By BOB GRITZINGER | Contributing Editor To demonstrate one of…
Editor’s Note: As part of our driver safety partnership with hum by Verizon, we received a hum device to test. The following is a review of the product and how it functions based upon our personal experience.
Do you own and drive a used car? Chances are that if your car is on the older side, you don’t have the Bluetooth connectivity found in the majority of today’s newer vehicles. hum by Verizon is a device and service that aims to make your car smarter, safer and more connected. We spent several weeks testing out the hum device and its capabilities, and this review is intended to help consumers considering purchasing hum make an educated decision based upon our experience.
How does it work?
Part in-car device and part mobile app, hum consists of three components: a Bluetooth speaker that can be mounted on your sun visor, a reader that plugs in to your car’s OBD-II port, and a mobile phone app.
The OBD reader is key here as it is responsible for reporting out on your vehicle’s on-board data. You can then view your vehicle diagnostics through the hum mobile app on either your Android or iOS device.
Setting up your hum device
Set up is actually quite simple. Upon receipt of your hum device, simply create an account, download the hum mobile app, add your vehicle’s identification number (VIN), and connect the system to your vehicle. You’ll need to add your customer account details into the mobile application and then go through the activation process while seated in your car.
Then, you’re ready to go on your merry way with access to features like Roadside Assistance and a Mechanics Hotline – two useful tools that provide added peace of mind. hum also allows you to have up to four vehicles assigned to one user account, so if you have a family with four drivers, you could purchase four devices and monitor them from the same account.
Features in the hum mobile app
The hum mobile app is probably the best place to manage your account. Features such as Speed Alerts, Boundary Alerts, Driving History, Auto Health Reports, Maintenance Reminders, and Vehicle Diagnostics like fuel economy are available through your smartphone.
I personally preferred the ease of managing the hum system through the mobile app as opposed to logging into my account via the desktop website. Crisp and clean in design, the app is very straightforward and simple to use.
Emergency Assistance and the Mechanics Hotline are likely to be two of the most desirable components of hum. Emergency Assistance connects you to a live agent for immediate help when on the road. hum may also detect an accident in your vehicle, in which case help will be dispatched. Certified mechanics are available to help at the press of a button as well. Simply press the call button to get in touch with someone who’s qualified to answer your car functionality questions.
For system alerts such as those for speed and geographical boundaries, hum will send the account owner (i.e. your mom or dad) an email or text alert when the driver has breached one of those established boundaries. Limits can be set within the hum app for both and easily changed at any time.
I also appreciated the frequency with which hum communicated with me as a customer. The company sends regular updates in the form of a monthly summary of activity called an “Auto Health Report”– but they do well not to over communicate.
One of the best aspects of hum by Verizon that we discovered was its high level of customer service. Along with a Quick Start Guide, hum has a FAQ section of their website to help customers get answers quickly.
Who should buy and use this tool?
Parents with young drivers will likely be interested in this tool. Also, the hum system should be easy enough to use for all audiences, including elderly, more seasoned drivers.
Before considering buying this device, check its compatibility with your car. You can do so quickly by visiting hum.com and scrolling down the home page to the “can I use hum with my car?” section. The hum system works with most vehicles 1996 and newer.
For $10 a month (plus taxes and fees), customers can subscribe to hum by Verizon. In addition to the monthly subscription fee (a two year required agreement), buyers of this product will also be charge a $29.99 one-time equipment fee, and a $20 one-time activation fee. Total cost for the two years is $289.99, or roughly the cost of a well-equipped in-car GPS system.
We found hum to be useful for most owners with older vehicles. While the tool works well overall, we did find the hum system is not easily migrated between multiple vehicles. It’s not really meant to be used in multiple vehicles, and if you do swap vehicles, you may want to screenshot your prior statistics before making the change. The hum app does not save historical vehicle data for prior vehicles, so all that information will be lost after a migration.
Overall, we like that Verizon is providing a simple, easy-to-install solution for customers who would like Bluetooth connectivity, access to Roadside Assistance and the Mechanics Hotline for quick help. Verizon is also backing up their product with solid customer service – each team member we spoke with was pleasant, helpful, and patient with our questions.
Disclaimer: This post is one of several articles part of a paid partnership with hum by Verizon. Our partnership focuses on driver safety, broadening the general awareness of Verizon’s hum product, and at times, will feature Verizon subject matter experts. Those articles will be denoted with an author by-line and this disclosure statement. Social media posts promoting the published articles in this series will be accompanied by the #humBCC and #sponsored hashtags.