Nextar GPS with Back-Up Camera

Many of you will be traveling this summer - which means a long drive to reach your destination, or driving in rental car or borrowed car when you DO fly to your intended destination.

I don't know about you guys - but I stink with directions. North, South, East, West - I lose track so easily. I am great with a map, but ... that isn't exactly safe to be using when driving! Especially when you have kids in the backseat.

That's why I LOVE GPS units. They are a must-have car accessory. Why? Well, they help get you to your destination, they can help you get home if you get lost, they let you know how far you are from your destination even if you know how to get there, they can give you alternate routes when stuck in traffic ... they just rock.

But do you know there is GPS system with a back-up camera system? :shock-and-awe: Do you know how awesome that is? I almost don't need to explain the benefits of a back-up camera on your car. I have heard horror stories where parents back-up over their own children, thinking their children were in the house with another relative. They just couldn't see their kids because of the blindspots in the rearview and side mirrors. In fact, back-up collisions killed 221 people in the US in 2007, and injured about 14,400. (Read Risk of Reverse) The article reports that 44 percent of all nontraffic fatalities of children aged 15 or younger are from backup accidents. A safety group, Kids and Cars, support camera systems, believing they will help lessen the accidents. So it is a huge BONUS that the Nextar I4-BC includes one!

The I4-BC comes with a 4.3" color display GPS device, the wireless back-up camera, a carry pouch, wireless cradle, windshield mounting bracket, car adapter, AC adapter, and USB cable.

The GPS Device has built-in speakers, a built-in LI-ion battery, a SD card slot, photo viewer and MP3 Player. The features include:
  • Touch Screen
  • USA and Canada Map
  • Text-to-Speech Prompt
  • Turn-by-Turn Prompt
  • 1.6 Million Points of Interest
  • Navteq on Board
  • 2D/3D View
  • Day/Night Mode
  • Speed Limit Control
  • Back-up Camera View

Now, my husband was kind enough to play with the Nextar I4-BC and put everything on my car. We both really loved the GPS unit itself. It was thin, white, sleek and the screen looked huge on it. It gave a real nice picture, so it was easy to follow direction. I don't like "speech" on any GPS unit - I find it distracting - so I keep it on mute.

Inputing an address was easy. If you never used one before, it will be easy to learn and follow prompted directions. If you have used a GPS unit before, you should definitely have no problem. You go to the Menu screen and select a destination. At this point you can see Points of Interest, Recents and Favorites - I usually am hitting up my recent destinations. But, you will at first need to choose address. Then you select a City if you are driving within your own city, or state if you are driving out-of-state. You enter that information, enter a street name when promoted, enter the address number when prompted, select the destination in various are provided and press NAV for navigation.

Now I mentioned having it on mute a little while ago. You can do that from the Navigation screen on the lower right corner. You can unmute it as you are driving too. On the top, left it will tell you your next "direction" with an arrow, so you know far enough in advance if you need to be in a right or left lane! The bottom of the screen provides so much valuable information! It tells you the estimated arrival time, total estimated time of the drive, distance to destination and your current speed. On the left and right side of the screen you will see a plus and minus side so you can zoom in and out of the map display.

One thing that I found super cool was that you can set an intersection as a destination. That way I know if I know is a store is located on a certain insection, and I know the current road I am on intersects with the road I want to find... but I am not sure where. Well, this option helps me know how far and which direction to head in! And I mentioned before that you can also do detours if a certain lane is backed-up. This is really useful when doing long-distance drives. We often use it when heading to Kissimmee! Traffic can get insane, but the GPS will always get us out of it and on a better route.

The windshield mounting bracket was sturdy and strong. It kept the unit on our windshield without a problem. It was easy to take the unit off the windshield when I needed to program an address as my husband was driving.

Now, my favorite part - the Back-Up Camera. This device is so unique that automatically displays the feed from your back-up camera when you are going reverse. This is a huge bonus! Just imagine how much safer your children, your pets, and your neighbor's children will be! Plus, I always worry when back-up in a busy parking lot since it is hard to really see who might be coming around the big SUVs. But the automatic back-up camera really helped me see so much easier at almost all angles. Worried about installation? I know I was, but there were great instructions included with the unit. Altough, I am positive you could probably take this somewhere to be installed if you want a professional to do it.

I didn't use these capabilities, but it does have them. You can save MP3s on a SD Memory Card to play automatically on the I4-BC. You can also save jpgs on it to view in the photo viewer. But, I would be careful with this. You want to ensure you do not save jpgs in the flash storage area, since that is where Map Data is saved. And high-resolution images can cause the system to lag. So, if you are not computer-savvy ... skip this feature. Besides, why are we looking at photos when driving? Kidding, it would be a great way to carry photos when visiting family, but I would be afraid to mess something up. So :clap: for Nextar. And shame on me, being overly cautious!

Overall, it is a sleek GPS device with wonderful unique features. Maps, Music, Photos and a Back-Up camera. I don't know any GPS system that is quite as cool!

The Nextar I4-BC retails for around $299. I found it on Amazon for around $219. So, with some shopping around you will be able to find a super price for it at a retailer of your choice.

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