No Australian voice on the unit: As much as we find it amusing to hear an American pronounce street directions with all the obvious computerised cheesiness, it’s definitely no substitute for the real Aussie vernacular.
Small screen size: The screen appears a little too small for checking detailed map views. We get the feeling that it’s really going to be better suited to drivers who already prefer audio turn-by-turn instructions and don’t require the GPS screen as an extra aid. We imagine that tricky multi-lane areas (where visual directions are much preferred), may render the Smartmirror slightly un-smart as a result.
The Bluetooth and GPS controls are strictly touch-input operated. This means you’ll have to get used to making changes to your GPS maps or receiving phone calls while stopped at the lights or when parked. Of course, you can do it while driving, but we don’t recommend it as the buttons are very small to press and could cause a distraction while driving.
To be fair, we feel there are many saftety ramifications that come to mind when we think of drivers fiddling with their rear-view mirrors during everyday driving situations.
Placement worries - While we were watching our driver take his directions, we couldn’t help wonder that the rear mirror may not be the best place to implement a GPS unit. Sure, it’s a good spot for camera vision to help illuminate blind spots (as it would be natural to use the mirror to highlight blind spot areas), but because a GPS requires map attention and ease of adjustment, we feel the mirror is not a good placement for such a device.
Dare we say it, but the SmartMirror could be regarded as little dangerous. By taking our eyes momentarily off the road to check out mirror, Azentek are hoping that we don’t also spend too much time checking the GPS. The smartmirror's cumersome placement could provide an unnecessary distraction by positioning a data-rich device (GPS, POI, map detailing) in an area that is usually designated for driver critical moments (like checking mirrors to change lanes, etc). We simply don’t feel comfortable with a GPS bundled in this important area of a car.
While the SmartMirror has passed road worthiness and certification measures in Australia, we still think the GPS should be a separate attachment at best and for that reason you might want to see one in operation before you take the plunge.
It's also not cheap at $1499; there are plenty of other windscreen and mobile phone enabled GPS models at much lower prices clambering for your hard earned dollars. Ultimately, some drivers may love this car gizmo; while others may not warm to at all.
FIRST LOOK: Azentek SmartMirror gives us that Jetsons vibe
By Daniel Long
Nov 5, 2008 4:52PM
Nov 5, 2008 4:52PM