Field of view: 140°
The Garmin Dash Cam Mini 2 is a versatile beast, packing voice control, vault storage and Wi-Fi connectivity in a compact body.
Despite lacking a display, this inconspicuous dash cam has a lot to offer drivers.
Garmin Dash Cam Mini 2 review: Price and availability
The Garmin Mini 2 is on sale now for $129.99, and can be purchased from the Garmin website and other major electronic retailers.
Garmin Dash Cam Mini 2 review: Design & features
The Garmin Mini 2 looks positively adorable, with its chunky, key fob-sized design and simple curves. And despite its low weight, you can feel the quality oozing out of this dash cam in its lattice-effect fascia and robust plastic shell.
Its minimalist design also extends to its buttons, of which there are only two: one to save and the other to mute/unmute the microphone.
Don’t be fooled by its tiny frame either — the Mini 2 hides an impressive arsenal of features. For starters, there’s crash detection, which saves a video following an incident and whips it across to the online Garmin Vault. This is an online cloud service that offers free 24-hour video storage, while users can subscribe for longer storage periods.
The Mini 2 also includes voice control, a rare feature in a dash cam at this price. Additionally, a parking guard alerts you to suspicious activity near your vehicle, although you’ll need an active Wi-Fi connection and a hardwire setup.
Finally, the live view feature allows you to view a live feed of your camera using a smart device when you’re away from your vehicle.
What is missing from the Mini 2’s lineup, however, is GPS — a staple of the best Garmin watches and other products from the company.
Garmin Dash Cam Mini 2 review: Setup
As with Garmin’s bigger dash cam brethren, setting up the Garmin Mini 2 is uber simple.
A small sticky pad provides a robust mount, not least because the dash cam is extremely light. Its size also means it can be placed just about anywhere on your windshield and still look ultra discreet.
Additionally, I was pleased with the dual USB charger that came bundled in the pack, meaning those with single power points in their vehicles can still charge their phones while the unit records.
Understandably, you’ll want to pair the Mini 2 with the Garmin Drive app to ensure you’re getting the best view of the road. Without a display, it can be tricky to ensure you’re getting the best orientation.
Another trade-off for its size is that the Mini 2 doesn't hold much battery charge, so you'll need to keep its power connection active to pull your files off it.
Garmin Dash Cam Mini 2 review: Software
Users can tinker with all of the Mini 2’s settings with Garmin’s companion app, Drive, which can link up with up to four dash cameras at once.
The app is nicely laid out and designed, with which you can save video, take a still picture, load a live feed and send saved videos to the Garmin Vault.
However, the software isn’t free of niggles. While using the app, footage playback can be slow to load and often throws up choppy framerates. Furthermore, loading up the live feed can take a while and is prone to failure.
Garmin Dash Cam Mini 2 review: Video and audio quality
For a diminutive dash cam running 1080p, I was impressed by the picture quality of the Garmin Mini 2.
By day, colors are generally well balanced and images crystal clear. The sensor that delivers 30 frames per second helps ensure video is smooth. And though there are some hints of fuzziness — mostly at night — this dash cam holds up well even in darker settings.
On sunnier days, there can be a fair bit of glare — Mini 2 buyers might want to add the optional glare filter to their wishlists. And at certain angles, that “fish-eye” effect does creep in, but it’s certainly no deal-breaker.
There’s also no issue with audio, with the microphone picking up voices in clarity. Even with music playing at medium volume, it’ll still be able to carry out your voice commands.
Garmin Dash Cam Mini 2 review: Verdict
Garmin has jammed a lot into the Mini 2, and the result is a solid quality dash cam that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Yes, it’s a dash camera without the display, which I thought might be its biggest weakness. Instead, I didn’t miss having the distraction of the screen — its inconspicuous, compact design made for its biggest strength.