Monday, August 15, 2011

OnStar FMV Mirror: Product Review

Have you heard of OnStar?  Well, if you have then you may only be familiar with it as being a product on GM vehicles and if not, you've got to check it out. OnStar recently came out with a product that can be installed on a wide range of vehicles (does not need to be GM) that will provide the OnStar service.  The product is an after-market OnStar rear-view mirror that is installed in place of the regular rear-view mirror that comes standard on most vehicles. The mirror contains all of the OnStar technology needed to activate and enable all the services they provide.

I was recently sent the new OnStar FMV mirror to try out on our Toyota Sienna mini-van and I have to admit that it is pretty darn cool!  I had my mirror installed at a local car place in the area that was a certified professional in the installation of these mirrors.  The installation and set-up took a total of about 2 hours.  I was really impressed by the customer service I received from the OnStar folks.  It just so happened that the Director of Sales lives in my area, so because this was one of the first installs of this new product, he personally came by to make sure everything was installed properly and activated correctly.

Once the OnStar mirror was installed into our mini-van, I could start using it as soon as I needed it.  With OnStar there are several different services that are provided.  My favorite one is probably the automatic crash response (ACR) option.  I like knowing that if I end up in a car accident with my children and am not able to dial 911, that OnStar will send help our way.  There is a button for you to push on the mirror to call for emergency assistance, but if you are in such a severe crash that you cannot reach the button or even speak, OnStar can recognize that there is an issue and send help immediately.  This feature is covered by ACR.  The emergency services button gives you a priority connection to an Advisor who can direct emergency service providers to your exact location. You could essentially call for emergencies inside and outside of the vehicle.

Secondly, by having this mirror, you get roadside assistance.  So it's essentially like having AAA, but even better.  OnStar can send someone to unlock your vehicle (should you lock yourself out), change a flat tire or should you run out of gas, they can bring you enough gas to help you get to a nearby gas station.  Pretty neat if you ask me!

My husband and I recently went out for dinner and decided to give the turn-by-turn navigation a try.  Now our car does have built in navigation, but sometimes when we try to use it, it won't recognize our destination (especially if it's a brand-new place).  So I find having the OnStar folks at the touch of a button very handy in these sorts of situations.

My husband and I pressed the "blue" button on our mirror and were instantly connected to a real live person.  He greeted us and then ask us what we needed.  We told him the address of where we were headed and he programed the turn-by-turn directions to be sent to our car.  Several times we veered off the path and the navigation asked us if we needed to update our route or cancel and this was all controlled through our voice commands.  I can see this being a really handy feature if you were on a road-trip in an unfamiliar location and needed help with directions as well.

And finally, another feature is the hands-free calling and blue tooth compatibility.  Personally I try not to chat too often while driving, but if you had a need to do so, this feature would allow you to do that while keeping both hands on the wheel.

Being the mom of two (almost three) young children, I find this product to be invaluable.  I think this would also make a fabulous gift for a new teen driver, an elderly person, a new mom or anyone that may need the added security of roadside assistance, direction assistance or emergency assistance.  The mirror is purchased and then a yearly/monthly fee is paid to keep the service active.

It's been a pleasure to have the opportunity to test out this new product and I think you will really like it too!  To learn more, Visit the official Facebook page or check out the product at your local Best Buy location.  Also you can check out the other blogger's reviews of this wonderful new product through the BlogHer website by visiting the Promotions & Prizes section.