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WORDS AND IMAGES BY TOBEY BOSTOCK

What’s in the Garmin dash cam range?
The new line up consists of four models. The 46, 56, 66W and mini; the mini being totally new. The interface, features and functions of the units is all very similar. The key points between each model is the resolution and the field of view, in essence, the quality of the video and how much captured. The mini of course loses the rear LCD screen in favour of reduced size and smart phone app-only configuration.


Garmin Dash Cam 56 review

GEAR Garmin Dash Cam 56

Garmin has refreshed its dash camera line-up. We got hold of the Garmin Dash Cam 56, strapped it to my fourby and hit the road. Here is everything you need to know.

*Terms and conditions apply
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READ THE REVIEW IN UNSEALED 4X4

These days, it’s probably more common to see a vehicle with a dash cam than without. And they’re not all being used to provide content for YouTube channels. LOL. And are, instead being used as additional insurance in collisions.

Just before heading off on our recent outback trip I was perusing the Interweb when I saw Garmin had refreshed its entire line-up of dash cams. We had taken away a previous model to Iceland and were happy with how it went but felt it was time to upgrade. Looking at the specs, it didn’t seem that a lot had changed with the units…$250 and two days later I had one the Friday before we left. What better way than 10,000 kilometres of dirt tracks, sand dunes and corrugations to test it out.

Out of the box
The unit is relatively small. The chassis isn’t much larger than the LCD screen on the rear. Which makes for discreet mounting in your vehicle, preventing any obstruction of view.

The mounting is simple, the mount consists of a piece of metal about the size of a 10c piece, attached to the windscreen with double sided tape. The arm then magnetically attaches to the mount and to the camera with a ball socket. The mount sits tight and doesn’t move around and never fell off even over the roughest corrugations we drove across. The ball socket gives a good range of movement for getting the perfect angle, too.

The unit has two USB cables, a short and long cable, presumably one is for routing behind the trim panels (like we did) and the other directly to an in-dash USB port. The unit also includes a dual USB 12v socket adapter to power the camera and any other USB devices you might have.

It has four simple-to-use buttons on the side and a MicroSD slot on the underside. A decent size SD card is a must - I’m talking 128gb if you plan on making the most of the unit.

How to get it going
Pretty simple really. Like most devices these days it connects via an app on your smartphone (Garmin Drive) and all of its settings are easily configured via that app. If you don’t want to do this, you can employ the slightly slower method of using the buttons on the side of the device.

The settings are pretty easy to understand, the app is flawless (in our testing) and gives you quite a bit of flexibility – I used the app to do everything which I found much easier than the buttons on the unit.

The app is also quite a handy feature to have as you can stream the video to your phone to give more precise placement of the camera. It will also allow you to download footage and images straight from the camera to your phone for sharing on social media or just when you require quick access (think collision).

A lot of tech in a little package.

Key shown for size comparison.

Voice Control
Well, I thought this would be a gimmick, until I actually used it. Normally voice controlled devices require you to scream at it until it decides to do something, usually the opposite of what you want. However, on this unit the voice control is simple. There are only a few commands such as starting and stopping recording, taking pictures and starting or stopping a travelapse. It responds quickly and for the most part did what it was told.

What features does it have

Travelapse
The travelapse was the feature I was most excited about. It creates a time-lapse of your trip by combining a number of stills taken at set intervals. It’s a fun feature and great for sharing your trip with family and friends. It’s made simple to activate with one tap in the app, or “Hey Garmin, start travelapse”. But be warned, this is where the large memory card is necessary.

Traffic
The unit chimes when you are too close to a vehicle, departing a lane or traffic is moving off and you haven’t after a specific amount of time. This feature bugs me a little. Although it does work as described, I find it a little sensitive. It’s something I leave off, but others may find handy.

What’s the quality of the footage like?
The unit I picked records in 1440p (WQHD) and up to 65 frames per second which is ample video quality for a dash cam, maybe even excessive as I found it chewing through storage pretty quick. The field of view is 140 degrees which is good. Wider would have its place (such as in the 65W) however 140 was plenty of view for me.

The video and images are as I would expect for a camera of its size. The tip is to make sure your windscreen is clean inside and out and free from any reflections.

You can turn on or off the data overlay which includes date, time, position and speed along the bottom of the video, which is handy if you ever need to hand the footage over to prove something.

So, what do we think?
The unit is great. We had it rolling every day for a month straight through the outback. It stayed where we put it. It never once ‘crashed’ or locked up and the app is polished, so transferring data and controlling the unit is fast and easy. There is an inbuilt battery, it’s life could be longer, only really useful when you need to unplug the unit for a short period of time. The only thing missing is a parking mode (to sense knocks in the carpark) out of the box. The unit requires an extra cable kit to hardwire the unit into your vehicle.

GARMIN DASH CAM 56 SPECIFICATIONS
CAMERA RESOLUTION 1440p
FIELD OF VIEW 140 degrees
FRAME RATE Up to 60 FPS
DASH CAM AUTO SYNC Yes (up to 4 cameras)
BATTERY 30 Minutes, Lithium-ion
AUTOMATIC INCIDENT DETECTION Yes


GEAR Garmin Dash Cam 56

What’s in the Garmin dash cam range?
The new line up consists of four models. The 46, 56, 66W and mini; the mini being totally new. The interface, features and functions of the units is all very similar. The key points between each model is the resolution and the field of view, in essence, the quality of the video and how much captured. The mini of course loses the rear LCD screen in favour of reduced size and smart phone app-only configuration.


Garmin Dash Cam 56 review

Garmin has refreshed its dash camera line-up. We got hold of the Garmin Dash Cam 56, strapped it to my fourby and hit the road. Here is everything you need to know.

*Terms and conditions apply

READ THE REVIEW IN UNSEALED 4X4

SCROLL TO CONTINUE
ADVERTISEMENT

These days, it’s probably more common to see a vehicle with a dash cam than without. And they’re not all being used to provide content for YouTube channels. LOL. And are, instead being used as additional insurance in collisions.

Just before heading off on our recent outback trip I was perusing the Interweb when I saw Garmin had refreshed its entire line-up of dash cams. We had taken away a previous model to Iceland and were happy with how it went but felt it was time to upgrade. Looking at the specs, it didn’t seem that a lot had changed with the units…$250 and two days later I had one the Friday before we left. What better way than 10,000 kilometres of dirt tracks, sand dunes and corrugations to test it out.

Out of the box
The unit is relatively small. The chassis isn’t much larger than the LCD screen on the rear. Which makes for discreet mounting in your vehicle, preventing any obstruction of view.

The mounting is simple, the mount consists of a piece of metal about the size of a 10c piece, attached to the windscreen with double sided tape. The arm then magnetically attaches to the mount and to the camera with a ball socket. The mount sits tight and doesn’t move around and never fell off even over the roughest corrugations we drove across. The ball socket gives a good range of movement for getting the perfect angle, too.

The unit has two USB cables, a short and long cable, presumably one is for routing behind the trim panels (like we did) and the other directly to an in-dash USB port. The unit also includes a dual USB 12v socket adapter to power the camera and any other USB devices you might have.

It has four simple-to-use buttons on the side and a MicroSD slot on the underside. A decent size SD card is a must - I’m talking 128gb if you plan on making the most of the unit.

A lot of tech in a little package.

Key shown for size comparison.

How to get it going
Pretty simple really. Like most devices these days it connects via an app on your smartphone (Garmin Drive) and all of its settings are easily configured via that app. If you don’t want to do this, you can employ the slightly slower method of using the buttons on the side of the device.

The settings are pretty easy to understand, the app is flawless (in our testing) and gives you quite a bit of flexibility – I used the app to do everything which I found much easier than the buttons on the unit.

The app is also quite a handy feature to have as you can stream the video to your phone to give more precise placement of the camera. It will also allow you to download footage and images straight from the camera to your phone for sharing on social media or just when you require quick access (think collision).

What features does it have

Voice Control
Well, I thought this would be a gimmick, until I actually used it. Normally voice controlled devices require you to scream at it until it decides to do something, usually the opposite of what you want. However, on this unit the voice control is simple. There are only a few commands such as starting and stopping recording, taking pictures and starting or stopping a travelapse. It responds quickly and for the most part did what it was told.

Travelapse
The travelapse was the feature I was most excited about. It creates a time-lapse of your trip by combining a number of stills taken at set intervals. It’s a fun feature and great for sharing your trip with family and friends. It’s made simple to activate with one tap in the app, or “Hey Garmin, start travelapse”. But be warned, this is where the large memory card is necessary.

Traffic
The unit chimes when you are too close to a vehicle, departing a lane or traffic is moving off and you haven’t after a specific amount of time. This feature bugs me a little. Although it does work as described, I find it a little sensitive. It’s something I leave off, but others may find handy.

What’s the quality of the footage like?
The unit I picked records in 1440p (WQHD) and up to 65 frames per second which is ample video quality for a dash cam, maybe even excessive as I found it chewing through storage pretty quick. The field of view is 140 degrees which is good. Wider would have its place (such as in the 65W) however 140 was plenty of view for me.

The video and images are as I would expect for a camera of its size. The tip is to make sure your windscreen is clean inside and out and free from any reflections.

You can turn on or off the data overlay which includes date, time, position and speed along the bottom of the video, which is handy if you ever need to hand the footage over to prove something.

So, what do we think?
The unit is great. We had it rolling every day for a month straight through the outback. It stayed where we put it. It never once ‘crashed’ or locked up and the app is polished, so transferring data and controlling the unit is fast and easy. There is an inbuilt battery, it’s life could be longer, only really useful when you need to unplug the unit for a short period of time. The only thing missing is a parking mode (to sense knocks in the carpark) out of the box. The unit requires an extra cable kit to hardwire the unit into your vehicle.

GARMIN DASH CAM 56 SPECIFICATIONS
CAMERA RESOLUTION 1440p
FIELD OF VIEW 140 degrees
FRAME RATE Up to 60 FPS
DASH CAM AUTO SYNC Yes (up to 4 cameras)
BATTERY 30 Minutes, Lithium-ion
AUTOMATIC INCIDENT DETECTION Yes