At one time you would not be able to get a good quality car dashcam for under £200 but now prices seem to be in freefall as more and better specified new models come on the market. Priced at a £89.99 I this dual lens high spec camera system seems a bargain indeed.
Note that some of the product description on this page has not been updated from the earlier version. I have taken my information from the User Guide included with this updated version with the product.
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. The point of having a mass of short video recording files it to make it easier to find the one you need to examine. The camera should have a G-Sensor that will automatically flag any recording containing a possible impact and not record over it.
Presented in a large and rather upscale box aside from the front camera there is also the small rear camera and cable set, 16GB TF card, cleaning cloth, cable clip set, spare mirror mounting straps, short micro USB cable, long mini USB charging cable, dual port 1A/2.4A car power adapter, User Guide, Thank You card. The User Guide, unlike most, was very well printed, easy to read and very informative if rather small I include a copy on the end of my unboxing video, switch to fullscreen and pause as needed to read it.
Unlike with most dashcams this system is supplied with a second small waterproof camera that is attached by cable to the front camera and can be positioned in the back window or above the rear licence plate to continuously record activity behind the car in addition to the forward picture recorded by the main camera. The video from the rear cam can be viewed on and is recorded by the front camera. The front camera has a pretty standard 150 degree angle of view according to the Amazon page , the rear camera is not specified. Note that when using both cameras the front camera can only record at a maximum of 1920x1080p and the rear to 720p and that must be so configured in the camera settings
I was pleased to see the camera does not have built in infra red night lights, as so many low end dashcams do. LED illumination is a bad thing because when driving at night any built in lights on the camera will just reflect from the windscreen and burn out the image. The device will work with a microSD card up to 64Gb but make sure you use a good quality class 10 card from a known manufacturer, Many people blame video failings on the camera when it in fact the cause is a cheap or low end memory card. A good quality 16GB card is included with the kit.
Setting it up was not too hard and the menu could be navigated on the three inch screen reasonably well. Fixing the camera to the mirror on my Toyota Aygo was easy enough and the cables were easily long enough for the both cameras. The integral mirror camera is reasonably small and although this is a distinct advantage as it makes it harder to spot from outside the car. The built in 5 inch display is large enough to make navigating the configuration menu easy enough but in any case you should only need to configure it once. Fitting the second camera was more of a bind as the cable has to be wound through the car from front to back but once it is done there should be no need to adjust it again.
Image quality is crucial for dashcams as it is important to be able to clearly identify number plates and other details in a recorded incident. This camera will handle several modes but as with almost every camera only 1920 x 1080 or above is worth using. Lower resolutions will make it hard to read number plates of nearby cars. Both camera will record simultaneously in FHD@30fps and the front camera alone at up to 2304×1296@30fps or at up to 60fps at 720p. Full HD at 30fps is the minimum to consider these days for a dashcam. The camera has the all important G-Sensor which auto saves and protects video files in which it detects a sudden stop or impact.
I found the image quality to be one excellent for a camera in this price range although in low light conditions the image quality dropped somewhat. I include some driving footage on my unboxing video but bear in mind that Amazon compress the video greatly and so it can serve only to show the brightness and clarity of the video rather than the resolution.
This is a mid priced dashcam but offers all the features you will need. All you need is a reliable auto On/Off, a decent quality HD camera with a G-Sensor . Don’t complain about the lack of GPS because although it can be fun at first to trace your route on the screen map remember that in the event of an incident the police may review all the files on the card and use previous driving speeding errors detected by the GPS against you. It does have a microphone which can be useful in the event of an incident if you are quick witted enough to read aloud the numbers of the cars involved. It has parking mode (Motion Detection) but I have never found this to be much use in any camera due to the delay in awakening the camera following movement triggering. The only worthwhile feature lacking for me is that of second dual write TF card, handy so you always have a copy of the card handed to the police.
This is an highquality dashcam which will meet all your needs. It is attractive and discreet in appearance and capable of giving good quality results. It has several high end features not needed for normal use. The price is good given the quality of the video and the addition of the second camera and SD card.
Good build quality
Good image quality
Still picture mode
No annoying i/r lights
Picture in Picture
No GPS or option to fit it
Low light video could be better
No HDMI port