Updated on July 28, 2023
As a seasoned driver with a wealth of experience on the road, I’ve encountered my fair share of incidents that have taught me the value of having a reliable dash cam in my car. The Garmin Dash Cam Mini 2 piqued my interest with its compact design, HD video resolution, and affordable price. In this detailed review, I will share my personal experience with this tiny yet accomplished dash cam, delving into its range of features, performance, and overall value on the dash cam scale.
|Compact Design||Measures only a few inches wide and deep, making it almost unnoticeable when installed|
|Easy Installation||Magnetic mount and adhesive-backed mount for secure and simple installation|
|Full HD Video Resolution||1080p video resolution with a 140-degree lens for clear and detailed footage|
|Night Vision||Enhanced night vision software and a 6-layer lens for clear recording in low-light conditions|
|Voice Control||Manage settings and capture stills using voice commands|
|Audio Recording||Records audio along with video, providing context to the footage|
|Wi-Fi Connectivity||Connects to a compatible smartphone through the Garmin Drive app for easy video transfers|
|24-hour Parked-Car Monitoring||Provides extra security when the vehicle is unattended (requires a constant power source)|
|Smartphone App Compatibility||Compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, as well as the Garmin Drive app|
|Memory Card Support||Supports memory cards up to a certain size for ample storage|
|Lane Departure Warnings (Garmin Drive)||Alerts the driver when the vehicle is drifting out of its lane (accessible via Garmin Drive app)|
|Emergency Calling (Garmin Drive)||Connects the driver to emergency services in case of an incident (accessible via Garmin Drive app)|
|Durable Design||Resistant to direct sunlight, high temperatures, and harsh vehicle environments|
Design and Installation
The Garmin Dash Cam Mini 2 boasts a compact design, measuring only a few inches wide and deep, which makes it almost unnoticeable when installed behind the rearview mirror. The device comes with an adhesive-backed mount that securely attaches to the windshield. Installing the Mini 2 was a breeze, thanks to the magnetic mount and the clear instructions provided in the box.
The package includes a Dual USB power adapter, Vehicle power cables, and a Constant Power Cable for 24-hour parked-car monitoring. The Mini 2 also features an adhesive mount, ensuring secure attachment in various harsh vehicle environments. The adhesive mount is easy to install and keeps the device firmly in place, even when driving on bumpy roads.
In addition to the compact size, the Mini 2 has a durable design that can withstand direct sunlight and high temperatures, making it suitable for various driving conditions. The device’s discreet appearance helps it blend in with the car’s interior, avoiding unwanted attention from passersby.
Video Quality and Performance
The Mini 2 is equipped with a 140-degree lens and records high-quality Full HD video with a resolution of 1080p. The image quality is impressive, capturing crisp detail during the day and night. The night vision software, which utilizes a 6-layer lens and wide dynamic range, enhances the images, providing a clearer picture in dark environments.
The device’s video quality remains consistent, thanks to a constant frame rate that ensures smooth video recording of incidents. The Mini 2 automatically records when connected to power and stops when the connection is severed. This feature provides peace of mind for the driver, knowing that the device is always ready to capture critical moments on the road.
The Mini 2 has a built-in lithium-ion battery for short-term power, but it relies on a charger or hardwiring kit for constant power. The device comes with a 12V plug and a Mini-USB cable, but users looking for a more permanent solution can purchase a hardwiring kit separately.
Additional Features and Connectivity
As with its predecessor the Garmin Dash Cam Mini, the Mini 2 also offers a range of key features that make it stand out among basic and budget dash cams. Voice control is one of its most notable features, allowing users to manage settings and capture stills through voice commands. The device also offers audio recording, which adds context to the overall video footage and can be useful in various situations.
The Mini 2 has an active Wi-Fi connection, enabling users to connect it to a compatible smartphone through the Garmin Drive app. This app connectivity allows for seamless video transfers, as well as live monitoring of the dash cam. The Mini 2 also offers 24-hour parked-car monitoring when connected to a constant power source, providing an extra layer of security when the vehicle is unattended.
The device supports memory cards up to a certain size, ensuring ample storage for video clips. However, users can also opt for extended storage plans through the Garmin Drive app. The Mini 2 is compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, offering users additional connectivity options and easy access to their recorded videos through their vehicle’s infotainment system.
Privacy and Legal Considerations
As with all dash cams, the Mini 2 records videos and pictures of public roads, which may raise questions about rights to privacy. It’s essential to be mindful of local laws and regulations when using a dash cam. Some regions may have restrictions on audio recording or capturing license plates, so it’s crucial to stay informed and respect others’ privacy.
Despite the potential privacy concerns, having a dash cam like the Mini 2 can offer substantial benefits in terms of recording incidents and providing evidence for insurance claims or legal disputes. It can also promote safer driving habits, as drivers are more likely to be cautious and responsible when they know their actions are being recorded.
Ease of Use and Smartphone App
The Garmin Dash Cam Mini 2 is designed with user-friendliness in mind. The device is easy to set up and operate, with minimal buttons and a straightforward interface. The device’s simplicity is further enhanced by the voice control feature, which allows users to access key functions without having to fumble with buttons while driving.
The Garmin Drive app serves as a central hub for managing the Mini 2’s settings and viewing recorded videos. The app offers a user-friendly interface and compatibility with both Android and iOS devices. The Wi-Fi connectivity allows users to transfer videos wirelessly to their smartphones, making it easy to share footage or submit it as evidence for insurance claims.
Through the Garmin Drive app, users can also access additional features such as lane departure warnings, emergency calling, and emergency services. These features can help enhance the overall driving experience and provide extra peace of mind on the road.
Build Quality and Durability
The Mini 2 is built to withstand various driving conditions, including exposure to direct sunlight and high temperatures. Its durable design ensures that it can continue to perform optimally even in harsh vehicle environments.
The device features a high-quality 6-layer lens that maintains image clarity and prevents distortion. The lens is also resistant to scratches and dust, ensuring that the Mini 2 remains functional and provides clear images throughout its lifespan.
Customer Reviews and Reputation
The Garmin Dash Cam Mini 2 has garnered numerous positive customer reviews, with many users praising its compact design, video quality, and range of features. The device’s reputation for durability and reliability has made it a popular choice among drivers who want a discreet and effective dash cam.
While some users have noted the limitations of the device, such as the reliance on an external power source and the absence of a built-in display, the overall consensus is that the Mini 2 offers excellent value for money. The device’s performance, combined with its extra features and compact design, make it a worthwhile investment for drivers seeking a high-quality dash cam.
The Garmin Dash Cam Mini 2 stands out as a powerful device in a small package, offering huge protection for drivers. Its compact and durable design, combined with impressive video quality, night vision capabilities, voice control, and Wi-Fi connectivity, make it an excellent addition to any vehicle. The Mini 2 is not without its limitations, though. The reliance on an external power source and the absence of a built-in display may be drawbacks for some users. However, considering the range of extra features and the overall performance, this device offers excellent value for money. In conclusion, the Garmin Dash Cam Mini 2 is a solid choice for those seeking a compact, reliable, and feature-rich dash cam. Based on my personal experience and numerous positive customer reviews, I highly recommend giving this tiny camera a try for big protection on the road.
With more than 20 years of experience in the automotive industry, Ash possesses a deep understanding of the diverse needs and challenges faced by drivers on the road. His relentless commitment to road safety and ongoing research is fueled by a genuine desire to create safer environments for all drivers.