In-dash navigation continues to be one of the hottest categories in the Al & Ed's stores, and adding a Bluetooth hands-free device is almost automatic with each install. There are a number of vehicles, though, that don't lend themselves well to radio removal, or perhaps the client wants the benefits of navigation and Bluetooth, but likes the factory radio just the way it is. A portable navigation device works, but then one has to deal with suction cups, wires, plugs and that add-on feeling. The SmartMirror from Azentek is a good solution.
The SM450 is a replacement rear-view mirror that also has built-in navigation and Bluetooth. Unlike the "behind the glass" screens available, Azentek wisely provides a separate 4-inch color touch-screen that takes up about 1/3 of the mirror's area. The rest is a standard rear-view with very good optics. It's not much bigger than a factory mirror, but has plenty of usable real estate. The front of the mirror is simply laid out with five buttons. There are Power and Main Menu buttons, and the rest are for the Bluetooth hands-free. Answer, Hang-Up, and Pairing buttons are all easy to use and intuitive.
The screen itself has good brightness, color, and contrast, although it can wash out in bright sunlight. My wife's car is a convertible, so this is more of an issue for her than in most cars, where the mirror lives in relatively shaded surroundings. The touch screen operates easily and the menu system requires little getting used to. There is a built-in speaker for navigation commands and for the hands-free operations. The mirror has a flip-out antenna for acquiring GPS satellites, but also has an external antenna (included) if the vehicle has metalized tint or if the mirror is set back too far to get signal. Two nice features of the nav are a Lane Assistant view, which gives you a good idea about what's happening in freeway merges and turns, and a Text to Speech feature usually found only on the "better" navs. This calls out street names for you, making it easier to get your turns right, especially where street blocks are close together. … Read more