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DC Rainmaker review

Garmin Varia Bike Camera Radar RCT715: In-Depth Review - YouTube

He REALLY doesn't like the camera, does he? It seems to do the job as a safety camera, spotting license plates, but he seems to want a GoPro with full image stabilization, hi-res and normal file structure.  I agree image stabilization would be a great thing to have, but it probably comes at the expense of battery life, and these gadgets are already running out of gas too quickly. 

He also trashes the usability through the phone app, and yeah, I get that, but you can still access the files from your computer, right? 

The 128gb card limit seems strange, but at low res and occasional recording, it's going to take a long time to fill up.

Mounting is a disappointment. I'd really like to see standard go-pro style mounting options, especially since this has already deviated from the normal Garmin quarter-turn standard. I'd also like to see a seat stay mounting option, since many of us have seat bags and more-powerful rear lights that are already taking up the real estate the RCT715 wants to use.

Battery life- why is it so difficult to get an answer for battery life on the Garmin Radar units that have a light with them? What is the Radar life with the light off?

Nothing said in the review seems to justify his overall trashing of the product.

  • I think the review made some very solid points. Lack of stabilization in 2022 when Garmin has done it already. Also, a working phone app is another thing which I feel is considered essential in this day and age.

    I may end up getting one anyhow since I have wanted a read camera for some time and I am sure Garmin will work out some of the problems as the time passes...

  • Perhaps if Garmin made it clear the camera is for documentation, not "ride video", there might not be such disappointment? 

  • Ray Maker isn't alone with his criticism of this unit and he says so in the review.
    Maybe you should take a look at GPLama's review where he looks at the licence plate resolution and doesn't rate it very well at all.
    I've owned the original radar light for years and consider it one of my best ever cycling purchases but there's no way I'd drop £350 on this.

  • I agree with your take-away: nothing said seems to be worth trashing this critical step forward for cyclist safety.

    I placed my order for the RCT715 within 5min of seeing the release announced on LinkedIn. Then I googled reviews and was bummed about the initial take. But DCRainmaker made one critical mistake in his review: he didn't compare the image quality or UI vs the Fly6.  From the short side-by-side he had with those two and the Hero 8, it was clear that the Garmin is on par with the Fly 6.  And while downloading clips seems to be a PIA with the phone, it is impossible to get a clip via phone with the Fly 6. And what didn't make sense to me was the lack of benefits from the "record when triggered" by radar. That would massively reduce the number of files from a ride. I had written to Garmin last year with that idea, that perhaps they provide a patch to connect with my Hero 9, which has a "stand-by" record feature, but battery life is limited. Or perhaps even with the Fly 6 as it runs GoPro SW and has much better batter life.

    I should get my new device tomorrow and will post back after some miles this weekend. I'm hoping the battery life will be similar to the RT515, which I love, for the 5hr it works.

  • I live in Georgia which is one of those states that don't require a front license plate so this device will not benefit me much in identifying a vehicle.

    After watching several of the video reviews, I don't think Garmin put much effort into the design and how it will be used. In case of a accident, the video would need to be easily found and shown on a phone and the incredible slowness of this process is a substantial negative.

  • Yikes, no front plates is a problem. The Fly12 is great for the front of the bike and has long life (w/o using light). I had tried using the GoPro Max 360 to just have an all-in-one, but the battery life is abysmal. Even bringing a second battery is not enough. But damn... the footage it captures is sweet.

    Good luck,

  • I checked and 20 states do not require a front plate. Perhaps it's time to write my Congressman.

  • It looks like the edge explore 2 might have an external power option (if I’m reading the FCC site correctly) and I wonder if this is an option for a future version of the RCT. Might allow reverting to a smaller lighter unit and the same type of mount as older versions. For London roads I would really like to see stabilisation. That and the price is making me reticent to buy. 

  • You can use the RCT715 while connected to an external power source if you wish to extend teh run time.

  • Thanks! I thought I’d seen somewhere you couldn’t. Good to know.