The Garmin Dash Cam Mini is Garmin’s smallest dash cam and one of the smallest dash cams currently on the market. Since Garmin is one of the few name brand manufacturers this camera is found in many traditional bricks and mortar stores as well as online.
The Garmin Dash Cam Mini records 1080p at 30fps with a bit rate of 20 Mbps. While not the greatest video quality, it is good during the day and average at night.
From a design perspective, the Mini is minimalist, discreet and very small at only 31mm x 53mm x 29mm. The Mini is one of the smallest dash cams on the market and is approximately the same size as a key.
The camera uses the same adhesive magnetic mount as other Garmin dash cams.
The Mini does not come with a screen and there are only 2 buttons on the camera. The large button on the back is used to pair the camera to the phone (pairs to phone with Bluetooth and transfers files via WiFi). You can also use the button to take a photo and save a video clip. The side button allows you to mute and un-mute the camera.
The Garmin Mini uses a small LED at the back of the camera for notifications. This will typically be red for recording. When you see flashing yellow or alternating red and yellow, there is an issue. Unfortunately, there are no audio notifications for issues.
You will need to use the Android or iOS Garmin Drive app on your Smartphone to adjust any settings for this camera. The app can also be used to view, trim, download or delete videos. The Garmin Drive app is quite good and allows for up to 4 cameras to be synced with the app.
The Dash Cam Mini does not come with GPS but can be hardwired for non-buffered parking mode. The camera uses a capacitor instead of a battery which is a positive. Unfortunately the Mini gets very hot when operating so it is not ideal for parking mode. The camera does have a temperature protection function which turns off the camera if it overheats before it gets damaged.
Garmin Dash Cam Model Comparison
In May 2019, Garmin released a new line of 4 dash cams:
- Dash Cam Mini (new model)
- Dash Cam 46 (replaces the Dash Cam 45)
- Dash Cam 56 (replaces the Dash Cam 55)
- Dash Cam 66W (replaces the Dash Cam 66W)
The following table compares the features across many of the most popular Garmin dash cams.
The most common complaint with the Garmin Dash Cam Mini is that it overheats. When this happens the camera will either shut down or lock up. The camera gets extremely hot to the touch as can be seen in this photo at 54.5° C (outdoor temperature was only 20° C).
Should I Purchase?
The Garmin Dash Cam Mini is one of the smallest dash cams on the market today. The form factor is very good and the camera is quite discreet. While the Mini does not come with numerous bells and whistles, build quality is good and the Garmin Drive app is above average. Video quality for the $90 price is not the greatest but is acceptable and Garmin support is reasonable.
Unfortunately the camera generates a lot of heat and does not appear to be designed for hot climates. This heat issue may also impact long term reliability.
To see what other owners have to say about this camera, visit our Garmin Dash Cam Mini forum.
WARNING! MAKING CHANGES TO YOUR FIRMWARE ARE PERFORMED AT YOUR OWN RISK. WE ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY DAMAGE TO YOUR DASH CAM AS A RESULT OF THESE INSTRUCTIONS.
To update to the latest firmware for the Garmin Dash Cam Mini, you can use the Garmin Drive App or the Garmin Express Application.
You can download the owners manual here.
Published: October 1, 2020