Also known as dash cams, dashboard cameras are becoming more popular these days and there is a wide variety of them available on the market from devices by less known or small companies to well-known brands. Read on to check out the top 5 dashboard cameras available on the market today.
Xiaomi Mijia Mi Car Camcorder Dashboard Camera
Not too long ago, Xiaomi released their own version of dashboard camera known as the Xiaomi Mijia Mi Car Camcorder Dashboard Camera. It has the same design as a mini compact system camera. This dashboard camera is not only equipped with the Sony IMX323 image sensor, but it also has a Mstar 1080P image processor chip. It is equipped with a large aperture of F1.8 and 160 degrees wide angle lens. Its recorder allows you to shoot other car’s license plate during the night.
Xiaomi has kept the MIJIA packaging consistent by using white colour with very simple and technical sense. You can see the product image on the front of the packaging and the back has information on the product. The package also include 1 x Xiaomi Mijia 1080P Dashcam Camera, 1 x static paste, 1 x charger for cars, 1 x car head, 1 x high temperature resistant glue, 1 x pry bar, and 1 x bracket.
In terms of product design, the whole dashboard camera is black in colour with a MIJIA logo. The dashboard camera also comes with a 3.0-inches display that allows for touch button operation. There are four white dots that act as control bottoms at the bottom of the screen.
For installation, MIJIA dashboard camera differs from other models of dashboard cameras because most of them are still using the sucker design. Instead, Xiaomi uses a combination of high temperature and static stickers to install the dashboard camera. Besides that, the MIJIA dashboard camera has the gravity sensor feature that helps during emergency video recording mode situations.
Additionally, you can also control the Xiaomi MIJIA dashboard camera using a mobile app, the MiJia App. After you have connected the dashboard camera to the mobile app, you will be able to read the files from the camera and download them into your own mobile phone storage space. You can also rename the dashboard camera device, manage the group management, using the time control feature, touch sensitivity adjustment, configure the system settings, and so on by using the mobile app.
In conclusion, the night vision of this dashboard camera is not bad as it can shoot a clear picture of other car’s number plate. However, this also depends on other variable conditions such as the distance between the two vehicles, the lighting environment, and so on.
Xiaomi Yi Car Dashcam
The Xiaomi Yi Car Dashcam is a dashboard camera model that is priced at a very low price. By just costing less than 60 British Sterling Pounds, it is considered very cheap for its class where other similar alternatives such as the Garmin Dash Cam 35 and RAC 05 GPS would have cost twice the price of Xiaomi Yi Car Dashcam.
It comes in two colours: grey and gold. While the body can feel a little like plastic, the overall built does not feel particularly cheap. For packaging, the Xiaomi Yi Car Dashcam comes in quite a sturdy box and will give a decent first impression to the customer. This is a very tiny dashboard camera and it is only approximately the size of a GoPro camera. In order to install it, you will have to route the long USB cable around your windscreen, use a suction mount, and power it with a non-captured power adapter. As it offers two different USB ports, you can power up your dashboard camera and use its satellite navigation feature at the same time.
Just like most of the dashboard cameras, the windscreen mount is made to hang upside down from the top of your car window. No fixings are supplied for routing the power cable around your windscreen though and you have to get buy them separately. If you don’t do so, the routing can block your vision. The suction mount that comes with the package is not that effective either and you will find the dashboard camera falling off sometimes. This is not a good sign for a camera that is designed to record a car accident.
But, the moment you start to use the Xiaomi Yi Car Dashcam, you will find one big disadvantage and this is especially true if you cannot read Chinese language characters. The whole menu is only currently available in the Chinese language. Another disadvantage is that it does not have a built-in GPS feature. The lack of built-in GPS feature could be one of the main reasons why Xiaomi priced the Yi Car Dashcam a lot cheaper than the other competitors.
In addition, your location will not be recorded alongside the video and this may hinder its capability to provide an evidence in an accident. It also comes with a G-sensor that has three different levels of sensitivity. In the event where the dashboard camera believes that you have had an accident or your dashboard camera fell off the windscreen, the Xiaomi Yi Car Dashcam will store the video recording in a special location on your memory card.
When you switch on the Xiaomi Yi Car Dashcam, the first thing you see is a QR code. This QR will lead you to install the mobile app for the dashboard camera. In addition, the dashboard camera also comes with Wi-Fi feature so you can connect to dashboard camera wirelessly for playbacks and configure the settings. However, similar to the dashboard camera itself, this mobile app is only available in Chinese language. There is also no specific software for PC and it will not even show up as an external storage device when you connect it to your computer using a USB cable. Nevertheless, you can slot the memory card directly to your computer using a card reader to view or copy the video files. There is also no HDMI and other video outputs on the dashboard camera itself.
Xiaomi Yi Car Dashcam uses a standard MP4 format that has a data rate of around 15Mbits/ per second for 1080p for 30 frames per second. Other shooting options also include Full HD resolution at 30 and 60 frames per second and 2304 x 1296 resolution at 30 frames per second. The aperture F1.8 lens also offer a 165 degrees field view but some distortion can be seen especially when shooting in Full HD resolution.
Sadly, image quality will not be great and you have to be quite close to other vehicles in order to have a clear shot on their number plates. To make it worse, expect to see some obvious artifacts and the video may look slightly soft or dull. However, it is not the worst dashboard camera on the market and it is certainly decent enough for the price that Xiaomi is asking for.
Overall, it is temptingly cheap. So, if you are willing to compromise with the menu language or if you can actually read Chinese, this Xiaomi Yi Car Dashcam is a great value for money. While the video quality may not be very stunning, it is sufficient for daily needs and the lane-departure warning feature works pretty well. Nonetheless, the ineffective suction mount can be a bit of a worry.
Mini Car DVR Camera GT300 Camcorder
Mini Car DVR Camera GT300 Camcorder is probably one of the cheapest dashboard cameras in the market that offers video shooting on 1080p resolution at 30 frames per second. Additionally, it also comes with several nice features such as motion detection, G-Sensor, anti-shake, back screen, and it can also be used to take photos.
The dashboard camera comes with a Generalplus 1248 chipset and a 1/2.7-inches CMOS image sensor with 170 degree vide view angle lens and 4x optical zoom. It also has a 2.4-inches TFT display screen for you to see what you are currently recording. Mini Car DVR Camera GT300 Camcorder supports other features like night vision and loop recording too.
The G-Sensor is designed to protect the video file when it detects deceleration or during an accident. It also helps to keep the file safe from being deleted even when the SD card is full or when you are doing loop recording, a function that records every 5 minutes. In the event when the SD card is full, the mechanism will make it overwrite the older file and continue recording until you stopped the recording on the dashboard camera.
PAPAGO GoSafe 388 Full HD 1080p Mini Dashcam
Regardless if you are looking to keep yourself safe while driving around dangerous roads or if you just want to record your scenic journey, a dashboard camera is a worthy investment and one of the new offerings in the market is the PAPAGO GoSafe 388 Full HD 1080p Mini Dashcam. While it comes with plenty of premium features, be assured that it will not break the bank.
So if you have used a PAPAGO dashcam model during the last few years, you will know what to expect for this one when it comes to user interface. The user interface is similar to the one on GoSafe S30 model. It has the same 2-inches non-touch screen LCD with 4 buttons on top. You can also set the date and toggle the available safety features by going through the menus.
Naturally, the ideal way to use this dashboard camera is to enable it for automatic recording. This will record everything on a loop as long as it is always powered up using the 12V power adapter that is provided in the package. Alternatively, you can also choose the motion detection or monitor mode. The driver safety features in this dashboard camera include stop sign recognition, stop and go recognition, a driver fatigue alarm, and other useful features. While the menu is functional, it can be slightly clunky.
The overall video quality from the PAPAGO GoSafe 388 is quite decent and it is definitely above some of the other more affordable dashboard cameras such as the Geko E100. However, the edges of the video can still look quite sharp and contrasting. The lens give a fisheye effect and it is the only way for you to achieve a wide-angel perspective. It has decent clarity too but it will perform a lot better during better lighting conditions. However, it can be difficult to read the other car’s number plates until that car is quite close to your car or if it is just stationary.
In terms of dynamic range, expect the dashboard camera to struggle under day and night conditions although you can make it slightly better by adjusting the EV value. Some of the other dashboard camera models on the market also suffer from this type of dynamic range too. Other than that, some colours are slightly off and the green light may look a little bluish.
To sum it up, the PAPAGO GoSafe 388 ticks a lot of boxes for customers who are looking for a reasonable and affordable dashboard camera. It has a wide-angle lens that captures a lot of things, decent quality for video recording in full HD resolution, and the ability to enable and disable most of the features. You can easily turn the screen on and off, deactivate the driver safety features whenever you like. The compact size of the dashboard camera also makes it easy for you to place it on your windshield but the suction cup mount is slightly disappointing and the mini USB port placement can be a little bit inconvenient as well if you want to mount your dashboard camera behind your rear view camera. In this case, moving the port to the side or use a L-shaped USB cable will make your installation task easier.
Blackvue DR650GW-2CH Wi-Fi Front and Rear Car Camera Driving Recorder
While a great dashboard camera can record video resolutions up to 4K, you can still miss the action behind you. This will no longer be an issue with the latest Blackvue DR650GW-2CH Wi-Fi Front and Rear Car Camera Driving Recorder. It helps you to cover more things and it is suitable as your next daily dashboard camera.
The dashboard camera is equipped with a sleek black colour cylinder-shaped 2.4-megapixel Sony EXMOR CMOS Sensor front camera that measures approximately 4.5 inches wide and a rear camera that measures approximately 2.5 inches. Other than the cameras, the package also includes the necessary cable plugs that are long enough to connect both the front and rear cameras in most cars and a 12 volt power source. Additionally, Blackvue also threw in a nice bonus addition of eight adhesive cord holders that are suitable for car windows or vehicle surface and a 16GB Micro SD card for the lowest level package. Micro SD cards of other sizes such as 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB are also available for purchase from Blackvue.
While the Blackvue DR650GW-2CH Wi-Fi Front and Rear Car Camera Driving Recorder sticks well because of its adhesive mounts, it can be quite difficult to remove it or reapply if you need to shift the dashboard camera’s position. To avoid from killing your car battery while you set it on parking mode, Blackvue also includes a Power Magic Pro system, a system to help it automatically shut down.
It is very simple to get your Blackvue DR650GW-2CH Wi-Fi Front and Rear Car Camera Driving Recorder up and running. There are not many complicated settings and it does most of the work for you. You can immediately use it to record the highest quality video once you plugged it in and it will give vocal prompts to inform you if it is recording in driving or parking mode. Each of the vehicle mode is based on the speed of the vehicle and the camera will go into motion detection recording mode when you are in parking mode. Other than that, there are settings that allow you to adjust the sensor for car accident situations and to store an impact detected video. It is also easy to operate because there is only 1 button on the front camera itself to turn on and turn off the Wi-Fi connection. To see if you are connected to Wi-Fi, simply just look at the Wi-Fi notification LED light. On the side of the camera, you can see the connection ports for the primary 12 volt power source and a spot for connecting the rear camera video cord. Just under the power cords, you can see a dedicated slot for slotting the Micro SD card included with the purchase.
As this dashboard camera does not come with a display screen, it relies on the Blackvue mobile app that is available on Android on iOS to view the recordings. There is also a PC desktop application for both Microsoft Windows and Mac operating systems to view and share the video recordings. The mobile app connects to the dashboard cameras using Wi-Fi connection and you will be able to check the view from the front and rear camera through your mobile phone display. However, it is dangerous to view your mobile phone while driving and there is a legal prompt within the app that tells you not to do so.
The front camera is capable of shooting in 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution at 30 frames per second while the rear camera can shoot 1280 x 720 pixel resolution at 30 frames per second. However, the front camera only has quite a low viewing angle of 129 degrees, a number which is well below other similar dashboard cameras such as Cobra CDR 900 and the Vantrue R1 Pro at 160 and 170 degrees respectively. Nevertheless, the video recording is certainly clear and good enough to capture most of the action albeit some lack of details in low lighting conditions and might miss other car’s number plates and details outside its 129 degree view. The performance of the rear camera is also dependable on your rear window’s angle and if your car has any tint on the windows. Unfortunately, the rear camera is almost useless during the night because of the glare from other vehicles’ headlights unless you are driving in an area with proper lighting.
With the included 16GB Micro SD card, the dashboard camera can store more than 6 hours of video footage with the highest quality settings. If you need more hours, you can get the larger 128GB Micro SD card which can store more than 40 hours of video footage. The system also has a mechanism in place to automatically remove the older video files once you have reached the storage limit of the Micro SD card. Other features in this system include a built-in GPS system that is able to record location data for each recording file.
On paper, Blackvue DR650GW-2CH Wi-Fi Front and Rear Car Camera Driving Recorder seems to tick all the right boxes for what an ideal dashboard camera should be. It has front and rear cameras, a built-in GPS navigation system, a minimalist design, and the support for cloud connectivity. Yet, some reviewers claimed that Blackvue tried to do too many different things and missed out on improving the most important feature which is video recording quality. The video recording quality from Blackvue DR650GW-2CH Wi-Fi Front and Rear Car Camera Driving Recorder is just average and other similar models like the Vantrue R1 PRO has better video recording quality for a third of the price of this dashboard camera. Lastly, the mobile app and cloud capabilities may have some potential in them but they are still too rough in terms of their user interfaces and refinement at the moment.