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Garmin 56 Review

A powerful dash cam with excellent video quality and a low profile that will quickly become your favorite road trip buddy
Garmin 56
Credit: Amazon
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Price:   $200 List | $159.00 at Amazon
Pros:  Stellar video quality, low profile
Cons:  Video quality suffers in the dark, small screen
Manufacturer:   Garmin
By Michelle Powell and Hayley Thomas  ⋅  Jun 17, 2021
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73
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 8
  • Video Quality - 40% 8
  • Video Capture - 25% 7
  • Interface - 25% 6
  • Visual Footprint - 10% 8

Our Verdict

The Garmin 56 is an inconspicuous dash cam that produces great video. The 140° field of view combined with top-notch 1440p resolution offers above-average video quality for those looking to document a fun road trip or ensure that any fender benders are properly represented. Its interface is not the most intuitive and the small screen can be difficult to navigate which takes some getting used to. This small camera doesn't come cheap but if solid footage and fun features like Travelapse appeal to you, this is a great option. The Garmin 56 is an especially good option for those documenting their travel for social media.

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Garmin 56
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Garmin 56
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award  
Price $200 List
$159.00 at Amazon
$200 List
$169.99 at Amazon
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Pros Stellar video quality, low profileGreat video quality, second cab-facing cameraVery good video quality, relatively inexpensive, very slim profileUser-friendly, inexpensiveInexpensive
Cons Video quality suffers in the dark, small screenPricey, relatively bulkyNo built-in Wi-Fi, no rear or interior cameraAverage video qualityOdd blue hue on all footage, slightly larger visual footprint
Bottom Line A powerful dash cam with excellent video quality and a low profile that will quickly become your favorite road trip buddyCurrently the best rideshare model due to its great video quality and second cameraThe best performance and value for those who only want to record the road in front of them and don't need a second, rear-facing cameraThis user-friendly model features a nice interface and a reasonable price tagUnfortunately, the strong points of this model begin and end with its low price tag
Rating Categories Garmin 56 Vantrue N2 Pro Uber... AUKEY DR02 Roav A1 APEMAN C450A
Video Quality (40%)
8.0
9.0
8.0
5.0
4.0
Video Capture (25%)
7.0
8.0
7.0
8.0
7.0
Interface (25%)
6.0
6.0
7.0
8.0
5.0
Visual Footprint (10%)
8.0
5.0
9.0
6.0
6.0
Specs Garmin 56 Vantrue N2 Pro Uber... AUKEY DR02 Roav A1 APEMAN C450A
Field of View 140 degrees 170 degrees 170 degrees 140 degrees 150 degrees
Resolution 1440p 2.5K 1080p 1080p 1080p
Event Detection G Sensor Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Cabin Camera No Yes No No No
Camera Dimensions 2.2" x 1.6" x .8" 3.8" x 1.5" x 1.5" 3" x 2" x 1.5" 3.3" x 2.2" x 1.3" 2" x 1.6" x 1.4"
Built-in Wi-Fi? Yes No No Yes No

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Garmin 56 may be small in stature but don't underestimate its power. This quality camera is equipped with a 140° field of view and 1440p resolution when the sun's out. This makes it a great option for those looking to obtain quality footage of their trip rather than those simply looking to document potential accidents.

Performance Comparison


The Garmin 56 offers Travelapse, a time-lapse feature for...
The Garmin 56 offers Travelapse, a time-lapse feature for documenting scenic road trips.
Credit: Jason Peters

Video Quality


The 56 offers better-than-HD 1440p resolution, crisp motion, and accurate and vivid colors. With a 140° field of view, we were worried that our footage might come out looking like it was shot with a fisheye. Luckily, this wide-angle lens gives it a more natural look, which we really appreciate because the quality renders this a great camera for capturing long scenic drives.



The night vision is not nearly as impressive. It comes in at just about 720p resolution. This is plenty to document an accident but not enough to document a scenic night drive. We can't knock the 56 too hard for this, because most cameras struggle with motion at night. Overall, the video quality of the Garmin 56 renders it a viable option for those looking to document more than just a fender bender.



Video Capture


The Garmin 56 autosaves footage when the G-force sensors are triggered by an impact or sudden stops, to ensure potential accident footage is always saved. The G-force sensor is something that most of the models in our test suite offer, and we're glad Garmin didn't leave this feature out. This model records in one-minute clips. If a recording is triggered to save, either by pressing a button, voice activation, or the G-force sensor, the Garmin will collect the minute in which it was triggered as well as the previous minute AND the following minute, to ensure that the driver has obtained a reliable video.

The G-force sensors are triggered by hard stops and impacts.
The G-force sensors are triggered by hard stops and impacts.
Credit: Jason Peters

Most videographers prefer 60 frames per second so that they have the option to slow things down without yielding a choppy video. The 56 only offers 30 frames per second, but this works just fine for documenting accidents or for your average Instagram or YouTube content.

The Garmin 56 will surely offer you the opportunity to share quality...
The Garmin 56 will surely offer you the opportunity to share quality footage of your fun adventures.
Credit: Jason Peters

Interface


The Garmin 56 has a two-inch LCD screen. While two inches is rather small, it falls right in the middle of typical dash cams. It responds quickly to voice commands, which we appreciate while driving and the Garmin Drive app is quick and simple to sync.

While a two-inch screen may be an average size, it still feels small. The menu organization is decent, but the prompt that pops up before it becomes operable is mildly annoying if you're in a rush — though it does clear itself without the driver having to close out. Our biggest complaint with the interface is the safety alerts. The 56 alerts the driver when they cross lane lines but it is very inaccurate, which ironically makes these safety alerts distracting and dangerous. Luckily, this feature is very easy to disable.

The small two inch screen can be difficult to work with but we love...
The small two inch screen can be difficult to work with but we love the overall small profile of the 56.
Credit: Jason Peters

Visual Footprint


Even though the tiny screen might be hard to see and navigate, having a big old device up in the windshield can hinder a driver's ability to see. The face of the 56 is 2.2 inches by 1.6 inches with a depth of less than an inch. It offers an adhesive mount with a magnetic attachment. This also helps keep the device close to the windshield. This low-profile device easily stays out of your field of view, which is why it scored highly in this metric.

The magnetic attachment point makes storing your camera away for...
The magnetic attachment point makes storing your camera away for safe keeping a breeze.
Credit: Jason Peters

Value


The Garmin 56 is not what we would consider a steal. It is a high-functioning dash camera at a fair price IF you are concerned with image quality. If you want a simple camera just in case you get yourself into a fender bender, there are cheaper options.

Conclusion


If you are looking for a camera that yields crisp and colorful footage and don't mind paying a little extra, then the Garmin 56 is a great option. It is compact, does not obstruct the driver's view, and responds quickly to voice commands. This not-so-budget-friendly device will get a lot of use if you are the type of person that likes to document and share your journeys and it will definitely come in handy if you get into an accident.

Michelle Powell and Hayley Thomas