Garmin Speak Plus

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Garmin Speak Plus Review Facts

Having a dashcam in your car could mean the difference between having insurance approve your claim or being forced to pay everything out-of-pocket. This might not be the first gadget you think of when you purchase a new car, but it’s certainly something that you should consider. They work by filming the road in front of you and everything that’s going on from your windshield, which means that you’ll always remain protected and have proof in case of any collision or accident.

But some people want more than just a tiny camera that they can install on their dashboard. If this is you, then the Garmin Speak Plus is a dashcam worth looking into. It might be on the more expensive side, but this product provides you with detailed directions wherever you’re going, a good-quality dashcam, and the ability to use Amazon’s Alexa. There are apps compatible with this product that you can download on your smartphone to ensure better control over what you can do with it. You will also get high-quality videos that you can save and use whenever you need to.

As you can see, there are a lot of exciting features that this product comes with. Let’s dive in a bit deeper to look at the Garmin Speak Plus in more detail.

Editor's Pros & Cons
Pros

Works well with Amazon’s Alexa

Gives you turn-by-turn directions

Has compatible apps for extra control

Gives warnings for changes on the road

Can stream music and games

Lets you save videos and photos

Cons

Does not let you make phone calls

Could have better video quality

Quite expensive

Basic Features

This dashcam provides most of the same features that other ones on the market do. For example, it has a microSD card where it stores all of the photos and videos that were taken. The resolution is in 1080 pixels, which is decent enough for you to be able to make insurance claims.

These photos include timestamps, coordinates, and the speed you were driving at. Photos and videos are recorded as you drive and they will save automatically if the camera happens to detect an accident. You can also easily save this footage through the app on your phone.

In addition, Garmin Speak Plus will be attached to your dashboard or windshield using a sturdy mount that is difficult to remove, so you know it’s made out of high-quality materials.

Advanced Features

Most of the features that this product provides are definitely more advanced.

For one, it uses Amazon’s Alexa for many different purposes. You can ask Alexa to give you directions, where you are, how much time remains until you reach your destination, as well as allow you to listen to music, check out gas stations and stores around you, and more. Alexa will also give you directions based on every turn you take, so you won’t have to worry about getting lost.

In order to best operate the device, you can download the Garmin Speak app and the Garmin Virb app, which will allow you to stream audio and view the footage that the dashcam has recorded. In short, there is a lot that this device will let you do other than simply take videos of what’s going on around you.

Another great feature is that it will beep to alert you if you happen to go out of your lane, if you’re too close to another car, or if any other hazards become evident on the road that could cause an accident.

Connection

This device will connect to your smartphone using a Bluetooth connection. It doesn’t matter whether you have an Android or iOS device (including iPads) because they are all compatible. When you download the Garmin Speak app, you will be able to use audio streaming and download any songs that you want to listen to while on the road.

When you are taking photos or video, make sure that you have the Garmin Virb app downloaded, as this is what will save footage in the event of an accident or any other occasion where you want to make sure that you have constant access to this footage. Once you’re in the Virb app, you will be able to see the live view from the camera and check out the gallery of footage that has been saved.

Perhaps one of the biggest selling features of this product, as we mentioned, is the fact that it connects to Amazon’s Alexa. If you’re someone who has Amazon Prime or other devices at home that have connected to Alexa, then this is perfect for you. You have the opportunity to tell Alexa to give you directions to any place you want to go and you will receive turn-by-turn instructions. You can instruct Alexa to check your bank account balance for you, find gas stations, check out stores near you, and more.

It’s also possible to play and stream music from many different services, including Amazon Music and Pandora. If you have other systems at home that are connected to Alexa, such as lights, thermostats, and others, you will be able to control them right from your car. Most people agreed that Alexa is highly responsive and it was an important feature to include with this product.

One important thing to note regarding the Alexa feature, however, is that you have to start every sentence with, “Alexa, ask Garmin…”. Otherwise, Alexa isn’t going to quite understand what you want it to do and it’s not going to work.

Ease of Use

Thankfully, according to many reviews, it was extremely easy to use and to set up this product. Since it mostly works through you controlling it on your mobile device using apps, there’s a lot that you will be able to do with it. Most reviewers agreed that they had no trouble installing it in their cars, and since there are only two buttons on the device itself to work with, there isn’t much left that you need to do.

If you’re tech-savvy, you won’t have trouble getting it set up on your phone or tablet. This is how you will be able to view the footage that was taken and edit other features, such as music streaming and more. Alexa is activated simply by you requesting Alexa, which is similar to how it is used on other devices.

This isn’t quite the best product for those who aren’t well-versed in features like WiFi, Bluetooth, and how to work smartphones, so if you’re not someone who knows how to do much with that, then this might not be for you. Otherwise, it’s easy to use and to figure out.

Video Quality

The video quality is not the greatest, according to some people’s reviews. All photos and videos are taken at a resolution of 1080 pixels, which is fairly high and good enough to make claims with your insurance company. But, that said, you might have some difficulty being able to decipher the license plates of cars around you.

This is especially the case if you’re driving at night and your car’s lights are aimed at the license plate of the car directly in front of you. You will be able to clearly see the street signs though, but most people agreed that it doesn’t quite give you the quality that your smartphone might be able to, for example.

All of the videos and photos are time-stamped, which means that you will be able to view when they were taken and at what time. It also provides the speed that you were driving at and your location’s coordinates.

Field of View

The field of view is wide enough for you to be able to see most of what’s going on around you, but people also agreed that it isn’t quite as large as the field of view provided by other dash cams on the market, including ones that are offered by Garmin itself. This one provides a view of 82 degrees, whereas many other ones give 180-degree views.

However, with the views that this one provides specifically, most people agreed that they were still able to see a lot that was going on around them, especially in the several other lanes while driving on the highway. This means that, despite the relatively small field of view, you still will be able to see enough.

Design

For a dashcam, this Garmin product has a fairly typical look. It is essentially a black cylinder and is only around 1.5 inches large, so it’s not going to take up too much space in your car, which is important considering the fact that you’re going to put it on your windshield and you don’t want to have something that is going to obstruct your view of the road.

There is a camera on the front of this device and you get a display that will light up in different colors depending on what’s going on. It’s completely black and the dashcam has a sleek appearance. There are also two buttons on the sides- one for muting the microphone and one for going back on the menu. They should be easy to reach unless you keep your dashcam too far forward on the windshield.

You’re going to mount this to your windshield using a small arm and a magnetic piece of metal. This metal part is what you will be sticking to your windshield, but most people recommend that you be certain of where you want the dashcam to be placed, because the sticky material on this metallic part will make it hard to move in the future.

The dashcam also has a long power cable that has a micro USB plug for you to attach to the device. The other end of the cable goes into the cigarette lighter or the spot where you would normally charge your phone. Since the cable is long, you will have the ability to place the dash cam wherever you want to on the window or dashboard without having any difficulty accessing the charger.

Some people said that they didn’t quite like how the cable didn’t lie down flat on their dashboard, but this shouldn’t be too much of a dealbreaker for you.

Price

One area where some customers had issues was when it came to how much this dashcam costs, but this might be self-explanatory when you think about the advanced and innovative features it comes with. According to several websites, the official retail price of this Garmin product is $229, but you will be able to find it for much cheaper on sites like Amazon, where it is available currently for $126.09. This is a drastic decrease, but some people might still not feel comfortable spending that much on a dashcam. It’s ultimately up to you and what kinds of features you are looking for in this kind of device.

Key Features

Offers turn-by-turn navigation
Can be used with Amazon’s Alexa for additional features
Works with smartphone’s Bluetooth connection for music and more
Can control all photos and videos using the app
All photos and videos are tagged with date and time
All the apps and buttons are easy to use at once

Bottom Line

If you’re someone who wants to get a device that offers all the best and most innovative technology, the Garmin Speak Plus is definitely one that’s worth looking into. However, it’s important to note that this might not work out so well for you if you want something that has an extremely high-quality camera and a large field of view.

If those features are more important for you than Alexa, the ability to stream music, and connection with your smartphone, then you might want to check out some other dashcams made by Garmin. However, there is so much you can do with this one, such as being able to get directions turn-by-turn and being able to control the footage, navigation, music, and other features with the use of apps. It’s extremely easy to use Alexa while you’re driving.

So, all in all, it might be completely worth the price if you choose to purchase this Garmin product.