Up until just a couple of years ago it was exceptionally expensive to install a quality dashboard camera. And HD quality was simply something you would dream about. If you were lucky you’d get SD quality at a very low resolution. Just about enough to see what happened ahead if you got into an accident. But not much more than that.
Now, with even smartphones having HD quality cameras built-in, you will have noticed a huge amount of new and improved dash cams on the market. You can even get them as low as $50 for very basic ones.
However, you always get what you pay for. And that is the case with all technology. If you stretch you budget a little bit you will be amazed at how much extra functionality you can get. With this Garmin 35 you get a huge amount features. And there are even some innovations that you won’t get with any other product.
In this Garmin dash cam 35 review you will find out exactly what it does, what it’s good for and whether this is the best choice for you to make. There are even some tips on how to best use it to your advantage and some ideas for other uses than evidence of a crash.
Quick Overview of Garmin Dash Cam 35
The Garmin dashcam 35 is one of the most fully featured products available today. But that’s not what makes this stand out from the rest. Many cameras have all the bells and whistles and will also have very high quality video.
But there are two features that stand out the most.
First of all, there is a driver alert functionality that warns you when you get too close to the vehicle ahead. This takes your own speed into account. And by measuring the distance to the car ahead it can calculate whether you are keeping a safe distance. This is a great way to add a bit of extra safe driving. The closer you are to the car ahead the higher your chance of not reacting fast enough if there is an emergency stop ahead.
Secondly, the dash cam can warn you of red light and speed cameras close by. That means you will be a lot more cautious about your driving. Ultimately making you a safer driver and reducing your risk of being in a crash.
These are excellent features, but obviously, you’ll be interested in recording features.
From a recording point of view, you’ll get exceptionally high quality HD recordings. But recording in HD is only as good as the image that the lenses can provide. And the included lenses are pretty good quality indeed. You won’t struggle to zoom into details and be able to read license plates on all vehicles in view.
The Garmin 35 will record on a continuous loop. That means that once the SD car is full it will overwrite the oldest files first. Unless they have been marked as locked. If you’re planning to take video on a road trip then you might want to invest in a second larger SD car. But the one included will work fine for everyday use.
The G-sensor that is built in will detect sudden impacts and then automatically lock the video leading up to the event. This makes sure that you don’t accidentally delete it. And if you want to quickly review something, you don’t have to download it to a computer first. You can just check the video on the 3-inch display.
- HD quality video captures amazing amount of detail
- GPS data included so you have evidence of location, speed and direction
- Driver alerts for distance and red light/speed cameras
- G-Sensor detect impacts and automatically marks video as locked
- 3-inch display allows you to view good detail immediately
- Micro SD card included, but a larger one may be good idea
- No audio recording
- Power cord might be a bit small for larger vehicles
Product Specs for Garmin Dash Cam 35
The feature specs of the Garmin dashcam 35 are pretty impressive. A lot of them you would really only get with high-end products that cost several hundred Dollars. Probably the only thing lacking on this model is a rear-view camera to record what’s happening behind you.
In this section, we want to take a look at some of the most important features in a little bit more detail.
You can set up the device to record at 1080p or 720p HD video. That is basically movie and TV quality and it will capture amazing amounts of details. If there is a crash it will be high enough quality to be used as evidence. Zooming into people and car license plates will be no problem.
At the higher setting, you’ll obviously get a lot better detail, but it will take up much more space. We’ll look at data storage in the next section, but essentially you want to decide what’s more important. Either you ned more detail or more recordings. For most situations, the quality will be more important. But if you want a load of video from a road trip then you might need to consider a lower setting.
A micro SD card is included with the package, but it’s not the largest one. The device will support up to 64GB cards, but they have to be class 4 cards. These are available at very reasonable prices and you should think about adding one of them to your order. If you just want to use it for recordings on short trips, then you won’t even need a very large one.
One thing to consider though is that 64GB will take many hours of video. One good reason to have a large one is to be able to go back to recordings if you get a ticket. It wouldn’t be unheard of that devices like red light camera malfunction. And if you can go back several days or weeks you could have evidence against the ticket.
The 3-inch display is more than large enough to be able to quickly view some recordings after they happen. Whether that is while you’re on a road trip or to have evidence of a traffic accident immediately after. Another great reason for using the display is when trying to teach young drivers.
One of the best ways to teach someone is to show them if and when they do something wrong. You can then immediately review the mistake on a camera to show what the issue was. This is a much better way to ensure that a lesson is properly learned.
This is a simple feature with huge benefits. Because the camera automatically loops over older recordings you have to mark them as locked if you want to keep some. One reason this would be important to do is if there was an accident and you don’t want to lose the evidence.
To avoid such recordings being overwritten, the Garmin 25 comes with a G-sensor. This can detect if there is sudden increase in G Force, which would only really happen when there is an accident. When that it detected it will automatically mark the recording as locked. That way you won’t accidently overwrite or delete it.
Is It Legal?
The simple answer is that it depends on the State you live in. From a purely recording point of view there are not Federal laws that prohibit taking video in public. And because this device has no audio recording, then possible two party consent also doesn’t apply.
But you do have to be aware that there are many State laws about dash cameras. These essentially restrict the amount of your windscreen area that can be blocked by a device like a camera or GPS screen. This can range from no restriction, to some very small measurements that make a lot of models illegal.
The best thing you can do is check with your local Police officer or Sherriff, or even better, contact a lawyer. That way you can be certain that the specific size will get you into trouble. There can be some pretty big fines attached to breaking such laws.
What Can You Use It For?
Evidence For Accident Reports
The most obvious answer to that question is to prove your point of view in the event of a traffic accident. No matter how many other witnesses there are, a video recording will be unquestionably more reliable. People will always change facts if they are in the wrong. And unless you have some witnesses in your own corner that can be a huge problem.
Insurance Fraud Prevention
Insurance fraud has always been a problem. And in the last ten years this has only been getting worse. It’s such a big issue that the insurance industry spends hundreds of millions to investigate fraudulent claims.
When it comes to driving your car, you just have to look up some of the crazy things caught on camera and uploaded to YouTube. This can go as far as people running into your stopped car claiming you ran them over. These things can cost you a fortune in increased insurance premiums, so investing just a small amount in a decent camera is one of the best things you can do.
Learner Driver Training
More and more driver training schools are working with dash cams to help teach people how to improve and learn from mistakes. Being able to show someone a quick replay immediately after a mistake was made will really help to get them to understand what the problem was and how to avoid in in future. It’s a simple but very effective tool.
How Easy Is It To Install?
The best thing to do first is hook up the power cabling and make sure that it works. Then you can try and look for the best way to have the cables run. You really don’t want them just hanging down the center of your windscreen.Installation is really quite simple to get done. It should really only take a few minutes, but it’s important that you read the instructions as well. If you don’t get the windscreen suction device to attach correctly then the whole thing could fall off while you’re driving.
So, get the suction part attached then connect the camera. Once it’s securely in place, run the cable along the top of your windscreen to the passenger side. If you can then figure out a tidy way to get it to the power output (usually in the center console) you will be ready to go.
This will be different from car to car and might take a few tries to get it nice and tidy.
What It Doesn’t Have
While the Garmin 35 has a huge number of features there are a couple of limitations to be aware of. The first one is the fact that you can only record forward facing. It doesn’t include a second rear facing camera, so you can capture what happens behind you.
Now, you could invest in a second one and attach it to the back of your car. But if that is an important feature, then you might be better off with a dual dash cam. There are several of them reviewed on this website as well.
This model will also not work when your engine is off and you’re stationary. Some people like that as a way to include a security camera in the car to help tracking down people that damage your car and don’t leave a note. This is something that has probably happened to everyone before.
Overall, this is possibly one of the best value for money dash cams you can find. It is packed with features that other devices simply don’t have. And at the same time, it comes at a very affordable mid-range price.
While putting together this Garmin dash cam review we looked at all aspects and can definitely say that you will benefit from having this installed. From crystal clear video, to distance warning and speed camera detection you will be investing in a great product.
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