James Stanbury

See other accessory reviews written by James Stanbury

If you need a sat-nav and a dashcam, the Garmin nuviCam LMT-D gives you both functions in one neat package – so how does it compare to dedicated dashcams?

Overview

Even the most techno-phobic drivers may well be considering buying a dashcam right now. Not only does it help solve disputes if you have clear footage of the events leading up to any accidents, but insurance companies are now beginning to offer discounts to drivers with dashcams.

We've been busy testing a whole range of new dashcams, which range in price from budget devices at around £60 to feature-rich versions at £150 or even £180. 

We've tested a wide selection of dashcams in Practical Motorhome, including the budget Cobra CDR 820 and the more fully-featured Cobra Drive HD CDR900, the Transcend DrivePro 220Snooper DVR-4HD, the excellent Mio MiVue 538 Deluxe, the Next Base iN-Car Cam 521G, the Blackvue DR650GW-2CH and the Garmin nuviCam LMT-D. You can read our other dashcam reviews here.

The best dashcams on the market will film your view as you drive, recording footage in a continuous loop on the camera card. When the card is full, it simply overwrites the older video. Filming is done at high resolution, so that numberplates are readable even at night. And there's usually a reasonably wide-angled lens to capture your peripheral view as well as the main forward view.

Motion sensors detect unusual movements and the device will alert you to everything from the potential for a collision ahead, to the danger that the driver in front is about to spot a speed camera and brake! There are alerts for fatigue and lane drifting, too. 

If the sensors detect a crash, they'll save the crucial footage around the incident. They have GPS built into them, so that they can give your speed, the exact date, time and place of the crash.

But most dashcams do not use their inbuilt GPS to help you navigate.

Unlike so many modern cars, most motorhomes are sold without sat-navs. This can seem like an oversight, because if you're driving solo it's very easy to take a wrong turn. And it's no fun when you need to turn large coachbuilt 'vans round in a narrow side road to get back on track. So when we found out that you can get a dashcam that is also a sat-nav, this seemed like the perfect device to buy.

But is it? We tested the Garmin nuviCam LMT-D, which costs a hefty £299.00, to find out.

This combined sat-nav/dashcam unit doesn’t make sense if you already have a built-in sat-nav. But as a combined package, the concept works beautifully. The GPS and camera functions complement each other perfectly, with the sat-nav sometimes overlaying the real-time view of the road.

We loved the 150mm screen and the huge list of features, which includes traffic, speed camera and weather monitoring. It also offers lane departure and forward-collision warnings. There's a school zone alert and the sat-nav map view shows all the services you might need, helping you find fuel, food, cashpoints and rest stops.

It even has Bluetooth so you can link it up to your iPhone or Android smartphone and then make mobile hands-free calls. There's also an optional wireless reversing camera.

When you reach your destination, the sat-nav map view switches to the dashcam view but overlays the view with a big arrow pointing to the exact address you've put in. No more searching for house numbers in the dark!

Technical specs

Size18.3cm wide x 9.4cm high x 1.5cm deep (3.3cm deep with camera)
Screen size13.6cm x 7.2cm
Display resolution quality800 x 480 pixels
Weight319.2g
Sat-navVoice activated, Bluetooth, junction view
Dashcam alertsLane departure, forward collision
MountsSuction cup and magnetic mount
IncludedUSB cable, microSD card, Quick start manual, lifetime maps and traffic alerts
Live updatesVia compatible iPhone and Android smartphones
DashcamAutomatically saves footage surrounding any impact
Closer viewPinch to zoom in
Garmin Real VisionNo more searching for house numbers – an arrow points to the house on screen
Audible and on-screen alertsSchool zone warnings
Sat-nav map view showsServices, food, fuel and ATMs

Verdict

The Garmin nuviCam LMT-D is a fantastic choice if you need a combined dashcam and sat-nav. It's very expensive, at virtually £300, when compared to the straightforward dashcams we tested.

If you already have a separate sat-nav, read our other dashcam reviews before making your choice. You can save £150 or more and end up with the excellent RAC 05 dashcam, at £149.99, or the Mio MiVue 658 Wi-Fi, at £142.96.

Conclusion

Pros

  • 150mm screen
  • So many features
  • Speed camera alerts
  • Weather monitoring
  • Sat-nav and dashcam work well together

Cons

  • Expensive if you don't need all the functions
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