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VIOFO WM1 vs. Garmin Mini 2 Dash Cam
Comparison Review

Gone are the days when dash cams are designed to be attention seekers mounted on your windshield. Premium dash cams like BlackVue and Thinkware have been designing their models like that – but now, even budget-friendly brands like VIOFO have begun to transform their LCD dash cams like the A129 and A229 series to screenless, more discreet models like the VIOFO T130, A139 Pro and the WM1.

Among all the VIOFO models, the WM1 is the smallest. We actually think that it’s valuable to compare it with the industry’s smallest, the Garmin Mini 2 dash cam. Both of them are sleek, stealthy, and don't consume a lot of space on your dash! The Garmin Mini 2 has been well loved for its size and capabilities since it was launched in early 2021, and we want to find out if its features can be compared to the VIOFO WM1.

In this article, we will dive into the design, performance and features of the VIOFO WM1 and the Garmin Mini 2 to see which dash cam offers better coverage and value for money. Let’s go!

VIOFO WM1 vs. Garmin Mini 2 Design

When we got our hands on the VIOFO WM1 and the Garmin Mini 2, we felt like we’re comparing a 12V car charger and a key fob! The VIOFO WM1 is a tad longer, measuring 3.87 inches long, 1.04-inch thick, and 1.21-inch in height. On the other hand, the Garmin Mini 2 measures a mere 1.23 inches wide by 2.1 inches tall by 1.5 inches deep. For both dash cams, the measurements already include the lens and overall body – they’re that small.

We thought the WM1 was already light at 10 ounces, but after weighing the Garmin Mini 2, we discovered that 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. The WM1, like the rest of the VIOFO dash cam family, employs a supercapacitor, so it’s safe to say that the VIOFO lineup is more experienced in dealing with heat and temperature concerns.

Now let’s go to the form factor. 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.

Meanwhile, the VIOFO WM1 includes four buttons: REC, MIC, Wi-Fi, and the One-Click Emergency Lock Button for easier navigation. The Emergency Lock Button is important for protecting videos in the event of an accident. Additionally, VIOFO added a Type-C power port in the dash cam mount rather than the camera to make it more visually appealing when installed.

VIOFO WM1 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.

Talking about video quality, we noticed that the Garmin Mini 2 is quite underwhelming compared to the VIOFO WM1. The Garmin Mini 2 captures full HD 1080p @ 30 frames per second through its 2MP Garmin Clarity™ HDR optics sensor, but 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. We think it’s not something you would want to rely on capturing details like car badges or license plates.

Video quality is where the VIOFO WM1 stands out. While the Garmin Mini 2 only carries a 2-megapixel front camera, the WM1 sports an advanced 5-megapixel Sony STARVIS IMX335 sensor with WDR and Super Night Vision. We all know how much of a global leader Sony STARVIS is, performing excellently in low-light conditions while also prioritizing image clarity. So in terms of capturing license plates, or driving during the night, the VIOFO WM1 obviously does a better job than the Garmin Mini 2. Video quality is a big deal for us since this will be the basis when you need evidence for insurance claims, or proof to show the cops!

While the Garmin Mini 2 captures 140-degrees, the WM1 offers a slightly narrower field of view at 135-degrees. However, what’s good with the VIOFO WM1 is its 60-degree rotatable camera mount attached to the back of the dash cam, which saves space when compared to dash cams with top mounts. Aside from easy installation, we find this helpful in adjusting to multiple angles to suit your needs, allowing for optimal viewing in a variety of mounting positions and vehicle types.

A common denominator of these two dash cams is the compatibility of CPL filters. The VIOFO WM1 works with the VIOFO CPL filter while the Garmin Mini 2 can add its 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.

VIOFO WM1 vs. 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 WM1 covers the essentials, plus a little more.

Both the Garmin Mini 2 and the VIOFO WM1 are equipped with 2.4GHz 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.  

On the other hand, VIOFO WM1 has the VIOFO app. This is simple to use and enables you to view your footage, download and share on social media, change the camera settings, and more importantly, has a feature that allows you to find the best driving routes. Of course, the latter would need a GPS, and the WM1 already has it built-in to the unit itself. This is a major advantage of the WM1, as the Garmin Mini 2 doesn’t have a GPS. Therefore, you can’t track speed limit, locations, and travel details about the video 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. VIOFO doesn’t think it’s necessary, but the manufacturer added a Voice Notification feature on the WM1. Similar to the new A139 Pro dash cam, the WM1 boasts Intelligent Voice Notification which acts as your personal assistant, informing you of dash cam events such as video protection, changes, and memory card errors. This is a big improvement from the then-annoying beeping sounds, which we admit are really distracting.

VIOFO WM1 vs. 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 WM1 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 WM1 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.

Both dash cams don’t include a hardwiring kit on their packages, so you will have to buy it separately. If you wish to extend their parking modes, we recommend you to use a dedicated dash cam battery pack like the BlackboxMyCar PowerCell 8.

VIOFO WM1 vs. Garmin Mini 2 File Storage and Playback

With the WM1, aside from using the VIOFO app for viewing, you can also take the microSD card out of the dash cam and plug it into your computer if you want to stream on a bigger screen. Here, we highly recommend the use of the Dash Cam Viewer. You can also connect the dash cam directly to your computer using the included Type-C data cable, or even use an SD card adapter to view the footage directly on your phone. While the WM1 has a Loop Recording feature, it also supports micro SD cards up to 256GB. Files are recorded in H.264 and saved in MP4 format.

The Garmin Mini 2, on the other hand can carry up to 512 GB micro SD cards. For desktop viewing, Garmin announced that new downloads of Garmin's Dash Cam Player software have been discontinued. This means that Garmin no longer offers a desktop application that supports the management of your device's video files; however, many common third-party programs exist which can fulfill this purpose. Like the WM1, the Garmin Mini 2 also saves the footage in MP4 format and records in H.264.

VIOFO WM1 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 May 2023, this single channel full HD dash cam can be bought at $109.99 USD. The more innovative VIOFO WM1 2K QHD dash cam, released this 2023, is surprisingly priced at only $99.99 USD.

Verdict: Which is better? The VIOFO WM1 or the Garmin Mini 2 Dash Cam?

The VIOFO WM1 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 WM1 offers maximum value for money. Despite being more affordable, the VIOFO WM1 carries numerous features that the Garmin Mini 2 doesn’t possess – 2K QHD @ 30 frames per second, 5 MP Sony STARVIS sensors, Super Night Vision, Multiple Parking Modes, and most importantly, built-in GPS. We appreciate Garmin Mini’s larger storage capacity and voice commands, although we find the features of the VIOFO WM1 are more likely to be used for everyday driving, video quality and parking mode security.

VIOFO WM1 vs. Garmin Mini 2 Product Specifications

Specs VIOFO WM1 2K QHD Garmin Mini 2 Full HD

Video Resolution

2K @ 30 frames per second

1080p @ 30 frames per second

Image Sensor

5MP Sony STARVIS IMX 335

2MP Garmin Clarity Optic

Field of View

135°

140°

GPS

Built-in

None

Parking Mode

Yes

Yes

G-Sensor

Yes

Yes

Operating Temperature

-10°C to 65°C (14°F - 149°F)

-20° to 60°C (from -4° to 140°F)

Loop Recording

Yes

Yes

Max SD Card

256GB

512GB

LCD Screen

None

None

Wi-Fi

Yes

Yes

Bluetooth

Yes

Yes

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