Ultimate Buying Guide | What dash cam should I get
Buying a dash cam doesn't need to be stressful. Our comprehensive guide gives you the lowdown on how to choose your next car dash with the minimum of fuss.
What is a dashboard camera?
A dashboard camera (dash cam) mounts on windshields or dashboards via suction cup or adhesive-tape mount. Also called DVR (Digital Video Recorder), they continuously record the view through the windscreen.
• Auto start/auto stop: This is an essential feature to separating from your dash camera from others cameras. Plug a USB cable into the car cigarette lighter power adapter, and the DVR auto starts/shuts down when the car powers on/off.
• Seamless loop-cycle recording: Another significant feature of a car DVR. When the memory is full, it can continue record and cover earlier segments to save time and space.
Why do you need a dash cam?
• First-hand documented evidence in a car accident.
• Ideal for driving instructors, taxis, worried parents, and people who loan their car.
• Great for recording your cool road trip.
• Dash cams comes with GPS showing the route and speed.
What should we pay attention to in a dash cam?
Looking for specific product recommendations? Check out our full list of recommended dash cams.
1. Video quality
This is the main consideration. The video quality is affected by the processor, CMOS sensor and lens.
• Get an FHD camera: Choose 1080P (30fps) for the best overall results.
• Don't over-spec: 1296P and higher is not required for most drivers.
• Choose one with good resolution and storage options.
Here are links to different resolution DVR, choose the one you need:
2. Lens - material, angles, aperture
Lenses are equally important for performance.
Generally either optical glass or resin (a kind of plastic).
• All-glass lens is generally superior.
• Metal lens body is better than plastic.
• Additional lens layers offer better image quality but more expensive.
Wide angle recording covers more street area on both sides. 120° is optimum to cover the entire front area and across three lanes up to 3 meters away. Wider angles are available depending on your requirements.
Here are GearBest links to different wide angle DVR:
180 degrees: click here
Larger aperture allows more light in for brighter images/video.
3. Built-in GPS
A high-end DVR feature, this calculates and records vehicle location, speed, route, time and date. Models with a GPS feature generally come with software to view this data for additional proof following accidents. This carries extra cost, so think carefully before obtaining it.
4. Storage capacity
Most DVR have no memory card included. Some support up to 32GB cards, the latest accept 128GB. Factors to consider: video resolution, daily driving routine, and your budget.
• 1080P AVI (30fps) needs at least 400MB for a 3 minutes video.
• An 8GB card holds 20 minutes of 1080P AVI (30fps).
• Always check what card class is required for your DVR.
• Ask customer support or retailer for card advice if required.
This high-end feature permits a smartphone/tablet to change settings and view/save footage.
• Eliminates the need for built-in screen, reducing DVR size, improves discreetness, and easier to share footage.
• With built-in WiFi, the dash cam is accessible from anywhere.
• No need for extra device or card removal, footage can be easily shown to law enforcement.
One of our favorite features, this records when your car is parked, providing hard evidence of unattended incidents, e.g. accidental bumps, hit and run, vandalism, theft, etc.
DVR size makes a difference: small devices are discreet, larger ones are easier to operate.
Power adapter length
3.5m (11.5 feet) or longer is best, allowing you to secure wires around the windscreen.
Saves and locks recorded video (and data) automatically following a collision.
Choose a DVR with a safe capacitor to withstand high temperatures for safety.
No matter how good the features is, your budget is also critical. Buy the best DVR from GearBest you can based on your available budget!
• $20 or below: click here
• $20.01 - $50: click here
• $50.01 - $100: click here
• $100.01 - $200: click here
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