The Garmin Dash Cam 55 is one of the popular dashboard cameras out there and rightly so. It is compact (as small as a GoPro camera) and fits easily behind the car rear-view mirror. This dash camera can capture crisp and detailed footage. Another car dash cam edging up the popularity ladder is the Vantrue N2 Pro.
It might not be as small as the Garmin Dash Cam 55, but it packs an impressive feature set. The N2 Pro can record every little detail that goes outside and inside your car. With neat LCD screens, high-resolution recording, and handy alarms there is nothing to dislike about the Vantrue N2 Pro and the Garmin Dash Cam 55.
So, it seems only fair that we pit the popular Garmin Dash Cam 55 with the Vantrue N2 Pro and see which is the better car dashboard camera.
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Size and Placement
The size of dash cams is one of the most important factors. You wouldn't want too big a device which can potentially block your view and distract you. And at the same time, it should not be small so that that controlling the buttons or the entering commands on the screen becomes a pain.
One of the most compelling features of the Garmin Dash Cam 55 is its size. It measures around 2.2 x 1.4 x 1.6 inches, and is as small as a matchbox. This size makes it apt to place it behind the rear-view mirror of your car.
Speaking of mounting, it comes with an adhesive-backed metal disc which you have to stick it to the car's windscreen. This disc then connects magnetically to the camera's mounting arm. Turns out that the mounting arm has a flexible joint which lets adjust the angles. Plus, it gives you the freedom to remove and re-attach the camera whenever you want.
So, if you think that the car will sit under the hot sun for a long time, you can simply unplug it and keep it in the glove compartment.
On the other hand, at 7.6 x 5.6 x 2.2-inches, the Vantrue N2 Pro isn't exactly a small camera. It's not big enough to appear out of place or block your view. However, you might have to be careful with its placement. You'll have to pick a spot from where both the car's interior and the road are visible clearly.
This camera comes with a detachable mount. You'll have to attach the mount in a position where you can see both the car's interior and the road ahead. Once done, connect the mount and the rest of the wires.
The N2 Pro boasts of being the first dash cam in the market to come with dual HD cameras. It packs an OV4689 sensor at the front and a Sony IMX323 sensor for capturing the car's interior. While you can film the road at an impressive 170°, the driver facing camera can record footage at 140°.
As we mentioned above, the front-facing camera can record at 1440p, which results in clear and crisp footage. And as for low-light conditions, the infrared lights on the rear camera give pretty decent footage.
The issue with some of the dash cams is that sometimes the images get blurred when the car is at high speed. When it comes to the Ventura N2 Pro, it can read license plates even if the car is traveling at high speed, as per the guys at TechGearLab. On the downside, videos captured in speeding cars appeared a tad blurred during the night.
Similar to it, the Garmin Dash Cam 55 can record in 1440p resolution at 30fps. It can also record in 1080p at 60fps, 1080p at 30fps with or without HDR. That kind of high resolution captures a lot of details, and many users have reported the same.
The camera may catch windscreen glare
When it comes to user experience, the folks at Trusted Reviews report that the camera produces detailed images. On sunny days, the camera may catch windscreen glare. But on the upside, it's easy to make out details like text and other details.
Other than that, the Dash Cam 55 offers a smaller viewing angle compared to the N2 Pro. It has a 122-degree viewing angle, which you can consider as decent for a car camera.
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The interface is a vital part of any gadget's software — be it a smartphone or a watch. And it's no different for a dashboard camera.
The N2 Pro comes with a small 1.5-inch LCD screen. While you can navigate through the different menus, the operation is much easier if you use the navigation buttons at the bottom.
The good thing is that the screen doesn't stay on all the time. It switches off automatically after 15-minutes of driving. Other than that, the N2 Pro sports an emergency button that you can press during driving incidents. This feature makes sure that new recordings do not overwrite the footage.
The Dash Cam 55 also packs a 2.0-inch LCD screen. There are four buttons on the side with which you can manually save the recording. But the feature that takes the cake is its voice recognition feature.
It responds to "Ok, Garmin" followed by one of the six phrases such as Save Video, Record/Stop Audio, Start/Stop Travelapse, and Take a Picture.
All the commands are useful when you don't want to take your hands off the wheel.
Apart from the usual recording and storing video recordings, both cameras sport a bevy of features like built-in parking mode, automatic incident detection, loop recording, and more.
For those unaware, both cameras house motion sensors and gravity sensors for event detection. While the motion sensor helps detect motion and activates recording, the G sensor helps detect collisions and other incidents.
When it comes to individual features, the Garmin Dash Cam 55 packs an alarm that notifies you when traffic lights change color, when the car in front of you has stopped, or when you depart a lane.
Plus, in the unfortunate event of a collision, the Dash Cam records 1-minute footage that other recordings can't overwrite. Also, with the Garmin Dash Cam 55, you can adjust the sensitivity of the motion sensor as per your preference.
The N2 Pro goes a step ahead and lets you choose the timings of the loop recordings between 1, 3, and 5 minutes. Similar to its counterpart, the camera will prevent the footage from being overwritten whenever it detects a crash.
With Travelapse, the camera grabs still images at fixed intervals and then stitches them into a short movie. In short, it's a time-lapse video of your journey.
The Vantrue N2 Pro supports class 10 Micro SD cards between 16 to 256 GB. However, since the camera records at a higher resolution, you are likely to run out of storage sooner. Hence, it's recommended to use cards with higher capacity (like the Samsung Evo card).
On the other hand, the Garmin Dash Cam 55 ships with a replaceable 8GB microSD card. But as mentioned above, it's best to invest in a card with higher capacity so that the new recordings don't overwrite the important ones.
Apart from the usual hard wiring, some cameras come with an internal battery, and both these are no different.
For instance, the N2 Pro packs a 250 mAh internal battery, which comes in handy if you need to use the parking mode. But do note that the camera won't stay on for long on battery. When you really need the camera running (without switching on the car's ignition), you'll have to invest in an additional hard-wiring kit. Not that that kid will draw power from the car's battery.
The Garmin Dash Cam 55 also packs an internal battery. As is the case with the N2 Pro, the battery life is short and last for around 30 minutes. If you want longer recordings, you have to get the Parking Mode Cable for around $35.
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Which One Should You Buy?
The Vantrue N2 Pro checks all the right boxes to appear as a pretty good choice. Most of the options are customizable — the video quality and the viewing angle are impressive. More importantly, it's built to last with its working temperature range of 32 -158°F.
A two-way facing camera might not be your choice if they drive around with your family a lot. Unless you really want to record some lighter moments. From the road to the interiors of the car, you can expect to have all the details with you. To capture all that, format the microSD card regularly.
The Garmin Dash Cam 55 has all the right features under its wings. However, it's known to get warm rather easily and eventually shuts down. It is designed to operate in temperatures up to 131°F only.
So if you live in an area with high temperature, or if you are not watchful of the temperature inside the car, the Dash Cam 55 may shut down often. If you live in a place where the temperatures are not unbearably high, and you are looking for a simple dashboard camera, this is worth buying.
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