Saturday, 01 August 2015 14:55

Garmin nüviCam GPS with built-in dash-cam – review


Want a premium lifetime map and traffic GPS with a dash camera that records your drive and saves the file on impact? Garmin’s nüviCam fits that bill.

To be correct it is a 6” nüviCam LMT part number 010-01378-05 that at A$499 fits that bill.

To be fair having reviewed GPS units from Tom Tom, Navman, Garmin and others it is not as simple as sticking it to the car windscreen and driving around – each has its own interface and quirks.

For example, Garmin use HERE maps, as do Navman, but the presentation is very different – kind of ‘comic style’. Sure you can chose different styles, 3D, north up etc., but put this beside another brand and its no better or worse - just different.

And tail gating is out – it has a forward collision alert if you drive too close. If you doze off it has a lane departure warning – great for narcoleptics.

The dash camera differentiator

Dash cameras are hot items. More and more evidence of wrong doing during a crash can mean the difference between insurance payouts – or not. It continuously records (in 1080 or 720p) and when the accelerometer detects an impact event it saves those moments before and after onto a microSD card along with speed and location.

You can also use the camera as a happy snapper to take pictures of evidence outside the car.

The camera also works as a proximity device – if you are too close to the car in front, or if you depart from the lane it will let you know. Forward collision warning has a 50KM+ tolerance and lane departure has a 65KM+ tolerance.

It also has a Real Vision feature that displays an augmented reality view of the road ahead when approaching a destination. It displays an arrival countdown indicator on top of the video display when you approach certain destinations. I found that interesting but it needs more work.

When you mount it on the windscreen you need to align the camera to the correct road view. All easy to do.

The screen

It has a 6”, 800 x480, glass touch screen that befits the premium price. I found it crisp, clear, and sufficiently bright – perhaps one of the best GPS screens I have used. Touch was responsive – again crisp unlike those that use cheaper plastic LCD screens. It has pinch to zoom.

The user interface

If you have used Android you will recognise the back arrow and the rest is all intuitive. The voice (Karen – English) was clear and sufficiently loud. It had a mix of spoken turn by turn directions and landmarks like petrol stations.

Addresses could be added free style or you could use POIs.

POIs (limited testing)

You can find the address of businesses, stores, restaurants or other destinations as long as they are listed in Foursquare. When you use the Smartphone Link app you can also check-in on Foursquare and access more detailed information about the POI, including ratings, price range and hours of service.  I found this a little cumbersome to do this while the unit was mounted to the windscreen.

LMT – lifetime maps and traffic

It uses HERE maps and has lifetime updates via Garmin Express software for Windows or Mac. It also has speed camera and school zone warnings.

Voice command

Patchy - but then I say that about all GPS devices. Voice activated dialling – forget it. Set a destination – 20% of the time it got it partially right.


No issues pairing with Android, iOS and Windows Phone. Contact list is limited to 1000 entries. It worked well enough as a hands free phone.

Smartphone Link - only for Android and iOS (not tested)

It will use a smartphone’s existing data plan to share information — such as where you parked, POIs and your destination. With the Smartphone Link app, you can conveniently send locations and addresses from your phone straight to your nüviCam. Smartphone Link also gives you access to Garmin Live Services, useful for real-time information such as weather.


About 30 minutes – it is not for pedestrian use.


I really liked the windscreen mount – it has a suction cup for the glass but uses a magnetic connection to the GPS – very nice and easy to remove from the mount. The mount powers the GPS via a proprietary cigarette socket charger that outputs 5V, 2A using a mini-USB and the thick cable acts as the receiver for traffic information – presumably from SUNA.

It looks like a premium product.

Rear camera

It has the option to add a $199 wireless backup camera – BC 30. Professional installation is recommended but it is also DIY if you are so inclined.


Great unit – the dash cam makes it one of the best although you can get this feature from other makers as well. It at A$499or that. one of the best. Its not cheap but lifetimie maps and trafffic y to do.e. ar.uts - or s not cheap at A$499 but lifetime maps and traffic make up for that.

The question is whether you need a dash cam – if not you can get a 5” LM GPS from about $160.


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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!



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