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Thinkware F70 Pro vs. Garmin Mini 2 1-CH
Dash Cam Comparison Review

How do these dash cams compare with each other?

Thinkware F70 Pro vs. Garmin Mini 2 Comparison

In recent years, premium dash cam manufacturers have redesigned the form factors of dash cams by making them more discreet, easier to install, and efficient even without having bulky LCD screens. Some of the high-end brands we know that have embraced these standards are Thinkware and Garmin. In this article, we will take a look at the brands’ smallest dash cams available – the Thinkware F70 Pro and the Garmin Mini 2. While neither should be underestimated for it’s size, let’s see which comes out on top.

Thinkware F70 Pro vs. Garmin Mini 2 Design

Similar to its F70 predecessor, the Thinkware F70 Pro is a single-channel dash cam built to fit and hide behind the rearview mirror, fitting seamlessly into your vehicle. With a measurement of only 3.23 x 1.3 x 1.35 inches, we can confirm that the F70 Pro is legal in all states in the USA and provinces in Canada, as it falls under the below 4-inch requirement.

The Thinkware F70 Pro’s glossy black finish makes it look more elegant, while the ventilation grills in front help this dashcam do a great job of cooling. It’s also built with a supercapacitor, so we can really say that the F70 Pro is built for the heat.

In front, you can see the camera lens and the mount connector. On the left side, you’ll see the REC button, while the right side includes the GPS port and Wi-Fi buttons. The microphone and speaker are placed behind, useful for recording audio. Underneath, you can see the memory card slot of the F70 Pro which can support micro SD up to 128 GB.

Meanwhile, the Garmin Mini 2 measures even smaller measuring only 1.23 inches wide by 2.1 inches tall by 1.5 inches deep, and it barely weighs 3 ounces. We like that the Mini 2 now has a supercapacitor, as opposed to its other brothers like the Garmin 47, 57, and 67, which still use lithium-ion batteries. Shaped like a car key, the super handy Garmin Mini 2 has only two buttons. A USB cable can be connected to the camera's right side, while the left side houses the micro SD card slot and the audio mute button. By holding the latter, you can format an SD card. Another button on the back saves a photo and video, and when pressed long enough, connects the Mini 2 to your phone for use with the Garmin Drive app. Speaking of SD cards, it’s impressive to know that the Garmin Mini 2 can support up to 512 GB SD card, similar to the other Mini 2 from VIOFO.

Thinkware F70 Pro

Garmin Mini 2

Thinkware F70 Pro vs. Garmin Mini 2 Video Recording Capabilities

These dash cams may seem small to the eye, but both could provide you with decent views of the road ahead – yup, only the road ahead since both are only single-channel dash cams with no option to add a rear camera.

The Garmin Mini 2 captures full HD 1080p @ 30 frames per second through its 2MP Garmin Clarity™ HDR optics sensor, and covers a 140-degree field of view. Even in situations with sufficient lighting, the video quality of the Garmin Mini 2 seems to be a little washed out during the day, and grainy during the night.

On the other hand, the Thinkware F70 Pro’s video quality also captures Full HD (1920 x 1080P) at 30 frames per second. But, don’t underestimate the power of the Thinkware F70 Pro, as it still records reliable footage, especially during the day – thanks to its 2.1 MP CMOS sensor that also sports Wide Dynamic Range (WDR). When it comes to night recording, you can activate the Super Night Vision feature during parking mode to see the license plates and road signs better.

For more similarities between these two dash cams is the compatibility of CPL filters. The Thinkware F70 Pro works with the Thinkware CPL filter while the Garmin Mini 2 can add its own Polarizing Cover Filter. These accessories help the lens capture videos with reduced glares and reflections – best paired with the BlackboxMyCar Aqua Shield to keep your footage free from rain and other external elements.

Thinkware F70 Pro

Garmin Mini 2

Thinkware F70 Pro vs. Garmin Mini 2 Parking Modes

Now let’s talk about the most interesting security feature of the two – parking mode protection. The Garmin Mini 2 has motion and impact detection that activates when you hardwire the dash cam to the vehicle’s fusebox. This monitors activity around your parked vehicle, sending you notifications to the Garmin Drive app if an incident is detected.

For the F70 Pro, if you leave your car overnight, the parking mode feature of this dash cam can detect motion and impacts, while also having the same advanced features as the most expensive, above the $500 range Thinkware - the U3000. 

We’re talking about Energy Saving Mode 2.0, and Smart Parking Mode. Energy Saving Parking Mode 2.0 extends the coverage duration exponentially by keeping the F70 Pro in power-saving mode during inactivity. This drastic increase in energy efficiency means this Thinkware unit will keep your vehicle protected for much longer than any other camera option out there in this range, offering 23 days of parking mode with a battery pack.

On the other hand, Smart Parking Mode prevents heat-related damage by automatically switching to low-power mode if the temperature inside the vehicle gets too high, still recording while other units shut down. Therefore, if you usually park your vehicle under the sun, or live in warm places like Texas, Florida, and Arizona, the F70 Pro can still continue doing the job for you.

And as expected from Thinkware’s advanced systems, the F70 Pro also supports buffered parking mode, capturing 10 seconds before and after an incident. This gives you the peace of mind that during incidents, you’ll be able to capture the whole story.

Aside from these parking mode capabilities, what we love about both units is their compatibility with both hardwiring and OBD installation to activate parking mode. However, these accessories are not included in the package so you will have to purchase them separately. If you wish to extend their parking modes, we recommend you use a dedicated dash cam battery pack like the BlackboxMyCar PowerCell 8.

Thinkware F70 Pro

Garmin Mini 2

Thinkware F70 Pro vs. Garmin Mini 2 Convenience Features

At first look, you might assume that these dash cams can only perform basic video recording functions. Still, the Garmin Mini 2 and Thinkware F70 Pro cover the basics, and more.

Both the Garmin Mini 2 and the Thinkware F70 Pro are equipped with 2.4GHz Wi-Fi connectivity that enables users to connect with their dedicated mobile apps instantly. The Garmin Mini 2 can be navigated through the Garmin Drive App, which does offer the cloud. We want to make it clear that its cloud or Vault only serves as an online storage – definitely not a BlackVue Cloud or Thinkware Cloud type of Cloud. We found out that the Garmin Mini 2 videos get saved in the online Vault for 24 hours from the time of upload. However, if you want it to store more for a longer time, Garmin offers extended storage plans via paid subscriptions, which we honestly are not a fan of.  

While the F70 Pro is not capable of the cloud. The F70 Pro is built-in with Safety Camera alerts, which can be enabled with the external GPS. This is a major advantage of Thinkware, as the Garmin Mini 2 doesn’t have a GPS. Therefore, you can’t track speed limits, locations, or travel details about the vehicle, which is valuable in gathering evidence.

What we find cool about the Garmin Mini 2 is its Voice Control which enables you to save videos, start and stop recording and take still images. But, we find the F70 Pro’s super-advanced Bluetooth feature cooler and more functional. If you want to manage settings, stream, download, or share footage from your F70 Pro, you can do so with the Thinkware Dash Cam Link App. While other wifi dash cams require a fair bit of trouble to connect to each and every time, Bluetooth makes everything easier.

Now, with Thinkware’s built-in Bluetooth connection, pairing to your smartphone only takes a matter of seconds, which can be time-saving and helpful in the event that you need to recover footage immediately, like for traffic violations and proving scenes with authorities. While Bluetooth stops there for other brands, that’s not the case here. This unit can use Bluetooth to perform basic in-app functions like change settings, and go through event logs, only switching over to WiFi when a heavier hand is needed, in the case of streaming/downloading videos.

Thinkware F70 Pro

Garmin Mini 2

Thinkware F70 Pro vs. Garmin Mini 2 Pricing

When it comes to budget dash cams, these two are highly competitive. The Garmin Mini 2 was launched in 2021, and as of September 2023, this single-channel full HD dash cam can be bought at $129.99 USD. Meanwhile, the more innovative Thinkware F70 Pro, released this September 2023, is surprisingly priced at only $99.99 USD - under a hundred dollars!

Thinkware F70 Pro Garmin Mini 2 Full HD

Video Resolution

1080p @ 30 FPS

1080p @ 30 FPS

Image Sensor

2MP CMOS Sensor

2MP Garmin Clarity Optic

Field of View

140°

140°

GPS

External

None

Smart Parking Mode

None

G-Sensor

Temperature

-10°C - 60°C
(14°F - 140°F)

-20° to 60°C
(-4° to 140°F)

Loop Recording

Max SD Card

128 GB

512 GB

LCD Screen

None

None

Wi-Fi

Safety Camera Alerts

No

Built-in Bluetooth

No

Microphone

Built-in

Built-in

Speaker

Built-in

Built-in

Battery

Supercapacitor

Supercapacitor

Country of Origin

South Korea

USA

Warranty

1-Year

1-Year

Verdict: Which is better? The Thinkware F70 Pro or the Garmin Mini 2?

The Thinkware F70 Pro and the Garmin Mini 2 are two of the smallest dash cams in the market, offering discreet form factors for security, and essential features for convenience and safety. Both are easy to install, lightweight, don't attract thieves, and don't distract drivers, which works on all types of cars and areas when concerning legalities.

Garmin is also a popular dash cam brand in the US, and the Mini 2 has been one of its sales drivers due to affordability and impressive features like Wi-Fi, Voice Controls, Garmin Drive compatibility, and Vault Storage plans. We also appreciate how discreet its form factor is, which is truly helpful if you don’t wanna get distracted by dangling devices on your windshield!

However, we still think that the Thinkware F70 Pro offers maximum value for money – especially since it’s more affordable despite being the newer, more modern model, launched in 2023. While both are full HD dash cams, the Thinkware F70 Pro performs better in terms of convenience and safety, tested by advanced parking mode solutions like Buffered Recording, Smart Parking Mode and Energy Saving Mode. The Built-in Bluetooth is also an impressive feature, and we like to emphasize the convenience of not having to worry about the unsuccessful, annoying pairing attempts with your smartphone – the F70 Pro does it seamlessly, giving you super quick access to footage when the situation calls for it.

Lastly, the Thinkware F70 Pro came from a product line that industry experts approve – the F70. We have witnessed how Thinkware has built its brand reputation for over a decade, and we’re glad to see that the Thinkware F70 Pro continues to level up their game in the entry-level segment.

Choose Your Thinkware dash cam, only here at BlackboxMyCar!

The Thinkware F70 Pro available on our website. Check out our list of Thinkware collections and find which dash cam is best for your needs, wants, and budget! Shop yours today!