Garmin’s DashCam 55 was launched in June, now we have the DashCam 65W that’s just become available. Both are excellent at what they do – namely being reliable, all-seeing electronic witnesses to the crazy happenings that take place on our roads. They’re also almost identical, but not quite. Read on to discover what the subtle differences are between the two.

Worried that tensions between North Korea and the US could trigger WWIII? I wouldn’t be if I was you. I’d be more concerned about getting sideswiped by a truck at an intersection because it’s brakes failed, or having a head-on with a minibus taxi that decided to overtake on a blind rise. Horrific accidents aren’t always somebody else’s fault, though. You could fall asleep behind the wheel while on a long drive, or drift into the opposite lane because you’re fiddling with your phone. The sad reality is scenarios like these happen on our roads all the time. Don’t believe me? Then check out my previous article Seven Reasons Why You Need A Dash Cam. If the road fatality stats quoted there don’t shock you, then nothing will.

That said, with our country’s horrendous road fatality rate showing no signs of coming down any time soon, the only sensible recourse responsible drivers have right now is to watch their own backs – and the best way to do that is by fitting dash cams to our vehicles.

The same, but different
Garmin’s recently-launched DashCam 55 and their brand new DashCam 65W are both incredibly capable devices. And, in many ways, they are identical. The only major difference between the two is the 65W has a wider-angle, 180-degree lens. This means it’ll never miss a thing – even if a vehicle skips a stop street and you’re already entering the intersection.

What the DashCam 55 sees through its 120-degree camera lens.

As a consequence, both have different megapixel cameras and shoot at different resolutions. The Dash Cam 55 features a 3.7 megapixel camera and is capable of capturing 1440p, 1080p and 720p resolution footage. While the Dash Cam 65W has a 2.1 megapixel camera and shoots 1080p and 720p video. Which one you choose to go for depends on you (the 55 is slightly cheaper), although either one would make a good choice. The easiest way to tell them apart is the 55 has a copper ring around its lens, giving it a bit of bling.

When it comes to cramming sophisticated GPS and motion-capturing functionality into tiny packages, Garmin is a world leader. Just check out the amazing capabilities of their sportswatches, and you’ll see what I mean. This same logic and attention to detail has been applied to the company’s latest range of dash cams. Both the 55 and 65W come, not only with high-end video and telemetric (data) capturing capabilities – but also with a number of safety features that help you minimise silly driving mistakes while out on the road.

The DashCam 65W’s wider 180-degree lens captures more of the same scene.

They’re also small and discreet, very easy to use and, just like Garmin’s range of sportswatches, extremely reliable. Plus they both use the same magnetic windscreen mount – so if you purchase extra adhesive pads (for windscreens) you can use either device in multiple vehicles.

How the 55 and 65W help make you a better driver
Losing concentration while driving is a common phenomenon, we all seem to mentally drift off, especially when driving familiar routes. Fortunately, both units provide both visual and audible alerts to get you back on track, pronto. And trust me, when their alerts go off, there’s no way you’re going to miss them! You get lane departure and forward collision warnings (with three sensitivity settings), as well as a Go Alert which lets you know when the car in front of you starts moving.

Both units also provide warnings of approaching traffic lights and speed cameras. However, to access this extra layer of functionality, you need to purchase an annual Cyclops subscription online for R319, then use Garmin’s Express software to transfer files to your unit.

Another neat feature they both share is Travelapse. While not a safety feature per se, it works in parallel with the unit’s regular safety features to grab still images at fixed intervals along your drive – then stitches them all into a movie that plays like a fast-forward of your journey, allowing you to document epic road trips in style.

You can also command both cameras with your voice, so you never need to remove your hands from the wheel to remain in total control. Just say “OK, Garmin” and they are put on standby for your next command – these include save video, take a picture, start/stop audio recording and start/stop the Travelapse feature. And, if you download Garmin’s free VIRB Mobile app on your smartphone, you can wirelessly sync videos from the 55 and 65W to your phone via Wi-Fi and share them with friends and on social media platforms.

What they can do when it comes to the crunch
Both the DashCam 55 and DashCam 65W work exactly the same way. They start recording video in a never-ending loop the moment you turn your vehicle’s ignition key; continually overriding old footage should nothing eventful occur. However, the moment they sense any impact to the vehicle via their onboard G-sensors, they automatically save all the video footage captured immediately before, during and after the incident – providing you with all the evidence you need to prove your side of the story to insurance companies and the courts should the need arise.

Telemetric data, such as your speed and exact driving route, is also continually recorded and then saved in the event of a crash. And, featuring extremely small form factors, they can be easily removed from your vehicle, allowing you to walk around outside and document any damaged sustained. – (c) 2017 NavWorld

Garmin DashCam 55 specifications:
Dimensions (WxHxD): 5.62 x 4.05 x 3.53 cm
Weight: 59.5 grams
Display size: 5.08 cm
Video resolution: 1440p; 1080p 60fps; 1080p HDR; 1080p 30 fps; 720p
Camera: 3.7 megapixels
Diagonal viewing angle: 122-degrees

Garmin DashCam 65W specifications:
Dimensions (WxHxD): 5.62 x 4.05 x 3.53 cm
Weight: 62 grams
Display size: 5.08 cm
Video resolution: 1080p; 720p
Camera: 2.1 megapixels
Diagonal viewing angle: 180-degrees

About The Author

Sean Woods

Originally a photographer for the Star newspaper in the bad old days, Sean Woods turned to writing after the first democratic elections in '94. The career shift paid serious dividends, culminating in him becoming associate editor for Popular Mechanics magazine with a number of technology writing awards under his belt. His interests include anything to do with boats, motorcycles and all those fancy tech gadgets that help the modern world go around.

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