RearVision is the answer I’ve been looking for
Late last year, I invested in a new used car. It is a Ford F-150 with an extended cab and 4-wheel drive. It’s ideal for my personal situation and the truck I’ve been looking for for quite some time. The only downside is that it was built in 2007. I love the body style and because it was used I got a great deal on it. That said, there are quite a few amenities that newer vehicles have that I would like in my older truck. For example, when I purchased my F-150, the original stereo was still installed in the cab. Being that I’m a fan of Apple and technology, I upgraded that as soon as I could to a Pioneer AVH-4200NEX Multimedia Stereo with CarPlay so that my phone would integrate with the truck better. To newer model cars, Bluetooth compatibility is pretty much a standard option, but my 2007 model did not have this.
Another piece of technology that is fairly standard these days is a backup assist camera. This camera is installed directly inline with the car’s stereo in most cases and shows the driver potential hazards near the rear of their vehicle. This is something that I very much wanted to add to my truck, but did not want the hassle or expense of combining it with the new Pioneer stereo. It would involve me purchasing a rear view camera, the wiring kit to make it work with my stereo, and then the labor to have someone install it. Because of this, I’ve just gone without…until now.
Earlier this year, I heard about an amazing device called RearVision. The device is a camera frame that fits over your rear license plate. The camera is 100% wireless and connects directly to your smartphone so that you can view obstacles in your path. Pearl, the company that designed RearVision, has a very firm belief that the latest automotive technology should be available to every driver – whether it’s time for you to buy a new car or not. This mission described my situation perfectly. I had a wonderful vehicle that I planned on driving for some time but wanted the newest technology available in my truck. So, I got my hands on the RearVision.
Pearl wins big points with me for keeping the installation and operation of this device so minimal. In the box, you will find the camera frame and mounting bracket along with a magnetic phone mount (optional), car adapter, user manual, and the security screw tool. That’s it. There are no messy wiring harnesses and no complicated tools to use. To install, you attached your rear license plate to the mounting bracket and then affix that to your car. The RearVision camera plate snaps into place over the mounting bracket and then you tighten the security screw. Once that’s completed, you plug the car adapter into the OBD port in your car (this is usually directly under your steering wheel). When you turn your car on, the car adapter will turn the camera on and you can connect to it as you would a WiFi network. Then you operate the camera through the Pearl app (available through iTunes or the Google Play store).
I’m going to take a moment and talk about the Pearl App. It’s actually quite amazing and very well thought out. You see, the RearVision camera will only operate when the car is moving at under 10MPH. When you begin moving forward at a faster rate of speed, the video feed shuts off and the app gives you the option to connect to several other services like Pandora or iTunes Music. You even have the option of selecting which services you want to have access to through the app’s settings. This is wonderful because it means that you can use one app and continue to have the ability to use the camera when you need to instead of switching back and forth between apps on your phone. The only complaint I have so far about this system is that it isn’t integrated with CarPlay…yet. The people at Pearl are constantly updating the software for the RearVision so I believe this will eventually be included.
Since I received the RearVision, I’ve been so enamored with it and what it can do, I haven’t really stopped to think about what it is. So, here are the main features:
- Two HD Cameras – One camera is optimized for daytime and the other is infrared for night driving. Each has a seven element lens with up to 180º field of view. An advanced image processor manages exposure and corrects distortion in real-time for reliably clear, super-wide-angle views.
- Powered by the Sun – This was my biggest question about the RearVision — how was it powered? The camera frame has a built-in solar panel that charges using direct and indirect sunlight. You do still have the option to charge the camera via USB when you have a lack of sunlight.
- Intelligent distance sensing – The Car Adapter has an eight-core processor that runs billions of calculations per second to analyze images from the two cameras while you’re backing up. If you come in contact with an obstacle — i.e. a car or garage door — a tone will sound from the built-in speaker in the Car Adapter and your smartphone’s screen will outline in red to alert you to the problem. When I was testing the RearVision out, I did discover that obstacles like chain link fences will not trigger this alert. It has to be a solid obstacle.
The RearVision has been very impressive and incredibly helpful since I’ve installed it. I’m especially fond of the 140-degree adjustment range and the fact that you have control of the camera through the app. You can easily turn the camera left and right and tilt it up and down to view all the areas you will be driving. Pearl designed the RearView to enhance your driving experience while keeping you safe. That’s why it is completely hands-free.
Earlier in my review, I mentioned that there is an expense to adding in an aftermarket rear camera to an existing stereo. Well, Pearl has illustrated this point precisely by mocking up a comparison chart on their website. If you have a question about what an add-on camera or factory-direct camera costs in comparison to the RearView, take a look at the Pearl website.
The RearVision has quickly become one of my favorite tech gadgets and I’m really looking forward to what else it can do in the future. If you are looking for an easy to install, well-made, rear camera that works flawlessly with your smartphone, I can recommend the RearVision.
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