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New Garmin Varia RCT715 tail light has a camera to record your crashes

The Varia’s high-definition camera will record everything behind you and its radar will alert you to approaching vehicles

Woman riding bike with Garmin Varia RCT715

Garmin has released the Varia RCT715, a new version of its tail light that features a high-definition camera to record any incidents out on the road.

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The Varia RCT715 features the same radar technology as its predecessors. When paired with a Garmin bike computer or smartwatch, the Varia will alert users to vehicles approaching from behind up to 140m away.

Garmin says the device can be paired with selected cycling apps such as Ride with GPS. This will enable users to overlay maps with the radar notifications.

Garmin claims the Varia RCT715’s tail light can be seen up to one mile away in daylight.

The Garmin Varia RCT715 has a retail price of £349.99 and is available now.

‘Capture sharp, clear footage’

Garmin Varia RCT715 product shot
The camera records continuously and will save footage if an incident is detected.

Garmin says the Varia’s camera will “capture sharp, clear footage” at up 1080 pixels and 30 frames per second.

The camera will record constantly when the Varia is in use. If an incident is detected, via Garmin’s Incident Detection feature, the camera will automatically save footage from before, during and after the event.

According to Dan Bartel, Garmin’s vice president of global consumer sales, this is to provide users with evidence of an incident “should they ever need it”.

However, the camera also provides more recreational functions, in line with how you might use a GoPro.

Via the Garmin Varia app, users can access the video footage, transfer files and customise the camera’s settings, to do things such as overlay data, including speed and location.

Garmin says the use of the camera will be prohibited or regulated in some jurisdictions, adding that it is the responsibility of the user to know and comply with applicable laws and rights to privacy.

Radar and a tail light

Garmin Varia RCT715
The Varia has a radar and light.

While Garmin has added a camera to the Varia, it has retained the rearview radar and tail light functionality of the device.

Like the previous Garmin Varia RTL515, the radar on the new version will still detect and alert users to vehicles approaching from behind to the same distance of 140m.

Similarly, the tail light on the new version is said to be visible up to one mile away in daylight, which is the same as the Varia RTL515.

But while the RTL515 has a claimed battery life of up to 16 hours, the RCT715 has a shorter claimed battery life.

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The Varia RCT715’s battery life is said to be up to four hours with radar and the tail light on ‘solid high’ or ‘night flash’, and up to six hours with the light flashing. The reduction in battery life is presumably because the camera is recording continuously.