Review: Garmin Mini 2 Dash Cam Gives All The Video Evidence And Asks Little In Return

This is the smallest, simplest, most affordable dash cam I’ve tested and is probably just right for most people.
Garmin Mini 2 Dash cam hands-on review
Michael Febbo

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A dash cam is a data acquisition device. It can be as simple as a single lens pointing out your windshield and recording what it sees. The most complicated dash cams have multiple views and the ability to record speed, location, g-forces, and more. The Garmin Mini 2 is definitely the former, and that is a good thing. Not only is it a great value, but it’s easy to set up, takes probably the least amount of space possible, and it still provides good video.

Garmin sent this dash cam to me for testing, but that was the end of it. There is no sponsorship, no demands of seeing the edit before it’s published. I test, I write—Fin.

Getting After it With Garmin’s Mini 2 Dash Cam

I received a pile of dash cams when I announced I was updating The Drive’s buyer’s guide with hands-on testing. This Garmin is by far the simplest so it seemed logical to start here. The buyer’s guides will be updated as we go, but you can check out what we have so far: here and here.

As you can see in the photos, the Mini 2 isn’t much bigger than my thumb, which is nice since the largest device I received is nearly the size of my forearm. Even with the tiny size, it still does 1080p resolution at 30 frames per second, has voice control, and wifi connectivity. It can be used by itself or you can wirelessly connect multiple Mini 2s to one of Garmin’s larger dash cams to create multiple video channels with more data recording.

I used this dash cam as barebones as possible, using the 12-volt socket to power it and an app on my iPhone to control it and review video. I stuck this on my windshield with an adhesive pad about the size of a nickel, aimed it using the video feed to my iPhone and I was ready to go.

The Garmin Mini 2 dash cam starts recording when the car turns on and turns off when it loses power from the 12-volt socket. On my car, that’s as soon as the ignition turns off. Since I knew I was going to be testing multiple units, I didn’t take the time to tuck the wire under the interior trim pieces and let it dangle down precariously to the center consolelike a complete monster.

Garmin Mini 2 Dash Cam in car
Michael Febbo

Except for a couple of beeps now and then, you would forget about the Mini 2’s existence pretty fast. I mounted mine in front of the rearview mirror on the passenger side. From the driver’s seat, it was invisible. I would guess that valets and service techs also wouldn’t notice it and the micro SD card, I used a 16GB, would record about 45 minutes of shenanigans should they choose to do so. There is also a G-sensor that will lock video clips if it detects an incident.

The included videos are straight from the camera and the only editing I did was for length. Do you really want to see my entire drive home from Trader Joe’s?

In the daytime, the video looks crisp enough that you can make out license plates if I’m within 20 feet of the other car. At night, I wasn’t able to make out plates unless I was a couple of feet off the person’s bumper, sitting at a stop light. But, what you’re really looking for is to see who is going where, what color was the traffic light, basic things to determine who was at fault. This easily delivers that day or night.

Garmin Mini 2 Dash Cam
Ease Of Use8/10

The Verdict

As I’m writing this, the Garmin Mini 2 is $99 at most online retailers. For a hundred bucks, this seems like cheap insurance to demonstrate what happened during a traffic accident. It also offers audio recording, so if you kept your ignition on during a traffic stop, it would record that too. I kept the audio turned off because nobody wants to hear me singing along with Tim Armstrong while I drive.

Overall, this dash cam gets a big thumbs up from me. Although it is probably the lightest on features of any dash cam I have or will test, its high-quality construction and materials mean I won’t worry about it lasting through extreme weather here in Las Vegas, and it does everything I expect it to.