Price (RRP): $299
A car’s windscreen can get rather cluttered if you start sticking too many things to it. The Navman MIVUE Drive FHD solves that problem by combining a full high definition dashcam and GPS/navigation system into one compact unit.
The Navman MIVUE Drive FHD features a touch sensitive 127mm colour LCD screen for displaying menus and, of course, the map and directions. It comes with a two year warranty and free map updates for life for Australia (and New Zealand) on a monthly basis.
The unit features alerts for a wide range of “landmarks”, shows the speed limit for the road on which you’re travelling and can sound an overspeed alert. Of course it can navigate you to specified locations by both screen and voice and has a memory for lots of locations you can specify.
The full HD camera is mounted on the other side – a simple cylindrical protrusion of about a centimetre. The f/1.8 lens allows decent low light performance. It uses a microSD card to store recordings. A 16GB card is included. When the card is filled the earliest recordings are deleted.
The unit can also connect via Bluetooth to a phone for handsfree telephone operation.
Remember those suction caps that supposedly stick objects to smooth surfaces, but invariably fall off after a while? That’s not what the Navman MIVUE Drive FHD uses. It uses a suction cap that works. It works for three reasons. First, it’s a decent size, maybe 40mm across. Second, it is being applied to a very smooth surface, the glass of your windscreen. (You should clean it first.) Third, a built in lever applies a strong force to the cap to ensure that a very strong vacuum is maintained.
I stuck it on the windscreen and it remained attached, through some thirty degrees of temperature variation, for three weeks without the slightest hint of insecurity. Yet when it came time to pack it up for return, a pull on the tab had it off easily in a second.
A universal joint attached to the suction cap holds a mount for the unit itself. This attaches about one quarter of the width in from the left, and was flexible enough to allow a bit of give, particularly at the right hand side of the unit where there was the least support.
You’ll also need a power source, aka a cigarette lighter socket. The power cable plugs into the Mini-USB socket which you also use to plug the unit into a computer for software and map updates. It’s a touch under 1.3 metres in length to the head of the socket adaptor, so if your lighter socket is in an odd place, you should check whether it will reach. Another cable runs along the whole length of the power cable. I expect that is an antenna for one or another function, so you can’t lightly replace the power cable with an alternative.
The display screen was clear. It can switch brightness automatically between night and daytime operation. The map can be in 2D or 3D, with auto zoom if you like.
The swinging of the map as you round corners was fairly smooth with frequent refreshes rather than making big jumps.
Of course, the unit offers alerts for such things as exceeding the speed limit – you can set a five or ten kilometres per hour “over” allowance to avoid it being too irritating, or put it on “Auto”, where it makes up its own mind about the matter. Accident black spots, red light cameras, speed cameras, railway crossings are all alerted by default and can be individually switched off. Likewise for school zones, and you’ll want to use the switch-off option during school holidays.