With the market for portable navigation devices shrinking, Garmin is constantly looking for new, clever ways onto your dashboard. Rather than tell you where to go, Garmin's latest devices, the Garmin Dash Cam 10 and 20 announced Monday at CES 2014, aim to document events and accidents along the way.
The Dash Cam affixes to the windshield with a suction cup mount and is powered by the car's 12-volt power system, automatically springing to life when the engine is started and shutting down when the car does. A wide-angle HD camera points out of the windshield at the road ahead and records a continuous loop of 1080p, 720p, or WVGA video onto its included 4GB microSD card. Up to 32GB memory cards are supported, should the user want more space to store more incidents or increase the length of the recording loop.
When the Dash Cam's internal accelerometer detects sufficient G-forces, either from strong braking or the shock of a collision, the Dash Cam automatically saves and stores video of the incident along with video from a few moments preceding and following the event.
The unit has an integrated microphone and is also capable of recording audio of incidents. A 2.3-inch display makes aiming and positioning the camera easy and allows users to review footage (when the vehicle is stopped, of course). In the event of a collision, the Dash Cam can also be removed from its mount and used to take detailed snapshots of the damage. Dashboard cameras like Garmin's have proved useful in protecting against insurance fraud and for clearing up who's at fault in fender benders.
If Garmin's involved, you know there's going to a GPS sensor somewhere in the mix. Two flavors of Dash Cam will be available come February 2014. The Dash Cam 20 has a suggested retail price of $249.99 and features an internal GPS reciever. In the event of an incident, the 20 will record the latitude, longitude, date, time, speed, and direction of travel along with the video files, thus giving drivers, authorities, and your insurance company a more complete picture of what happened.
The less expensive Dash Cam 10 lacks the GPS sensor, so it loses the ability to record position and speed data. With a suggested retail price of $219, the 10 is only $30 less than its more fully featured twin, making the Dash Cam 20 the one to watch come February. Stay tuned for our full test later this year.