Seeing is believing: can I use my cell phone as a dash cam?
Every time you drive somewhere, there is potential for an accident, or to witness something spectacular from the driver's seat. Your smart phone or dash cam can record it all.
1. Phone Holder
Along with a suitable smart phone, you'll need a phone holder that mounts to the front windscreen, or somewhere that lets the camera lens see above the car's dashboard and doesn't obstruct the road view.
Keep these things in mind when looking for the right holder. If your phone has both a front facing and rear facing lens, you want both to have clear view. Sometimes, you might want to record what is going on behind you too.
2. Micro SD Memory Card
If your phone has a slot for it, you'll want to purchase a micro SD memory card to give the phone extra memory on which to store the dash cam videos. Generally, I would recommend a good brand 16GB or 32GB card (more if possible) designated as Class 10.
◆ A memory card that is not Class 10 may not have adequate data input speed to reliably store videos without crashing the App or phone.
◆ The Class 10 designation assures you that the memory card will have the speed to do the job.
◆ Some dash cam Apps may give you options on the resolution you wish to record your trip.
◆ Lower resolutions will require less memory.
◆ You may also be able to choose which lens, front or back, you use to record your trips.
◆ Higher resolutions will give a high-quality picture when you play the video back – but these use more storage.
◆ A larger memory card may be needed to record very long trips.
The App may also allow looped recording: automatically deleting older videos when storage is running out to make room for the next video block.
3. Charger and cables
Another thing you'll want to consider is how to charge the phone or dash cam. In my case, all of my phones use a micro USB charging cable.
I picked up a cigarette lighter charging adapter with dual USB ports so that I can run the phone or dash cam and charge my new smart phone at the same time, if needed. Consider your options and your needs and get the charger or cables you'll need in your specific circumstances.
4. Essential Software
You need to choose an App to do the job of converting your old phone into a dash cam.
Some Apps will offer more features while others focus more on ease of use and a simple interface. All of these Apps offer different features and focus.
For Android phones, two good Apps to start with are:
◆ DailyRoads Voyager
There are others you may want to consider as well. They all do things a little differently but are not difficult to use or configure.
So, read the features list and check the user rating, then choose the one that best fits your needs.
The App should be able to work in the background, recording your trip, while you can still use the phone to play your favorite music, or use the phone's GPS feature to navigate your route.
Hope it helps!
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