Garmin Speak Plus with Amazon Alexa & Dash Cam 2020 Detailed Review.
Garmin Speak Plus with Amazon Alexa & Dash Cam: Garmin, the brand that consumers have come to associate with stand-alone GPS technology, by all rights, seemed like their time was up. But smart companies don’t let a competitor’s technological breakthrough define their entire business, and Garmin is a smart company. With the Speak Plus with Alexa, Garmin has once again found a way to make their technology indispensable to the average consumer.
Garmin’s newest device brings the power of Amazon’s Alexa into your vehicle. With the convenience of hands-free voice commands, you can use the Speak Plus as your very own portable personal assistant. It’s like driving around with an amazing PA in your passenger seat; though we are yet to find an assistant who can offer you perfect on-demand navigation at the drop of a hat. You can stream the Speak Plus’s audio through your phone’s speakers via either Bluetooth or an AUX cable. How does the Garmin Speak Plus measure up?
The first thing we noticed when we opened the box is that the Speak Plus was thankfully missing a suction cup mount. Every mountable device we had used up to this point came with an awful suction cup mount system that would often come loose, sometimes even resulting in the device falling into our laps while we drove.
The Speak Plus contains a low-profile magnetic mount that mounts securely and doesn’t obstruct your field of vision. Inside the box, you’ll find the device itself, a magnetic mount, a power cable for your car, a microSD card, and the Quick Start manual.
Interface and Setup
Setup and installation are a breeze. You’ll need to download the Garmin Speak and Alexa apps if you haven’t already, sign in to your Amazon account, and start pairing. The device uses a sticker mount that attaches via a magnet. (Just be aware that the sticker can be hard to remove from your windshield once you’ve attached it.) It comes with an 8GB microSD card, but no card adapter. The Speak Plus can also manage your media and phone calls via Bluetooth. Note that using Alexa functions eats up your mobile data.
Remotely Control Home Devices
With wireless “smart” home connectivity, Alexa lets you remotely control various devices and systems4 — including lights, locks, thermostats, and more — via spoken commands from your vehicle. For example, if you forget to lock your front door, you can do so remotely from your car without turning back. Or, if you realize you won’t be home for some time, you can remotely reset the thermostat so you’re not cooling or heating an empty home. It’s automation that works to make life simpler.
Connect with Your Car Stereo
With its small footprint and compact design, the Garmin Speak Plus device mounts unobtrusively on your windshield. And because it works with your car stereo speakers, the sound quality is great. Simply download the free Garmin Drive app.
The Garmin Drive app works with your phone and a suitable cellular data connection, allowing you to stream Alexa responses — including music — right through your vehicle’s stereo system via AUX port cable. To make sure your system’s data is always up to date, software updates are automatically sent to your device on a regular basis. That way, your Garmin Speak Plus device will continue to get smarter as new features, mapping and skills become available.
The Speak Plus’s display is a far cry from the cruddy displays of Garmin’s original GPS devices. Gone are the gaudy, cartoony road graphics, and in their place, beautiful and minimalistic graphics which adhere to the cold and simple aesthetics of the Amazon Alexa. Instead of the cheesy graphics, you get simple and bright icons that direct you to your next move.
Garmin’s GPS Speak feature is clear and concise, interplaying perfectly with the display icons, telling you exactly where you need to go and when to do it. We were relieved to find that the navigational services are no extra charge and that the maps are updated automatically.
The Speak Plus includes an awesome dashcam feature which not only records your drive, but also provides driver assistance features such as forward-collision warnings, which let you know when you are too close to the car ahead of your, and lane departure warnings, which alert you when you start drifting out of your land or into oncoming traffic. The Garmin device also lets you know if the cars in front of you have started to move forward, which is perfect for those of us who find ourselves daydreaming while in traffic or sitting at long lights.
Here is an annotated list of what Alexa can do: add items to your Amazon shopping cart and have them delivered to your home, check your bank statement, find a gas station, get sports scores, answer music and movie trivia questions, play audiobooks, make phone calls, turn off or dim your lights, teach you a skill, teach you a history lesson and so on and so forth.
- Discreet and easy to install.
- Smooth navigation.
- Alexa integration.
- No onscreen maps.
- Alexa functionality requires mobile data.
- Sticky mount is hard to scrape off the windshield.
All in all, the Garmin Speak Plus with Alexa is a total recommend. With its small and non-obstructive size, clean design, GPS and navigational functionality, smart home interplay, and superb Alexa integration, you’ll wonder how you went so long without one. That’s how we measure the greatness of a gadget; if we can’t imagine a world without it, it must be pretty special. We didn’t realize how badly we needed the Alexa experience in our vehicle until we were able to draw a warm shower during our commute. We don’t think that we’ll ever get over that warm shower.