If you want your sprint cams small and unobtrusive, straightforward to make use of, with good day and night time captures, then Garmin’s tiny, $130 Dash Cam Mini 2 is what you need. It’s so miniscule, it was fully hidden behind my MX-5 Miata’s dwarfish rearview mirror. That’s small.
This overview is a part of our ongoing roundup of the best dash cams. Go there for data on competing merchandise and the way we examined them.
Design and options
When we are saying small, we imply the Dash Cam Mini 2 measures a mere 1.23 inches broad by 2.1 inches tall by 1.5 inches deep, together with the lens physique, and it weighs in at round an oz.. Garmin calls it car-key-sized, nevertheless it’s walnut-sized in my guide. Seriously, with out mini-USB cable connected, it’s straightforward to lose observe of this tiny little bit of tech in your backpack. I did—twice. Then I began leaving the cable connected.
Said USB cable marries to the precise aspect of the digital camera, whereas the left is house to the micro SD card slot and the audio mute button. Pressing the latter may also format a clean reminiscence card (8GB or larger). Another button on the again saves a snapshot and video, and when long-pressed, pairs the Mini 2 to your telephone for entry by the Garmin Drive app.
The digital camera is able to 1080p at 30 frames per second. It sports activities a large 140-degree area of view. The solely factor it would not match into its tiny body is GPS, which is disappointing although comprehensible given the dimensions.
The Dash Cam Mini 2 opts for a supercapacitor, seemingly as a result of there isn’t sufficient room for the lithium-ion battery present in Garmin’s bigger sprint cams. However, the supercapacitor is hefty sufficient to maintain the Mini 2 working for a very good two to a few seconds after you pull the plug. Indeed, whereas testing (and earlier than studying the specs) I used to be below the impression that there was a battery.
Voice management permits you to save a video, take an image, and switch audio recording on and off. Other notable options embody momentary cloud storage (as much as 30 days) by Garmin’s Vault portal, Live View with the aforementioned Drive app, and Parking Guard. The latter two options require a relentless energy supply. I like to recommend an OBD-II cable.
Installing any dash cam includes largely the identical steps, although with completely different mounts and positioning. I used to be a bit disenchanted that the Mini 2 doesn’t use the identical magnetic disk and mount that Garmin’s different sprint cams make use of. Instead, it makes use of a semi-permanent adhesive disk of the identical dimension. I truly caught it to the mounting disk from the just lately reviewed Dash Cam 57.
You can pop the Mini 2 off of the mounting arm on the ball-joint coupling (on the digital camera), nevertheless it doesn’t half methods as simply because the magnetic different and is more likely to break from stress sooner. Because the Mini 2 is so small and arduous to identify, you might be able to depart it within the automobile with much less danger of theft.
After reviewing Garmin’s Dash Cam 57, I need to admit that I grew used to the 1440p captures. The Dash Cam Mini 2 is restricted to 1080p, so there’s a drop intimately. The video continues to be superb, and completely usable legally, however in the event you’re in search of top-notch, get the Dash Cam 57.
As you’ll be able to see beneath, the 140-degree lens captures a reasonably massive swath of highway, nevertheless it additionally catches a number of windshield glare on a sunny day. Color is top-notch and correct. Details are properly processed and readily seen.
Night captures are fairly good—truly a bit higher than what you’ll see beneath. It was inconceivable to maintain moisture off of my windshield the night time I took the captures. That’s what occurs with the marine layer right here in San Francisco.
The areas surrounding the automobile to the edges present as a lot element because the view ahead within the night time seize above. Headlight flare was minimal.
The Garmin Dash Cam Mini 2 takes good video each day and night time, and is by far the smallest, most unobtrusive sprint cam obtainable. There’s no GPS, however the set-it-and-forget-it’s-there Mini 2 continues to be one in every of my favorites. A fantastic sprint cam at an reasonably priced value level.