Installation of the Onstar FMV mirror unit was just completed on my 2004 EX. The mirror has to mount to the windshield for the crash sensor to function, thus the "may require aesthetic changes to interior of vehicle" notice in the OnStar FMV Compatiblity Chart. FMV sellers may try to tell you (based on erroneous OnStar instructions) that the Element doesn't require a mounting kit. That is wrong. It needs the OnStar Big Foot Mount Installation Kit, part # DQ2982. Be sure the primer and adhesive have good expiration dates. FMV installation instructions may be viewed here: http://a248.e.akamai.net/pix.crutchfield.com/Manuals/293/293smlftkt.pdf with Big Foot instructions on page 11. The FMV unit uses a 3 wire electrical connection: constant 12V, switched 12V (accessory), and ground. I couldn't see a way to connect those at the map/dome lights, and I was reluctant to pull the A pillar trim, so I opted for "professional installation", which OnStar recommends. I purchased from Crutchfield.com. The FMV unit was on sale for $75, the Big Foot Mount regular price was $10, and the $90 InstallerNet InstallCard was on sale for $25, all with free shipping. After $20 v.me promotion discount, the whole thing cost $90. I found the InstallerNet process to not be particularly user friendly. You can't easily identify your installer prior to scheduling an appointment. InstallerNet site gives city and street (but not name or street number) of installers in their network. Through Google searching and phone calling, I was able to identify several network installers, rule out those with bad online reviews, and settle on one in business for more than a decade with all good reviews. I contacted the installer prior to activating the InstallCard. He explained that the card covers installing the FMV unit to an existing mount, running the wiring behind trim, making electrical connections, and ensuring the unit is operational. He quoted an additional $40 to install the Big Foot Mount. I opted to install the mount myself. I'm not the most mechanically inclined person, but installation of the mount was pretty straight forward following the instructions cited above, and the mount went on without a problem. After an overnight wait for adhesive to set (instructions call for a minimum of 90 minutes) I uninstalled my factory mirror (removed the trim with a couple of credit cards, removed the 3 large Phillips head screws, reinstalled the screws for safe keeping, reinstalled the trim with some small strips of Velcro concealed under the lip), hung the FMV mirror on the new mount, and tightened the single Torx screw. I then scheduled installation through InstallerNet. I was in and out of the installer's shop in less than 45 minutes. He inserted the FMV's cable under the headliner where it meets the windshield, ran it over to and down the driver's side A-pillar, and made power and ground connections at/by the fuse box below the steering wheel. He mounted the external microphone at the top of the windshield to the right of the driver's side A-pillar. I had to remind him to open the FMV's case and plug in the battery - something I'd read some installers forget to do. 10 to 15 minutes on the phone with OnStar got the unit activated. I went with the $20 per month "Safe and Sound" package which includes all features except turn by turn directions (another $10 per month and I have a Garmin). I'll probably buy their 2 year package ($15 per month) once I'm satisfied everything is working as advertised. I'm hoping not to have to test the the crash sensor anytime soon.
It may be the angle of the photo that makes it look big. It doesn't seem any more obtrusive than the original mirror. If anything, I think the top to bottom field of vision may be just a hair less than the original. It has its own built-in cell phone (though the minutes are pricey) with voice activated calling and hands-free operation (well, hands-free after pushing the phone button in the lower left corner to activate the phone). It also pairs with Bluetooth cell phones for hands-free conversation. I've found that, if minutes are purchased for the built-in phone, voice dialing is limited to the built-in cell with the more expensive OnStar phone minutes. The Bluetooth connected cell still communicates through the windshield mounted mic and mirror enclosed speaker after answering incoming calls with the mirror's phone button or dialing the phone in the conventional manner. If no minutes are loaded for the built-in phone, voice activated calling works with the Bluetooth connected phone. Seems like they could program it to switch between built-in phone and Bluetooth, but they say that option is not currently available. Customer service calls (blue button) and emergency calls (red button) to OnStar are included in the monthly fee and don't use cell phone minutes. Voice quality and volume seem pretty good.
I previously reported that the OnStar FMV wouldn't allow me to switch between prepaid OnStar minutes and less expensive Bluethooth cell phone minutes when using the FMV's hands-free calling feature. In fact, an OnStar customer service rep told me there is no way to switch between services and as long as I have prepaid OnStar minutes loaded on the FMV, I won't be able to make hands-free outgoing calls with the Bluethooth cell. I've since determined that is incorrect. When I first paired my Bluethooth cell with the FMV, I found I could receive cell calls via the FMV, but outgoing hands-free calls used only the prepaid OnStar minutes. I gave up and shutdown the FMV for the night. The next day I started the Element, effectively cold booting the FMV. I made an outgoing call by voice command and, to my surprise, the FMV defaulted to my Bluetooth cell. Though the FMV doesn't have a manual switch or voice command to toggle between OnStar Minutes and Bluetooth, I need only turn off my cell or turn off the cell's Bluetooth function, and the FMV will automatically switch to OnStar minutes. Take the cell with me with Bluetooth active when I drive the Element and the FMV hands-free uses the cell. Leave the cell at home, turn it off, or even lose battery charge and the hands-free function switches to the OnStar minutes.