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Dash Camera basics – How to choose a dashcam, why get dash camera

By reviews / 4. June 2020

Dash cams may have once seemed like an extravagance; the tech toy of a crazy car buff wanting to show off.
Read more: http://erinlyyc.com/2017/08/28/why-get-a-dash-camera-what-to-look-for-in-a-dash-camera/

These days there are many more practical reasons for getting a dash cam. In-car recordings are increasingly making news and being used as evidence but there are other reasons you should consider a dash cam now too.

Why get a dash cam?

Capture Crashes
The primary and most obvious reason to install a dash cam is so the footage can be used as evidence when something’s gone wrong. Did that driver really cut you off? You’ve got proof. Other driver texting at the wheel? If you’ve got it on tape it’s indisputable.

Road trips/keepsakes
I’ve taken some amazing road trips through beautiful scenery. Photos just don’t do it justice, but having some footage does.

Showing off & random events
Whether it’s showing off your impressive evasion of a driving situation or catching a meteor streaking through the sky, having a dash cam means you’ll always have a record of the stuff that happens to quickly to be captured with a smartphone camera.

How to choose a dash cam

There are several factors that can help you decide which dash cam is right for you, and plenty of options to choose from. We’ll break down the decisions you’ll need to make.

Front facing camera, or front + rear?
You can choose single camera set up for your dash or add a second camera. The primary camera is the front-facing unit, while the secondary camera can be placed in your back window, or even inside facing the vehicle’s interior.

Viewing screen

While the screen is handy for at-a-glance checks on aim and whether it’s recording, you don’t really need to see the screen otherwise, and in fact it can be a distraction. You’re probably not going to watch much video on the camera unit itself. Don’t get hung up on a camera without a screen if it has all the other features you want.

Video resolution + Wide Angle

Obviously you want a good look at the situation. Fortunately most cameras on the market today have superior video resolution and clarity thanks to HD camera technology. There’s no reason why you should settle for a camera that is not full HD/1080P today.

Wifi/Bluetooth Smartphone connection
Having a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection with your dash cam is a great idea. This will allow you to access your camera or video feed as it’s happening to either allow you to re-aim the lens, or screen what’s unfolded in front of you. This is handy for a driver when you want to review some footage while still in your car. Parked safely, of course.

Power connector
It’s worth checking what type of power adapter the dash cameras on your short list come with. Some will use a 9V/cigarette lighter adapter, while it is becoming more common to see USB plugs at the end of a dash camera’s cable.

If possible, always choose the USB option. This is because when you are using a 9 V connector, it will take up an entire outlet in your car. That may mean you’ll have nowhere to charge your smart phone or other gear inside the vehicle.

The best way to choose a dash cam is to first figure out what you want it to do, then choose the features that are the most important to you and match them to a camera. Watch the blog for a coming series on dash cameras; we’ll be reviewing several popular models over the next few weeks.

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