Garmin Dash Cam 55 Review
We’re all looking for that special someone. Perhaps, however, for certain people that ‘someone’ is actually a ‘something’ – a dashcam, to be precise. You likely already know what dashcams are if you’ve found your way to this site; these handy devices have been keeping drivers protected on our roads for many years now, finding global popularity. In fact, since 2015 dashcam sales have risen by 395% in the UK, so we think it’s safe to call it a ‘craze’.
Whether or not you’ve gotten in on this craze already doesn’t matter – it’s never too late. And fortunately, you’ve found your way to our review of a truly phenomenal mid-range dashcam: the Garmin Dash Cam 55. It’s packed with nifty features, some of which are vital along with others that are simply nice additions. This is a very impressive model, and most customers will find that it offers everything they’d ever want from a dashcam.
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Read on to see exactly why we rate it so highly.
- Maximum resolution: 2560 x 1440
- GPS functionality with speed and location-tracking
- Size: 5.62 x 4.05 x 3.53cm
- Weight: 59.5g
- Incident detection system
- 30min battery life when not connected to a power source
- Travelapse recording mode
- Driver assistance notifications
- Voice control functionality
- Incredibly good recording quality, made even better with the addition of a polarising lens cap
- Nifty extra features such as voice command, ‘travelapse’ and driver assistance alerts
- Small and easy to detach from the magnetic mount
- WiFi and GPS connectivity
- For some reason it only records incident videos in 1 minute bursts, so you might have to skip through multiple videos to see a full incident play out
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Size and setup
As all dashcams ought to be, the DC55 is very easy to set up. Not to mention, it’s also rather small; only weighing 60 grams and measuring 5.62 x 4.05 x 3.53cm. If you find that hard to visualise, it will very comfortably fit in the palm of your hand; unless of course you’re a young child, in which case – why are you driving?
The DC55, as with similar Garmin products, also comes alongside a powerful and convenient magnetic mount, making it very easy to remove the camera from view whenever you aren’t in the car. This is a huge plus for those who don’t want to leave such a valuable item on display to anybody who walks by, reducing the chances of any spontaneous thievery.
One tip we need to offer when it comes to setting this dashcam up: before you attach the mount to your windshield, ensure that you’re clear on exactly where you want to place it. The sticky face of the mount is very… well – sticky. Which is exactly what it’s intended to be, of course, but can lead to issues if you decide you want to move it after it’s already fixed in place.
Once you’ve installed the device into it’s rightful place, there isn’t much more you need to do. Because it comes with GPS functionality (more on this later), you don’t even need to set the date and time!
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As you’d expect from a product from a well-respected name like Garmin, the quality of this dashcam’s video recording is really good. It’s impressive 3.7MP camera records at a maximum resolution of a very admirable 2560 x 1440 at 30 frames per second. You can also record video at 1080p (at 60 frames per second) or the same resolution at 30 frames per second. This last setting can save a lot of space when it comes to storing your video, so if you have a lengthy trip ahead it may be worth adjusting to this mode.
Unfortunately – and this is something we’ve found to be true of most dashcams, even high-end ones – the recording quality suffers somewhat at nighttime. As darkness falls the camera attempts to compensate by enhancing any sources of light it can find, which means that the glare of taillights or headlights can obscure important details like licence plate numbers.
For a truly impressive night-recording quality you’d need a dashcam that records in 4K, which will set you back a lot more than other models. Another helpful component for recording in the dark is the polarising lens cover – luckily for you, they’re available on Garmin’s website for only £17.95, and they’ll enhance the quality of your nighttime video quite significantly.
Overall, the DC55 really delivers on video quality; it’s rare that you wouldn’t be able to pick out any details you need to pursue legal action or prove you weren’t liable for an accident, and this is even less likely if you invest in a polarising lens cover.
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Phew, where to begin? We got a little upset that the DC55 won’t make tea or do our taxes for us, but that’s only because it spoiled us by doing so many other things. On the practical safety side, for example, the DC55 provides a wealth of driver assistance features. Whether it’s collision warning alerts that sound if you get too near the car infront of you, lane departure warnings or alerts about red lights or cameras up ahead, this dashcam really has your back as you drive.
As many gadgets are beginning to do nowadays, the DC55 also features voice command functions. Simply say “Okay Garmin” (wonder where they got that from…) and the dashcam will become aware that it’s about to receive an instruction. You can ask it to do all manner of things, from saving videos and pictures, muting or unmuting the audio features or switching to a different recording mode. It’s a well-calibrated system, but you might need to be careful if you have the radio on, as it sometimes misinterprets the noise as commands.
On the less practical, more fun side of things, the DC55 also offers a ‘Travelapse‘ feature. As you may have guessed, this records a journey as a timelapse and allows you to view it all at super-speed, condensed into a much shorter length of time. It’s certainly not essential, but it’s enjoyable, and may be especially appealing for those who use their dashcams for creative purposes such as making travelogues.
There are other features, such as WiFi connectivity that allows the camera to connect to your computer very conveniently, but the most notable ones are listed here. All in all, they certainly justify the price tag of this device.
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There really isn’t a lot to criticise about this wonderful camera from Garmin. The company really shows exactly why they have such a great reputation behind them, and whilst there may be cheaper options out there you can guarantee a high level of quality with the DC55. If you can afford it, and find the supplementary features appealing, this is a fantastic choice of dashcam for practically any driver.[amazon box=B06XN611DT value=star_rating rating=3.8]