Garmin Dash Cam 56 dash cam for meteorite and content hunters.
You can endlessly argue about politics, love and a heap of everything in the world, but the disputes of motorists about the need to buy a DVR deserve special attention. Supporters of these devices easily argue their position with videos on YouTube, and opponents will more often refer to the negative experience of using budget cameras from dubious brands. For both, I recommend reading this review of the Garmin Dash Cam 56, a near-reference dash cam for everyone.
Now I’ll tell you why this baby deserved so many flattering words..
We meet with unpacking.
Like any Garmin product, the Dash Cam 56 comes in a neat box with an austere set of accessories: short and long micro-USB cables, the device itself with an adjustable swivel mount, and a pair of metal plates. For complete happiness, stock up on a fast microSDXC memory card, minimum speed class 10.
Control in a couple of touches.
The tiny Dash Cam 56 is reminiscent of a modern action camera. Matchbox-sized with full-back display and dedicated control keypad on the right. From the front, attention is focused on the 140-degree protruding wide-angle lens.
Next to the camera, a decorative grill disguises a loud speaker for warning about various traffic situations – I will talk about these chips later..
Below is only a slot for microSDXC memory cards with a capacity of up to 512 GB. On the right side, I repeat, there are four menu control keys. On the colorful two-inch screen of the recorder, you can comfortably and quickly adjust all the basic shooting parameters and view the footage.
The resolution and pixel density are the same as on smartphones, the viewing angles and the headroom are also flawless. Is that the automatic brightness control is lacking, but the screen can automatically turn off when driving.
Fastening and mounting.
The convenience of placing the DVR in the car is a headache for many, but not for owners of Dash Cam 56. The miniature device is equipped with a clever magnetic system for attaching to the windshield. Instead of bulky suction cups and swivel rods, two metal plates with 3M adhesive are included.
It is enough to glue one of them in a suitable place, first trying on the angle of view from the viewfinder.
Conveniently, the neodymium magnet is located on the pivot bar near the gadget, so instead of the complete plates, another metal object (for example, a coin) with 3M adhesive tape applied is also suitable. The force of the magnet is enough to securely fix the recorder, without vibrations and shaking when driving on gravel and other irregularities. The main thing is to first make sure that the surface is dry and clean, otherwise the metal plate may come off in damp weather..
The power issue is elegantly handled by ordinary micro-USB, and many of us have a bunch of such cables. The set includes two wires with an L-shaped micro-USB connector 1.5 and 3 meters long, plus a tiny 2.1A charger for the cigarette lighter. You can feel Garmin’s concern for the smartphones of motorists, because the charger has two USB outputs..
In theory, a long power cable is needed for installation under the headliner and pillars – you can entrust this procedure to a soundproofing studio, or spend an evening in the garage. But if you want to power out the recorder under the casing, I recommend taking a closer look at the interesting Parking Mode Cable accessory..
This module is integrated into the standard power supply network of the head multimedia car and allows the registrar to record with the ignition off. Unlike handicraft connections to standard wiring, the Garmin power module is equipped with a standard power grid voltage controller. As soon as the voltage drops below 11.7 volts, and the controller turns off the power of the DVR – there will be no problems with the morning start-up in winter.
Completing the topic of power supply for Dash Cam 56, I also note the presence of a built-in battery with a capacity of about 500 mAh – it is enough for almost 30 minutes of offline recording. To save power, the recorder automatically turns off when you disconnect the power cable or turn off the ignition in the car. Of course, unless it is connected via the power accessory in parking mode.
Exemplary ergonomics, smart controls and the ability to record in parking mode are just a few of the features of the Garmin Dash Cam 56. It is built on the basis of high-performance hardware and supports recording up to 1440p at 30 fps. For Full-HD and 720p, you can record at 60 fps, plus all resolutions support HDR shooting.
In addition to micro-USB, the recorder has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless interfaces – all this is necessary to control the device via the Garmin Drive mobile app on a smartphone..
From the screen of the mobile phone, you can configure all the recording and notification parameters, and at the same time quickly download the footage and, if necessary, crop the video. Also, wireless communication modules allow Dash Cam 56 to synchronize work with other Garmin dashboards in the cabin of your car, and then use the app to create a video with sidebars from the rear and side cameras.
The abundance of additional chips deserves special attention. The built-in GPS module is used by the device not only to overlay data on the coordinates and speed of the car when recording video, but also helps to use the traffic signs and speed limit alerts – all this is available when using the Garmin Drive application on a smartphone with regularly updated data on road infrastructure. Regardless of the connected smartphone, the recorder is equipped with advanced software for monitoring exits from the road markings and emergency notification of the likelihood of a collision with a vehicle in front of you.
The loud speaker will barely allow you not to react to such warnings, the intensity of which is also adjustable in the settings.
Management and settings.
The Dash Cam 56 dashcam automatically turns on and starts recording when connected to a power source, the main thing is to install a memory card in advance. From the viewfinder mode, the main attention deserves the lower side OK button, a short press on which saves the current frame without stopping recording, and a long hold saves the video in a separate folder. By default, the recorder shoots one-minute videos in a cyclic mode, deleting old recordings when there is not enough free space, but the saved videos will not be touched, and they are not limited in duration..
Pressing the up and down buttons automatically displays the main menu items, decorated with a colorful icon. I’ll tell you about the settings a little later, but now I want to emphasize the possibility of shooting timelapse videos in the background..
An interesting feature of the recorder: support for voice control. Examples of voice commands are collected in the corresponding section of the menu. To activate, just say “Ok, Garmin”.
Another menu item is associated with binding to the Garmin Drive mobile app on your smartphone. Following the prompts on the screen, the entire pairing procedure takes just a couple of minutes. All configuration and control options are available from a smartphone, plus via Wi-Fi you can download individual videos and crop them, overlay a picture from the rear camera on top of the main one.
Once you open the settings in the Garmin Dash Cam 56 menu, the fun is in the driver assistance section. The registrar is equipped with advanced image analysis software and very effectively warns an unassembled driver in a traffic jam about the likelihood of a collision with a car in front – it will also not hurt on the track on a long trip. But even more convenient for country roads is the notification of a collision with a solid marking line.
Works surprisingly accurately and does not distract when advancing and changing lanes.
Another useful feature on the way: an information panel with an alert about the current speed limit and your speed in this section – the smartphone transmits information about the signs to the registrar, so on the M11 toll road this function was unavailable, as was the cellular network signal. In urban conditions, everything works well, and an example of a video with an exit from a tunnel shows the speed of restoration of communication with GPS satellites.
From the picture settings, you can select the resolution and frame rate. For 2560×1440, only 30 fps is available, but at 1080 and 720 you can choose 30 or 60 frames per second. HDR and manual exposure adjustments are available for all resolutions.
You can also disable sound recording from the settings..
The remaining unmentioned item of the gadget menu: the gallery of captured videos. Here you can only view one by one, plus the possibility of manual deletion. Of course, all this is more convenient to do from a PC, or on a smartphone screen from a mobile application..
Over the years of testing mobile gadgets, I have developed a certain immunity to attempts to link the price of a gadget and its quality results. But Garmin Dash Cam 56 left a pleasant impression here too, providing first-class video at the exit, on the same level with a similarly priced action camera of a famous brand.
Against the background of mid-range recorders, Dash Cam 56 has a significantly wider dynamic range of the picture and a moderately tightened graininess – the sharpness of the picture is specially tailored to please distinguishable license plates on any freeze frame. During the day, the registrar fixes the picture so that at least open your YouTube channel.
At night, the registrar does not even think to give up positions. Visibility is excellent both in the city at night and along the highway. The picture is exactly the one that I remembered sitting behind the wheel.
Of course, at dusk HDR works much more roughly, but it copes effectively with the main task of improving the visibility of rooms..
The Garmin Dash Cam 56 is a rare example of a device that flawlessly performs its tasks. The ingenious design of the magnetic mount turned out to be the best type of mount I’ve seen before, and the device can easily compete with flagship action cameras in terms of shooting quality. At the same time, this recorder can be simple for any car enthusiast, and avid technologists can
connect a dedicated parking power adapter and control Dash Cam 56 from the screen of the mobile application. Without releasing the steering wheel, control using voice commands, and, if desired, install several such recorders – the Garmin Drive software automatically synchronizes them.
And your DVR can do that?