Car Tech 101: The lowly rearview mirror gets a tech makeover
Cooley On Cars
Over the longest time, your mirror was just that, your rearview mirror, and that's about all it did, tt was about as innovative as the parking break pedal.
But then all of a sudden a In the past few years that has become kind of a center of in cabin tech innovation if you wanna go cnet style.
Now of course the most requested new feature people like to get is a rear view camera.
You have to hook that up, of course, to a camera that you have to install at the back of your car.
It's actually the hardest part.
But the nice thing about that admittedly small image is that at least it's in the same place where you should be looking anyway, as opposed to looking down.
Next up comes dash cam.
Americans are kinda warming up to these.
Many of our viewers in other parts of the world know exactly what I'm talking about.
This mirror, for example, has got a forward looking HD camera on it right here on the side.
Side that is always looking out and can record on demand.
Or when there's an impact it'll auto record and save ten seconds back.
Now Bluetooth HF.
There's a lot of ways to get this done in your car, but there are also mirrors that incorporate that.
So this is the microphone, the speaker, and the Bluetooth pairing wireless technology.
The upside is it's all very tidy and pretty easy to install.
The downside is it will not integrate with your factory audio so it won't mute the radio for example.
When a call comes in, you gotta do that manually.
Now of course, turn by turn navigation is probably the crown prince of in-car tech right now, and you can also get that in a rear-view mirror.
The downside is, it's nowhere near as good as Android or Google or Waves, or Apple Maps Navigation It's a big step down but it's tidy, and maybe you're one of those leadites who doesn't have a smartphone in which case it will be a miracle.
Connecting to OnStar.
OnStar, those guys used to offer a dedicated mirror called OnStar FMV that would have OnStar features built in, many of them, not all.
It was missing some key things.
Like remote door unlocked or stolen vehicle location in slow down.
So it didn't sell real well.
But if you want the smaller subset of features that it does support, they're still out there for sale.
Quite a few of them in stock new at different retailers And OnStar will still activate them at their usual service rates.
And of course, General Motors recently rolled out the first full video rear view mirror on the Cadillac CT6.
It is amazing.
I have no doubt that becomes the default technology in all new cars in a few years.
But in the mean time, the only way you can get it is a buying a new car.
There's no after market model that I know of.
That you buy a mirror that has any or all of these available features like I'm talking about, make sure you find out if it's an all new mirror that mounts on the stand on the windshield or if it's a clip on that goes over your existing mirror, I find that to be an ungainly mess but that's just me.
The good news is a lot of these mirror are very inexpensive, $100 to $200, it's amazing for what they do, the downside is that because none of them Are major brand names.
They're all second tier companies.
So you're gonna have to sift a lot of reviews and a lot of user feedback to find the good ones.
But I believe there are such out there in my experience.
It's just not drop dead simple.
More CarTech demystified right now at CNETOCars.com.
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