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Garmin Dash Cam Mini 2 Review: Small, Simple, and Effective

The Garmin Dash Cam Mini 2 is a small, straightforward dash cam. It emphasizes simplicity, capturing high-quality HD footage with useful voice control commands. It boasts good video quality, an effective smartphone app, and easy installation for multiple vehicles.

If you’re after the tiniest, most inconspicuous dash cam available, the Garmin Dash Cam Mini 2 fits the bill. It’s about the size of a key fob and skips fancy features like a touchscreen display to stay compact enough to hide snugly behind your car’s rear-view mirror.

Despite its small size, the Dash Cam Mini 2 records in Full HD at 30 frames per second with a 140-degree lens. While it falls slightly behind larger Garmin Dash Cam models that shoot at 1440p with wider 180-degree lenses, 1080p is still quite decent, especially considering its size and competitive price.

In terms of design, the Dash Cam Mini 2 is impressively compact. It features only the lens and a ball-and-socket joint on the front, connected to a short arm with an adhesive pad for easy attachment to the windscreen.

While other Garmin dash cams boast magnetic mounts, the Mini 2’s plastic arm takes up minimal windscreen space and functions effectively. Given its size, most users will likely leave it in place permanently and only remove it (by separating the ball-and-socket joint) when transferring it to another vehicle or accessing the microSD card.

Speaking of storage, Garmin doesn’t provide a memory card in the box, so you’ll need to supply your own. The camera supports cards up to 512GB, with Garmin recommending a Class-10 card or faster.

The Dash Cam Mini 2 features only two buttons: one on the side for toggling audio recording and another on the back for saving recent footage. The latter’s placement makes it easy to quickly press in case of an incident. While footage is automatically saved upon collision detection, the button is handy for manually saving video of other events while driving.

Included in the package are short and long USB cables, along with an adapter for powering the dash cam from a 12V lighter socket. Two adhesive windscreen mounts facilitate easy switching between vehicles.

Garmin’s Drive smartphone app, available for both iOS and Android, assists with camera setup. Connecting the phone to the dashcam is seamless, and the app enables live viewing, settings adjustment, firmware updates, and footage playback.

Once set up, the app isn’t necessary for regular use. The dashcam operates quietly in the background, with footage easily transferable to a computer or tablet from the microSD card.

With Wi-Fi connectivity to your phone, footage can be automatically uploaded to Garmin’s online storage system, Vault, where recordings are stored for 24 hours for free. For extended storage, a subscription option is available.

The video quality is impressive for its size and price. Recording in 1080p Full HD with HDR at 30 frames per second through a 140-degree lens, details like road signs and license plates are clear, even in varying lighting conditions.

While a wider lens angle would be preferable, 140 degrees suffices for most purposes. The absence of GPS is a downside, though, with location data reliant on syncing with another Garmin dash cam via the Drive app.

Garmin Dash Cam Mini 2 Review: Small, Simple, and Effective

Parking mode is available but necessitates Garmin’s Constant Power Cable for hard-wiring the Mini 2 to the vehicle.

Audio recording can be toggled with a button or by voice command. However, it’s not particularly useful for dashcam footage and may be preferred by passengers.

Unlike other Garmin Dash Cam models, the Mini 2 lacks driver assistance features, a trade-off that some users may appreciate for its simplicity.

Overall, the Dash Cam Mini 2 stands out for its simplicity and effectiveness, providing quality dash cam functionality without unnecessary distractions.

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