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Garmin Dash Cam 20 review: It's compact, it's convenient, and it costs a little more

Jon L. Jacobi | Sept. 30, 2015
Garmin's good name may be worth a few more bucks, but the product also skimps a bit on a few features.

garmin dash cam 20 3to2

Though it’s pricey for a basic-featured unit, even one with GPS, the Dash Cam 20 is the easiest to use of the six cams I looked at. Four buttons on the front bottom of the unit let you save the current recording, take a snapshot, access the settings, and play back a previous recording. The button functions are also called out nicely on the display.

garmin dash cam 20 day
The Garmin Dash Cam 20 is very easy to use, but its paltry 90-degree field of view means you could miss sideswipers.

The Dash Cam 20 attaches to its suction cup mount via a pressure-fit ball joint. It takes considerable force to marry the two, enough that I was a bit worried about breaking it. However, once joined, there are no worries about its coming apart. The suction cup is also reassuringly strong. Whoever designed this dash cam has some real-world experience—Garmin, ya’ think?

The quality of the Dash Cam 20’s recordings, both day and night, looked good. The night video surprised me, because viewed while being captured, it appeared overly dark.

garmin dash cam 20 night
At night, the Garmin Dash Cam 20's imagery looks dark when viewed live, but it appears brighter when viewed later as an image file. 

The only thing to be aware of with the Dash Cam 20 is that it has only a 90-degree field of view. While this eliminates most of the fish-eye distortion that you get with other cams, it doesn’t catch as much of the approach of the vehicle that sideswipes you. My only other complaint is that bundling a mere 4GB microSD card seems skimpy on Garmin’s part, given the price tag.

The Dash Cam 20 is simple, effective, to the point, and rugged. I liked it a lot, though not as much as its significantly more expensive cousin, the Nuvicam LMTHD.


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