Garmin 56 Review
Pros: Stellar video quality, low profile
Cons: Video quality suffers in the dark, small screen
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|Pros||Stellar video quality, low profile||Very good video quality, relatively inexpensive, very slim profile||Great video quality, second cab-facing camera||User-friendly, inexpensive||Very good video quality, small visual footprint, built-in Wi-Fi|
|Cons||Video quality suffers in the dark, small screen||No built-in Wi-Fi, no rear or interior camera||Pricey, relatively bulky||Average video quality||Somewhat frustrating interface|
|Bottom Line||A powerful dash cam with excellent video quality and a low profile that will quickly become your favorite road trip buddy||The 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 camera||Currently the best rideshare model due to its great video quality and second camera||This user-friendly model features a nice interface and a reasonable price tag||A great camera that is somewhat held back by quite a frustrating user interface|
|Rating Categories||Garmin 56||AUKEY DR02||Vantrue N2 Pro Uber...||Roav A1||Rexing V1|
|Video Quality (40%)|
|Video Capture (25%)|
|Visual Footprint (10%)|
|Specs||Garmin 56||AUKEY DR02||Vantrue N2 Pro Uber...||Roav A1||Rexing V1|
|Field of View||140 degrees||170 degrees||170 degrees||140 degrees||170 degrees|
|Event Detection G Sensor||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Camera Dimensions||2.2" x 1.6" x .8"||3" x 2" x 1.5"||3.8" x 1.5" x 1.5"||3.3" x 2.2" x 1.3"||6.6" x 5" x 3.4"|
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 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.
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
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