Why Jensen Rock-N-Road Costs $800: Optional Backup Camera, Other Tricks


On Tuesday, we said that the $800 price tag on the Jensen NVXM1000 Rock-N-Road seemed expensive. It is, but it's down from the $1,000 it was supposed to cost when announced at CES. Also, further investigation suggests it's got more than most portables. Sure, it lacks the Bluetooth so many of the cool GPS navigators are sporting, but for a handsfree speakerphone, most of those suck anyway. In addition to being XM friendly, and in addition to supporting XM NavTraffic where available, the Rock-N-Road is the first navigator to be compatible with a backup camera. Check it out.

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So, this certainly adds value, though it doesn't make the costs go down: once you've spent the $799 on the Rock-N-Road, you'll want to pony up another $250 for the super-sweet license-plate-frame "collision avoidance" camera.

Then there's $50 for the special Rock-N-Road cradle that powers the unit, routes satellite radio and turn-by-turn directions through your car stereo, and tells the Rock-N-Road when you are in reverse, automatically activating your camera. The new cradle requires a professional install, unless you're handy with auto A/V and electrical.

Once you're set up, you have to buy the XM Mini Tuner ($30) and subscribe to XM Radio ($12.95 per month) and to NavTraffic as well (an extra $3.99 per month, or $9.99 monthly if you don't care about the radio).

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You may be saying, "Why don't I just buy an aftermarket in-dash system instead?" The answer, to me, is that when you travel, you can pop out the Jensen and stick it in a rental car, using the original cradle that came with it. So the cost will add up to more than a Nuvi, in the end, but it's a cool platform. Hey, sometimes you gotta spend money to spend money.

Rock-n-Road Portable Navigation System Features XM Satellite Radio and Real-Time Traffic Capability [Audiovox]

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