This week we have found out that Garmin has teamed up with Amazon to release a mini echo dot for your car. Early in October we also heard that Amazon partnered up with SONOS to make a new smart speaker called the “Sonos Play:1” with Alexa built into it. Not only was this a smart speaker but it allowed your Amazon devices to play songs on your existing SONOS speakers. Alexa is great in your room but how about in your car. Let’s talk about the new Garmin Speak, a device with Alexa built-in and fits in your car space.
When you open the box you will see the device at the top. The Garmin Speak is basically a very small Echo Dot that has been modified with a stand at the back allowing it to stick to your car’s windshield. In the middle, there is a small screen almost the size of the Nest Thermostat screen. This screen is used to show the driver directions and will show you things related to what you ask Alexa. Such as “Alexa, play Jeopardy”. Alexa will then show you the questions on the screen. There are many other purposes to the screen but let’s move on.
When you start up the Garmin Speak, it will take you through the set-up mode. The device is required to be connected to Bluetooth. Through that you can stream music playlists and podcasts through your vehicle’s stereo, play audiobooks, check the weather, and listen to the news, sports stats or traffic updates — all while keeping your hands on the wheel and your smartphone stowed away. Another good feature is that it has navigation built-in. You can access exclusive Garmin turn-by-turn spoken directions by saying, “Alexa, ask Garmin … ”; display shows lane guidance arrows and upcoming turns.
For all of this to work, it requires downloading of the free Garmin Speak app to your Bluetooth®-enabled smartphone. The Garmin Speak uses your phone’s data connection to stream Alexa responses through your vehicle’s stereo system via Bluetooth or AUX.
Just like the Echo and Echo dot you can choose from thousands of skills in the Alexa Skills Store using the Amazon Alexa app. This is perfect if you are a person that loves to play trivia and other games with your friends at home but now you can do the same thing in the car. If you want to know more on the app then visit their app website. You will have to connect the Alexa app to the Garmin first in order to activate the skills on the Garmin Speak.
The display in the center of the device is 17.2 mm x 9.6 mm (0.68″ x 0.38″) with a display resolution of 114 x 64 pixels. It has an OLED with LED light ring outlining the screen. Just like the Amazon devices, it will turn blue when you say “Alexa” and from there you can adjust the volume. According to the video that they have on their website which will also be at the end of the article shows that the Garmin Speak will always need to be connected to your vehicle using the vehicle power cable (included). But the device is not wireless as it consistently needs a power source to turn on and work. Inside there are 2 microphones with beamforming technology, which is there in every Alexa speaker.
I mentioned earlier that the Garmin also features turn-by-turn navigation. Alongside that, it will also have lane guidance. This means that if you are stuck in traffic then it will tell you to change lanes if you are going below the speed limit. The device also has hands free calling once connected to your contacts and synced. This means that you don’t have to use your phone to call anyone and you can say “Hey Alexa, call Mom” and it will automatically dial the number for you. This is super good for those that go on their phones while driving to dial someone. This device will prevent that from happening.
What’s in the box?
In the box, you will be provided with 4 and only 4 items just like an iPhone box:
- Garmin Speak™ with Amazon Alexa
- Low-profile magnetic mount
- Vehicle power cable
- Quick-start manual
These are the items that you will need to set-up and use the Garmin Speak with Alexa built-in.
I feel that the Garmin Speak is a really good device. It gives you the same amount of fun you would get from the Echo and Echo dot in your room, in your car. Not only is it used for streaming music and your cool playlists but also for navigation and things you would generally need a screen for. It will check your weather, give you traffic updates, stream live stats, assist your driving and prevent you from going on your phone while driving. For information visit the Garmin Speak website. Down below is a video that gives a brief overview of the product and also the unboxing of the device.