The Garmin Dash Cam 56 is one of several dash cam options offered by Garmin. While Garmin has since released the 57 model, you can still purchase the 56 online at a lower cost. This low-profile dash camera comes with useful extra features such as voice commands, a built-in g-sensor, and event detection parking mode.
- Approximate cost: $210*
- Maximum recording resolution: 1440p
- Frame rate: 60.0 fps
- Field of view: 140.0 degrees
- Operating temperature: -4°F to 131°F
- GPS: Yes
- Mounting style: Adhesive magnet mount
*Price accurate at time of publication
After reviewing several of the best dash cams on the market, our expert product team designated the Garmin Dash Cam 56 as one of our most highly recommended models. Read our review to learn more about this dash camera and how it performed in our tests.
Garmin Dash Cam 56 Overview And Features
Our Take: A low-profile, low-cost dash cam with collision detection
The Garmin Dash Cam 56 is an extremely compact dash cam. We liked what we saw when we tested the Garmin 56 and believe it has one of the better dash cam mounting systems.
The dash camera is equipped with the following:
- Mobile app integration (Android and iOS)
- Event detection
- Built-in GPS
- Loop recording
- Voice control features
What’s In The Box?
The Garmin Dash Cam 56 comes with the Garmin camera as well as the following:
- Two micro USB cables (type B)
- Two sticky magnets
- Vehicle power cable to dual USB port
As with most dash cameras, you will need a class 10 microSD card audio recording on the Garmin 56. This is not included with the camera, so you must purchase it separately. This type of memory card typically costs around $15 and a 32GB microSD card or above will suffice for most drivers.
Garmin Dash Cam 56 Testing Process
Our review team tested several dash cams and evaluated each camera based on the following criteria:
- Ease of installation
- Video quality
- User interface (UI)
- Extra features
Ease Of Installation: 4.5 Out Of 5
To install the Garmin Dash Cam 56, you attach a small hexagonal adhesive magnet to your windshield or dashboard. This mount features a swivel arm that easily allows you to reposition the camera to face in any direction.
Because the Garmin Dash Cam 56 is so small, little weight is pulling on the magnet, and the lack of weight makes it unlikely to come unstuck. However, some Garmin Dash Cam 56 users say they needed to reattach the magnet with an adhesive after it fell off.
Video Quality: 4 Out Of 5
The Garmin Dash Cam 56 records up to 60.0 frames per second at 1440p resolution. This framerate is especially high, and the footage Garmin produces is very clear during the day.
Nighttime recording quality is a bit lower with the Garmin Dash Cam 56, but this is typical of cameras in this price range. We had trouble distinguishing details at night, especially outside of well-lit areas and streets.
The field of view on the 56 model is somewhat narrow. If this raises concerns, you might try the Garmin 66 or 67 model for their slightly wider field of view.
User Interface (UI): 5 Out Of 5
Among the cameras our product team tested, the Garmin Dash Cam 56 had one of the best user interfaces. You can control the Garmin Dash Cam 56 through voice command, which worked well for us. Voice command functionality is ideal for dash cams because you won’t need to take your eyes off the road for the camera to save HD video recordings.
Extra Features: 4 Out Of 5
In addition to voice commands, the Garmin’s useful features include:
- Event detection
- Lane departure warning
- Travelapse recording
- Forward collision warning
This car dash camera can alert you when you cross a lane and once traffic begins moving after a red light.
Another benefit of the Garmin 56 is the ability to link multiple Garmin cameras to one account, which makes the Garmin 56 a great option if you want to monitor multiple vehicles. Small business owners tracking vehicle fleets or households with multiple cars may appreciate this capability.
Like many dash cameras, the Garmin 56 has a parking mode with incident detection that immediately begins recording if someone hits your vehicle while it is parked.
What We Like About The Garmin Dash Cam 56
We appreciate the Garmin Dash Cam 56 for its compact size, easy-to-use voice interface, and high-quality video recording. The low-profile magnetic mount is among the best adhesive mounting systems we’ve encountered (suction cup mount systems are the most versatile). You may find extra features, such as driver notifications and voice command integration, useful as well.
The Garmin dash cam also includes a built-in Wi-Fi connection for smartphone apps, which allows you to connect multiple devices to the same account. Users can connect the camera to a compatible smartphone using Bluetooth to share video.
We believe the Garmin Dash Cam 56 is a solid option, especially if you’re keeping tabs on a fleet or several vehicles.
What We Don’t Like About The Garmin Dash Cam 56
The Garmin Dash Cam 56 has a slightly narrower field of view than other dash cams at this price point. If you need a wide-angle dash cam, we suggest upgrading to the Garmin 57. Other features we’d like to see are a touch screen, something touted on newer models, and a rear camera for video clips of the vehicle’s interior.
While the Garmin Drive app worked well for us and is highly rated in Google Play and the App Store, some users have complained about issues, the biggest being that recorded video data transfers slowly and the app causes phones to slow down considerably.
Garmin Dash Cam 56 Reviews
Reviewers on Amazon give the Garmin Dash Cam 56 an average rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars. More than 90 percent of the nearly 900 reviews award the product 4 or 5 stars.
Positive Garmin Dash Cam 56 Reviews
Positive Garmin Dash Cam 56 reviews often highlight ease of installation and high image quality for the cost.
“Setup and use could not be easier. The magnetic mount works great. It sticks to the windshield just below your rearview mirror, and then the camera is held magnetically to it. It doesn’t move around at all.”
– G Flannagan via Amazon
“Garmin may not be the cheapest dash cam out there, and their devices sometimes have bugs, but I feel the way they stand behind their products is second to none. I have no reservations fully recommending the Dash Cam 56. It has been fantastic in the couple weeks I have owned it, especially now that all advertised features are working flawlessly.”
– sptimmy43 via Amazon
Negative Garmin Dash Cam 56 Reviews
The Garmin Dash Cam 56 doesn’t have many negative reviews on Amazon, but some users mention the camera’s adhesive falling off the magnet.
“Has terrible adhesive and fell off after an hour. I had to get another epoxy to get the metal mounting part to stay up.”
– not a bear via Amazon
What Dash Cam Owners Should Know
After reading Garmin reviews, there are a few other important details we think you should know when seeking the best Garmin dash cam.
Does Having A Dash Cam Lower Your Insurance Costs?
Having a dash cam can lower your insurance, depending on your insurer. If you have a dash cam with anti-theft features, you may be eligible for an anti-theft discount. However, the insurance benefit of a dash cam usually comes when you need to file a claim. If you are not at fault for an accident, you can use a dash cam as evidence so you are properly reimbursed.
Are Dash Cameras Illegal?
No, dash cameras are not illegal in any state. However, the law prohibits drivers in some states from hanging vision-obstructing devices on their windshields. If you live in one of these states, you’ll need to mount your dash cam on your dashboard.
Do Garmin Dash Cams Require A Subscription?
Customers can purchase a storage subscription called Garmin Vault via the mobile app. A basic plan is included with dash cam purchase, but customers can upgrade to higher tiers for long-term storage options.
Do Garmin Dash Cams Record Video When The Car Is Turned Off?
Garmin dash cams automatically switch to parked recording mode when the vehicle is parked and turned off. In this mode, it will automatically record and save video when it detects motion. To do this, owners must ensure the parking mode cable is installed.
What Video Resolution Do I Need?
Dash cam manufacturers love to throw around big numbers when it comes to camera resolution and Garmin reviews do mention the 2K picture quality as adequate. The drawback is viewing the live view feed on a dash cam or cell phone will show little difference between 1440p and 1080p HD.
That’s because the screens are too small to show major contrasts in detail – both resolutions are also fully capable of legibly recording a license plate if need be. Cheaper dash cams are also available in 4K resolution for under $100. If you’re willing to sacrifice some features, try researching the best budget dash cams.
Our Take On The Garmin Dash Cam 56
The Garmin Dash Cam 56 is a terrific pick if you’re looking for a low-profile dash cam you can easily tuck behind your rearview mirror. The multi-cam pairing capabilities also make it a wonderful choice if you need several dash cameras to monitor more than one vehicle.
Like many dash cams in the $100 to $150 range, the Garmin does not have the best image quality at night or in very low-light conditions.
Before purchasing any dash cam, it is also important to know your state’s video consent laws in the event of a personal injury lawsuit.
|Overall||4.38 out of 5|
|Ease of Installation||4.5 out of 5|
|Video Quality||4 out of 5|
|User Interface||5 out of 5|
|Extra Features||4 out of 5|
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Garmin Dash Cam: FAQ
*Data accurate at time of publication.