Introduction to the Garmin Dash Cam 20
The Dash Cam 20 is one of the dashboard video cameras, intended to record your car’s trips, produced by the well-known GPS firm, Garmin. While it’s called the Dash Cam, it’s intended to be installed at the top edge of your windshield rather than sit atop your dashboard. As a dashboard camera or dashboard DVR, the compact camera measures 6.6 centimeters tall, 6.6. centimeters wide and 3.7 centimeters thick. When mounted at the center of the windshield, the camera has a 90 degree viewing angle which captures the front windshield’s field of vision in Full HD.
Four buttons on the bottom of the unit allow you to save the current recording, capture an image snapshot, access the menu of settings or replay a prior video; these buttons are mirrored on the camera’s rear LCD display.
There are a number of features that distinguish this dashboard camera in the market.
GPS Data Built-In
Coming from Garmin, well-known as a GPS powerhouse, a strong GPS feature is no surprise i the Dash Cam 20. Here, however, GPS isn’t used for navigation but for preserving information about the location of the footage. The bottom left of the video automatically preserves and records GPS data, including the date, time, current speed, latitude and longitude. This produces a full snapshot of what was happening at the time of any particular incident and provides reasonably verifiable proof for submission to insurance companies, courts, police or other relevant agencies.
The 2.3-inch LCD display on the rear of the digital dash cam uses buttons for navigation through its on-screen functions. The LCD display provides a clear image of the road in front of the dash camera, but dims during operation in order to prevent driver distraction.
The Dash Cam 20 is easy to place and remove, as it is mountable by suction to the windshield. The suction grip is strong and secure, and quite difficult to move once in place; it will not be disturbed in a bump or an accident.
This G-Sensor is one of the proprietary features of the Dash Cam 20. The camera will launch an instant recording setting when the camera detects that the vehicle has gone over a shock or a bump. This data will be recorded and saved separately and tagged to avoid automatically being recorded over. Sometimes this feature can be triggered automatically on a bumpy or damaged road. However, there are options to alter the level of sensitivity to suit your driving needs.
Video recording and still photo options
It is easy to select between the various video recording options provided by the Dash Cam 20. You can choose between WVGA, 720p and 1080p video quality, depending on storage space. The camera comes with one 4GB MicroSD card to record footage; this can be replaced by additional storage cards up to 32 GB. The viewing angle of the video does record a full view of the front windshield’s field of vision; this means that the recording is clear and without distortion in a wide range of vision.
However, because the video angle is designed for a lack of distortion, it misses far peripheral data that could be captured with a wider angle. Night video appears clear in recordings, but can appear very dark in the back LCD. If the camera is close to the car ahead, it captures license plates clearly. The dash camera records at a speed of 30 frames per second. The camera can also be removed from its windshield mount and used to take still images.
Pros and Cons
There are advantages and disadvantages to this dash cam. Considering these pros and cons may help you make the decision as to whether the Garmin Dash Cam 20 is right for you.
- G-Sensor – The G-Sensor works well to ensure that accidents or damage-causing incidents are recorded automatically and protects that footage. The labeling of that data with GPS information is also useful, especially if the video footage is needed as evidence.
- Video quality – With a full HD option, video quality is clear and crisp. The Dash Cam 20 excels in daylight recording and also provides sharp night recordings, although some night-time recordings are at risk of being washed out or overly dark.
- Easy to use and install – The Dash Cam 20 is easy to use and install. Its on-screen display and button controls are simple for the user and its interface is not complex.
- Video file type and software – Video files are recorded in AVI format rather than the more widely used and smaller-sized MP4 format. In addition, the camera comes with software that can only be used on PCs and is incompatible with Apple devices.
- Storage space – The Dash Cam 20 comes with a 4GB storage card; however, this only stores about one hour of full HD video. Additional storage can be purchased separately.
- Power cord – The device’s power cable keeps the camera running so long as it is plugged in. However, the cable is relatively short – too short for running around the windshield. However, an extender is available for an additional price.
- No internet connection – Unlike some newer models, this dash camera can’t connect to WiFi or automatically sync video; it must be connected to a computer to transfer video recordings.
The Dash Cam 20 is easy to set up and use. Its features are solid and reliable and its video quality is crisp and clear. The built-in GPS tracking and stamping of videos is useful, especially for recordings of accidents or other incidents in which video evidence is particularly important. However, its software options are limited and it has no built-in WiFi capabilities or internet access. While unspectacular, the Dash Cam 20 is a reliable dashboard video recorder that performs its functions well.