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Garmin Tandem Review

A dash cam that offers great video quality, a low profile, and will record both inside and outside your vehicle
Garmin Tandem
Credit: Best Buy
Top Pick Award
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Price:   $300 List | $299.99 at Amazon
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
Manufacturer:   Garmin
By Michelle Powell and Hayley Thomas  ⋅  Jun 17, 2021
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73
OVERALL
SCORE


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

Our Verdict

The Garmin Tandem offers stellar video footage in one-minute clips, G-force sensors, verbal activation, and an easy-to-use cell phone app. The 180° field of view, offered on both the internal and external-facing cameras, ensures that no small detail is missed. The interior cam also comes equipped with optional audio recording which makes this camera a great choice for rideshare workers. If you are looking for something that will offer extra peace of mind in the way of an internal camera with audio, as well as excellent video-taking capabilities, and don't mind spending a little extra, this cam is a no-brainer.

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Garmin Tandem
This Product
Garmin Tandem
Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award  
Price $300 List
$299.99 at Amazon
$200 List
$169.99 at Amazon
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Pros Low profile, 180-degree field of view, exterior and interior camerasGreat video quality, second cab-facing cameraVery good video quality, relatively inexpensive, very slim profileUser-friendly, inexpensiveInexpensive
Cons Video quality suffers in the dark, no screen, low-quality interior videoPricey, 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 dash cam that offers great video quality, a low profile, and will record both inside and outside your vehicleCurrently 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 Tandem 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 Tandem Vantrue N2 Pro Uber... AUKEY DR02 Roav A1 APEMAN C450A
Field of View 180 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 Yes 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 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.

Performance Comparison


The compact Tandem is a versatile option, great for rideshare workers.
The compact Tandem is a versatile option, great for rideshare workers.
Credit: Jason Peters

Video Quality


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.



Video Capture


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.

For capturing long scenic drive, you will have to initiate video...
For capturing long scenic drive, you will have to initiate video saving every three minutes, which can be a hassle.
Credit: Jason Peters

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 video quality is stellar, but there are better dash cams out...
The video quality is stellar, but there are better dash cams out there for documenting scenic drives at a lower price.
Credit: Jason Peters

Interface


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

The Tandem helps you stay hands free with voice commands.
The Tandem helps you stay hands free with voice commands.
Credit: Jason Peters

Visual Footprint


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 super low profile.
The Tandem is super low profile.
Credit: Jason Peters

Value


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.

Conclusion


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.

The interior camera is a great security measure for Uber, Lyft and...
The interior camera is a great security measure for Uber, Lyft and taxi drivers.
Credit: Jason Peters

Michelle Powell and Hayley Thomas