As insurance fraud grows daily one way of protecting yourself from driving related scams is to install a dashcam. Dashcams such as this one are positioned discreetly pointing forwards through the front window and record all your driving activity. The dashcam turns on automatically when the car is started and off again a short time after the engine is turned off. It records continuously in short recordings onto a memory card that seamlessly dovetail together when played back. When the card is full the camera records over the oldest recording. A good camera will have a built in G-Sensor which automatically records impacts and secures that file against overwriting. The point of having a mass of short video recording files it to make it easier to find the one you need to examine.
Th is new dashcam from Tonbux arrived presented in a low end plain brown cardboard box. This is no doubt good for the planet but makes the product look cheap and greatly reduces the attraction of the item as a gift. Inside the box was the camera itself, car charging cable, mounting kit and User Guide. The User Guide is rather good compared to those usually supplied and is in colour with photographs although the English is at times a bit strange. I attach a scanned and edited copy to my unboxing video.
The device takes a microSD card of up to 32GB to record onto and although a 32GB card is supplied should you need to replace it you must get a good quality high speed card. Class 10 is best, if a card is too slow the camera will not be able to write to it properly. The camera looks quite discreet and can blend into the car window nicely.
The camera attaches to the windscreen with the sticky backing mount and in my tests this worked well. Unlike most cameras this one does not have a built in battery and so will operate only when supplied with power by the car battery. This has advantages but does mean that when the engine goes off in the event of a crash then so does the camera. The camera has a speaker and microphone which is useful in incident if you have the presence of mind to observe and announce number plates or external events not captured by the camera. The dashcam has a G-sensor, a must for any dashcam, which will ensure that impacts or other events are not overwritten by other recordings on the card.
The camera lacks a GPS sensor but the lack of GPS, a disadvantage for many users, but not for me as having tried tracking my journey on a scrolling map on my return it is a novelty that soon wears off. Also should your device fall into the hands of the police after a crash they will be able to note and use against you any previous speed infringements or driving errors caught by the GPS. Unlike many budget dashcam this one does not have any annoying LED lights which cause glare on the windscreen and reduce visibility if turned on.
Video results are good for the price and it offers five resolution levels. At the maximum FHD resolution of 1080p FHD (exact resolution and framerate are not given) , which is about the minimum capable of producing worthwhile results for a dashcam, the picture is good but not outstanding. Several looping time lengths are available and I suggest 3 minutes for best results. Although the G-Sensor trigger will lock the flagged video file there is an emergency button which can be pressed to prevent the overwriting of the current file which can be handy if there is an incident when the car is stationary.
According to the User Guide this camera offers a feature I have never before seen in a dash cam. It generates it’s own wifi hotspot and if you download the iOS or Android app ‘FinalCam’ you can use it to connect to the camera via the hotspot and then configure and view images from the camera. Strange since it will only work when the camera is powered on from the car. Unlike any other dashcam I have used it not only does it lack a battery but also it cannot be powered from the car cigar or USB sockets. It must be powered by hard wiring to car fuse box. This is the best and neatest solution and keeps messy trailing wires to the minimum but it is not a quick solution and some level of knowledge and skill is needed to set it up. It also offers Motion Detection alerts, often used for parking monitoring, but without a battery this seems a strange addition.
This is an unusual dashcam with some strange features but can give decent quality results when properly configured.
FHD video 1920×1080
Auto on/auto off
Large bright screen
170 degree wide angle lens
Good User Guide
No GPS sensor
Poor User Guide
No HDMI socket
No built in battery