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VIOFO VS1 Mini vs. Garmin Mini 2

Dash Cam Comparison Review

Dash cams have evolved from conspicuous devices to stealthy, essential tools for drivers. While premium brands like BlackVue and Thinkware have long embraced a low-profile design, VIOFO has also transitioned from traditional models like the A129 to more discreet options such as the VIOFO VS1, which we're comparing to the Garmin Mini 2 in this review.

Both the VIOFO VS1 and Garmin Mini 2 boast compact designs that don't clutter your dashboard. The Garmin Mini 2 is known for its small size and advanced capabilities. Meanwhile, the VIOFO VS1 is a new player with promising features that merit a closer look alongside Garmin’s established model. In this article, we determine which of these mini-models is the maximum value.

Design Comparison

Both cameras are impressively compact, as the VIOFO VS1 measures just slightly larger than the Garmin Mini 2, both akin to a key fob in size. The VS1 measures only 3 inches tall, while the Garmin Mini 2 measures 2 inches tall. Width and length-wise, both cameras are almost identical, measuring 1.14-1.3 inches for all 4 measurements.

Still, there’s more that goes into a good design than size, and one more important aspects of dash cams is how they’re mounted. While both cameras use adhesive mounts, Garmin’s branches off of the camera so that it takes up more space, and offers a much smaller rotation range.

Given how small these units are, neither of them feature a physical screen, normally a mainstay of both Garmin and VIOFO brands. Instead, they are controlled through rather small buttons on the unit, one located on the side, and the other located on the rear. Due to only having 2 buttons, this does mean that the buttons perform multiple functions if you press them differently, such as holding down the wifi button on the camera to turn the wifi on. To compensate for the limited buttons, both cameras support voice controls, allowing you to control the camera hands-free. However, only the VIOFO VS1 will communicate with you verbally, which is always useful for added peace of mind, in comparison to the cryptic beeping of the Garmin Mini 2.

VIOFO VS1 Mini

Garmin Mini 2

Video Recording Capabilities

But you know what they say: “A camera is only as valuable as what it can record” and image quality is the key factor for all recordings.

The Garmin Mini 2 delivers 1080p resolution at 30 fps, providing average footage with a 140-degree field of view. In contrast, the VS1 steps up the game with 2k resolution, also at 30fps with a 140-degree field of view. This is thanks to its 5-megapixel Sony STARVIS 2 sensor, ensuring superior clarity, especially in low-light conditions. This makes it ideal for capturing crucial details like license plates.

This improved night vision for the VIOFO VS1 is largely because of the built-in Super Night Vision 2.0, which combines with HDR (High Dynamic Range) to offer significantly improved focus and quality in dark situations. It still manages to capture precise details like license plates, even when contrasted with bright headlights. These night vision features are all absent from the Garmin Mini 2, and the difference in nighttime recordings between the two models? It’s night and day.

VIOFO VS1 Mini

Garmin Mini 2

Convenience Features

At first glance, you might think that these dash cams can only do a little, or probably the basic video recording features. In reality, the Garmin Mini 2 and VIOFO VS1 covers the essentials and more.

Both the Garmin Mini 2 and the VIOFO VS1 are equipped with Wi-Fi connectivity that enables users to connect with their dedicated mobile apps instantly. Downloadable via Google Play and App Store, the Garmin Mini 2 can be navigated through the Garmin Drive App. 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.  

VIOFO VS1 Mini

Garmin Mini 2

On the other hand, VIOFO VS1 has the VIOFO app. This is simple to use and enables you to view your footage and perform core tasks. The VIOFO VS1’s wifi signal is a 5ghz and 2.4ghz connection offering a much quicker connection and file download speed compared to the Garmin Mini 2’s 2.4tghz wifi. The VS1 also has a major advantage with it’s built-in GPS, as the Garmin Mini 2 doesn’t have a GPS. Therefore, you can’t track your current speed, location, and travel details about the video, which is invaluable gathering evidence. Of course, this can be disabled if needed.

Both cameras are able to take SD cards with a maximum of 512GB as well.

VIOFO VS1 Mini

Garmin Mini 2

Parking Modes

Now let’s talk about the best 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.

The VIOFO VS1 also does this with its motion and impact detection feature – which is just one of its multiple recording features. Aside from Auto Event detection, the VS1 also has Time Lapse recording and Low Bitrate recording. 

For us, the most important thing here is the Auto-Event Detection with buffered recording. With this mode, the Auto-event detection will automatically record for 45 seconds while a moving object is detected, and if any impact is detected, it’ll give you footage 15 seconds before and 30 seconds after so you can get a full understanding of the incident.

We appreciate that the Garmini Mini 2 has a super capacitor battery for parking mode, as opposed to a power holding lithium battery of previous Garmin models, which have a tendency to give out in extreme temperatures, and are not ideal for dash cams. VIOFO ensures that a super capacitor is used in all of its cameras.

Both dash cams don’t include a hardwiring kit in their packages, so you will have to buy it separately. We also recommend the BlackboxMyCar Essential Install Package for all the tools needed for hardwiring as well.

VIOFO VS1 Mini

Garmin Mini 2

Pricing Comparison

When it comes to budget dash cams, these two are highly competitive. The Garmin Mini 2 was launched in 2021, and as of May 2023, this single-channel full HD dash cam can be bought at $109.99 USD. The more innovative and newer VIOFO VS1 Mini dash cam, released in 2024 a few months ago, is selling for only a slight cost increase, at 139.99$ USD. Keep in mind that the VIOFO VS1 does come with an included VIOFO branded 32GB SD card, whereas with Garmin Mini 2, this will need to be purchased separately. The VS1 also comes with a spare adhesive pad, as well as a static sticker to help with mounting.

Verdict: Which is better? The VIOFO VS1 Mini or the Garmin Mini 2 Dash Cam?

The VIOFO VS1 Mini 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 in terms of legalities.

But overall, we think that the VIOFO VS1 Mini offers maximum value for money. The VS1 carries numerous features that the Garmin Mini 2 doesn’t possess – 2K QHD @ 30 frames per second, a 5 MP Sony STARVIS 2 sensor, Super Night Vision + HDR, Multiple Parking Modes, a built-in GPS, and significantly more versatile mounting. We appreciate Garmin Mini’s original impact on the scene of small cameras, and slightly lower price, but it simply can’t compete with modern innovations.

Ready to get your hands on the VIOFO VS1 Mini? Get the best dash cam deals only at BlackboxMyCar! Click here to discover more about VIOFO’s smallest, smart and stealthy dash cam now!

VIOFO VS1 2K QHD

Garmin Mini 2 Full HD

Video Resolution

2K @ 30 FPS

1080p @ 30 FPS

Image Sensor

5MP Sony STARVIS IMX675

2MP Garmin Clarity Optic

Field of View

140°

140°

GPS

Built-in

None

Smart Parking Mode

G-Sensor

Temperature

-20°C to 65°C (14°F - 149°F)

-20° to 60°C (-4° to 140°F)

Loop Recording

Max SD Card

512 GB

512 GB

LCD Screen

None

None

Wi-Fi

Built-in Bluetooth

Microphone

Built-in

Built-in

Speaker

Built-in

Built-in

Battery

Supercapacitor

Supercapacitor

Country of Origin

China

USA

Manufacturer Warranty

1-Year Manufacturer Warranty

1-Year Manufacturer Warranty

Shop the VIOFO VS1 Mini now!

We see the VS1 Mini as a technologically advanced dash cam, and a great symbol of how VIOFO has embraced innovation, while continuously improving its product line. With features like Sony STARVIS 2, Super Night Vision 2.0, Voice Commands, Built-in Wi-Fi,GPS, smart parking modes, and long-term reliability for under $120,

Whether you're navigating the city streets or exploring off-road trails. As we enter a new era of dash cams, the VS1 embodies the perfect blend of performance, quality, and innovation. The VIOFO VS1 Mini will surely capture not just the best 2K footage, but the hearts of more customers.

VIOFO VS1 Mini 2K QHD Dash Cam

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