Once upon a time, we used our trusty old refidex to get us from A to B and then came along the GPS devices such as the Navman, which was a real gain changer. However, over time this got replaced with Google Maps on our phone or even fancy in-car infotainment systems that could not only get you from A to B but do a whole lot more.
So you may be thinking why are we reviewing Navman’s brand new MiCam Explore if the Navam is now outdated? Well because after a year in the making, the MiCam Explore is ready to give our trusty old smartphones and in-car infotainment systems a real run for their money.
Not only does the MiCam Explore get you from A to B, but it can do a full lot more. Basically, this device is designed to be your navigation system, handsfree mobile device and dashcam in one – as well as provide you with a whole lot more useful information as your travelling around the country.
I’ve never actually used a Navman before. But I have used my iPhone to get me from A to B and I have used my in-car infotainment system too. Nevertheless, I was thrilled when Navman reached out and asked if I’d take their newest product the MiCam Explore for a spin and tell them what I thought.
So being completely brand new to Navman, I’m really not able to compare their latest product with any of their previous products – which may be a good or bad thing – however, what I can do is give you a completely honest and unbiased opinion of the brand new MiCam Explore – read on for more!
Plus I’m by no means a technical person, if you’re a layperson like me – then this review is for you!
Let’s check it out!
As I said, the MiCam Explore is so much more than about getting you from A to B. This little device is going to be your navigation system, your handsfree mobile and provide you with a whole lot more super helpful information. Whether you use it day to day while you’re driving around town or use it to help plan your road trips around Australia this device can be super handy.
We received the MiCam Explore before Christmas and have since had a chance to play it with while we do our daily commute as well as use it during our recent 3 week road trip along the Fraser Coast which included a few 4WD tracks. So keep reading below to see what we make of it so far.
Let’s look at some of the features of the MiCam Explore.
Satellite Navigation System
Ok, so we all know that Navman is known for being an awesome satellite navigation system and nothing has changed with the MiCam Explore – however, they have taken this feature to a whole new level.
Not only will this product get you from A to B it also incorporates live traffic updates, provides lane guidance, provides an estimated time of arrival, lets you know next turn directions in advance, provides a choice of routes (tolls, no tolls etc) and it even lets you know how far to the next speed or red light camera.
Other things it can help with include finding the closest parking, petrol station, ATM and where to grab food.
The maps can be updated monthly via Wi-Fi for free for a period of up to 12 months.
We found the navigation system really good while driving around town. It’s great at providing directions as well as just letting you know things such as going over the speed limit etc. However we didn’t find it very helpful when it came to 4WD navigation. In many cases, it wouldn’t be able to find a route, or if it did it would tell us it was going to take say 8 hours to complete a 1 hour trip. Not sure what that is all about – or whether it’s just user error?
Texts and Phone Calls
The MiCam Explore will even help manage your text messages and phone calls while out and about. Simply pair it with your smartphone via Bluetooth and the MiCam will read out your texts and let you take your phone calls handsfree. Click to see how this works.
Again around town, we found this feature great. I’m not a huge fan of how our Pajero Sports works with our phone while in the car – but the MiCam Explore does a great job and makes it relatively easy to make and receive calls.
Handy Travel Features
The MiCam Explore is jammed packed with features designed to help you as you travel around oz. Check out some of these awesome features:
- Towing a van or trailer or have a load on your roof racks? Simply programme this in the vehicle mode and the device will help you avoid narrow streets or low overpasses. Click here to see more about this function.
- The MiCam has 140,00 0km of off road 4WD tracks – however like mentioned above we found this not to work as advertised – not sure if it was the way we were using it though?? See more about the 4WD tracks available here.
- Pop in your destination and the MiCam can show you the tourist attractions you might like to stop off on the way. It can find things like swimming holes, campsites, lookouts, BBQ spots and petrol stations – perfect for planning a road trip. We found this a little hard to use and preferred to just stick with doing the research as to where to go beforehand – although I can see this being handy if you were driving around looking for a BBQ or petrol station etc. I think this function works better in big cities rather than the small towns we were visiting during our road trip.
I’ve never had a dashcam before, so this is new to me, but according to 2019 Allianz data one in five Aussies uses a dashcam for things such as evidence in road accidents or helping out with insurance claims.
If you’re travelling around Australia, it could also be a fun way to record some of your travels. And given the MiCam Explore is the very first dashcam that can record in full HD 1080P you’re guaranteed super crisp and clear footage. It also has a 140 degree field of view so you’ll never miss a thing. Plus it will record perfectly day or night!
The footage is easy to view as well either on the device, or you can download it to your computer via the MIVUE Manager.
We didn’t really check this function out too much – but what we did see looked pretty good. I reckon this would be great if you were doing a really spectacular drive and didn’t have other photography equipment with you.
The MiCam will also help you stick to the speed limits by monitoring your speed in relation to the local speed limits. It will even let you know the location of school zones, red lights and safety cameras. It does all this verbally – so you’ll never get another speeding ticket again!
Honestly this function worked perhaps a little too good! Even if you are a touch over the speed limit it will warn you and so I ended up changing it to only warn when I was 5kms over the speed limit – but definitely a great function for those prone to being a lead foot. I also love the reminder when coming up to schools zones too.
Record Driving Hours
Need to log your driving hours for tax? The MiCam will take care of that for you too and you can even export the data to a spreadsheet so you can easily complete your tax returns. This is also handy for learner drivers who need to record their mileage.
For someone who has never used a Navman before, I found it reasonably easy to get started. It’s pretty simple to set up straight out of the box – just turn it on, and charge it up via the included USB cable.
The MiCam Explore comes with a Quick Start guide in the box and there is a more detailed manual that you can download from their website as well. And if you really get stuck, there is plenty of “how to” videos as well.
I’m not going to lie – I’m not great with technology and at times I was frustrated on trying to get the MiCam to do what I needed to do. Andy on the other hand didn’t seem to have too many dramas, so it’s probably a bit of user error on my behalf rather than the MiCam itself.
Final Thoughts on the Navman MiCam Explore
I can see this being a super handy little product for us and others like us who love exploring the great outdoors. However as I said above, I did have some issues with getting it to do what I wanted it too from time to time and in terms of 4WD tracks it just didn’t seem to work at all.
I’m a super organised traveller myself and found that I was sticking to my own notes and Google maps on my phone for places to stop along the way – but I can see it being really useful for those more spontaneous travellers who like to wing it and then in doing so might need some help finding the nearest petrol station, as well as places of interest along the way.
For me, I enjoy using it for my day to day drive around town, but as a tool for travelling while on the road, I personally didn’t find it that useful. Although like I keep saying, I’m not sure how much of that is me and not so much the MiCam Explore.
If your able to benefit from all the different features, at $499, the Navman MiCam Explore offers quite a lot of bang for your buck.