Garmin Tandem Review
Pros: Low profile, 180-degree field of view, exterior and interior cameras
Cons: Video quality suffers in the dark, no screen, low-quality interior video
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|Pros||Low profile, 180-degree field of view, exterior and interior cameras||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, no screen, low-quality interior video||No built-in Wi-Fi, no rear or interior camera||Pricey, relatively bulky||Average video quality||Somewhat frustrating interface|
|Bottom Line||A dash cam that offers great video quality, a low profile, and will record both inside and outside your vehicle||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 Tandem||AUKEY DR02||Vantrue N2 Pro Uber...||Roav A1||Rexing V1|
|Video Quality (40%)|
|Video Capture (25%)|
|Visual Footprint (10%)|
|Specs||Garmin Tandem||AUKEY DR02||Vantrue N2 Pro Uber...||Roav A1||Rexing V1|
|Field of View||180 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 Tandem is a great option for rideshare workers who don't mind spending a few extra bucks for good quality footage. The dual cameras offer a 180° field of view. The external-facing one comes equipped with 1400 pixel resolution, while the cab-facing cam offers a lower resolution of 720 pixels, but ups the game with optional audio recording. This dash cam is a stellar device for those looking to gain a little peace of mind by knowing that whatever happens while their vehicle is in use will be documented.
The Tandem offers 1440p resolution on its exterior-facing cam and 720p on the interior and they each offer a wide 180° field of view. The exterior-facing camera yields crisp motion and vivid colors so if you're looking to document a scenic drive, this cam will surely do the trick.
At first, we were nervous about the 180° field of view. This wide of an angle often distorts images but we were pleasantly surprised to experience little to no distortion. Not only can you capture gorgeous footage, but license plates were easy to read, even from a distance, which makes this camera a reliable resource in the event of a crash.
Night vision is very tricky, especially for these compact cameras. While none of the cameras we tested inspired perfect scores, there were some top performers and the Tandem was not one of them. It offers 720p resolution on the exterior-facing camera in the evening, which is the same resolution the cab-cam offers all the time. This produces a pretty grainy video. We could sit and complain about how the interior cam should offer a higher resolution, but the need for perfect interior vision is pretty far and few between. The interior camera is most useful for rideshare workers who want video recordings of the cab for safety reasons. The Tandem also offers audio recording for added security but it can easily be turned off if you don't want it.
The likelihood of a crash going undocumented is low with the Tandem. It is constantly recording, but only saves the recordings when triggered to do so. This can be done either by voice command, pressing the save button, or triggering the G-force sensor. When commanded to do so, the Tandem saves the minute in which the command was requested, as well as the minute before and the minute after. This leaves you with three one-minute clips of your accident.
While the three one-minute clips work great for documenting accidents, they are less efficient for filming scenic drives and sadly, unlike many other Garmin devices, the Tandem does not offer Travelapse. This is disappointing, as it makes capturing long road trips a little clunkier of a process. You will need to trigger the recording every three minutes via voice command or by pressing the record button on the device itself and will end up with a bunch of one-minute clips to sort through after you've completed your trip. Depending on your needs, this is not a deal-breaker, but if your sole purpose for seeking a dash cam is more recreational than peace of mind, then you may want to buy a Garmin device that offers Travelapse.
Another thing worth mentioning is that while the Tandem renders beautiful video, it is shot at 30 frames per second. This shutter speed is plenty fast for most people, but if you are looking to slow your footage down for social media or for personal use, you may find that it feels a little choppy. For the average person trying to document their travels or for those who only care about accident documentation, this is a non-issue. However, if you a videographer looking to obtain some very versatile footage, you may want to find a camera that offers 60 frames per second.
The interface metric is an interesting one for the Tandem. Because of its dual cameras, one on the front and one on the back, it is devoid of a screen. This means you cannot do much from the device itself. We docked it some points for this but as long as you are willing to download the app, it works quite well.
Not only is the app user-friendly, but the Tandem also responds to voice commands. Simply say "okay Garmin" followed by a command like "take a picture" or "save a video" and the Tandem will comply. This is helpful as you don't have to mess with the very minimal interface or wait for the app to load on your phone to make a command
This camera dazzled us on many fronts and its compactness is no exception. The face is 2.2 inches by 1.6 inches while the depth comes in at less than an inch. We were very impressed with how much power this teensy little box holds.
The Tandem comes with an adhesive mount and magnetic connector which we trust on the hottest of days and bumpiest of roads. It holds the device securely to the windshield and doesn't protrude out too far into the driver's field of view. While we appreciate the security of the adhesive mount it does come with its own set of cons. The adhesive may leave a little residue on your windshield if you decide to remove it, and if you plan to use your camera in multiple cars, you'll need to buy a second mount. These are small inconveniences, but we wouldn't be doing our job right if we didn't inform you of them.
The Tandem is not an inexpensive device. It is on the higher end of our test suite's price range, but totally worth it if you're concerned with image quality, cab footage, and audio. If you are looking for something to document your road trips or have no need for an internal-facing camera, then there are plenty of less expensive options.
If you are a rideshare worker looking for crisp windshield video, decent cab video, and audio, then the Garmin Tandem is a great option. While it won't offer you a fun timelapse of your entire trip, the voice command makes it easy to capture high-quality clips that will have your friends and family impressed.
— Michelle Powell and Hayley Thomas
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