Garmin’s products have primarily been about helping drivers where to go. In 2014, this all changed when Garmin announced two dash cam products – the Garmin Dash Cam 20 and Dash Cam 10. The primary function of a dashboard camera is to continuously record what is in front of the car. Garmin’s foray into this market was interesting and the Dash Cam 20 was quite a hit. Although Garmin announced two superior dash cams the following year, the Garmin Dash Cam 20 continues to sell at a discounted price. It is only fair to revisit the Dash Cam 20 and see how well it aged.
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About the Garmin Dash Cam 20
The Dash Cam 20 used to be the flagship product of the Garmin Dash Cam series when the family was first introduced. It has a pretty ordinary 2.3-inch LCD display. Just imagine the type of displays you see on camcorders as the one found on the Garmin Dash Cam 20 looks similar. The screen is not touch-enabled as there are corresponding buttons right below the display that trigger the onscreen function directly above the button. Like any typical dash cam, you suction mount the Garmin Dash Cam on the windshield so the camera on the opposite end can start recording. Recording happens continuously and automatically as long as the included 12-volt power adapter connects the dash cam to the car. The camera body also houses an internal rechargeable battery. A 4 GB microSD card is included in the package too. If you happen to have 8 GB, 16 GB and 32 GB microSD cards, you can use them as well for extended recorded sessions.
One of the unique features of the Dash Cam 20 is its built-in G-Sensor. Whenever the vehicle detects a bump or a shock, the camera will begin a serious recording session where the accident segment is recorded and saved as a separate file. Normally, footage would eventually overwrite older unnecessary data but the Garmin Dash Cam 20 knows exactly when to start recording say an accident. The G-Sensor can be a bit sensitive at times especially when taking the car to a bumpy road but fortunately, you have the option to adjust the sensitivity.
The Dash Cam 20 also has built-in GPS. This does not turn into the dash cam into a Garmin nuvi device but it could come in handy. Basically, the GPS provides time and location info on every video.
The Dash Cam 20 can also double as an emergency camera just in case you don’t have one available. Simply un-mount the dash cam from the windshield and use the physical controls to take your own snapshots.
The small screen of the Garmin Dash Cam 20 is definitely deceiving because the camera is actually capable of recording 720p and 1080p and audio. The bad news is that the files are saved in AVI format which is an aging video format that isn’t unfortunately Apple-friendly. If you are a Mac user, you’ll have to use third-party software. The battery lasts up to an hour making it your best bet to leave the dash cam plugged in.
• G-Sensor works beautifully and could be configured in case it doesn’t
• Decent video quality
• Comes with 4 GB microSD card.
• Sells for under $200.
• AVI is the only format for saving videos and it isn’t Apple-friendly.
With the Garmin Dash Cam 35 resting on top, the Dash Cam 20 had no choice but to exist for value proposition purposes. It is a cheap dash cam for recording Full HD video and gets the job done without any serious issues.