Garmin GPS Driving Recorder GDR45 review
Until a few months, dash cameras were just fancy gadgets designed to record footage when you drive, but Garmin takes it one step further with the GDR45 GPS Driving recorder. The compact device mounts onto any car’s windshield, and not only allows you to capture what your windshield sees in HD quality, but also serves as a data recorder with GPS technology that records precise coordinates, speed, direction and other information that is overlaid on the video.
4GB microSD can be used for the Garmin GDR45 driving recorder, this will allow for storing up to 40 minutes of footage. It continues to record and overwrites the old footage, but you can always add a 32GB memory card to capture and store more without overwriting. You can also save more footage on the included 4GB memory card by switching from 1080p recording to 720p video.
What’s in the Box with Garmin GDR 45
- Garmin GDR45 driving recorder
- Vehicle power cable
- Owner’s manual
- Suction cup mount
Highlights of the Garmin GDR45
- GPS capabilities
- High-Definition recording
- 2.3” TFT-LCD display
- Snapshot feature
- Integrated microphone
- Suction cup mount
- G-sensor automatic incident protection
- Dual camera support
- Long life battery
- Horizontal viewing angle at 120 degrees
- Onboard speaker
- Non-stop recording
Garmin GDR45 — What is it?
The Garmin GDR45 driving recorder is basically your third eye in your vehicle that silently watches the road without distracting your attention. It offers effortless operation, and starts recording as soon as you power up your vehicle provided it is plugged into a power source (cigarette lighter). You don’t even have to press any buttons to start recording, making it safe and practical. While the GDR45 Driving Recorder can also record your adventures on twisty roads and fast tracks, it is designed to be a safety recorder and one that is particularly useful in assisting insurance companies and police in the event of an incident or collision.
One of the notable features of the Garmin GDR45 driving recorder is that it can also be used outside the vehicle by simply un-mounting it and using the dedicated snapshot button to take still images of damage caused to the exterior of your vehicle and around you. The GDR 45 is appointed with a microphone that allows you record voice notes inside your vehicle. The onsite G-Sensor automatically detects collisions and other abrupt movements such as hard breaking and protects the last and next recordings so that they won’t be erased.
The GDR45 is appointed with a 2.3” TFT screen on the rear of the device, with four navigation buttons just below it. The screen remains on for the duration of its use, but dims after approximately 60 seconds to avoid any distractions for the driver. But there is a red LED blinking light to indicate recording in progress. The 2.3” color screen faces the driver and displays a preview of what the camera sees to aid in framing. It also allows the driver to conveniently toggle through the various menu options, settings, and media playback controls via the four physical buttons.
It can easily be fitted onto your vehicles windshield with the included lever-activated suction cup mount. Adding to this, it is outfitted with a HD video camera that points out at the road ahead and is capable of capturing 720p, 1080p and WVGA quality video with an extremely wide angle view something you expect from top of the line GoPro footage. The mini-USB port is located at one edge of the Garmin GDR45 Driving recorder, and is used to connect the included 12-volt power adapter. When the device senses power, it automatically fires up and starts recording and shuts off automatically after 15 seconds or so when the vehicle’s ignition is turned off.
Using the Garmin GDR45 Driving Recorder
The GDR45 keeps a rolling record of your journeys, and features a robust build. Once set in place, the device stays firmly in place so it won’t sag under the weight of the power cable. After a minute or so, the screen dims to reduce distractions and power consumption, waking up to only pertinent alerts. The included power cable is probably the most unappealing aspect of the setup considering that the GDR45 Driving Recorder needs to be mounted considerably higher up on the windscreen so you will have to deal a with a rather long cable all the way down to your cigarette adapter.
However, the internal Li-Ion battery of the GDR45 can save up to 40 minutes of recording when fully charged, which is more than enough for most daily commutes. It also does not record a single big file per journey, but rather slices them up into 256mb chunks, which is equivalent to just under 4 minutes of recording per file under default settings. The device continues to record and fills up its inbuilt storage and overwrites the oldest files, but let’s out a fairly loud chime when it senses any unwelcomed knock and marks that moment or video as protected. You can also manually save a current file if an incident occurred that you’d like to keep.
The shock sensor is located in the middle of the three sensitivity settings, and is extremely sensitive to say the least detecting every pothole on the road. But you can tone down the sensitivity by overwriting the protected files or simply inserting a larger capacity memory card. Like mentioned earlier, accessing and adjusting the settings is fairly easy via the button marked with a spanner. The GDR45 Driving Recorder can also be mated with an optional secondary camera for rear image recording. When paired with an optional camera, you can see both the front and rear view with the flick of a switch.
The front collision warning system gathers speed information using GPS satellites whenever the vehicle’s speed exceeds 40kmph. Furthermore, it also detects your vehicles distance from the one in front of you and alerts you in the event you get too close. Video files are stored in .AVI format, and you can review and delete the files using the device itself.
You can also use the included cable to connect the GDR45 to a laptop of PC and use Garmin’s proprietary software to playback the videos. The Garmin PC tool software also allows you to peruse significant information about your trips such as tracks, coordinates, maps and images. The “track info” features of the software enables you to compare the image with its exact position on the map, making it easy to delete unwanted videos and images.
- Records crisp videos of the road ahead
- Can be mated with optional rear camera
- GPS location and speed data automatically captured
- Ability to choose between resolutions
- Onsite 2.3″ color TFT LCD display
- Automatically turns on and off with the vehicle
- Built in microphone
- Automatic overwrite feature
- Ability to add higher capacity memory card
- Can be connected to computer via dedicated software
- Up to an hour battery life when fully charged
- Video play back includes info stamp with day, time, speed, direction of travel, latitude and longitude
- Onboard battery life could be longer than an hour
- Connecting cable hangs from the dashboard if not set appropriately
The GDR45 Driving Recorder is a top of the line device that is specifically designed to record your journeys and provide unbiased evidence in case of an accident. It is loaded with just the right amount of features to provide you with a reasonable level of assurance in case things go awry on the road. You can also un-mount it from the interior and use it as a standalone camera to take photos outside your vehicle. And just in case you don’t own a fancy vehicle with a GPS display and a factory rear camera, you can simply buy an optional rear camera and connect it with the Garmin GDR45 for both front and rear views.