Tech review: Garmin Dash Cam Tandem


Long-term review of the Garmin Dash Cam Tandem

I’ve been using a Nextbase 422GW modular dash cam for a considerable time, and with its rear-view plug-in module I get front and rear view coverage that I have found hard to beat

But now some serious competition has landed with the launch of Garmin’s ultra-compact Dash Cam Tandem.

Renowned also for its smart watches and sat navs, Garmin has been a dash camera specialist for many years.

Garmin Dash Cam Tandem

Tandem is a seriously competent piece of kit, despite not having an onboard display.

Built-in GPS

It has built-in GPS and uses voice commands or instructions initiated on your smartphone.

Garmin’s 360-degree dash cam comprises a 180-degree field of view, a 1440p front camera (Brillnics BVR0500) and a 180-degree field of view 720p interior camera (Omnivision OV9750).

Garmin Dash Cam Tandem

Despite the shape of the lenses, there is no noticeable fish-eye effect on the footage.

Tandem measures just 55mm x 40.6mm x 23mm, and weighs a mere 65g. It’s got infrared lighting, and built-in GPS.

The size of this unit is crucial to its appeal. You can’t hide a front/interior camera behind the rear-view mirror as that would hinder the interior camera view.

Design and build

The dash cam has a minimalist design. There are just two control buttons along with a micro-SD card and a micro-USB port.

The multi-colour, halo-lit, button on the rear is used to save video, pair with Bluetooth, warn of errors, and show that you’re connected via USB.

Garmin Dash Cam Tandem

The second button on the bottom is the microphone on/off control.

Set-up

Tandem works with Garmin’s free Drive app for Android and iOS.

Here you can configure settings such as resolution, frames per second and G-sensor sensitivity, view the camera feeds live, transfer video and update the firmware.

There is a parking mode but you need to buy a hardwire kit for this to work.

Video

Tandem captures footage on both cameras at 30fps and will save your videos as MP4 files. It can support storage cards up to 512GB.

Garmin Clarity HDR captures detailed exterior video, while what the firm calls NightGlo technology delivers exceptionally clear night vision in black and white.

With regards to the interior footage, you will marvel at how clear the facial features of backseat passengers are.

Sensor

By default, the device uses a sensor to detect when an incident occurs.

It automatically saves three minutes of footage: one minute before the incident, the minute of the incident, and another minute after the incident has occurred.

The clip is stamped with the date, time and exact location of the event. This information is super-accurate hanks to Garmin’s built-in GPS.

All footage can be easily reviewed and transferred using your smartphone or computer.

Installation

Another big winner for me is the magnetic mount, which makes both removal and re-attaching quick and easy.

Although the dash cam is small enough to avoid attention if you leave it installed.

It’s also worth noting that the device does not need to be Bluetooth-connected to your phone for the voice commands to work.

That leaves your phone’s Bluetooth connection free to link with your audio system.

Other features

And it’s worth mentioning that the Dash Cam Tandem can operate in temperatures of up to 176F. So there is no need to worry on sunny summer days about the heat affecting its performance.

One issue to note is that the dash cam will not start recording audio unless given a voice command.

Once you turn on audio, incidentally, it stays set to on. A small LED light on the unit will let you know when audio recording is enabled.

It is important to turn it on to capture audio if an incident occurs or when the camera detects movement.

The Tandem comes bundled with a 16GB micro-SD card that will store up to one hour of footage, but you can swap that out with cards up to 512GB in size.

On the whole, this is an incredibly easy to install and use dash cam that I highly recommend.

How much does Garmin Dash Cam Tandem cost?

Garmin Dash Cam Tandem costs €359 from buy.garmin.com/en-IE

What are the specs of Garmin Dash Cam Tandem?

Dimensions: 55mm x 40.6mm x 23mm
Weight: 65g
Video resolution: Front 1440p / Interior 720p
Field of view: 180-degree
Display: None
Photos: JPG
Videos: MP4
Storage: microSD (class 10) up to 512GB
Parking mode: Optional hardwire kit required
Timelapse: Yes
Power: Capacitor
Audio recording: Yes (must be enabled)
WiFi: Yes
GPS: Yes
G-Sensor: Yes
App: Garmin Drive

 

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