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BlackVue DR970X-2CH LTE vs. Garmin Dash Cam Live Review

One of the reasons why people love BlackVue is its state-of-the-art Cloud Connectivity features. It’s been around for years now, and has helped a lot in providing drivers with instant access to footage, organized storage, two-way communication, and live streaming.

Recently, BlackVue announced the launch of the DR970X-2CH LTE, the brand’s freshest take on built-in LTE dash cam. During the same time, globally-renowned GPS and electronics company Garmin also announced the rollout of the all-new Garmin Dash Cam Live - its first dash cam to offer built-in LTE.

Both brands have strong industry reputations, but let’s see which among these new dash cam models sport better features that are worth your money.

BlackVue DR970X-2CH LTE vs. Garmin Dash Cam Live: Image Quality

The BlackVue DR970X-2CH LTE is the most advanced BlackVue dash cam to date, especially in terms of video quality. With its 4K UHD video resolution and 8MP Sony STARVIS sensor on the front (and 2.1MP on the back), you can capture high-quality footage, and even zooming in results in no video blur or distortion. Thanks to its newly-upgraded image processor and ISP tuning that delivers improved white balance, dynamic range and brightness to all light conditions.

Garmin falls short in terms of video resolution when compared to the DR970X-2CH LTE and the rest of the DR970X-2CH series. The Garmin Dash Cam™

Live records the road ahead in 1440p 2K QHD at 30 frames per second. Garmin Clarity HDR is designed to capture quality recordings both day and night, although BlackVue's dedicated Night Vision and 8MP image sensors will certainly outperform it.

BlackVue DR970X-2CH LTE

BlackVue DR970X-2CH LTE vs. Garmin Dash Cam Live: Camera Systems

One of the major differences between the two dash cams is the camera system. The BlackVue DR970X-2CH LTE has front and rear cameras, while the Garmin Dash Cam Live only has a single camera - that means it can only capture what’s happening in front of you, so you can’t really get any evidence when someone bumps your car’s rear. Hefty price tag for a front-only dash cam, plus the fact that you have to purchase a secondary camera even doubles the expense.

Another is the field of view. The DR970X-2CH LTE's front camera has a viewing angle of 162 degrees, which is more than enough to see everything ahead and even a glimpse of the sides. The Garmin Dash Cam Live can only cover 140-degrees, so the lanes and side views will be quite limited for this dash cam.

BlackVue DR970X-2CH LTE

Garmin Dash Cam Live

BlackVue DR970X-2CH LTE vs. Garmin Dash Cam Live: Design

Like the rest of the BlackVues, the DR970X-2CH LTE is built without a screen. This way, you avoid attracting the attention of thieves, keep your vision undistracted, and ensure that the video recordings are properly angled. It has the same form factor as the DR750X-2CH LTE Plus, but it now has a Matte Black casing instead of Silver, giving the dash cam a more sleek and premium appearance.

With the Garmin Dash Cam Live, you get a single device since it is a front-only camera. Unlike premium dash cams, this dash cam is equipped with a 3-inch LCD display screen so you can preview videos. However, we don’t find this feature useful as it looks too small, and it defeats the purpose of having a dedicated mobile app for more convenient and clear viewing.

BlackVue DR970X-2CH LTE

Garmin Dash Cam Live

BlackVue DR970X-2CH LTE vs. Garmin Dash Cam Live: Parking and Recording Modes

In addition to normal and continuous recording modes, the BlackVue DR970X-2CH LTE provides innovative parking mode solutions such as Motion and Impact Detection mode, Time Lapse, and Buffered Recording, which can provide your car with not just a few minutes, but 24/7 security from the front to the rear bumper.

The Garmin Dash Cam also offers continuous driving mode and impact-detection parking mode, with Travelapse Video recording mode, essentially the same time-lapse mode found in the Garmin 45/54/55/65W dash cams.

BlackVue DR970X-2CH LTE vs. Garmin Dash Cam Live: Cloud Connectivity Features

When launched during CES 2023 along with the Ring Car Cam, and the BlackVue series, Garmin announced that the Dash Cam Live is the company's first dash cam with built-in LTE and Cloud Connectivity - so our expectations were set really high.

Unfortunately, we found out that the Garmin Dash Cam Live's real benefits can only be unlocked with an active LTE data connection - which you can get after subscription. That means you can only access its features like Live View, View and Share Videos, Location Tracking, Parking Guard, Incident Detection, Theft Alerts, and Vault Storage if you subscribe to its plan that starts at $10 a month.

BlackVue Cloud, on the other hand, is a free add-on service for BlackVue users that includes Alert Push Notifications, Remote Live View, Video Backup or Auto Upload, Two-Way Communication, live GPS, Remote Video Playback, and Live Event Upload - more features compared to the Garmin Dash Cam Live. Obviously, it offers more than the Dash Cam Live’s Cloud, and if you want to have an upgrade and manage multiple vehicles for your fleet business, BlackVue also offers other paid subscription options to upgrade your plan.

The BlackVue cloud does require a connection to the internet, thankfully for this, BlackVue inclues a BlackVue SIM card, though there are monthly plans required for that. Alternatively, you can put a SIM card from your local carrier in the camera. Check out compatible carriers here.

Verdict: Which one is Better? BlackVue DR970X-2CH LTE or Garmin Dash Cam Live?

Garmin fans must have seen the Dash Cam Live as a breakthrough camera because of its built-in LTE connectivity. For the company, it is. But for the whole dash cam industry, it’s nothing new because of BlackVue.

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 now, there’s the BlackVue DR970X-2CH LTE, which comes with built-in LTE connectivity while capturing 4K.

The BlackVue DR970X-2CH is a dual-channel camera that provides coverage of the road ahead as well as traffic behind, whereas the Garmin Dash Cam Live is a front-only dash cam that provides less protection and security.

Overall, we can say that the Garmin Dash Cam Live, when compared to their previous models, is a total upgrade. However, it's hard to justify its price tag, especially if you have to pay a monthly subscription to access the Cloud services.

4K vs. 2K, dual-channel vs. single-channel, free vs. paid cloud features, and years of expertise vs. entry-level experience in producing built-in LTE dash cams.

You choose.