Today let’s get into the Garmin dash cam mini-review! Garmin is a big name in the dash cam industry and is a go-to for most whenever the question of “What dash cam should I buy?” comes up.
Our last review of the Garmin 55 had us greatly impressed, will this 4-inch dash cam make the same impact? For one’s peace of mind, considering how much chaos there is on the road. A dash cam is the perfect surveillance device. And with cameras around everywhere, it doesn’t make sense not having one in your vehicle. And one’s best bet, is to stick with a dash cam that is unnoticeable and has smart, advanced features.
Why You Should Buy Dash Cam?
These days, without photographic or video proof, there would be so much chaos and a lot of people who belong behind bars would be running free. That is why surveillance devices like dash cams and sensors are used, to prevent such incidents by letting people know, that they are being watched. Or either to have evidence in case something goes south. These incidents happen when you least expect them, especially on the road. That is why it is best, that one should install a dash cam in one’s car. To be prepared for whatever may happen.
To save you from long hours of browsing the web for a perfect dash cam and thinking out all the factors, we have got a list of the best dash cams for 2020.
At a Glance
The first thing, anybody would notice about this is how tiny it is. Apparently, as big as a key. Now that’s what you would call discreet. But that’s not all, this little guy packs a punch. A 140 degrees viewing angle, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity and auto-recording!
You would not expect the dash cam to do much but it’s a little life saver, that can potentially help you avoid a huge loss, either that be fraud, an insurance scam, or accident-related. This dash cam by Garmin is sure to impress you! Small technology with a huge impact on driving.
Garmin Dash Cam Mini: Specifications
The Garmin Dash Cam Mini specifications are given in the table below:
|DIMENSIONS||1.2 x 2.1 x 1.1”|
|FIELD OF VIEW||140°|
|STORAGE||MicroSDHC, microSDXC (8GB and above)|
|PARKING MODE||Yes, cable must be bough individually.|
|SCREEN||No (Viewed Through App)|
|BATTERY||240mAh Lithium Polymer|
|TEMPERATURE RANGE:||-4°F to 140°F|
Garmin Dash Cam Mini: Design
The Garmin mini dash cam is unlike any other dash cam we have seen so far because of its tininess The dash cam is jet black and resembles a little black box.
The dash cam measures to 1.2 x 2.1 x 1.1 and weighs less than a single ounce. It’s the perfect dash cam to hide behind your windscreen! Needless to say, the dash cam barely has any weight. There isn’t much on the dash cam’s unit other than a microphone “On/Off” button and a “File Save” button on the back of the dash cam’s unit.
The dash cam is the size of a key and is the perfect dash cam for people looking for something that is virtually undetectable. But not for drivers who switch cars a lot, the dash cam despite being small is not a flexible piece of equipment.
The dash cam as you can probably tell doesn’t have a screen but footage can be viewed through the app. The dash cam comes with a magnetic adhesive mount. Disclaimer, this is “one-time setup” dash cam and the mount is supposed to be permanent. Just like mentioned above, it is not a dash cam built with flexibility in mind. To remove it you will have to use the plastic ball joint. Though, there is a limit with that. I would recommend you get a suction cup mount on Amazon, AliExpress or other online stores.
But if you just want to install the dash cam once, then the mount is perfect. As the stability it provides is amazing, the video footage comes out great.
Garmin Dash Cam Mini: Video Quality
We have arrived at the most critical part of the review, yes, I bet you have guessed it. The video quality of the dash cam. The Garmin mini dash cam offers a wide-angle view of 140 degrees which gives a considerable view of the road ahead. You can’t really expect a wider view in such a compact little dash cam, it is just highly unrealistic to think otherwise.
The video recording does not suffer from motion blur either. The dash cam did well in low lighting conditions as well. The night time view was acceptable, but there were times where there were problems with overexposure. All in all, the night mode did an okay job and though it was nothing spectacular. It did its job well.
The Garmin mini dash cam can’t handle headlight flare. We would recommend you get a depolarized filter lens to resolve this issue. Another concern I had before testing out the dash cam was fish eye, it did not suffer from such a distortion, thankfully.
Garmin Dash Cam Mini: Features
Here’s what the Garmin Mini dash cam offers. Let’s take a look;
If you want discreet and unnoticeable, then this dash cam is the best! Everyone expects a bulky looking camera when speaking of a dash cam. Garmin’s 4-inch body is a major asset.
The Garmin mini dash cam has a viewing angle of 140 degrees. Considering the fact that standard dash cams have a 120-degree viewing angle, this little device can get a much wider view than you would expect from its size.
The resolution of the dash cam is 1080p at 30fps, which records crisp video footage. No other resolution options are available. The day and night time mode both work fine, minus the flare and occasional overexposure.
The battery of the Garmin mini dash cam has a stand by time of 30 minutes, which is for emergency purposes.It comes with the “Auto-Recording” feature, the dash cam starts recording as soon as the car starts. There is no need to turn it on manually.
The Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity of the Garmin mini dash cam works just fine, the app has very limited features but it does what it’s supposed to. The company could definitely use improvements with the app.
You can also transfer the videos from your smartphone to a computer, using the USB cable given. In case you want to view the video footage on a bigger screen or monitor.
The audio recording feature of the Garmin mini dash cam also worked without a hitch! No complaints there, nope, none at all. The audio was clear and did not sound muffled at all, at any point.
And lastly, the “Loop Recording” and “G-Sensor” features, passed our test. The “Loop Recording” feature overwrites the oldest recorded footage on the memory card with the latest video footage recorded.
While the “G-Sensor” feature locks video footage and prevents it from being deleted when the sensors detect possible signs of a collision. During the dash cam trial, the Garmin mini was able to detect movements pretty efficiently and though, thankfully no such incident occurred where the feature had to be tested out. But the Garmin mini dash cam’s G-Sensor feature worked well!
Is it Worth the Price?
In all honesty, it depends on what you prioritize in a dash cam. If you’re looking for something much more advanced, say a GPS module, voice command, flexibility, advanced security features and so on. Then go for something else because this chief, ain’t it.
On the other hand, if you want a more discreet, small, no fuss and phone-centric dash cam, then the Garmin mini is it. $130 is not a small price to pay, but the dash cam is a very reliable little piece of equipment and has all the necessary features a driver could ask for. It is not the ultimate security providing dash cam. But it will definitely improve your overall experience as a driver. Other dash cams probably have more features in the same price range, but you won’t find one to be as small and functional as the Garmin mini dash cam!
To sum it, yes! The Garmin mini is definitely a strong contender but the lack of GPS (it is truly a shame), mount options and the fact that Parking Mode cable has to be bought individually is a bummer. The magnetic mounting option does have an alternative, which is buying an adhesive mount or suction cup mount individually. That can fix the issue of inflexibility, in case anyone out there really wishes to buy the Garmin mini dash cam.
Also the discreet design of the dash cam, it is so small and just so perfect. No one will ever notice it unless you point it out yourself. The possibilities of what you may capture with the dash cam are endless. Other than that, the other features, the video quality, the reliability and convenience offered by the dash cam is excellent!
- Manual controls
- No GPS
- Average app
- Wi-Fi creates extra complication
- Mount Lacks Flexibility
- Headlight Flare