GarminVaria RCT715 Radar With Camera(Return to Product Page)Add your own review
i bought this to replace my 515 radar unit which was working very well but i wanted a bit more insurance in case of an accident and thought the video function would be helpful in that regard. this radar works just as well as the 515 model.
video quality is OK during the day but dont expect to be able to see most license plates in the evening or nighttime. audio quality is odd...it filters wind noise well but picks up gear shifts as loud clanks. voices are very difficult to hear as well.
i'm not sure anything short of a real "action camera" like a gopro will get high quality and/or smoothing but at least this exists to give a small piece of mind.
I love my RCT715. I have no complaints. Let me address what others have complained about, including You Tube reviewers. Firstly this is a dash cam not an action cam. Two different animals.
Segment Limit 30 sec recording (Dash cam technology)
Front plate illegible (Designed for direct line of sight, up close. As in seconds before you are hit, not passing you)
No image stabilization (Not needed since you are only looking at individual frames after an incident)
Size of unit (Increased battery capacity, lighter than camera, radar, and light separately)
Cost (Less than priced individually. Can be found on sale)
This is meant to be used for investigative purposes. You may get some unexpectedly cool clips-Bonus! OTOH- If you want to relive moments in a race, get a Go-Pro.
I've found the RCT715 to work well and to be worthwhile. I ride a lot on 2-lane country roads and the visibility of the tail light (especially in "day flash") is great. Radar picks up objects at around 140 yards back. The camera has stabilization - a must. The 1080p setting is what I find I need to capture sufficient details. You will need a new mount (one is included), which is very secure and not compatible with the 1/4 turn Garmin mount, but I still use a special tether. The battery life seems sufficient for longer rides - 3+ hours - at 1080p. Garmin says up to 6 hours at 1080p on flash mode. The Android app is clunky - while you can view your ride (in short 1-minute segments, unless you change that in the app) using the app and a peer-to-peer WiFi connection that the app sets up and closes automatically, I'd suggest popping out the SD card and using your PC if you have one. All in all, I think this was a good choice for me, riding alone, or with a friend.
I have a RTL510. When I saw this product announced, I immediately ordered one. After seeing the DCRainmaker review, I changed my mind, as the video review and transfer is so slow and to be unworkable.
I did receive the RCT715 but sent it back. There are three issues.
1> It is bulky and heavy. It's about 1.5 times the size of the RTL510/515 (thicker and taller) and about twice as heavy.
2> It uses a different mount. This is a problem for me, since I already own the RTL510 and planned to use it as a backup on longer (60+ mile) rides when the main light ran out of battery.
3> I want to be able to retrieve video to make police reports about dangerous drivers. Based on the DCRainmaker review, I'm not sure I'm willing to put in the hours necessary to find and transfer the right video.
For the money, I think the RTL515 is a better investment.
Please take this for what it's worth. I don't think this is a good upgrade from the RTL series, but it still might be a good investment if you are starting from scratch and really want a radar/camera combo.
The radar works just like the other varias. The camera works just fine as an incident camera. Do not buy this if you want an action cam. Do buy this if you are tired of running a Varia + Cycliq Fly6 side-by-side in a custom 3d printed mount that keeps breaking.
This essentially combines the Fly6 and the Varia together into one package. If you're using this as an incident camera, you really shouldn't need to get footage off of it very often, so the software side doesn't bother me at all.
My wife and I are users of the radar tail lights and were looking forward to the version with the camera. It was a surprise that we would have to change the mounts on all 5 of our bikes. The camera version is significantly heavier, maybe that's why they changed the mount.
I've used this on several rides now and it has worked flawlessly. It integrated seamlessly with my 1030 Edge, and it is great knowing when a car is approaching from my rear. The battery life isn't awesome, but for most of my rides it is sufficient. It is a bit expensive, but living in the country where the driver's are prone to driving distracted I think it is a great investment so far.
I have used Garmin products for 20+ years and have been quite satisfied. Among the products I currently use are the Edge 1030 Plus, UT800 light, HRM, and Venu 2 watch -- all great products. I also have the original Varia "Rearview Radar", also great. However, I had always hoped Garmin would incorporate a camera into the Varia unit, so when announced I immediately bought it *knowing* that I could rely on high quality from Garmin. Sadly, this product leaves much to be desired: yes, the tail light and radar work just as well as the previous units, but the camera has no image stabilization and the software's file management is awful. First, the default is to create 90-second files! That can be adjusted, but apparently not if the file is created automatically by radar. Given that you may have hundreds of files from a ride, one might hope they could be easily viewed and copied. Nope -- you must select and transfer them one at a time, and much more slowly than expected. Currently, the only option for me was to pull the SD card and plug it directly into a computer. I can only hope Garmin will address the SW issues (including adding stabilization) and remove the bad taste & disappointment I've had from this purchase.
The Radar is awesome. Great safety feature, do not have to constantly check your rear view mirror. The light is very bright. I have not checked any video recorded from the camera yet. My only complaint is the poor battery life when using the camera and the price.