Dash Cams – Chipsets, Sensors, Loop Recording, Parking Mode, Wide Angle, 1080P – How Do You Choose?
Dash cameras are fast becoming a must have in today’s driving environment. Aggressive and careless driving as well as more and more common incidents of road rage make an investment in a really good car DVR a wise decision.
Another consideration is that insurance companies now tell their clients never to admit fault so it becomes your word against the other party’s and if they have someone else with them and you don’t, you are going to lose a lot of money. Similarly if you not an experienced driver, or one of your children is involved in an accident you will need hard evidence to back up your version of what happened.
In other words, buy a dashboard camera it may well save you a lot of money and stress.
Unfortunately choosing the best dash cam is not that easy because often cameras that have the same body may have very different working parts.That’s because there are only a few major camera body manufacturers and they sell to hundreds of vendors.
Generally when buying dash cams you get what you pay for so start by ignoring the really cheap cameras. I have seen dash cams advertised for $16! and that is just impossible. Buy one of these and your money will probably just disappear. Personally I wouldn’t even consider a camera under $100.
So how do you choose a dash cam that will provide good quality images that can be used as evidence if you are unfortunate enough to be involved in a traffic incident.
Here’s a few pointers to look for:
* Look for a model with dual wide angle cameras to give you front and rear coverage.
* Check to see if the camera has a high end chipset and sensor combination. These are expensive items so most vendors will not tell you what the specs are for their cameras. My family’s cameras all have Mstar/OV2710 chipset/sensor combinations but there are one or two other good combinations around (none of them are cheap). Lesser combinations will not give you the same quality images, especially at night.
* Preferably the unit has an MOV video format, not the older AVI.
* Camera should have parking mode which activates the camera in case of a bump while you are not in your car.
* Motion detection.
* Loop recording.
* ADAS – driver assistance will warn you if your car gets to close to another or if you are drifting out of your lane.
* G-Sensor – freezes the frame and stores it in case of an accident.
* Warranty – at least 12 months.
* Look for evidence that the vendor has a website with contact details.
* Choose a vendor with good support, if the description has examples of poor English, it’s usually a 3rd world based vendor (often not even a manufacturer but a reseller) and experience has shown that if that’s the case, it can be very difficult to get support.
Used to be the case that if a dashboard camera had good reviews on one of the major selling platforms you could rely on it being a decent buy. Nowadays you need to be very wary of this because we have seen more and more examples of new listings hitting the market with 20, 30 or even 40, 5 star reviews from the start. Rorting of the review system has become endemic, in fact you can see adverts on social media and internet service sites where people are offering to provide completely bogus reviews for very little money.
Buying a car dashboard camera is a very wise decision but do your homework and purchase a high spec one from a vendor you can identify.