A dash camera is a useful protection for any driver. It helps detail any crash and can be a key bit evidence when making an insurance claim, or defending against a fraudulent one where another driver has caused a crash on purpose.
Out of all the dash cams we8217;ve reviewed two stand out. If you want the absolute best image quality, the 4K Nextbase 612GW dash cam is the model to buy. If you just want something cheaper to keep an eye on the road, the Aukey DR-01 is a great choice.
Video quality is, far and above, the most important aspect of a dashcam. We test all dash cams in a variety of driving conditions, from bright lights to night time, to see how the quality stacks up. Shooting video in this way also lets us compare the results between dash cams, so we can tell you which ones are best. We test each camera8217;s mounting options, finding out how easy it is to physically attach to your car, and how well the camera remained in position once fixed.
The quality of the interface and software is vital for any dashcam, as you need a reliable way to recover footage in the event of an accident. Again, we test all of these features, looking for ease of use and quality software.
Where extra features are available, such as integrated GPS, safety-camera warnings or collision-detection, we test these to find out how useful they really are.
The super-sharp video is a godsend during incidents, offering a crystal-clear image of what happened that8217;ll help clear up any potential confusion during a collision or incident. Its collision-detection charms are further aided by the inclusion of a G-sensor for detecting incidents, and built-in GPS, which makes it easy to retroactively see where any issues occured.
The Nextbase 612GW is expensive for a dash cam that isn8217;t exactly packed with bonus features, and it8217;s a shame that we couldn8217;t get the Wi-Fi connectivity to work. Make no mistake the 612G offers the best-quality footage we8217;ve seen from a dash cam so far.
You8217;re probably more familiar with the Aukey name from its USB hubs and audio gear, but the DR-01 dash cam puts the brand inside your car for road-recording on a budget.
It keeps things simple with a limited list of features, but what it does, it does well. It offers only Full HD video recording, which is sufficient for basic use, and can drop to 720p at 60 and 30 frames per second to save battery life, too.
Its 2.19-megapixel Sony Exmor CMOS chip gives it a good picture in low light situations, as well as in broad daylight.
There8217;s no storage option included, so you8217;ll have to grab an 8GB microSD card yourself, which should be enough for about 80 minutes of Full HD footage – more than some of the more high-res cams out there.
Features include incident detection with three optional sensitivity levels, and the ability to time and datestamp video. Unfortunately there8217;s GPS to track where knocks and bumps happened though, sadly.
- Lots of additional dash cam safety features
- Built-in GPS for location tracking with desktop app
- Wi-Fi and smartphone app
As the name suggests, this model has built-in Wi-Fi, which means that this dash cam can talk to the app on your phone, letting you control recording and download clips to your phone. The Mio MiVue 792 WIFI Pro has tonnes of features including lane departure and forward collision warnings, and a reminder to turn on headlights when it8217;s dark.
Built-in GPS means that recordings are tagged with the location, and gives support for safety camera warnings once you8217;ve downloaded the database from Mio8217;s website. If you install the Smart Box Cable power kit (which made need professional help), the Mio MiVue 792 WIFI Pro has a parking mode, so you can record activity while you8217;re parked.
Video quality from the 1080p dash cam is excellent. Excellent colour balance and brilliant low-light performance put this model near the top for 1080p performance. With the option of adding in rear cameras, too, the Mio MiVue 792 WIFI Pro is an excellent, if not expensive, choice.
Yi Mini Dash Camera
- Very cheap
- Built-in LCD panel
- Built-in WiFi
The Yi Mini Dash Camera isn8217;t the best-quality dash cam that you can buy, but it has one major advantage: it8217;s exceptionally cheap. If you8217;re just looking for something basic and don8217;t have a lot of money to spend, then this is the model for you.
Although the price is low, the Yi Mini Dash Camera is surprisingly feature-packed. For starters, this model shoots video at a 1080p resolution. In optimal conditions, video is detailed and the colour balance is very good. That said, in very bright direct sunlight, the camera struggles and it8217;s hard to spot detail.
There8217;s built-in Wi-Fi, so you can control the dash cam from your smartphone app, although you can control everything locally. There8217;s no GPS sensor, although there is a G-sensor, which lets the camera tag incidents automatically.
- Cloud services via smartphone hotspot
- Rear-view camera
- Built-in GPS and advanced safety options
The Thinkware F800 Pro is the flagship camera from the well-known dash cam company. Rather than pushing sensor resolution (this model shoots at 1080p), Thinkware has focussed on delivering features instead.
This model includes the rear-view camera, so you can capture what8217;s going on behind you as well as in front. As you might expect from a high-end model, the Thinkware F800 Pro has built-in GPS to track location, and a G-sensor that protects recordings from deletion when an impact is detected. GPS also lets the camera warn you about safety cameras, too.
Otherwise, there8217;s built-in lane departure and forward collision warnings. Neatly, the camera can let you know when the car in-front starts to move, so you can start driving if you8217;ve stopped paying attention in a queue.
Image quality is excellent, with enough detail to read number plates. In other words, the quality of the video is more than good enough for the Thinkware F800 Pro8217;s intended purpose. With all of the features that you get, this is a top dash-cam.
The Halfords HDC400 is the company8217;s flagship own-brand dash cam. Although it8217;s the most expensive in the range, it8217;s not overly expensive, especially when you consider the 1440p shooting resolution and integrated GPS.
There8217;s no screen or on-camera controls on this model, so you have to manage everything through your phone using the Halfords HDC4008217;s built-in Wi-Fi. Given that you8217;ll probably rarely have to change settings this isn8217;t such a problem.
GPS lets the HDC400 tag footage with the location, while a G-sensor can automatically detect impacts and mark the recordings. There8217;s also a parking mode, which uses the G-sensor to start recording if an impact is detected 8211; a great option for parking your car on a public road or car park. It8217;s a shame that the GPS doesn8217;t give safety camera warnings, though.
Footage is perfect for the intended application, with enough detail to read number plates. And, the Halfords HDC400 coped well on a bright and sunny day. If you want a higher-resolution camera with GPS, then the Halfords HDC400 is a well-priced option.
Buy now: Halfords HDC400 dash cam for £129 from Halfords
- Requires dual-power car adapter for use alongside sat-nav
- Desktop software needs further development
- Enabling all the features can lead to distraction
Overall, image quality is good in both bright daylight and night-time, although in low light you8217;ll need to be fairly close to another vehicle to make out details such as the licence plate number.
Features of note include an accelerometer to detect collisions or emergency stops, a GPS receiver to record your position and speed alongside the video, and speed camera warnings.
- Built-in GPS with GLONASS
- Parking Mode with permanent installation
- Second camera option
While the Thinkware X550 might not have the super high resolution of some of its competition, it does have a high quality sensor. That means it8217;s one of the better sat navs for recording in low-light conditions, thanks also to some clever software trickery.
If you want to make the most of the X5508217;s features, you8217;ll want to connect it to your car8217;s electrical system (or have someone in the know do it). Fiddly but perfectly easy to use once done.
The X550 also comes with highly accurate GPS, handy speed camera alerts and the ability to use two cams together for better coverage. It might not have the sharpest image quality but the X550 is a well-rounded dashcam.
- Dashcam only adds £50 to cost
- Lifetime European map updates and traffic alerts
- Wealth of extra driving assistance features
The Garmin DriveAssist 50LMT-D is not only a dashboard camera but also a fully-featured sat nav. The dash cam captures video at your choice of Full HD resolution or 720p, both at 30 frames per second.
There are two microSD card slots, one dedicated for the sat nav8217;s maps, and the other for the dash cam8217;s recordings. You8217;ll get a 4GB microSD card included for the latter, which amounts to about 76 minutes of Full HD footage.
Features include automatic collision detection as well as loop recording. There8217;s also Forward Collision Warning, which lets you know if you8217;re approaching the vehicle in front too quickly, and a Lane Departure Warning, which will tell you if you’re drifting across lanes on a motorway.
A Go Alert will even give you an audio notification if the car in front starts moving while you8217;re stationary, ensuring no angry beeps from impatient drivers behind.
- Smartphone app provides limited control
- A little pricey
- Car power adapter can8217;t be removed from cable
It automatically starts recording when connected to a power source so it doesn8217;t miss a trick, capturing footage in a maximum 2.5K capacity – or 2560 x 1440 pixels at 30 frames per second, to be precise.
On the features front, the Garmin Dash Cam 55 brings Travelapse recording into the mix, which will pick the highlights from your journey to make a short reel that’s easy to watch when you park up. You can also use the dash cam like a normal camera to take snapshots of vehicle or property damage.
There8217;s also built-in voice control for starting/stopping audio recording, taking pictures and activating the Travelapse feature.
When you’re ready to view the footage, you can do so either on your computer or the dash cam’s own display while sitting in your car. Built-in Wi-Fi lets you wirelessly sync footage with Garmin8217;s VIRB app on your smartphone, too.
Nextbase8217;s dash cams are readily available from Halfords and are allegedly endorsed by the AA, so it8217;s no surprise that the specification and build of the Nextbase 512GW – its mid-range dash cam – make for a promising start.
Recording is available up to 1440p at 30fps, though you can also choose from Full HD and 720p too. At the top resolution, a 16GB memory card will be enough for 77 minutes of footage before the recoding loops to replace the oldest files with new ones. There’s no microSD card included though, which is a shame for a dash cam that is well out of the budget territory.
The rear of the 512GW is dominated by a 3-inch LCD screen with touch-sensitive buttons on either end for working your way around the menus. Features include a G-sensor for detecting incidents, GPS for location tracking (but no speed camera notifications), timelapse and parking modes and built-in Wi-Fi for viewing footage on your phone.
Image quality is up there as one of the best too, giving you plenty of detail should you require it at a later date. It doesn’t have the largest list of features to rival some of its competitors, but it8217;s a well-built device that8217;s easy to fit and very reliable where it counts.
If you8217;re a safety-conscious driver, a dash cam can be a great way to buy peace of mind. Not only do dash cams provide you with evidence when it comes to accident disputes, but some insurers will offer discounts of up to 15% off your premiums if you fit a dash cam, offsetting any initial outlay.
As with all technology, dash cams come in a variety of forms. Some feature a single, forward-facing lens, while others include both forward and rear-facing cameras. These are the type you8217;ll want if you are worried about being rear-ended.
Others feature multiple lenses capable of recording various angles or have a wide-angle lens that gets in almost as much as you can see with your eyes. You can even get cameras that incorporate GPS technology that are able to measure your speed.
Can I use a GoPro or action camera instead?
So what makes dash cams different from other mountable cameras such as GoPros? First, most dash cams ensure you don8217;t run out of memory by splitting recordings into small chunks. Although the camera will be recording continuously, the stored files will be broken up into 1-3 minute recordings. This allows the camera to record over the oldest file once the memory becomes full, ensuring you don8217;t miss any important events or fiddle around with deleting unneeded footage.
Many dash cams will record to a microSD card, so you can install a larger card to record more footage. Factor in the cost of a memory card, because many dash cams won8217;t come with one in the box. Some dash cams make it easy to access this footage through a smartphone or tablet, too, so you don8217;t have to take the card out of the dash cam.
All dash cams should support at least 720p resolution as the quality of the footage needs to be as high as possible to ensure it can be used to determine blame in disputes over accidents. Grainy grey blobs that aren8217;t clear won8217;t help you win a case.
More sophisticated options might include a G-sensor, which can detect when you8217;ve been involved in an accident due to a sudden change in movement. This could be an impact or heavy braking. This will then tell the dash cam to record the event and save it to a protected section of the memory card, ensuring it doesn8217;t get overwritten, safeguarding your precious evidence.
Original source: https://www.trustedreviews.com/best/dash-cams-3435249