The Garmin Dash Cam 20 Review
- Quality recording, day or night
- Built-in GPS with speed features
- Photo Mode
- Decent audio quality
- Quick setup and user-friendly interface
- A little pricey
- Short power cable
- Poor owner’s manual
Full 1080p HD-Recording: The Garmin Dash Cam 20 cam employs a 120° wide-angle and records in full HD, 1080p resolution at 30 fps. At present, the resolution quality is considered the norm for dashcams, guaranteeing clear imaging with vivid details during playback. With the 20, users have the opportunity to record at lower 720p HD or WVGA resolutions, taking up less space on memory cards but also offering lower image quality.
Garmin GPS with Speed Alerts:
With Garmin’s geotagging technology, the receiver time-stamps travel routes with coordinates, speeds and other relevant data that can be used as valuable evidence in the event of an accident. Routes can be viewed and played back alongside Google Maps™ for more detailed information. (Note: Garmin 10 model does not include GPS.).
Moreover, tapping into innovative smart technology, the camera alerts users when a speed camera is detected from its comprehensive database. The system displays the speed limit for the area along with the vehicle’s current traveling speed, ensuring drivers have ample time to adjust their driving accordingly.
The trusty G-sensor guarantees footage from severe impact is recorded in an overwrite the protected file. Events such as a strong bump, or collision trigger Emergency Recording. These files are then saved and safeguarded from Loop Recording overwrites until later review.
The device continuously records events on the road. Storage overload on memory cards is eliminated because the oldest footage is continually overwritten with newer recordings. Depending on driving frequency, Loop Recording gives users enough time to review the video before it is overwritten. Note: Overwriting of files DOES NOT apply to recorded footage from Emergency Recording. These files are always overwrite protected until manually erased by users themselves.
As well as serving as a solid in-vehicle dashcam, the 20 is fully capable of taking still images. Simply dismount the camera from its cradle and the built-in lithium battery will deliver up to an hour’s worth of power for taking pictures. This can serve drivers particularly well when needing to document evidence from an accident right at the scene of the event.
Auto Power On/Off:
Smart technology enables Garmin’s device to automatically activate when it detects the vehicle’s power source. The camera will power on and off with a simple turn of the key in the ignition, saving drivers the added step of turning the device on/off, or worse the frustration of forgetting altogether.
A built-in microphone captures sound as well as video and can even be muted if desired. As always, disclose and ensure you have full permission from passengers before recording any conversations.
Pros and Cons
- Quality recording, day or night. The biggest draw for the Garmin Dash Cam 20 is its impressive recording quality. Video output is astonishingly sharp, regardless of the day, low light or nighttime driving, with license plates and road signs easily recognizable under reasonable conditions.
- Built-in GPS with speed features. Housing one of the best GPS systems on the market, highlighting the unparalleled quality and navigational reliability that has made Garmin a leader in its class. Coordinates from events are accurately logged for use as evidence when required. The GPS stands out with the added benefit of speed camera alerts.
- Photo Mode. Dismount the device and use it as a standalone camera. With up to an hour’s worth of battery reserve when not connected to a power source, Photo Mode actually is a worthwhile feature in this dashcam. In the event of an accident, take clear pictures of vehicular damage for use as evidence for the police and insurers.
- Auto-recording. This advantageous feature saves users the hassle of having to remember to turn the camera on and off at the start and end of every trip. The Garmin Dash Cam 20 automatically does the work for drivers, ensuring trips are recorded when on the road and the battery life is preserved once the key is out of the ignition.
- Decent audio quality. The included microphone clearly records in-vehicle audio and can be muted depending upon user preference. Quality audio recording can be reassuring, serving as a viable source of secondary evidence in case of a collision.
- Quick setup and user-friendly interface. While the camera includes a subpar manual with language and troubleshooting tips that are often incoherent, the 20 requires little effort to install and setup. A little playing around with the device will benefit users to get a comfortable handle on the full scope of its functionality. Nonetheless, the clean, user-friendly menu guides users through its features in an intuitive manner.
- A little pricey. Garmin’s 20 lays its stakes at the pricier end of the dashcam spectrum, particularly when considering several absent features (Wi-Fi, Parking Mode) that are often standard on dash cams at this price point. While these are not essential components, they are useful bonuses that many drivers use regularly. Additionally, the 120° viewing angle is one of the narrowest found in the UK market. While sufficient for recording events occurring directly in front of drivers, it may not fully capture events from the driver’s peripheral field of view.
- Short power cable. The supplied power cable is too short for discreet installation in vehicles. The wire dangles from the unit to the cigarette lighter, creating a cluttered windshield that can be distracting and unsafe.
- Poor owner’s manual. Unfortunately, a common trend amongst dashcam manufacturers is the publication of mediocre (at best) instruction manuals. Garmin’s manual is no different. The thin guide provides little assistance, often leaving users on their own when attempting to troubleshoot and resolve issues.
The Garmin Dash Cam 20 is a quality, in-vehicle recording device, producing clear useable footage as evidence in the event of an accident. Full integration of Garmin’s reliable GPS—the cornerstone of the brand—is certainly a big plus, especially for frequent travelers.
However, drawbacks that bring the 20’s rating down relate to a lack of features. Many dash cams within this price point combine the benefits of Wi-Fi, Parking Mode as well as a wider viewing angle, increasing the driver’s peripheral radius. Additionally, users have complained that the supplied power cable is too short to conceal along with the car’s dash and passenger side, leaving the wire dangling from the cam while mounted to the windshield.
Overall, this dashboard camera is slightly more expensive than its competitors, especially when taking into account in-demand extras that are often included in devices at this price range. However, as the company’s motto boasts, a Garmin product is “built to last,” delivering long-term rewards on your investment. Video quality is excellent, coupled with well-designed features and superb functionality makes this one of the most highly-rated dashes cams around.
Garmin Dash Cam 20 Product Details
|Spec Name||Model Spec Details|
|Lens||CMOS, 3 megapixels, 120° wide viewing angle|
|Resolution/Frame Rate||1080p at 30fps, 720p at 30 fps, WVGA|
|Low Light Recording||Yes|
|Video Format||264 .mov files, AVI|
|Video Output||Mini USB, USB cables|
|Power Source||12 VDC Power Adapter, 1x Lithium-ion battery (built-in and sealed in camera—approx. 1 hr run time)|
|Memory||4GB microSD card (included), supports up to 32GB microSD cards, Class 10|
|Compatibility||PC (Windows®7 or later), Mac OS X Mavericks 10.9 or later)|
|Display Type/Size||TFT LCD/5.8 cm|
|Dimensions||2 x 6.6 x 3.7 cm|
- Garmin Dash Cam 20
- In-vehicle windshield suction cup mount
- 12 VDC power adapter
- Mini USB, USB cables
- 4GB MicroSD card (with MicroSD to SD card adapter)
- Owner’s manual
- Warranty card (1-year limited)
- SanDisk Mobile Ultra MicroSDHC 32GB UHS-I, Class 10
- Garmin 12V Angled USB Vehicle Power Cable
- Carry Case Travel Bag Cover
- Garmin High-Speed Multi-Charger
Founded in 1989, Garmin is an international company based in Switzerland, manufacturing a number of transportation and outdoor accessories that integrate their superior GPS technology—from aviation, marine, automotive to wearable tech. Garmin stands behind their mantra “built to last,” with the motto permeating through company decisions regarding culture, products and future innovation. The company employs a vertical-integration model—from the inception of an idea, to manufacturing and its introduction of products to market—to ensure product integrity and advancements that complement the lives of customers.
The Garmin 20 Dash Cam is one of the more popular devices in their driving recorder range.
If you enjoyed our Garmin Dash Cam 20 review, be sure to check out our other Garmin reviews.