Garmin dash cam 55 обзор

Garmin Dash Cam 55 Review

The Dash Cam 55 is a compact dashboard camera from Garmin. Since such devices tend to be left in the car all the time, the smaller they are, the better. The Dash Cam 55 is more diminutive than a GoPro, yet it shoots 1,440p and has Wi-Fi built in. Does this compact camera punch above its 59.5g weight?

Garmin Dash Cam 55 – Specification and Windscreen Mounting

The Dash Cam 55 measures just W56.2 x D35.3 x h50.5mm, although the lens sticks out quite a lot from the body of the unit, almost doubling the depth. Inside is a CMOS of unspecified dimensions that boasts 3.7 megapixels. The top resolution goes well beyond Full HD to 1440p, offering 2560 x 1440 pixels at 30 frames per second, which is also known as 2.5K. This takes the full complement of CMOS pixels.

It’s also possible to record Full HD (1920 x 1080) at 60 frames per second or 30 frames per second with or without HDR. There’s 720p at 30 frames per second as well, if you want to conserve storage space. Video is recorded to microSD, with an 8GB module pre-installed. At the top 1440p resolution, the data rate is 19Mbits/sec, so the 8GB card will be enough for 56 minutes of footage before looping begins.

Garmin has erred on the side of discretion with its mounting system. The windscreen mount is even smaller – relative to other dash cam mounts – than the camera itself. It’s too small for a suction cup to be effective, so an adhesive pad is used instead. There’s a second pad included in the box in case you get the positioning wrong, or need to move the camera.

Related: Best dash camsAt first, this seems like a hindrance because there’s no obvious quick-release on the dash cam itself. However, the adhesive pad is magnetically attached to the mount, so the unit can easily be removed with the mount if you don’t want to leave it in the car when the device isn’t in use. This is a very neat and convenient system.

The usual extremely long cable is supplied for attaching to power in your car, although the adapter at the end is fixed so you’ll need to find an alternative method if you want to power a satnav or phone at the same time. A second USB cable is supplied in the box for hooking up to a computer, after which you can use the Garmin Express software to install updates.

Garmin Dash Cam 55 – Menu and Manual Settings

When you first turn on the camera, there are a few more stages to set up than usual with dash cams. You’re asked whether the camera is placed left, right or centrally on the screen, and you can also choose whether you are fixing the camera in a regular-sized car or a taller vehicle such as a van or lorry. You’re not asked to set the date and time, however, because this will be obtained from the GPS signal.Once you’re through setup, the menu is controlled via four buttons on the side of the device, with indications of what they do on the rear, although much of the rear of the device is taken up by the 2-inch LCD screen. The menu is simple to operate, with icons for the main functions, and then text-based options once you drill into the sections.

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The device can also be controlled via voice. You can simply say “Okay Garmin” and then either save a video to the non-looped folder, take a picture, record audio, or turn on Travelapse – of which more later. As with other voice-controlled Garmin devices, the Dash Cam 55’s system works very well, so long as the background isn’t too noisy.The Dash Cam 55 also feature built-in Wi-Fi, which works in tandem with the VIRB mobile app that’s also used with Garmin’s action cameras such as the VIRB Ultra 30. Working out how to do this requires a flick-through of the manual, however, since turning on Wi-Fi is performed via the Share section in the Gallery menu, rather than having its own separate entry.

As this slightly convoluted method implies, the VIRB app is only used to browse recordings and images on the Dash Cam 55, and to transfer these to your phone. Unlike most smartphone apps for dash cams, there’s no control available over settings and no streaming preview of the video with ability to toggle recording, which is a bit of an omission in an otherwise feature-rich device. But at least the device’s own menu us easy to use.

Garmin Dash Cam 55 – Extra Safety Features

The Dash Cam 55 includes quite a host of additional safety features. There’s a GPS receiver built in, so it can capture location along with video. A G-sensor detects incidents, which will save video to a different location so that it isn’t overwritten as the video recordings loop once the storage is full.

There’s a Forward Collision Warning System, which detects if you’re coming up too close to the car in front. This has three sensitivity settings. The Lane Departure Warning System lets you know if you’re straying out of your lane on a motorway. When you’re stationary, Go Alert will notify you when the car in front has started moving, in case you’ve become bored and stopped concentrating.Related: Best sat navs The Dash Cam 55 can also provide warnings of approaching red lights and speed cameras, but there’s only a sampler included in the box. You’ll need to buy a Cyclops subscription online and then use the Garmin Express software to transfer this to the dash cam. The UK and Ireland database subscription costs £16.99, as do most single countries, while a single year of full European updates is £24.99.

A novel feature that I haven’t seen on other dash cams is Travelapse. This works in parallel with the regular safety features, grabbing still images at a fixed interval as you travel and stitching these into a movie that will play like a fast-forward of your journey. This isn’t exactly a safety feature, but it’s a fun option to have. For example, you could put this alongside conventional camcorder footage from a driving holiday to add another dimension to a video of your trip.

Garmin’s action cameras have impressed us quite a lot over the years, but the company’s dash cams such as the Dash Cam 35 have been merely good. The Dash Cam 55, however, produces excellent footage, with plenty of detail. During my testing, it was very sunny, which caused some issues with windscreen glare. But it was still easy to make out text at a reasonable distance and when the car passed through shadier areas the quality was up there with the best dash cams I’ve tested.

You can view a sample of footage from the Garmin Dash Cam 55 here.

You can view a sample of Travelapse footage from the Garmin Dash Cam 55 here.

Should I buy the Garmin Dash Cam 55?

The Garmin Dash Cam 55 is on the more expensive end of the scale for dash cams, but it’s worth the money. The 1,440p video footage is extremely sharp, and there are plenty of additional safety features to sweeten the deal. The slick magnetic mount and Travelapse option further help this product rise above the competition. The lack of complete control via Wi-Fi is the one significant chink in its armour, but otherwise this is a very capable dash cam.


The Garmin Dash Cam 55 is a little on the pricey side, but it’s a tiny and very capable dash cam.

Garmin Dash Cam 55 review

The dashboard camera market can be split into two categories. The first offers the cheapest, smallest cameras possible, from brands you likely haven’t heard of and for prices you will barely believe, but which have limited features and less-than-stellar image quality.

At the other end of the scale, you have the all-singing, all-dancing models with their bulky bodies, touch screens, optional rear camera (plus all the wiring that comes with it), parking recording and driver safety features.

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The Garmin Dash Cam 55 manages to position itself in the sweet spot, offering high quality video from a brand you trust, an element of simple but well-implemented safety features, and a wonderfully compact design.

Garmin Dash Cam 55 review: Design

It is arguably that last point which is the Garmin’s most compelling feature. Where too many dash cams are bulky, barely hiding themselves behind your rear-view mirror, the Dash Cam 55 is tiny. With similar dimensions to a GoPro action camera, it’s about the size of a matchbox – albeit a matchbox with a lens which protrudes by about 1.5cm.

The mounting mechanism is also nice and small. First, there is a metal disc about the size of a 20p piece which sticks with 3M adhesive to your windscreen. This then connects magnetically to a mounting arm attached to the camera itself with a ball-and-socket joint, allowing the camera’s position to be easily adjusted.

No matter how raked your windscreen is, the Dash Cam 55 can be positioned to get a perfect view of the road ahead. You can opt to leave the camera in place when you park up, but if you’d prefer it can be pulled off from the magnetic mount and easily stowed in your glovebox, or taken away in a pocket, it’s that small.

This is a far nicer mounting system than a suction cup, but does mean the 20p-sized magnetic mount will one day need prising from the glass, which could take some effort.

Extra convenience comes from the internal battery, negating the need to plug the camera into your lighter socket with the includes micro USB cable and adapter. However, the battery is rated at just 30 minutes, so for longer journeys you’ll want to plug the camera in.

Garmin also sells the Parking Mode Cable (£29.99), which draws a constant power supply from your car’s battery, enabling the camera to record when it detects movement while parked. However, this requires professional installation.

Garmin Dash Cam 55 review: Features

Once you have the Dash Cam 55 mounted, powered and ready to go, it’s remarkably simple to use. Turning on your ignition fires the camera into life and, once you have agreed to a safety message, recording begins. 

If the camera detects a collision with its accelerometer, the footage before, during and after the impact is saved to the included and replaceable microSD card. You can also press one of the camera’s four buttons to manually save a recording at any time.

You can then interact with voice commands; just say “hey Garmin” and the camera shows the available instructions on its 2-inch screen. This way, you can start and stop recordings, take a photo, or start and stop what Garmin calls a Travelapse – or what you and we call a timelapse video.

Included GPS means the camera adds coordinates data to your recordings, along with your speed, direction of travel and the time and date. Each of these details can be switched on or off as you like, and so too can the Dash Cam 55’s driver safety features, which include forward collision and lane departure warnings. 

The camera can also be made to alert you when the car ahead moves forward in traffic and you’re not paying attention.

There are also alerts about nearby red light cameras and speed cameras, but these are part of Garmin’s Cyclops service, which costs £16.99 per year.

We’re usually inclined to switch these features off, as they can’t compete with similar functions embedded in modern cars, and can sometimes become irritating. But it’s good to know they are there for those who want them, and easily switched off for those who don’t.

Garmin Dash Cam 55 review: Video quality

The camera record in 1440p resolution at 30 frames per second, 1080p at 60fps, 1080p at 30fps and with HDR (high dynamic range), or 720p at 30fps. Audio is also recorded, although this can be switched off in the settings menu.

Video quality is mighty impressive for such a small and reasonably priced dash cam, and it also performed well at night. We’d recommend buyers keep the resolution at 1440p for maximum detail, although this might mean investing in an SD card larger than the 8GB one it comes with.

The video resolution might not be as good at the 4K Nextbase 612GW, but it's good enough. We've found 4K to be overkill when it comes to dash cams – do you really want to download and edit 4K footage after you've been in an accident?

We've found that Garmin is one of the best dash cams when it comes to automatic exposure. Some cameras tend to under expose the road and other cars when facing towards sunlight, but the Dash Cam 55 gets the expose just right.

It also did pretty well in our night test as well, although it's not the best in this area.

Garmin Dash Cam 55 review: Software

Recordings can be viewed on your smartphone by connecting to the camera over Wi-Fi and booting up the companion app, called Virb. The app is quite limited and not particularly attractive, only allowing you to view saved video; you cannot adjust settings or view a preview through the app, which is a shame.

We found the on-camera menu system a little confusing at first. It isn’t immediately obvious from their icons what the camera’s four buttons do, and initially navigating through menus was a case of trial and error until we worked things out.

A touch screen would help here, but after you have stumbled your way through the settings once, you can leave the camera to just get on with it each time you drive.

Garmin Dash Cam 55 review: Verdict

When it comes to finding the perfect dash cam, this Garmin ticks a lot of boxes. It’s design is one of the most compact of any dash cam and we particularly liked how simple, secure and unobtrusive the mounting system is.

Video quality is very good during the day and at night, while adding location data with the time and date to your recordings could prove to be invaluable should the worst happen and you need to provide evidence of an incident.

The menu system isn’t great and the smartphone app’s features are somewhat limited, but this doesn’t stop us from recommending the Garmin Dash Cam 55.

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The Garmin Dash Cam 55 is the co-driver you deserve

In a world where portable navigation systems have been replaced by phones, Garmin innovated by adding a camera and driver awareness features to its latest Garmin DriveAssist 50LMT. Now it’s paking those same great features into the new Garmin Dash Cam 45 and 55 units.

We spent some time with the Dash Cam 55 model to see if Garmin can stand out and compete in the crowded dash camera market.

Simple design

Both the new Garmin Dash Cam 45 and 55 feature the same compact and sleek design. Our 55 model is differentiated by a bronze ring around the lens instead of the silver on the 45. The Dash Cam 55 also ups the resolution of the camera from 1080p to 1440p and adds voice control capabilities. For those upgrades, you are looking at a $200 price tag on the Dash Cam 55, up from the $150 price of the Dash Cam 45.

In the package for our Dash Cam 55, you’ll find the camera unit, a 13.5’ power cable, a USB cable, 8GB MicroSD card, and two magnetic mounts. The body of the Dash Cam 55 is quality black plastic with a 2-inch LCD screen. The camera is very compact and measures only 2.2 × 1.6 × 0.8 inches (WHD). The bronze, textured plastic lens and four uniform buttons on the right side give this dash camera a very sleek and modern feel.

To attach the magnetic mount that is connected to the top of the camera, you’ve got to stick one of the two 3M adhesive magnets to your windshield or dashboard. This allows for quick attachment and removal of the camera to your vehicle, but also makes it rather permanent. The 3M adhesive can be removed, but if you keep trying to attach and remove the magnet a few times, it becomes useless. We switched vehicles in the process of testing and had to use the second adhesive magnetic as the first was ruined after just one removal from the car.

Roll camera

Each Voice Control feature worked very well and made important features hands free and easily accessible

Setting off with the Garmin 55 is easy, and the display screen will automatically go dark after 30 seconds to avoid driver distraction. Video resolution defaults to the full 1440p at 30FPS but can be lowered to allow for more driving footage storage if you are okay with sacrificing the quality. The camera begins recording in the normal driving mode as soon as it is plugged in and will end only when it loses power, generally when you shut off your vehicle.

While competitors like the VAVA Dash use a trigger button that you can mount inside your vehicle to save footage, the Garmin 55 relies on voice control. You simply need to say “Ok, Garmin” to wake up the display screen and show the four vocal options: save video, take a picture, record audio, or start Travelapse (more on that last one later). Each voice control feature worked very well and made important features easily accessible while still remaining hands-free.

Quality of the video recorded in daylight is absolutely fantastic and captures each and every detail. With recordings in 1440p, you’re able to make out license plates and road signs with a clarity rarely seen in even higher priced cameras like the Thinkware F750. However, once things get dark the lens tries to enhance any light source it finds and the footage can become blown out. Street lights and the headlamps of passing cars are exaggerated more than we’ve seen on other cameras. Details can still be made out at night, but only in places with lower direct light.

Packed with features

In a crowded market of dash cameras, it’s important to have standout features and the Garmin 55 delivers in that regard. Similar to several other cameras on the market, like the Magellan MiVue 420, the Garmin Dash Cam 55 offers safety features with forward collision and lane departure warnings.

Unlike the MiVue 420, the Garmin system is fairly accurate and avoids most of the “false alert” situations we encountered. The Garmin 55 will still give warning when changing lanes intentionally, but it does a better job differentiating an intended merge from an unintentional one. Unlike other competitors, the Garmin 55 also alerts the driver when it notices the traffic moving ahead without you. This came in handy on multiple occasions when glancing at the navigation or spacing out, and helped avoid honks from following cars.

Another unique feature that helps set the Dash Cam 55 apart is the Travelapse setting. This handy feature is enabled through the vocal controls and helps condense a long drive into a shorter time-lapse video. While driving we would simply say “Hey, Garmin. Start Travelapse” to have a cool shareable video created of the current trip. This feature is truly unique to the Garmin Dash Cameras and comes from the company’s VIRB action cameras. Sharing those clips has also gotten much easier with the Garmin VIRB application. When connected to the camera’s Wi-Fi, you get a simple user interface that allows you to view, trim, and share content directly to social media. That weekend trip along the coast can now be easily recorded with Travelapse and shared to all of your followers.

Our Take

At $200, the Garmin Dash Cam 55 offers a ton of features and quality for a reasonable price. In a crowded market it takes more than just being good — and the unique features of the Dash Cam 55 give it an edge.

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Is there a better alternative?

No, the Garmin Dash Cam 55 delivers the best of the basic dash camera features with enough added utility to help it beat out the competition.

How long will it last?

Build quality feels solid, and assuming you don’t switch cars frequently, this product should last several years. The dash camera market may be new ground for Garmin but the company has innovated ahead of the market with the Travelapse and Voice Control features. We expect every other manufacturer to be playing catch up; this Garmin platform will remain relevant for time.

Should you buy it?

Yes, whether you are looking for safety, affordability, or simply to capture and share your drive, the Garmin Dash Cam 55 has you covered on all fronts.

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