A dash cam is an indispensable tool for your vehicle. The best dash cams have captured countless footage of traffic accidents, vandalism, and all sorts of similar inconveniences. Concrete video evidence is essential if you want to get through a lawsuit successfully, and this is exactly what a dash cam provides you. Put simply, a dash cam (short for dashboard camera) is a device that attaches to your windscreen and continuously records your vehicle’s environment whenever the ignition is on.
This is the best way to prove your innocence in court if you happen to partake in a traffic accident that was not your fault. Also, you might not believe it, but there are people out there who actively commit insurance fraud by trying to get hit by traffic; they’d gladly suffer a broken arm for a hefty insurance fee. A dash cam renders their efforts ineffective and keeps your wallet safe. A good place to start looking for a good camera is online dash cam reviews. 2017 has been a great year for the dash cam market with brands such as Garmin, Rexing, and KDLinks taking the spotlight, so there’s quite a bit to choose from.
There are several factors you should consider when looking through dash cam reviews. CNET, PCWorld, and many other websites offer in-depth reviews of many camera models, but they can be rather extensive if you don’t know what information to look for. When deciding which model is best for your particular needs, here are some of the things you should look into:
If your dash cam’s image is blurry, if there are artifacts or the low-light vision is bad (overexposed, bright flares from street lights are a good indication of this, by the way) you aren’t going to get much use out of it. Accidents can happen in fractions of a second, and the image has to be clear enough for you to be able to see exactly what happened; otherwise, you can’t really present it as evidence.
Video files are large, and continuously recording will take up lots of storage space. Most cameras will come with an SD card with ample storage, but this mostly depends on your needs. How much are you going to be recording? If you drive out to buy groceries once a week, disk space probably isn’t going to be a problem. If you work as a truck driver for a courier company, it’s a completely different situation – the best dash cam for truckers has got to have a bit more storage. The quality of the SD card is also something to be considered; you want a reliable card that won’t fail on you unexpectedly and make you lose your evidence.
Your camera should not only capture footage from the front, but also everything that is happening on the sides of the vehicle. The best option for car accidents is one with the lowest number of blind spots. This can be achieved to great extent using a wide angle lens, so look for a camera that has one of those built-in.
In the event of an accident, having a camera with a built-in GPS means that your speed is recorded. This is concrete, undeniable proof that you weren’t speeding and there’s no way that anyone can accuse you of it. It also provides you with useful location information that the police might request in the aftermath of the accident.
Another thing to keep in mind when deciding which dash cam is best for you is that some dash cams come with a separate screen, or they can sync with an app to display the camera’s feed directly on your smartphone. Not an essential feature, but useful as a replacement for your rear view mirror if your view isn’t that good.
Depending on your needs, you might want to opt out for a front-only camera, or one that includes a rear view as well. This is entirely up to you.
Certain cameras have features that can provide you with upcoming curve warnings and safety alerts. The best dash cameras will probably have these implemented, or offer them as an optional subscription for an additional price. Again, not an essential feature but definitely a useful add-on, especially if you tend to drive for prolonged periods of time.
Dash cams used to use Bluetooth to connect with third-party devices; nowadays they mostly use Wi-Fi. If your camera has to sync with your mobile device, make sure that it can actually do it before you make a purchase.
Dash cam prices range from $60 up to $500, and of course, the price will have an impact on quality. Some might just be more expensive because of extra features that you don’t really need, but the cheapest ones might have image quality and reliability issues that you need to look out for.
Hopefully, this article has helped you make a personal, informed choice of the best front and rear dash cam. 2017 is now behind us, so it’s the perfect time to treat yourself to a new camera. Most of these units possess the basic features needed for them to do their job properly, but beyond that, it’s a matter of your requirements and personal preference. The best dash cams for your particular situation depend on your needs, so there’s no real right or wrong. Need more storage? Go for the Auhey DR02. Want additional safety features? Maybe the Garmin DriveAssistant is a better choice. Whatever the case may be, a dash cam is something that you should definitely invest in, as it can save you thousands of dollars in the event of a road incident.
The Anker Roav C1 is a well-built, durable dash cam that features a low power mode for recording when the ignition is off. Because of the motion detection, it’ll only run when it notices movement in the vicinity of the vehicle and won’t drain your battery constantly. A major downside to this camera is that it cannot be attached to flat windscreens.
The Thinkware X500 employs a fail-safe feature that backs up your footage to an internal storage device. This way, if your SD card fails for any reason, the backup will remain intact and is easily downloadable. The capture angle is 140 degrees, which is more than enough to get a sufficiently wide picture. Automatic exposure makes sure that the camera works correctly in a low-light environment, at night, or in an underground parking lot.
The Z3 offers full HD video quality and an ample amount of storage. The built-in 32GB module can store up to four hours of video in, which is understandable due to the HD resolution. If you want more than that, you’re going to have to swap out the memory card for a larger one. Sadly the Z3 doesn’t come equipped with a GPS or any additional safety features, but if you want just a basic camera that does its job well, this might be a good choice. Furthermore, you can get it at Walmart which means you’ll have the ability to add a 2-year warranty for just $9. In addition, although the price’s quite affordable, Walmart discounts and coupon codes will provide you with a true bargain purchase.
When you’re deciding what is the best dash cam for you, you need to balance different aspects of them such as their size and the features they sport. The Rexing V1 has a 2.4-inch display screen and superior cooling capabilities, due to its large size. However, because of its size, it might pose a dangerous obstruction on your windscreen and introduce blind spots. The Rexing doesn’t include a GPS unit by default, but you can add one for the price of $30. The image quality is Full HD (1080p), excellent during daytime, and fair in low light conditions.
As the name suggests, the F170 features an ultra-wide 170-degree recording angle and 1920×1080 resolution. It comes with a 2.7 inch LCD screen and built-in GPS, and perhaps one of the most useful features is the HDMI output. This makes it easy to playback your footage directly from the camera storage, without having to transfer the files to a computer. Said feature and the ultra-wide-angle make this perhaps the best dash cam for car accidents.
The DR470 features both front and rear cameras, although the video quality isn’t quite as good as one of some other items on this list. The rear camera, in particular, has been reported to have visibility issues in low light conditions. One of the most useful features this camera employs is the so-called ‘parking mode’; when the engine is off, the DR470 will go into low-power mode, and when something triggers the motion detection it will start recording to the SD card, starting from 5 seconds before the trigger to 55 seconds after it. As we said, low light condition performances leave something to be desired but you might as well fall in love again when you see all available Amazon discounts and promo codes.
This is probably the best front and rear dash cam that is going to be reviewed on this list, so if you need both, you might want to check it out. The rear camera video is excellent, even when recording in a low light environment. The camera supports memory cards up to 128GB. but one isn’t included in the price – you’ll have to purchase it separately. When you’re low on memory, the DR02 enters ‘loop recording mode’, which overwrites old footage when your memory card is full.
As for the budget-friendly best dash cam, Reddit and its community choose the A118 and its capacitor-powered twin A119 as one of the best low-end options. The camera is very durable and handles temperatures from -10 °C to 60 °C – more than you’ll probably ever have to deal with in most climates. The GPS isn’t included by default, but you have the option of adding it via an external module, for an additional price.
The CDC-628 offers Full HD video, and syncs with an app on your smartphone to display the camera feed since it doesn’t come with a screen. Like any good dashcam, it comes with a wide-angle lens and gravity sensor for motion detection. The CDC-628 is very small, only about 1.5 inches wide so you’ll have no trouble finding a spot for it on your windshield. As far as pricing is concerned, you can get a reasonable discount on this item by applying one of many eBay coupon codes.
This camera comes with a built-in GPS, and various safety features such as forward collision warning, lane departure warning, and recording after power loss. The 50LMT features a large 5-inch screen that displays the navigation options, signal strength, and battery life. It’s a great choice if you need an all-in-one package for your vehicle’s safety and navigation at a tad higher cost.
The CDR 855 records video in 1920×1080 and comes with 8GB of storage, which is sufficient for approximately 100 minutes of video. It does, however, feature loop recording that overwrites old data similar to the DR02, so the 8 GB is a satisfactory limitation. Sadly it doesn’t come with a built-in GPS, but it is possible to connect the camera to your smartphone via Bluetooth and obtain a GPS signal from the device in your phone.
Garmin devices are known for their pristine build quality, and the Dash Cam 35 is no exception. It’s light but very durable, and able to withstand extreme temperature changes without sustaining damage. This camera has a very useful feature that allows you to access the GPS location information from Garmin’s Dash Cam Player. The included storage is rather small by today’s standards (a mere 4GB), but it supports SD cards up to 64GB in case you need more disk space.
The Goluk T1 offers an interesting feature where it detects collision using the built-in G-sensor, records the corresponding video footage to memory and enables write-protection, preventing the footage from being accidentally deleted. A potential flaw is that it doesn’t feature any hardware controls, and the camera itself is controlled exclusively through a mobile app.
With a 3-inch-wide screen, the Old Shark is easy for monitoring and playing back footage from the camera itself, eliminating the need for transferring data to a separate medium. The 170-degree angle makes sure that all the blind spots are covered, so you don’t have to worry about missing a license plate simply because it was out of viewing range.
The DX2 is the younger brother of the KDLinks X1 and features an improved screen and superior video quality in comparison. It comes with a 16GB MicroSD card, which is more than sufficient for all your monitoring needs.
170-degree angles are impressive, but Pruveeo takes this a couple of steps further with the MX2 as they introduce an incredible 240 angle width. This means that the sides of the vehicle will be completely covered, as well as some of the rearview. The only drawback to this unit is the small internal storage, so you’re going to need an additional SD card if you want to capture footage of satisfactory length.