Chinavasion got in touch with me recently. I hadn't spoken to them for a long while so it was a bit of a surprise when they suggested that I might want to look at a car camera for them. I've done quite a few car camera reviews recently, so wasn't entirely enthusiastic about the idea until I had a good look at the camera on their website. This camera did seem to offer a lot of features for a low price and I hadn't tested a dual-camera car DVR before, so I asked them to send one over and here is my review of it. Just to confirm, I didn't pay for this camera (other than the usual Import Duties).
Slightly off topic - Answers to common questions about car cameras.
There are a few questions that I get asked virtually every day via email about car cameras. To save me typing the same answers out countless times a month, I'd like to try and address them here.
I often get asked to comfirm which is the best car DVR that I've tried, or which one I would recommend. I really cannot answer this one easily because all the cameras that I have tried have some issues which mean that I can't hand on heart recommend any of them wholeheartedly. I like to test things out and let the viewer make their own mind up as to whether the item is suitable for them. I've really only tested a very small fraction of the car cameras on the market today...so it's highly unlikely that I've stumbled across the best or worst models out there.
Another type of question I get asked regards inappropriate uses of these cameras. One example is when someone asked which car camera was the best one to use for shooting a road trip travelogue. Well a car camera is not the right camera for this purpose unless you just want a jerky fisheye view of the last 45 mins of your two week trip. For this purpose I'd suggest getting a video camera and a decent windscreen mount, or at the least an action camera. Always try and get the right camera for the job, no one camera does everything.
The most common and baffling question I get asked regards using a car camera as a security camera. The usual scenario is that the person asking for advice is a victim of car vandalism and they want to catch the offender in the act. The reason I say that this is baffling, is because when I think about it, everything seems wrong with this idea. Ok, so if you live in an area where some idiots like to vandalise cars, wouldn't leaving a camera in a car make it more of a target? A car camera also points out of a car, therefore it's pointing away-from rather than towards the scene of the crime. Someone could steal all your tyres and scratch a key down both sides of a car and still not be caught on the camera pointing out of the windscreen. Finally crimes like this invariably happen at night, a camera in a car at night would need to have night-vision and a power source connected that could last overnight...not a normal feature of a car camera. If it used motion activation it would most likely not pick up on a person walking past your car in the dark. So the only thing I can suggest for someone in this unfortunate situation is perhaps installing CCTV on a house but the answer does not lie with a car camera.
And finally I'd just like to say that with any reviews I do, I cannot comment on the long-term reliablilty of a gadget. I'll leave that for others to do in the comments, and I appreciate the feedback. I only get to test a gadget out for a short time and then have to move on to the next. The V1000GS is a good example of a camera that worked fine for me, but other people had big issues with subsequently. So again, I'm not endorsing any of these items, just saying what I see. So please choose carefully and do as much research as you can before spending your hard earned money.