Scroll through any cell phone and chances are you'll have a built-in, default map browser that can be used for navigation.

Long gone are the days of purchasing a separate GPS unit, to keep in the console and suction-cup onto the dashboard — right? In 2015, is it still worth it to purchase a GPS system? It all depends on how you look at it.

Garmin's new nüviCam LMTHD might make cell-phone navigators change their mind... because of safety. Officially hitting stores June 1 with a price tag of $399, the nüviCam LMTHD is the first portable navigation device to feature a built-in dash cam.

Taking it on a drive from Upper Manhattan to Queens over the weekend, one Tech Times reporter quickly realized the benefits of having a built-in dash cam – high-definition at that – in a GPS device. Not only does it heighten a driver's awareness, it also offers two dynamic safety features in its Forward Collision Warning and Lane Departure Warning.

The Forward Collision Warning is for all drivers who insist on tailgating on highways or even side streets. They'll be alerted by a loud beep if they get too close to the vehicle ahead. The Lane Departure Warning does much of the same, except it alerts drivers who drift off the road or into oncoming traffic.

The dash cam continuously records onto an included microSD memory card. By hooking the device up to your computer's USB, drivers will find all the footage separated into unsaved and saved files. In the event of a car accident, the device's Incident Detection triggers on, automatically saving files on impact.

The nüviCam LMTHD also records the time, date, location and the miles per hour being driven. All footage can be played back on the device itself or from a computer using garmin.com/dashcamplayer. The dash cam also allows drivers to take snap shots for still images. In this day and age, a dash cam is just flat-out nice to have.

In addition, you can drive the entire length of your desired route in dash-cam mode. Safety is the theme, and the nüviCam LMTHD also provides Bluetooth syncing, which allows a driver to see who's calling — with the choice of answering or ignoring the call right on the crisp six-inch glass display. 

Answering a call will not disrupt the route — something that's a nagging problem with cell-phone users who rely on their default map navigation program.

"You can be using your phone as a mapping tool, but then what happens if you get a call? It's going to interrupt that signal," said Garmin's media associate Cesar Palacios, who previously worked for the company's product support team for two years. "Normally when you get a call [on your cell], it interrupts your entire GPS system. So, with the nüviCam LMTHD, you can just use your phone as it's meant to be."

All said, is it still worth it to purchase a GPS system in 2015? Yes. While the Forward Collision and Lane Departure Warnings aren't 100 percent necessary, we would rather have them on our navigation system than not. Plus, you'd be hard-pressed to demonstrate how a default cell-phone mapping system outperforms the nüviCam LMTHD, especially on dash-cam mode.

Ideally, we'd love to see the device's pricey $399 retail cost drop to a price point of $299 or at least $349 — but other than that, it's hard to find faults.

So, you're at the fork in the road... are you going to cough up $400 or stick to your cell's maps? Your call.


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