Today I will be taking a close look at three fantastic dash cams—the Garmin 46 Dash Cam, the Garmin 56 Dash Cam, and finally the Garmin 66W Dash Cam. All three of these cameras share a similar design and many of the same useful features. That said, there is also something unique about each that sets it apart from the others.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these Garmin dash cams to discover what they all do well, as well as what they all do differently.
Sleek and compact design
From their outward appearance, it’s difficult to tell these three cameras apart. Each of the Garmin 46, 56, and 66W dash cams feature a nearly identical build. They are each housed in a compact and discrete black casing that can be hidden snugly beneath a rearview mirror.
Each dash cam has the same 2″ LCD screen as well. The size is a decent compromise between displaying a clear picture on the face of the camera and allowing for a small enough screen to keep the overall size of the unit compact and easy to ignore while driving. In fact, by default the screen goes black (while still recording) during idle operation for minimal distraction.
The LCD display does not feature touchscreen operation however. Instead the Garmin 46, 56, and 66W dash cams incorporate four buttons on the right side of the camera (along with voice commands) to interface with the menus and options. Overall I find all three dash cams very easy to use, with simple commands or inputs for the most essential operations.
Useful built-in features
In addition to their outward aesthetic, the Garmin 46, 56, and 66W dash cams also share a number of extremely useful features. To start with, each dash cam is compatible with the Garmin Drive App for iPhone and Android devices. It is extremely easy to pair (up to 4) devices to the app (I was able to do so in under 30 seconds each time), and the app itself works exceedingly well for managing and viewing your videos and pictures.
As previously noted, the Garmin 46, 56, and 66W dash cams also include voice control operations. I have to tip my cap to Garmin as I am particularly impressed with how responsive and easy to use their voice control software is. A simple “OK Garmin” with a further command such as “Save Video” or “Take a Picture” springs these dash cams into action.
While other devices with voice operations regularly seem to fail or require repeating, these Garmin dash cams hear me correctly the first time, every time! To be honest, I wish a few other voice recognition devices in my home could take a page from Garmin’s capacity for responsiveness.
Handy alerts for drivers
The Garmin 46, 56, and 66W dash cams also include a number of handy alerts to assist drivers. For starters, the “lane departure” alert will cause the dash cam to chirp if it detects that the vehicle is drifting out of its lane. A similar audio cue warns of forward impact detection if you approach the rear of another vehicle too quickly. These dash cams will even let you know if traffic ahead of you is moving—perfect for avoiding the embarrassment of failing to notice a red light turning green!
There are quite a few of these features and alerts built into the Garmin 46, 56, and 66W dash cams. However, what truthfully impresses me the most is the fact that they simply work—consistently and properly. All too often these sorts of features are touch-and-go. Yet in my time with these dash cams, every one of the above sprang to action in the proper context. I didn’t even need to go out of my way to test them.
Up to now, it is clear that the Garmin 46, 56, and 66W dash cams each have a lot in common. They share a sleek aesthetic design along with a pool of helpful features that are both effective and user friendly. That said, here are the key features that make each of these dash cams distinct.
I’ll start with the Garmin 46, which is the most economical dash cam of the trio. The primary reason for this is due to resolution. The Garmin 46 captures video in 1080p HD, while the 56 and 66W have a slightly higher 1440p HD resolution. With this being the only key difference, the Garmin 46 dash cam makes a great choice for those who don’t need to squeeze every pixel possible out of their camera.
Conversely, the Garmin 66W is the most high-end of the three dash cams. Not only does it capture video in 1440p, it also features an ultra-wide field of view—180 degrees (in comparison to the 140 degree viewing angle of the 46 and 56 models). While all three are truly fantastic dash cams, there’s no arguing that the Garmin 66W delivers the most impressive video overall.
Finally, this leaves the Garmin 56 dash cam. The 56 is essentially the perfect middle-of-the-road camera in comparison to the other two. It does not incorporate the impressive 180 degree wide lens of the Garmin 66W. However, it still captures video in 1440p—higher than the 1080p HD resolution of the Garmin 46 Dash Cam.
The Garmin 46, 56, and 66W dash cams share amazing features, while offering unique options for resolution
Though they all offer slight differences, overall the Garmin 46, Garmin 56, and Garmin 66W are each a worthy choice for anyone in the market for an outstanding dash cam. Personally I can find a lot to rave about—from the outstanding and responsive voice control recognition to the consistency of built-in features such as lane departure and forward collision alerts, moving traffic notifications, and much more. Not to mention Garmin’s user-friendly “Drive” App, which makes managing your captures a breeze right from your mobile device.
Couple this with the slim and unobtrusive design of each of these dash cams, and you have a desirable product to be sure. The only real choice that comes into play between the three is in regard to preference for resolution. Many will certainly find satisfaction in the 1080p HD and 140 degree viewing angle of the Garmin 46. However, those looking for the best end result possible should lean toward the extraordinary Garmin 66W and its 1440p, 180 degree view.