Buying Guide: Leading dash cam dashboard cameras reviewed (updated)

Dashed good ideas


2016 dash cam reviews

 

Entry-level forward-facing dash cams

Cobra CDR 835 review

RRP at time of test: £79.99
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Cobra CDR 835 dashcam review

Installation ★★★★☆

Cobra released this dashcam in late 2015 (some time after the CDR 820) but at the time of writing (April 2016), both are for sale for the same price on the Cobra website. It is described as “an easy out-of-the box solution that is quick and uncomplicated to set-up”. It’s simple enough but as with the 820, the screw-in sucker mount isn’t the most user-friendly. It also requires you to enter the date and time before use. However, it shares a couple of advantages with the 820 — compact size and an 8Gb memory card in the box.

Ease of use ★★★★☆

A major plus over the 820 is a simpler menu system — the four buttons below the screen access a nice, clear menu with large icons. In addition, there’s a very obvious emergency record button above the screen and a power on/off button in the top right-hand corner.

Functions ★★★☆☆

As with the 820, there’s no GPS on this one so speed and location are not recorded but there is a motion sensor for capturing movement when the vehicle is parked and it does have a G-sensor to lock footage that might have captured an accident.

Video/audio quality ★★★★★

We awarded the CDR 820 five stars for picture quality and the CDR 835 is just as good, if not better, with excellent picture quality in day and low light condition and no judder or pixelation. The audio is is a little muted, though.

VERDICT ★★★★☆

Another low-cost winner from Cobra, and it comes with the company’s usual 8GB memory card in the box. If you don’t want GPS tracking or other high-end features, the CDR 835 is worth a look.

Words: Will Dron

 


Kaiser Baas R10+ review

RRP at time of test: £99.99
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Kaiser Baas R10 dashcam review

Installation ★★☆☆☆

Not a complicated unit to install — there’s the camera, the windscreen mount and the 3m long power cable, which is USB to mini USB with a 12V adapter allowing a choice between plugging into a USB port in the car or the “cigarette lighter” socket. However, Kaiser Baas insists on supplying adhesive mounts, so when you unclip the camera from the mount it leaves a tell-tale sign that electronic gadgetry may be hidden in the glovebox — we prefer suction mounts, which are also easy to readjust if you get the positioning wrong. You’ll also need to buy yourself a memory card separately, and with no GPS function, you’ll need to set the date and time manually.

Ease of use ★★★★☆

We like the large screen, while six buttons and a reasonably intuitive operating system make the Kaiser Baas R10+ menu easy to navigate. It starts recording as soon as it receives power and downloading the footage to your computer can be done from the camera via USB or, even easier, removing the MicroSD card and plugging it into your computer via a Micro SD to SD card adapter.

Functions ★★★☆☆

There’s no GPS, so you’ll not be able to record speed or position, but the G-sensor will detect crashes and lock the related footage as an “Event”, which is minimum requirement for an effective dashcam. There’s also a Parking Guard mode, which will record for 30sec after a shock is detected while parked, and a Motion Detection mode, which triggers recording when it detects movement, but the value of both of these is debateable.

Video/audio quality ★★★☆☆

The R10+ records in 1080p by default and clarity is decent in daylight, although slightly less crisp than the best 1080p cameras. At night the image is quite dark, which sounds obvious but the best cameras’ sensors do a better at brightening up the image in low light. Audio is nice and clear.

VERDICT ★★★☆☆
Not a bad camera for the price but no GPS function may be a problem for some buyers and image quality, while decent, isn’t up with the best, especially in low light. No SD card in the box and the adhesive mount (rather than our preferred suction mount) may tip the balance the wrong way.

Words: Will Dron

 


Mio MiVue 618 review

RRP at time of test: £89.99
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Mio MiVue 618 review

Installation ★★★☆☆

A long power cable is provided, meaning the power unit will reach even the most awkward 12-volt sockets, while the mounting bracket uses a windscreen-friendly sucker mount rather than the horrible adhesive strips.

For some reason, the Mio MiVue 618 took a long time to boot up when we initially set-up the device but the problem didn’t repeat once the correct information was input via the rear screen and the slightly awkward buttons.

Unfortunately, a Micro SD card was not included in the box, so the camera drops a star here, but it’s a relatively simple unit to navigate.

Ease of use ★★★★☆

Despite the Mio’s budget price tag, it manages to cram a lot of features into the diminutive package and that means that there are a lot of menu screens to navigate in order to access all of the functionality.

Like most cameras on sale today, the MiVue 618 starts recording as soon as the ignition is switched on and will automatically save clips if the built-in G-sensor detects an accident.

Functions ★★★★☆

The weight of functions this camera offers is impressive, especially given the price. GPS tracking automatically records driving information, including speed, altitude, longitude, latitude and heading, a speed camera warning will sound and alert when it detects one of the big yellow boxes, while date stamping — including GPS coordinates and speed — will appear on all footage.

There’s also a lane departure warning that will sound if the car drifts into another lane and a Parking Mode, which uses motion detection to activate and record from a parked car when no driver is present. However, this requires constant power supply from an accessory dubbed Smartbox, which is available to buy separately.

Video/audio quality ★★★★☆

Overall image quality is good, even if the colour can appear a little saturated at times. The addition of date, time and location stamping in the bottom right-hand corner is welcome.

Audio quality is also respectable, given that this is at the budget end of the dashcam spectrum.

VERDICT ★★★★☆

A solid little camera the offers some neat additional functionality at a bargain price. Image quality could be improved and the buttons are a little fiddly but these factors can be forgiven.

Words: Leon Poultney

 


Nextbase In-Car Cam 212 Lite

RRP at time of test £69.99

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Nextbase 212 Lite

Installation ★★★★☆

Unlike other dashcams, the 212 Lite features a Click&Go Magnetic Powered Mount, which frees the camera from wires, as the base unit receives power instead of the camera itself.

This makes it easy to attach and remove the camera for safe storage in the glove box, while a long 12V power cable easily reaches even the most awkwardly positioned 12V sockets.

Unfortunately, the camera drops a star due to the fact that a MicroSD isn’t included in the box but at this price point, it’s only a minor niggle.

Ease of use ★★★★☆

The buttons may be small but the menu screens are intuitively laid out and extremely simple to navigate. It takes no time at all to set the date, adjust the picture quality and exposure, as well as other recording and power settings.

Like most cameras, this entry-level Nextbase will automatically start recording as long as it’s plugged in and the ignition switch is on. Footage is also saved if the in-built G-sensor detects an accident but users can manually lock in clips with the press of a very obvious button.

Functions ★★★☆☆

This camera does everything that you could want of a dashcam but lacks some of the other features found on more expensive models. There is time and date stamping but it isn’t GPS enabled, so you’ll have to remember where an incident occurred, rather than relying on tech.

Fatigue detection, lane-assist warning and other cutting-edge features are also lacking but Nextbase has an extensive model range that caters for this sort of thing if it’s a necessity.

Video/audio quality ★★★★☆

There’s nothing entry-level about the daytime picture quality, as the wide angle Six-Element Sharp Lenses are constructed with six layers of glass to provide clear images in full 1080p HD.

The sound quality is also good and the crisp footage makes it very easy to pick out licence plates without having to delve into menus and change exposure and ISO settings.

Image quality at night can be a little grainy but it’s perfectly good enough to capture any unfortunate incidents that may occur.

VERDICT ★★★★☆
An extremely easy camera to set-up and use, with a picture quality that rivals cameras costing twice the price. A worthy addition to any car windscreen.

Words: Leon Poultney

Mid-priced forward-facing dash cams

 

Garmin Dash Cam 35 review

RRP at time of test: £159.99
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Garmin Dash Cam 35 review

Installation ★★★☆☆

Although the compact Garmin takes up very little space on the windscreen, its sticky window mount is more permanent than suction-cup rivals. In fact, it’s a pain to peel off and leaves a terrible smudgy mess, making it difficult to experiment with positioning. However, there’s a nice long cigarette lighter charger and it comes with a 4GB memory card, meaning it can be used straight out of the box.

Ease of use ★★★☆☆

As long as the unit is plugged in, it will start recording as soon as the key is turned in the ignition. However, as this unit utilises GPS positioning, it can take a few seconds for it to locate satellites. Footage will still be recorded but location stamping may not be available if an incident occurs as you reverse out of your driveway, for example. Four buttons take care of most functionality but these can be small and fiddly to use, especially when on the move. The screen is nice and clear, though.

Functions ★★★★☆

GPS location, time, date and speed stamping are all automatically applied to each video clip, making it easy to pinpoint exactly where and when an incident took place. Incident Detection via G-Sensor technology means clips are automatically locked and stored should it detect sudden braking or a collision. Driver alerts, such as speed camera detection and Forward Collision Warning are available, utilising a loud beep when it detects something is amiss, but we found they became extremely irritating after a few miles. Luckily they can be disabled via the options menu but we wouldn’t recommend doing this while driving, as it’s very distracting.

Video/audio quality ★★★★☆

Footage can be captured in full HD at 1080p or 720p should you want to save space on the memory card. The viewing angle is superb and the camera handles low light and poor weather conditions very well. Footage is smooth and audio is crisp.

VERDICT ★★★☆☆

Video and sound quality are superb, plus it’s very easy to use and retrieving footage is as simple as plugging it into a computer via the provided USB cable. It loses points for the semi-permanent window mount, fiddly buttons and hypersensitive driver warning systems.

Words: Leon Poultney

 


Kaiser Baas R30 Wifi review

RRP at time of test: £199.99
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Kaiser Baas R30 review

Installation ★☆☆☆☆

About as far removed from “plug and play” as you can get, the Kaiser Baas R30 requires you to download an app to your phone before you can view the footage it records. That’s simple enough, assuming you have a smartphone and an internet connection to download the app. You then connect to the camera via WiFi, allowing you to view a live stream of the camera on your phone for initial positioning on the windscreen. It’s a faff, but you may only need to do this once.

Kaiser Baas supplies adhesive mounts so you’ll want to get it right first time (we prefer the flexibility of a suction mount). The good news is that it’s such a compact design, you could tuck it away discreetly at the top of your windscreen and thieves might not notice it’s there.

Further marks off for the fact that there’s no SD card in the box.

Ease of use ★★☆☆☆

Without a built-in screen, you’re relying on the mobile app to replay footage and check the framing of the camera, and to change settings. One the plus side, there’s little to distract the driver and the emergency record button is clear enough, should you want to lock footage of an accident ahead of you.

Unfortunately our night-time footage didn’t record due to a “card error”, and connection issues with the app meant that we weren’t able to format the card to correct the problem. Trying to rectify the problem was intensely frustrating and, after some time, we gave up.

Functions ★★★★☆

The WiFi element of the Kaiser Baas R30 is a necessity, rather than a useful feature for those wishing to share footage online, which does take some of the fun out of it. Having said that, sharing of footage is extremely easy, with the ability to link your phone to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, as well as two social networks clearly aimed at the Asian markets, Youku and Sina Weibo.

A built in G-sensor monitors sudden shocks and will lock footage when it thinks there has been an accident, and GPS logs your position and speed.

Video/audio quality ★★★☆☆

The R30’s big selling point is its 2304 x 1296 (2K) resolution, which is 44% larger in scale than full HD. That should allow greater detail in the image, and it’s not at all bad, but we found the image to be slightly grainy at full size, with oncoming cars’ registration plates still quite tricky to make out, indicating that the lens isn’t a match for the very best we’ve tested.

As mentioned above, we were unable to get a recording at night due to a “card error”, which is hard to resolve due to the fact that there’s no built-in menu system on the camera, and our WiFi connection kept failing.

Audio is clear.

VERDICT ★★★☆☆

The Kaiser Baas R30 promises better-than-HD picture quality and lots of functions but in reality the picture quality is only OK and the key functions can be found on cheaper models. Not having a built-in screen is a major problem, in our experience (see the CrashCam Pro and Roadhawk HD below), even if it has WiFi connectability, and in this case the mobile app connection let us down. We also didn’t like the adhesive mount and the fact that you have to buy a memory card separately. Overall, quite frustrating, especially at this price.

Words: Will Dron

 


Nextbase 512G review

RRP at time of test: £179.99
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Nextbase 512G dashcam review

Installation ★★★★☆

A plug and play model, you’ll be up-and-running in no time as it starts recording as soon as you connect to the 12V cigarette lighter socket. GPS is built in so you don’t have to mess around with extra cables, and the suction mount makes it easy to attach and detach from the windscreen. The 512G drops a star because Nextbase doesn’t supply a memory card in the box.

Ease of use ★★★★★

Nextbase’s menu systems and button layout are as simple as they come. A word of warning, though: you’ll need to set the screen to timeout in order to comply with UK law and when you do so, you’ll need to press the emergency record button twice if you witness an accident ahead; once to wake up the screen and again to lock the file. We fell foul of this ourselves.

Functions ★★★★★

It is packed with everything you need – GPS, G-sensor, screens, wide-angle lens – and very little of the things you don’t (e.g. WiFi connectivity). Motion detection is included, but we’ve yet to find a good use for it. The real point of this camera, though, is the image quality…

Video/audio quality ★★★★★

…which is superb. Nextbase says it has added a new polarising filter that helps removes windscreen glare and reflection but we found there was still some of the latter. Overall qaulity in varying light conditions, though, is unrivalled thanks to a new image sensor and a six-element lens. Crystal clarity is important, especially in situations where you need to record numberplates. In addition, the 140-degree viewing angle ensures that the periphery is covered and the camera performed well in low light conditions.

VERDICT ★★★★★

Another excellent dashcam from Nextbase that raises the bar for image clarity, which could prove vital in capturing video evidence. However, the 402G remains our best buy thanks to its lower price.

Words: Will Dron

 


Philips ADR610 Driving Recorder review

Philips ADR610 dashcam review

RRP at time of test £129.00

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Installation ★★★☆☆

There’s no microSD memory card in the box, so ensure you purchase one before use, while the small Philips unit utilises an aggressively adhesive 3M strip to mount the base to a windscreen, meaning careful initial placement is key. We prefer suction mounts.

The unit itself is neat and fits nicely out of the way behind a rear-view mirror, plus a lengthy 12v cigarette lighter adaptor is used for power.

Ease of use ★★★☆☆

The unit automatically records when it is powered up and saves clips should it detect an incident, while users can manually override this at the press of a button. However, these four buttons are small, fiddly and often require several prods to make them work.

On the plus side, the extremely simple interface is easy enough to navigate.

Monitor Mode also helps keep unnecessary files off the memory card, as it will record just one frame per second when no movement is detected and will record as normal when movement is picked up again.

But the ADR610 drops stars due to the fact that it simply doesn’t like being plugged into a computer via USB. We tried two different laptops and the camera would boot up momentarily only to switch off again. The only solution to downloading files was via an external memory card reader.

Functions ★★★☆☆

There’s no GPS tracking in this unit so it doesn’t monitor your location, unfortunately.

It does automatically stamp footage with a time and date to aid insurance claims but you have to input this manually upon initial set up.

Users can also automatically play footage back via the unit’s small screen, for example when debating an incident at the side of the road.

There’s also a Fatigue Index and driver alert, which produce a visual and audible warning when it is time for the driver to take a break. This is based on the time of day and time spent driving but will generally sound an alert every two hours during a journey.

Video/audio quality ★★★☆☆

Footage is captured in full HD (1920 x 1080p) at a healthy 30 frames per second. The standard of video is good, but it can look a little grainy in low light situations. Plus, the 100-degree wide-angle lens doesn’t quite capture as wide a field of vision as other models we’ve tested.

VERDICT ★★★☆☆

Easy to use and requiring little setting up, the Philips ADR 610 is a neat package. Plus the image and sound quality is perfectly adequate for sorting out insurance squabbles. However, PC connection was difficult and the nannying driver fatigue system does get irksome after a while. Thankfully, you can turn it off.

Words: Leon Poultney

 


 

Philips ADR81BLX1 ADR810 review

Philips ADR81BLX1 ADR 810 review

RRP at time of test £159.00

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Installation ★★★★☆

The camera comes with an adhesive mount, which sticks to the window and provides a semi-permanent placement for a ball joint fixture to neatly slide into.

A suction cup fixture makes less of a mess of the windscreen but there’s a spare adhesive strip included should you get placement wrong first time around. Plus, like most cameras tested, it comes with a long 12V to mini-USB power cable, which you’ll have to pin out of the way to stop it dangling in the driver’s face.

A Micro SD card isn’t included, so it drops a star, but once fitted, it’s simply a case of firing the unit up and following the initial set-up instructions on the screen.

Ease of use ★★★☆☆

Like most cameras today, this unit automatically records as soon as the ignition is switched on, and Philips has clearly put some thought into its user interface, which feels much slicker than others tested here. The Windows Metro-esque tiles are simple to navigate, although the small buttons can be fiddly to use.

There’s also a collision alert system, where an emergency recording is automatically saved to secure the evidence, prevent overwriting and take the responsibility away from the driver.

Unfortunately video quality requires some input from the user — see below.

Functions ★★★☆☆

The 1080p full HD video is automatically time stamped, although there is no GPS functionality to highlight where an incident took place.

It does have a fatigue index driver alert, however, which gives a visualisation of a driver’s tiredness as a journey evolves.

Philips’s EasyCapture feature is simply its name for the button that can be pressed to lock an important piece of footage for viewing later.

Video/audio quality ★★☆☆☆

For such a user-friendly piece of kit, the video quality varies greatly depending on the settings, requiring vigilance from the user. Daytime footage is dark unless the ISO is set correctly. Evening footage could also be better, with plenty of light distortion and vibrations affecting the picture quality.

Other dashcams on test automatically adjust to light settings, making it much easier to live with every day.

Meanwhile, the ultra-wide 156-degree lens angle gives an almost ‘fisheye’ quality to clips — in theory an advantage but in reality it is hard to make out features at the edge of the frame.

It has an audio recording function but this came across as modest, with background hissing making it difficult to pick out low volume sounds.

VERDICT ★★★☆☆

Good sound quality, crisp video resolution and a very user-friendly interface make this camera worth adding to your shortlist. However, cheaper units with similar features are available.

Words: Leon Poultney

 


 

Z-Edge Z3 dashcam review

Z-Edge Z3 dashcam review

RRP at time of test £149.99

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Installation ★★★★★

The Z-Edge Z3 favours a sucker mount over an adhesive strip, making it easy to position the dashcam on the windscreen.

The box contains a long USB cable and car charger adaptor that plugs into the 12v socket, as well as cable clips for pinning the power cable out of the way, a 32GB memory card and sucker mounts. It is light, compact and very easy to get into position.

Ease of use ★★★☆☆

The well-presented box comes with a nicely-written, concise and clear instruction manual, which makes it extremely simple to unpack the camera and get it running with minimal fuss.

However, the small menu buttons are awkwardly located on both sides of the camera, meaning it can be fiddly to hit the right option. It requires a pincer motion of the hand to operate and it’s definitely not advised when moving.

Apart from that, the menus are simple to navigate with audible beeps to help swap between screens.

Functions ★★★☆☆

The Z-Edge Z3 doesn’t boast GPS or Wi-Fi compatibility, which makes downloading clips to computers and other devices easier, but it does the simple stuff well.

There’s full date and time stamping, as well as a built-in G-Sensor that can detect a collision and will instantly lock the footage on the memory card. Better still, the camera can be set to detect vibration when the car is parked, automatically firing up the camera using the unit’s internal battery should it detect a scrape from a third party.

Like so many other cameras in the price bracket it will automatically turn on and off when ignition is detected and will loop recording, wiping old unlocked clips to best utilise the space on the memory card.

Video/audio quality ★★★★☆

The camera records in an impressive 2560 x 1080p super-HD resolution at 30 frames per second, which its makers claim is the maximum currently available to consumer dashcams.

A broad 150-degree field of view (FOV) also offers a great view of the road ahead without the typical fish-eye distortion.

Both the sound and vision are of good quality, with nice widescreen clips covering all of the action but the night time footage does get a little distorted and it can be hard to clearly make out number plates.

VERDICT ★★★★☆

The set-up process is made easier by the sucker mounts, while the video footage is crisp, if a little distorted at the edges thanks to the ultra-wide angle lens. A lack of GPS and Wi-Fi means it’s not the most feature-packed camera in this price range.

Words: Leon Poultney

 


Sat nav dash cams

Garmin DriveAssist 50LMT-D

Garmin DriveAssist 50LMT-D review

Installation ★★★★☆

The box contains a long power cable and a reusable suction cup mount, which makes it very easy to find a good spot on the windscreen without worrying about leaving horrible adhesive smudges all over it.

This is particularly handy because the unit doubles-up as a satellite navigation device, so finding the perfect spot to both view the maps and capture footage out of the windscreen can be tricky. Luckily, the unit guides you through this process on initial set-up.

However, we found that the power cable proved fiddly to plug in to the device while mounted, so it’s best to plug it in first before securing it in place.

The price does include a very small 4GB Micro SD card, which should be enough to get you started but users may want to consider upgrading to a card with more storage space.

Ease of use ★★★★☆

There are no complaints here (and rightly so, considering the eye-watering asking price), as this machine uses a responsive and intuitive touch-screen display that anyone with an Android device will find familiar.

Like most current dashcams, the Garmin continuously records as soon as the unit receives power (typically when the ignition is switched on) and will save files when a G-Sensor detects an incident or the user manually locks the footage.

Video footage can be reviewed via the device, along with a map view of where the incident took place (thanks to GPS) and the time of the incident.

It’s all very easy and the simple, on-screen prompts make interacting with the device a doddle.

Functions ★★★★☆

The DriveAssist 50LMT-D isn’t your ordinary dashcam, as it fuses Garmin’s experience with sat nav systems (European maps and Lifetime Digital Traffic notifications included), incident recording and driver awareness functions that are typically found in modern premium cars.

When the car is stopped at a junction or in traffic, a “Go” Alert notifies the driver when traffic in front of has started to move. A Forward Collision Warning alert appears if you’re driving too closely to the vehicle ahead, plus there’s Lane Departure Warning alerts should the driver start drifting out of lane.

Hard-to-read house numbers are magnified thanks to the Garmin Real Vision feature and, when approaching select destinations, the navigation display will switch to camera view, and a bright arrow will point the driver where you need to go.

GPS location makes it easy to work out where an incident occurred, while the ability to connect to a smartphone means the unit can be used for hands-free calling and the display shows text messages and calendar reminders without the need to remove hands from the steering wheel.

There’s also a photo capture mode that allows the unit to be removed from the mount and used as a stills camera, should you need to take pictures of damage. Of course, you could do this with your phone instead.

Video/audio quality ★★★★☆

Images appear crisp and suffer from very little distortion during the day but quality does suffer a bit during low light situations. It’s certainly not the best camera we have tested here for overall picture quality but it is more than good enough to present as evidence.

VERDICT ★★★★☆

A good bit of kit that covers everything from satellite navigation to driver assist functions and incident recording. Owners will pay the price for such features but if you are in the market for both a dash cam and a satnav, it’s easy to argue a case for this all-in-one device.

Words: Leon Poultney

 


Dual-camera (forward and rear-facing) dash cams

BlackVue DR650S-2CH

RRP at time of test £329.95

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Blackvue Dashcam review

Installation ★★★☆☆

Initial set-up takes slightly longer than rival cams, mainly due to the fact that there are two units to secure, one to the windscreen and one to the rear.

The tubular-shaped cameras (the front-facing unit is about the same size as a packet of Rolos, the rear is slightly smaller) fasten to the glass via a sticky pad and are then plugged in to the 12V power outlet via an extra long cable.

There’s also a second wire to contend with, which trails from the rear camera to the front via another lengthy able. This must be threaded into the headlining of the vehicle in question, as not to cause too much of an obstruction, but BlackVue does supply a prying tool to make life slightly easier.

Finally, users are encouraged to download a bespoke smartphone app (available for both Android and iOS) if they are to get the most out of the product.

It’s a slightly fiddly process and initial set-up certainly takes longer than other cameras tested here but a 16GB memory card is included (larger cards available at a cost) and the front camera works straight out of the box if you’re not fussed about covering the rear view or using the app-based and online features.

Ease of use ★★★★☆

Almost all of the camera’s functionality is taken care of via a very slick and intuitive app, which some users may find painful, but the sheer weight of features calls for it.

The front camera itself sports just one button and this turns the built-in Wi-Fi on and off, or formats the on-board memory card if it is held down for a long period of time.

Power to the camera is supplied as soon as the ignition is fired up and the unit will give audio instructions regarding its current state. Users must log on to its Wi-Fi network via a smartphone to get a live feed from the cameras, as well as access files and use other functionality.

It’s certainly not the simplest process and those looking for a ‘plug-and-play’ set-up should probably look elsewhere, but it’s understandable when you consider the sheer weight of services offered.

Functions ★★★★★

BlackVue’s package is arguably one of the most comprehensive offered in the current dashcam marketplace, as it unique smartphone app unlocks a brave new world of potential.

Footage from the cameras can be streamed live, camera settings can be quickly and easily changed via the simple app interface, clips can be rapidly saved to the smartphone or shared through email, Twitter and more. Better still, an advanced geo-location service sees the car’s position highlighted on a map when footage is reviewed.

Speed, location, time and date is stamped on all clips (the latter is set automatically through the smartphone), while a ‘Parking Mode’ will fire up the camera if the built-in G-Sensor detects a shunt when the car is parked up.

BlackVue says that a bespoke power management system ensures that the camera will never run so long that is affects the car battery.

Finally, users can pay to use an ‘Over the Cloud’ service, which backs up clips online, negating the need to save bulky files to a device, as well as allowing owners to access files whenever they are out of the Wi-Fi network’s range.

A free service allows for a limited number of video views and downloads but owners can pay for a monthly subscription to unlock unlimited access. This service also allows customers to fire up and check the camera remotely, which could offer peace of mind to those paranoid about concierge parking facilities at airports, for example.

Video/audio quality ★★★★☆

A strong performance here, as the Sony Exmor CMOS camera sensor in the front-facing unit records in full HD 1080p at 30fps and a 10Mbps bit-rate. The picture quality is excellent during the day and the 129-degree field of vision captures a large majority of the outside world.

Low-light footage does come across slightly grainy but the image quality is always clear enough to make out licence plates, while the sound quality is crisp and clear.

Footage from the smaller rear camera is good, despite its diminutive packaging, but only supports 1270x720p HD recording at 30fps, as opposed to the Full HD experience provided by the front-facing unit. Still, this is more than good enough to capture any unfortunate incidents that may arise.

VERDICT ★★★★☆

A highly accomplished piece of kit that goes way beyond the typical dashcam features. Although, this may not be required by many drivers.

Words: Leon Poultney

 

Click on the links below to see reviews of dash cams from previous years