- High-res 7″ Touch Display, Voice-Activated Navigation
- The built-in dash cam records your drive and automatically saves footage if it detects an incident, including the GPS details of when and where
- Get extra awareness with road warnings that let you know of upcoming steep grades, sharp curves, weight limits and more
If you spend a lot of time on the road, you understand that a perfect setup is needed. From driving trucks, RVs or just driving long periods of time you’ll want to have a comfortable experience. From the perfect seat cushion to your favorite tunes everyone has a personal preference. But traveling long distances always means you’ll want to pay attention to the road and know where you are heading at all times. You’ll want to know the traffic, road conditions and best routes all in real-time. In addition to understanding the road conditions you’ll want to practice driver safety for yourself. Having the best dash cam with navigation will solve 2 birds with one stone.
I’ve seen driver’s setups with several devices along their dash or on their window. Phone holder, navigation GPS, and their dash cam all take up space and make it feel cluttered. While not a problem for some, I believe that everyone should explore if there are any alternative solutions that can solve multiple things at once. Not only do you get to use one device for multiple functions, often you save money by being able to combine them.
Dash Cam with Navigation Features
Traditionally, one would have one dash cam device and one navigation device. We’re going to explore the option of combining the two without losing important functionality. On top of that, there are some dash cams with navigation that also includes hands-free functionality, enabling you to make calls or listen to voice commands. If you are like most and have your phone on a holder, this solution could help reduce phone usage while on the road. Keeping your eyes on the road is a must, but if you have to look away, it should only be to one device and not three. Finding the best dash cam with navigation and phone capabilities can be an improvement in safety conditions.
By combining two or three devices into one, we’re going to have to explore all of their functions to ensure they hold up as if we were judging them individually.
If you are like most drivers, you usually use the navigation on your phone for maps and routes. While that works for some, having a dedicated device offers more focused functionality. Let’s take a look at some of the features a typical navigation device has.
Arguably the most useful feature is live traffic. Live traffic is data that is captured in real time and sent to your device. Once in your device it can tell you what routes to take based off of traffic, accidents or police. It will automatically calculate the fastest route for you. The fastest route isn’t always the shortest distance; traffic weighs heavily. There’s been so many times where I’ll actually know the route I need to take to go from place to place and haven’t bothered with turning on navigation only to find out part of the freeway is shutdown due to an accident or construction. What doesn’t exist in the navigation features in your phone that does in a dedicated navigation device are showcasing upcoming specific road conditions like steep inclines, sharp turns or other hazardous obstacles. These are especially important if you are driving a large vehicle like a truck or a mobile home.
In order to get live traffic, if your navigation device doesn’t have an internet connection, it will connect to your phone’s bluetooth to be able to transfer over that data. While this by itself is a bit of a hassle, you’ll find out by connecting your bluetooth, you open many more useful features.
Voice Activated Commands
As I mentioned in the last section, you’ll need to pair your phone to the navigation device. This will ensure you can get text messages, answer or make phone calls and perform basic voice activated commands. You can also change routes or begin navigation with the voice commands. Don’t underestimate the voice commands as being hands free is not only responsible, but also legal in many states.
A big part of navigation is screen size. Depending on your phone, your screen is typically smaller than most navigation systems. Navigation devices have bigger screens because they understand the device is for your car and you don’t want to be squinting to understand where your next exit is. This goes well with the dash cam aspect too as reviewing playback is easy and clear with a large touchscreen. Be sure the touchscreen is capacitive for quick screen response.
- GPS auto navigator with built-in dash cam, advanced driver alerts such as forward collision warning and 5. 0-Inch Capacitive touch, pinch-to-zoom display
- Detailed maps of North America with free lifetime updates. Display type : WQVGA color TFT with white backlight
- Provides real-time services, such as Live traffic and select Live parking, when using free smartphone link app on your compatible smartphone
- View Live parking information, including pricing and availability trends for on-street public parking, as you approach your destination
- Built-in dash cam with optional audio continuously records your drive and automatically saves files on impact; GPS records where and when events occurred.Display resolution:480 x 272 pixels
Must Have Dash Cam Features
Moving onto the must-have features for a dash cam, they need to hold up to other dash cams for it to be worthwhile. Anyone knowing anything about dash cams is if you get a low quality model, you won’t able to rely on it in the most crucial moments.
Image quality is really important to the functionality of a dash cam. If you can’t make out what happened in recorded footage then what’s the point? Be sure to check out other user’s photos to ensure image quality is acceptable. Nowadays, all dash cams should have a minimum of 1080p at 30 fps. 30 fps means 30 frames per second, an industry standard when it comes to dash cam footage.
A feature that is mandatory on all dash cams is having the ability to record and automatically save footage when an incident occurs. While the dash cam should always be recording, once the footage takes up all the memory on the dash cam it goes into loop recording; deleting the oldest footage to replace with the newest.
When you get in an accident, especially a dangerous one, the last thing you think about is dash cam footage. Be worry free and have the dash cam detect accidents and save footage to review at a later time. Dash cams will label this functionality differently depending on their branding, but typically collision detection or G-Sensor are common names.
One great thing about having a dash cam with navigation is that the GPS can work in conjunction with the dash cam. If you ever need to review footage, the GPS will give you location and speed details at specific times. Furthermore, the dash cam can pair with navigation data in real time, telling the driver which lanes are exit lanes or if they predict an upcoming collision.
Garmin RV 785
If you need the best dash cam with navigation, why don’t you start with the leading brand in navigation? Garmin is world renown when it comes to GPS and navigation devices. Here as our top choice we are recommending the Garmin RV 785. You’ll notice the “RV” in the title. Yes, this dash cam is made for RVs, but it can re-purposed for any car, truck or vehicle. The only real RV feature is that it can show you nearby campgrounds. I don’t own a RV and I still find this useful.
What I like about this setup is that there’s a large 7 inch screen for monitoring. This ensures you aren’t squinting and can see the navigation directions. With the large screen, this dash cam has all the GPS features you are looking for including live traffic, collision detection and voice commands.
- Large 7 inch touch screen
- Garmin Powered
- Free lifetime map updates
- Lane detection
- Collision detection is sensitive and requires tuning
Garmin DriveAssist 51 LMT-S
Next up is another Garmin device. This one is a 5 inch touchscreen, so slightly smaller than the previous. Depending on your car, this might fit better for cars and smaller trucks rather than a big rig or motorhome. This is the kid version of the adult version we reviewed above. It has all of the same features at a better price point. One nice touch is that it has live parking lot information including price and availability.
The unit is mounted via windshield, but there have been some users who have complained that the suction is insufficient. We suggest researching other mounts like a bean bag friction mount for alternatives.
- 5 inch touchscreen
- Garmin Free Lifetime Map Updates
- Reduced cost w/ same features
- Windshield mount is weak
- Lane and collision detection is sensitive
Garmin DezlCam LMTHD
This is the last Garmin we will be reviewing. This Garmin DezelCAM LMTHD is geared towards truck drivers and a lot of the ancillary features are truck specific. This sports a 6 inch touchscreen and also provides free lifetime map updates. For truckers, this Garmin takes into account the truck’s size and weight when deciding routes. It also highlights popular truck rest stops and restaurants. Other useful features include an alert when you are crossing state or country borders and local sunset/sunrise times.
- Truck specific features
- 6 inch touchscreen
- Nighttime footage is grainy
Surveil Android DVR Dashcam
And finally is our last choice is the Surveil Android Dashcam. Instead of a Garmin powered device, this uses the power of Android. If you have an Android phone or just like the Android user interface and apps, then you’ll find right at home with this 2-in-1 dash cam. Not only does this have a dash cam, it has tons of other apps you can download and use through the Android Play Store.
This dash cam features a 7 inch touch screen and can be used for navigation, music, streaming and as a rear backup camera. This device comes with its own backup camera, with a long extension cord, to make installation easy.
- Android Operating System
- Backup Camera Included
- 7 inch touch screen
- Great image quality
- Customer Service is hit or miss