from some readers on this issue with car cameras, and apparently Full HD does make a difference, though 4K is even better, as a higher resolution means small details like license plates can be better read.

That said, we’re willing to give it a try, and with an 8GB microSD included in the box, there’s at least an easy way to get started.

The Navman MiVue Drive will be in stores shortly for a recommended retail price of $299.