Best Dash Cam Reviews 2017
- Best Dash Cam Reviews 2017
WhatCarCamera is here to help find the best dash cam for you, providing up to date information and regular reviews.
So, you’ve had a few near misses and have decided that getting a dashboard camera is the right thing to do; and you are right. A dashboard camera will be there as a witness for you 24/7 and will provide the vital evidence you need if an incident does occur.
The chances are you don’t have a clue of what kind of cam you are looking for, all you know is you want one. This is where we come in, below we have compiled a list of what you should be looking for when purchasing a dash cam.
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Dash Cam Comparison Table
One of the first things you should look for when buying a dash cam is to make sure that it’s discreet. You don’t want a big camera obstructing your view whilst driving and getting in the way; another reason being that some people can get a bit funny if they think they are being filmed.
Dashboard cameras come in various sizes, as mentioned above the smaller the camera the better; the only downside is that they tend to be dearer the smaller they get. Don’t let this put you off though as there is still a lot of affordable cameras out there. Your dashboard camera should also be black as any other colour would make it too obvious and would probably draw some attention. If you want the cam to be discreet then it doesn’t make sense to get it in any other colour.
Video quality is everything! There’s not point in forking out good money, having a bump only to find out the dash cam is a load of rubbish; you may as well of not had one.
Here’s a small list of the resolutions:-
- VGA Resolution (640×480) – A lot of the cheaper camera models film on this resolution, the footage wont be great. Avoid these.
- 720p (1280 x 720) – This Resolution is HD and will bring in significantly better results than VGA.
- 1080p (1920×1080) – Full HD and standard for 2015, captures all the details, something to keep an eye out for.
- 1296p (2304 x 1296) – On some of the newer dash cams. Just like 720p and 1080p except with more detail.
Night Video Quality
Although you will have headlights on at night anyway it’s still important to have a reasonably good camera, taking into account the street lamps and other lights that may make the film blurry or interfere with the quality.1080p or above capture good videos during the daytime and the night time.
Night Vision LED
Many cheap dash cams come with an ‘LED’ feature, it sounds useful however it’s absolutely useless for night vision as it can cause reflections on the windshield, and you already have headlights anyway.
Pretty much what it says on the tin. Once the memory card is full, rather than just turning itself off and rendering itself useless; it will continue to record over the oldest footage on the memory card. The reason for this is that the oldest footage will not be needed as there was no incident, you will usually find it’s only the newest footage you will need.
The G-sensor activates as soon as it senses any kind of ‘G-Force’; hence the name. As soon as the dash cam detects an impact or any kind of sudden braking, this will trigger the sensor and it will mark the footage for safe keeping. Most decent dash cams will have this and there will be an option to turn this on or off.
Not the same as the G-sensor, however can be just as important. This is used in ‘Parking Mode’ and pretty much acts as an in car cctv camera.
This handy little feature will suddenly switch on when someone approaches or comes near your car. Below is a prime example of just how useful the motion detector is; proving that incidents don’t always happen when you are driving.
Here, this man is caught keying a £100,000 Aston Martin causing £9000 worth of damage in Hackney, London.
Lock File Button
This allows you to manually mark the current footage for safe keeping with a single touch of a button. Most newer dash cams already have the G-Sensor (as mentioned above) built in which is essentially the same thing. The lock file button is still convenient though just in case anything happens that you would like to keep a video of.
Self explanatory. When the car is turned on, the camera turns on; when the car is turned off, it goes off (unless parking mode is turned on). This is to save battery and comes in very handy, you can’t forget to turn the camera on, as it comes on automatically. It would be horrible to forget to turn it on one day, only to have an accident.
If your car battery is low some dash cams will detect this and turn off automatically.
Date & Time Stamp
A must have when providing evidence. Make sure you enter the the correct date and time when setting up your camera.
This allows to record the exact position and speed and blends into the video along with the time stamp, one of the major drawbacks about this feature is that the camera will be bigger and more expensive than your standard dash cam.
Here I am going to explain all about GPS and how it all works, to many of you it will probably be pretty obvious however some people aren’t as tech savvy so here it is.
The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a network of satellites which sends information related about a location. Once the location has been received, it can be used to infer information such as distance to a destination, speed, trip distance, etc.
The accuracy of GPS receivers on some occasions can be low due to interferences in atmosphere, but overall they are immensely accurate. The satellites run on solar energy and have backup batteries in case of no solar power for situations like solar eclipse.
GPS comprises of around 24 satellites orbiting at about 12,000 miles above the earth which make two complete orbits in less than 24 hours. The satellites travel at speeds of almost 7000 miles an hour. Pretty quick right?
New dash board cameras have an advantage of letting you log your vehicles through GPS so that you can know the position, speed and direction at various points of your trip.
You can view the route of your trip on google maps while playing back the video later on your computer. You can simultaneously see where the vehicle was and what it recorded at that moment.
The video can help you prove yourself in court by letting them know your position at a given time. A GPS can also help you track your fleet vehicles in real time if you were to own say a van rental company, lorry business etc. These are amongst the numerous advantages a GPS can provide.
Cameras that have built-in GPS come with the software to view the recorded data. Unlike regular GPS unit which navigate to a destination, the dash board cameras that come with GPS do not have this feature and cannot navigate to a destination.
GPS information is frequently written directly in the video as well as in a written log file. An option is available in dash board cameras to turn off GPS or just the overlay.
GPS is a really handy feature available in most modern units without requiring to spend a lot more. It even allows you to track your car even when someone else is using it and has very few disadvantages.
Although I do mention that it has very little disadvantages, there is one certain disadvantage I do try and stress in a few of my articles and this is it.
The GPS feature when activated will place the speed you were doing on the video, which is great? After all that’s one of the main reasons you want it isn’t it? Well think about it this way, if you were to have an accident and everything is the other drivers fault you have the video to prove it of course; However when that video gets sent off to the insurance company to be assessed and they see you were doing even a few mph over the speed limit then they could say that you were breaking the law. Even though technically it wasn’t your fault, it could go against you.
Don’t get me wrong I think the GPS is a good feature but you will need to make sure you stick within the designated speed limits. Some cams are optional, so you can choose to switch the feature on or off.
The standard place for a dashboard camera is usually high on the wind-shield and tucked away just behind the rear view mirror, try and be as discreet as possible. The dash cam supplier will provide you with a cable that will plug straight into the cigarette lighter. The cable is usually around 3.5m, this helps you to install it discreetly and tuck the wire along the roof and down the pillar, eventually connecting at the cigarette lighter. The last thing you would want is a 3ft cable dangling from your rear view mirror taking a short cut to the power supply.
How The WiFi Feature Works With A Dash Cam
The WiFi feature is being made available in more and more dashboard cameras these days. Generally, this feature is available on slightly more expensive models but these are well within the range of the general consumer.
The Initial Setup
Most of the cameras which come with WiFi built-in require a bit of setup before they are usable, this includes setting up a password and network name in order to secure and identify the camera’s WiFi network.
The majority of the cameras have the ability to setup from within their interface, but some require connecting to the camera via a computer and then setting up the network over a web interface or via the manufacturer’s software.
Benefits Of Having WiFi In Your Dashboard Camera
A dashboard camera equipped with WiFi has a number of benefits.
The primary advantage is having easy access to the internal storage of the camera. Having a WiFi connection easily allows transferring the files from the camera to a computer or viewing the videos directly over the connection, without the need of requiring any cables.
A majority of the WiFi enabled cameras supports uploading to various cloud services and social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Google Drive & YouTube. This saves a few steps of transferring the files to a computer first then uploading them.
Another major benefit of having WiFi enabled dashboard camera is the ability to view the cameras live view from the smartphone itself. It gives a remote control over the cameras live view as well as settings and functions, without having to move the camera which makes viewing its content as well as setting it up much easier.
The ability to quickly transfer files from your dashboard camera to a cloud service, or your smartphone gives you the advantage of quickly taking a backup in case of an incident which ensures that you do not lose your files when you most need them.
Limitations of WiFi
Wi-Fi is a powerful tool, but there are certain limitations any future owners should be aware of. Wi-Fi transfers or remote control can have issues due to weak signal beyond a certain distance or in an area where there are many networks due to interference.
In these situations, WiFi can have issues or might not work at all. However, these situations are rather rare and should not be considered the norm.
WiFi is a very beneficial feature and if anyone is looking to buy a new camera, they should try and get one with WiFi.
The limitations of WiFi feature hardly have any weight and there are many benefits, with little to no setup you can start enjoying the benefits of wireless connectivity almost instantly.
The little additional cost that Wi-Fi may introduce is easily justified with the advantages it gives, especially the ability to remotely observe and manage the camera’s live feed.
How Does A Dual Camera Work?
The Dual Camera feature sounds pretty self explanatory, however in this article we will explain the benefits of having one and some disadvantages.
Most dashboard cameras mount on the windshield are forward-facing and record only what is happening outside the vehicle in front of the car.
Such cameras are known as single-lens dashboard cameras because they have only one lens. Dual-channel dashboard cameras provide more protection than single channel by offering two separate dashboard camera units which are placed in the front and rear of your vehicle.
What’s the Cost?
Dual-channel systems are less expensive than buying two separate single channel systems and hardwiring kits. Some models have Wi-Fi and GPS for both the channels in a dual-channel system but they can be more expensive.
The front and rear units can have full HD quality, but the front unit have bigger sensors which pick up better picture. A lower resolution allows to save more footage in your memory card.
Size and Installation
One of the feature to keep in mind about the rear units is that their small size keeps them hidden from the outside. Dual-channel devices will require simple linking cable between the front and rear device that can be tucked into the headliner or under the carpet of the vehicle.
- Allows recording front as well as interior or rear of the vehicle.
- Rear unit is generally smaller and can be easily concealed.
- Cheaper than buying two separate dashboard cameras.
- Quality would be worse than two separate single channel cameras
- More expensive than single channel cameras
Unfortunately, single-channel dashboard cameras are not updatable to add a secondary unit which can be a great hindrance if you decide to upgrade in future. Many drivers today are using a dual-channel dash cam for more comprehensive coverage around their vehicle which allows them to record what is happening inside their vehicle or behind their vehicle while simultaneously recording the road in front of their car. The rear unit on dual-channel dashboard cameras are smaller in size which makes them better hidden from the outside.