If you have ever fallen into a YouTube rabbit hole of great dashcam videos, you may have considered the benefits of buying one for your car recording. A dashis still something of a rarity in the US, but major automotive electronics brands such as Pioneer and Kenwood have entered the market.
The dashcam tide can also change the state: my inbox is increasingly sinking with emails from drivers asking whatdo, what the best camera is and why automakers don't put them in new cars & # 39; s build in. So here's a look at the best dashboard chooses at every level of price and features to help you purchase a worthy of your car and the risks that may arise from using a dashcam.
I've tested most of the five models below, and many more, so I can break the noise to get you what's most important at the level and price of each dashcam. All of these are readily available from Amazon or Best Buy at prices ranging from $ 45 to $ 500. And although I haven't marketed with every model (an impossibility given the flow of often unnamed dashcams out there), these are great examples of every layer in the market.
By the way, if you are an old hand ator want to jump in on the cutting edge, see our summary of the .
This strangely-named autodashcam offers all the basic functions and is our choice for the best dashcam option under $ 50. GB microSD card that you provide. The camera's ultra-wide-angle lens offers great field of view and automatically detects and saves images from car crashes. It uses the same motion detection recording technology when the car is parked to detect if someone is reversing or tampering with your vehicle, and also records images of that event.
The 3-inch LCD screen on the back is used to focus the camera's field of view, view camera images, and navigate through the fairly simple menus with buttons along the edge. This wide-angle lens camera can easily be mounted on your car window with the suction cup. Don't expect an HD video quality interface on the camera for this price, but you will hardly use the menus after the initial installation.
This is something you have not seen until recently: a dashcam of a brand name. The design is also more pleasant and sticks like an OEM part into the top of the car's windshield instead of hanging on an ugly holder.
The camera lens does all the basics plus a few tricks: it has a strange frame rate of 27.5 frames per second during recording that is tuned to ensure that it never misses the status of an LED traffic light, that a pronounced on / off flicker that other cameras may record as no signal at all. Built-in GPS tagging ensures that the images you record have embedded time and GPS location.
If you are a Kenwood person, look at recording with a Kenwood DRV-N520 camera (currently about $ 150 from Amazon), which is a dashcam that only works when connected to a Kenwood double-DIN aftermarket head unit.
Like the Pioneer, this Kenwood dashcam comes from an important brand in automotive electronics. The 1080p Full HD DRV-A301W camera does not fit as neatly into the windshield of a car as the Pioneer, but the camera does have a larger 2.7-inch rear LCD screen, a Wi-Fi network connection for image and video image transfer, internal super capacitors instead of batteries, and a smart magnetic release that makes it easier to hide or transport.
4K becomes the new recording standard for the video camera & # 39; s around us and this dashcam reflects that. The Vantrue X4 has night vision and a real 4K sensor for full 4K recording of images with up to 30 fps. That is excellent video quality on the images, and video quality can make a big difference when you watch video later and try to make a face or license plate. On the other hand, it ensures larger file sizes. so you probably want a 256 GB memory card while recording, and this camera seems picky about which microSD card brand: avoid popular SanDisk cards with this camera, Vantrue advises.
The X4 camera uses exotic battery technology in the form of an internal super capacitor instead of the built-in lithium ion battery. Vantrue says that makes an internal power source more sustainable, especially in the baking heat to which your car dashboard is exposed.
This car camera has no screen; instead, you use Wi-Fi and the app on your smartphone as an interface. You can choose to add a wired reversing camera, but instead of covering the inside of your vehicle, it looks out of the rear window of the car.
But the real innovation in the F800PRO is how it uses its forward camera and accelerometers to give your lane departure and forward collision alerts, as well as warnings about upcoming traffic jams for your car thanks to the cloud-connected database. It also has a GPS display and a good GPS always comes in handy.
The linked model below contains a 32 GB SD card with the camera.
The Thinkware M1 motorsport camera combines 1080p full HD cameras on the front and back that simultaneously record images with a unique external push button control panel. It is different from dashcams that are designed for a car because the design of the camera & # 39; s is meant to make it a good dashcam for motorcycles and ATV & # 39; s. The electronic image quality stabilization of the M1 is essential for capturing usable video quality in such robust applications, such as having an internal super capacitor rather than a more temperature sensitive lithium ion battery.
These tips apply to most dashcams, so keep them in mind:
- Buy a large SD card. Some cameras come with generous storage, but do not get the largest memory card that the camera supports. More camera storage means that you will be less likely to see that video images that you really need from a week ago have been overwritten.
- Dress the cable. Nothing looks worse than a nasty power cable that hangs on your dashcam and every car camera uses one. The Vantrue X4 offers a hardwire set and the and a tool to hide the cable. But any dashcam power cable can be "dressed", just take the time to do it.
- Think of audio. Some states have two-party consent laws that can put you in trouble if you use your camera to record the voices of casual carpoolers, Uber or Lyft customers (for the Uber and Lyft drivers out there) or even fraudulent friends and family in your car who did not know you were overhearing them.
- Know that dashcams are cutting both ways. If you have a car accident with another driver, a visible dashcam is a sign that you have images of it. The other person can tell their insurance company and their lawyers may want a copy of what you have recorded on your camera. That can go bad if you are wrong, but do not destroy evidence.
Originally published December 29.