What's The Car Dash Cam Buyer Guide

2017-09-23

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Dash cams have gained greater popularity among car owners for recording incidents during driving a vehicle. It is supposed to capture live videos while you drive. If you too are considering buying a dash cam for your car? That’s great decision! We know the questions that first time dash cam buyers may ask, so our dash cam buyers guide provides a filtered summary of the main features that are vital when buying a dash cam, the article will talk about dash cam buyer guide when deciding which dash cam to buy.

The dash cam is usually mounted on the dashboard or windshield of a car. There are basically 2 features that even the most basic models of dash cams will offer: it starts and stops automatically and records videos in a continuous loop when you start your car and shuts off automatically when you turn your car off. Also called as Digital Video Recorder (DVR), a dash cam is intended to record an accident or other driving events so that it can be used as evidence to defend against traffic rule violations and for supporting insurance claims. However, today's dash cams come with many advanced features to not only ensure driving safety and protection against vehicle accidents, traffic infractions and fraud, but also to share high quality HD videos of your driving with others.

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If you're reading this page, you are most likely convinced on the importance of having a dashcam in you car, if not, read our article Real Event Tell You the Importance of Camera Dash Cam.

Earlier, dash cams could be seen more in police vehicles, but with prices getting more affordable (usually under $100), they are beginning to gain in popularity among private car owners as well.

Most of the dash cams are manufactured in China, Taiwan and Korea. Price, features, performance and reliability vary widely between different manufacturers, models and brands. Even the buying preference varies with one's budget, usage and requirement. So, this dash cam buyer guide will not recommend any specific dash cam to you, it intends to equip you with the information that would enable you to decide the best dash camera for you all on your own.

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So let's go into more details on the main features you should consider before buying a Dash Cam.

Single channel or dual channel dash cam

Do you want to record footage from both ends of the car or just the front? Basically, most of the dash cams are designed to record footage only on the front side of your vehicle, but if you also want to record footage on the back side of your vehicle, you need to buy a dual channel camera. A dual channel dash cam will have 2 cameras - front and rear.

Single channel only (or front recording) dash cams record out the front windscreen only. Dual channel(or front and rear recording) dash cams record out of both windscreens. Dual Dash Cams can record stupid and dangerous tailgaters and give you extra evidence should you be hit from behind.

Video Resolution

Probably one of the most important factors people pay attention to while buying a dash cam, as better video quality will help you capture more details like car license plate numbers and people's faces, while poor quality dash cams will show very pixelated or blurry number plates (even at 1080P).


Note however, high quality and clear footage is not just solely dependant on the recording resolution, it mainly depends on image sensor, the lens and processor. Glass lenses are considered far better than plastic lenses. Field of view of the lens decides how wide your camera can capture. It shouldn’t be too narrow; otherwise, you will miss capturing objects on the sides.

Battery powerd or capacitor based?

Many people new to dash cams do not understand that the inbuilt batteries are NOT designed to run the cameras. A dash cam usually uses either a capacitor or a battery as backup to save files when it stops receiving power from the vehicle, they are to ensure that if the camera loses power due to an accident it can still save the footage safely and shut the camera off without losing the file. Batteries are more common in the cheaper models of dash cams, capacitor based cameras are more resistant to heat and are thus more suitable for use in extreme temperatures. They are also more reliable and lasting when compared to battery powered cameras. The downside however is that they are typically more expensive and hold less power. Batteries on the other hand are prone to leakage, overheating and explosion but they can hold about 5-10 times more charge than capacitor; so you can use a battery powered dash cam just like a camcorder in case you need to record something on the way. One common misconception among new dashcam buyers is that the battery is meant to power the unit in a similar way as a digital camera battery would. This is not the case. Dashcam batteries are not meant to be used to power the unit while recording video, the battery is only meant to keep the camera on for a few seconds to save the video file after you have turned your car off.

GPS

It must be stressed that the GPS function on any Dash Cam is not a navigation system. GPS adds time and location details to the footage. Dash cams supporting GPS may either have it as an inbuilt unit or as an optional addon module to be purchased separately. Google Maps overlay can be viewed alongside the footage when using the manufacturer viewing software (great if you forget where the footage was taken). If you really need this, make sure that they work properly for the given brand/model; more often than not, they throw up false warning which may unnecessarily annoy you.

Design

Dashcams come in all shapes and sizes. The smaller the Dash Cam the less distracting it will be on the windscreen. Most people prefer a smaller unit to avoid inviting unnecessary attention. Depending upon what suits your choice,you may make a choice as needed.

Angle of view

The wider the recording angle of view means more road lanes and more of your surroundings will be captured and recorded in the footage. This helps to capture driver behaviour earlier in the incident and will show more of the lead up to the incident (for example a driver cutting in front of your car will come into view earlier on the footage). The narrower the angle of view, the less coverage you have on the road. A Dash Cam with 160°angle of view can cover up to 5 road lanes in the footage.

Parking mode

Now this is a feature that appeals to many people, it is a mode allowing the camera to keep running when the car is turned off, It will usually rely on motion detection or the G-sensor to detect impacts. This is useful for those bumps in the Supermarket car park. However this requires the dashcam to be hardwired to the car's power.

G-Sensor

This is a safety feature of the camera that locks videos to the memory in case of accidents. The locking mechanism is triggered by an impact to the car and by sudden braking and wide swerves.

Loop recording

The dash cam is powered through the car charger and is designed to start recording when the car is driven. Loop recording means continuous video recording with the oldest files being overwritten with new ones when the memory is full.

WiFi

Cameras with Wi-Fi usually allow you to install an app and view recordings from your phone or tablet. This can be useful, especially if it lets you download recordings. However, transferring video over Wi-Fi can be painfully slow, and the videos trapped within the app and not easily sharable.

Often, it's much easier to remove the microSD card (or even the dash cam from the car) and transfer the files to a laptop or PC. Either way, you'll see much more detail than if you review footage on the small, low-resolution screens on the dash cams themselves.

Wide Dynamic Range (WDR) / High Dynamic Range (HDR) - While not essential to a cameras operation they will ensure your night footage is much much better.

SD card

Micro SD cards can cause a lot of confusion amongst buyers. All Dash Cams require use of a Micro SD Card. Most cameras don't include any storage, so you'll need to buy some. All the recorded footage is saved onto the SD card. Micro SD Cards come in 16GB, 32GB, 64GB and 128GB sizes generally for Dash Cams . With most cameras, a 32GB card will be enough. The approximate times listed below are how long the camera will record HD video before reaching the end of the card and then starting over at the beginning (loop recording):
8GB card - 2-3 hours
16GB card - 4-6 hours
32GB card - 6-12 hours
64GB card - 10-20 hours
128GB card - 20-40 hours

For further information on car cameras or to purchase one yourself, you can visit Azdome .

If you have any further enquiries or would like more assistance please do not hesitate to contact us, we are more than happy to answer any questions or assist you with a Dash Cam recommendation.