Dash cameras are not just novel gadgets to record the often strange things that happen on South African roads. They also come in useful in the case of an accident, helping the police and insurance companies determine what happened.
Garmin recently launched its first product in this space, the Dash Cam 20, a neat little device that incorporates GPS technology to provide precise coordinates, direction and speed information, which is overlayed on the video.
The Dash Cam 20 comes with the video camera, a suction cup mount, USB cable and 12V power adapter. Garmin also includes a 4GB microSD card that stores about 50 minutes of footage. A larger card of up to 32GB can be added for those wanting to store more footage before the camera loops back and overwrites older footage. We found the bundled memory card to be sufficient.
The Dash Cam 20 is designed to start recording automatically when it is connected to a power source. This makes its operation effortless, as it begins recording the moment the car is switched on and stops when the car’s engine is cut.
It can also be used outside the vehicle — handy in the case of an accident where it can be unmounted to record any damage incurred. There is even a button to take still images if the need arises.
The front of the dash cam houses the wide-angle camera that shoots video at 1080p. This can also be changed to 720p to squeeze more recording time out of the memory card.
Watch footage taken with the Dash Cam 20:
There is a 2,3-inch LCD on the back of the camera, with four buttons just below it. These are used to navigate the menu or to play back the recorded video and photographs.
The Dash Cam 20 has a built-in microphone to record audio inside the car.
There’s also an incident detection sensor that works by picking up sudden movements and marks the footage so it won’t be erased. During our tests, we found that this can be a little too sensitive, notifying us of an incident if we just took a corner a little too hastily.
With the camera mounted, the screen stays on for the duration of its use, but dims after 60 seconds so it isn’t a distraction for the driver.
Considering that this is a GPS device, it’s no surprise that Garmin has included a speed camera detection feature. However, the data for this needs to be updated manually from Garmin.
The Garmin Dash Cam 20 works well and the image quality of the video is really good. It retails for R2 999. There is also a non-GPS version, the Dash Cam 10, that retails for R2 599. — © 2014 NewsCentral Media