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Garmin Dash Cam Live - Could Be Better

Garmin Dash Cam Live - Could Be Better

Consumer Electronic Show (CES) is where the world’s biggest brands showcase the latest in tech and innovation - and this year, several big players in the dashcam industry unveiled their new 2023 lineup: Amazon launched the Ring Car Cam, Garmin announced the Dash Cam™ Live, BlackVue showcased their new Cloud-connected models, Nextbase brought their iQ and Bosch introduced the RideCare, a new connected dash cam.

The trend is towards dash cams that are smart, AI-enabled, and LTE-connected. But while the Ring Car Cam is excellent as an expansion camera to an existing Ring home camera surveillance system, it does fall short of the standard expectations of what a dash cam should be when marketed as a dash cam. What about the Garmin Dash Cam™ Live?

Let’s check out why we think the Garmin Dash Cam™ Live is better than the Ring Car Cam, but still lacking in many aspects.

What is the Garmin Dash Cam™ Live?

The Garmin Dash Cam™ Live is an always-connected LTE dash cam that offers drivers access to a live view and share saved video anytime from the Garmin Drive smartphone app. Dan Bartel, Garmin VP of Global Consumer Sales, said in the official product press release that “drivers can have access to their vehicle camera without the limitation of a Wi-Fi connection.

There’s a small catch, though: you need to subscribe to their $9.99 per month LTE Vault subscription plan to enable the Cloud services.

Can I use the Garmin Dash Cam™ Live without the LTE subscription?

Yes, you can.

The following features come standard on the Garmin Dash Cam without the Garmin LTE Vault subscription plan:

  • 2K QHD video recording at a 140° field of view
  • Garmin Clarity™ HDR
  • 3” LCD built-in display
  • Automatic recording
  • “OK, Garmin” voice commands to save video, start and stop audio recording, take still pictures and more
  • Forward collision and lane departure warnings
  • Red light and speed camera alerts
  • Travelapse (continuous driving recording in time-lapse mode)
  • Garmin Drive smartphone app (connect via WiFi)
  • Parking mode recording with impact detection* (requires the Garmin OBD Constant Power cable or the Garmin Parking Mode hardwire cable, sold separately)

While the Ring Car Cam limits you to just the car's OBD-II port for power supply, the Garmin Dash Cam Live allows you to use the 12V cigarette lighter socket, OBD-II port, or fuse box in your vehicle, or a dash cam battery pack for power. The BlackboxMyCar PowerCell 8 battery pack is compatible with the Garmin Dash Cam™ Live.

Garmin Dash Cam™ Live Recording Capabilities

The Garmin Dash Cam™ Live features everything you’ve come to expect from a standard front-only, 1-channel dash cam. Mounted on the windshield, the Garmin Dash Cam™ Live captures the road ahead in 1440p 2K QHD @ 30FPS at a 140° degree. In terms of video resolution, Garmin Clarity HDR should also ensure that drivers can see what's going on day and night - a significant upgrade from the 1080p Full HD recording on the Ring Car Cam.

In addition to continuous driving mode and impact-detection parking mode, the Garmin Dash Cam™ Live also offers Travelapse Video recording mode, essentially the same time-lapse mode found in the Garmin 45/54/55/65W dash cams. (Looking for a smart dash cam that offers similar recording options? Check out FineVu and the Smart Time Lapse feature in its dash cams.)

Unlike the Ring Car Cam, the Garmin Dash Cam™ Live saves your footage onto a removable microSD card. Garmin even gives you a free 16GB microSD card, which isn’t much at all, but you can always use your own Class 10 or higher microSDHC or microSDXC up to 512GB.

What do I get with the Garmin LTE Vault subscription plan?

Unfortunately, the Garmin Dash Cam™ Live’s real benefits are unlocked only with an active LTE data connection.

Live View - With an active LTE subscription, you can access a live view from your dash cam anytime when using the Garmin Drive app. Some vehicles will require use of the Constant Power Cable.

View and Share Videos - Saved videos are stored securely in the online Vault and you can share video clips with others by sending a link and passcode.

Location Tracking - Enjoy the convenience of checking on your vehicle’s location anytime when using the Garmin Drive app. This feature requires an active LTE subscription.

Parking Guard - When your Garmin Dash Cam Live detects an incident affecting your parked car, you’ll receive a notification in the Garmin Drive app, with a video clip of the detected incident. This feature requires an active LTE subscription.

Incident Detection - When an incident is detected, this camera automatically saves video from just before, during and after it happens to help capture a full recording of the event along with GPS location, date and time.

Theft Alerts - If someone drives your vehicle without your phone inside, you’ll receive an alert through the Garmin Drive app. This feature requires an active LTE subscription.

Vault Storage - Saved video clips are automatically stored for up to 30 days in the secure, online Vault and can be accessed using the Garmin Drive smartphone app.

How much is the Garmin Dash Cam™ Live?

Garmin sells the Garmin Dash Cam™ Live at $399.99, which puts it in the range of the Thinkware Q1000-2CH, the BlackVue DR750X-2CH Plus, and the BlackVue DR750X-2CH LTE Plus. Note that the Thinkware and BlackVue dash cams mentioned are all dual-channel systems, giving you coverage of the road ahead and the traffic behind, whereas the Garmin Dash Cam™ Live is a front-only dash cam, so you’re getting one less camera.

Is the Garmin Dash Cam Live worth it? What other dashcam options do I have?

Garmin Dash Cam™ Live has all the standard dash cam features, like 2K QHD resolution, a 140-degree FOV, a microSD memory card slot, built-in GPS and WiFi, and more. There is also voice control and parking mode. Compared to the Ring Car Cam, the Garmin Dash Cam™ Live is a step in the right direction. But the main selling feature is the built-in always-on LTE- connectivity.

Dash cams with dedicated LTE connections are nothing new - BlackVue has been making always-connected Cloud for a while now. There’s the BlackVue CM100G LTE module for the BlackVue DR900X Plus and DR750X Plus dash cams, and there’s the BlackVue DR750X-2CH LTE Plus, which comes with built-in LTE connectivity.

The Garmin Dash Cam™ Live is a nifty little camera, but it's hard to justify its hefty pricetag, especially if you have to pay a monthly subscription to access the Cloud services. On the other hand, BlackVue Cloud is free with all BlackVue Cloud-ready dash cams. There's an option of paying a monthly fee if you want to use their SIM plan, but you can also opt for any other suitable SIM service or wireless hotspot device that connects to the BlackVue Cloud.

And if you’re keen on paying a subscription plan for Cloud services, we urge you to check out Thinkware Connected, which is available on the Thinkware Q1000 dash cam. The $9.99/month Home plan lets you add up to 5 dash cams under the account and saves your video files on the Cloud for 90 days, giving you 3x more time to access them.

The Garmin Dash Cam™ Live is Garmin’s first attempt, so we do expect some time before Garmin irons out all bugs or issues. We will be getting our hands on the new LTE-Cloud BlackVue dash cams shortly, so stay tuned as you don’t want to miss our product reviews. The Bosch RideCare won the prize Best of Innovation at CES 2023, and the Nextbase iQ was featured in Time Magazine’s 200 Best Inventions of 2022, so you can be sure we’ll check them out and share our thoughts in the coming months.

The BlackVue DR750X-2CH LTE Plusis a 1080p Full HD @60FPS dual-channel dash cam with built-in LTE connectivity.

The Thinkware Q1000 is Thinkware's latest 2K+2K dual-channel dash cam and comes with the all-new Thinkware Connected services.

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Next article Ring Car Cam - What We Know and Think Of This New Dash Cam


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