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Pick of the Camera Reviews

(Click the pictures for reviews & links) 

ACTION CAMS

Yi 2 - Best Budget 4K 

Gitup Git2 (My Pick)

Xiaomi Yi

Dazzne P2

SJCAM M10+
 
DASH-CAMS (CAR DVRs)
 
A119
Yi

Yi Ultra 2.7K
   
    MINI CAMERAS
Mobius (also works as a Dashcam)
Polaroid Cube+
    HELMET CAMERA
Sena Prism Tube

My favourite USB battery power Pack

This is the excellent USB power pack I use when I travel.

2 x 2.1amp outputs. 8400mAh capacity.

Two digit Led display shows battery level

 

What SD CARD should I buy?

If you want an SD Card for your camera - these are the ones I use and recommend. 

I'd strongly recommend not to buy any SD cards off ebay - I've heard about too many issues with counterfeit cards - often sold on by unwitting resellers. My inbox regularly gets messages from people who bought a £150 camera then cheaped out and bought a £3 memory card on ebay - Then when it doesn't worth they blame the camera! It doesn't make any sense. Good memory is cheaper than it's ever been - see the links above.

A lot of HD cameras will not work properly with cards larger than 32GB (cards over 32GB are usually SDXC rather than the SDHC standard used by 32GB cards. SDXC cards use the ex-FAT system rather than FAT32 - in short they are a different standard). - so don't just buy the biggest card you can afford - read the specs in the manual to see what it accepts.

UK & US LINKS & PRICES BELOW

RECOMMENDED CARDS (for action cams - see dashcams below)

CLASS 10 UHS-1 CARDS (For HD Cameras)

 

U3 CARD (For 4K cameras)

 

 

SPECIAL DASHCAM CARDS

The SD card in a dashcam is re-written over, more frequently than in other types of cameras. Some manufacturers void their guarantee if an SD card was used in a dashcam. So, no surprise, there are special High Endurance SD cards made just for dashcams...here's some.

 

VERY IMPORTANT. These links take you to the product, however Amazon have three different ways of selling. There's Amazon Direct - This means that you are only dealing with Amazon themselves, then there's other sellers that use Amazon's facilities - these show as Fulfilled By Amazon and finally there's Market Place sellers that advertise on Amazon, but operate independently.  I strongly recommend that you only use the first...the Amazon Direct - Sold By Amazon option. Even if it appears that you are paying a couple of £/$ more it is more than likely you are comparing the price of a real item against the price of a fake.

To give you an idea of the extent of the fake goods problem. In a 2016 survey by Apple - 90% of the 'Apple' chargers sold through Amazon - using the other the two methods..which includes the "Fulfilled by Amazon" option -  were found to be counterfeit....90%! 

            

 
« The LCJ-HJ Camera Case for the Sony HX100V & HX200v | Main | The Korg Kaossilator 2 - Fun product, dull video »
Saturday
May262012

Cheap Dual Camera Car DVR with GPS

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.

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Reader Comments (54)

Following your review, now a few months old, do you know if new stock of this camera has resolved the issue whereby the GPS remains powered after the unit has been switched off? Until your bombshell revelation, I was going to buy, but I am no longer sure that this is the camera for me.

I've enjoyed your video reviews though. Keep up the good work

June 7, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterquaser

I know that Chinavasion got in touch and thanked me for pointing the fault out. I don't know if they fixed this model...but I remember that a redesigned version came out shortly after which no doubt doesn't have this fault.

June 9, 2013 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Thanks for the prompt reply Techmoan. I'm really in a quandary now, because I was very keen on this camera until I saw your review of the 808#/18 DR32. I saw an offer on this for $139.90 on foxoffer which includes a 32GB card for free. Though the offer expired in mid-May, I contacted them and said I was thinking of buying, and was the free card still available. They said YES.

Now my problem is do I go for that one, or the X3000? If the latter, I will have no way of knowing if it is with or without the GPS fault until after i receive it - by then, of course, too late.

June 9, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterquaser

hi, i have i think the same camera(it looks exactly the same)same functions,buttons,front and back but without the gps
i have recorded several hours and for my job(truck driver) is more then ok,the problem is that i have the files in mov(quicktime) and on the SD i have no Jplayer,also tried sever times to change recording time to 5min each but it only record movies of 20sec and i have recorded 9hours,now imagine how many files i have,any solutions?please
also like you said here or an a different cam review the files overlap, i have that problem so clip 1 has 20sec and clip 2 starts from clip18sec or something like that.....
hope you can help me,as i did some nice futuge and will like to save them,thank you

June 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBogdan

Yours must be a different camera as the one I had didn't record in .mov and needed Jplayer to play the hidden files. The only thing I could suggest (as a guess) is that perhaps you have motion detection switched on in error...but since its a different cam I have no idea how it operates.

June 22, 2013 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Hi, Great video thanks! I used this to help decide on a purchase of the similar model X3000AV (Seperate rear camera) I have followed all the guides, reset all settings, formatted the sd card as advised, but still no jplayer.exe file whatsoever. This is also impossible to find for download anywhere on the net! Motion Detect is disabled also.
All files are within a DCIM\DCIMA structure and in a *.mov format.
Nice that they are viewable this way, but I am obviously unable to make use of any other built-in features.
Have you any advice? Or could you give a link to download jplayer before I give up all hope and return this (Disappointingly!)

Many thanks,
Ian

August 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterIan

I don't get it. What is the deal with the external GPS receivers and antennae?
Why is it that my simple Garmin car GPS can have a screen and internal GPS receiver but all dashcams needs some sort of external gizmos attached to them?

December 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSamuel

Mat, your reviews are fantastic and a big help. All I wonder about is; why can't I find one that combines recording the front and (on the same screen) a second camera monitoring the back for reversing with my motorhome (and recording too for all I care) ? Is there any such thing in your reviews with a second wired camera that can cover the length of a motorhome, say 8M or so?
Cheers, Ernie.

June 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterErnie

Does any one knows what is the alert icon that looks like a world with a watch?

June 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterOScar

Hello

I have this camera, my problem is when ever i put in a micro sd card in the camera and the camera formates the card i only get 190mb My micro sd card is 32gb speed 10. Do you have any ideas why this is happening, or what i can do to get my sd cards full capacity

best regards

Robert

June 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRobert

@Robert That sounds like you've got a fake card. Try formatting if in your computer then putting a 2GB file on it to see what happens.

June 20, 2014 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

It´s a new sandisk ultra micro sd card. when i use it in my pc and i formate it i get the full capacity. only when i use it in the camera that i don´t get the full capacity. i´v tryed 3 diferent cards and it´s the same problem.

Every time i put in the sd card in the camera and the camera formates the card i only get 190mb.

I took out the card and put it in my tablet and i formated the card in my tablet there i got the full capacity.

i wounder if my camera maybee has the wrong software in it or something. Don´t know what to do??
and is it possible to change the software in the camera or upgrade it somehow

regards

Robert

June 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRobert

Hello All, I have read of some problems by people on this site and I wish to add what I believe a possible solution. Most answers are from personal experience. I will say before I start that Techmoan is an excellent site and members need to continue feedback when ever they find a solution. My first helpful information will be concerning a program that is on many car crash cams.. like mine.
The program jplayer is usually pre-installed into the devices hardware. Every time you use the crash cam while the sdcard is in-situ.. meaning in place in the device' you choose format the sd card for first time use.. and the device installs the program onto the sd card. You can then drive around for a period of time.. remove the sd when the crash cam is OFF.. then place it in to a sd card reader, you will find jplayer.exe .. 2x click you mouse on this program and it will install onto your lap/desktop. You then review all files and save the ones you want to a file onto you computer/laptop and once replacing the sd card into your crash cam, format it again and this refreshes your crash cam overwriting all locked files as well. Now locked files occur depending on your set level for a shockwave/impact to one of x,y,z axis settings which have three settings. I recommend the lowest setting because this gives more latitude when driving on very coarse roads where if the vibrations or micro shock waves that can be magnified through your windscreen on some cars lije mine. Placement of a crash cam is important. These shockwaves can come from for example, a x axis wwhich maybe a small sideways action, y axis as up & down or z axis a backwards or forwards impact. In the city with smooth roads can be set to the lowesr setting and if you still your still locking files, reposition from the windscreen to a dash fixture. Files are purposely locked so that in an accident.. your video evidence.. is not written over in case the crash cam is left running. You should temporarily remove and replace that sd card or more sensibly, copy the file to your laptop cloud account. I personally have a 32GB sd card that is class 6 or higher. My crash has forward and rear cameras. I have a problem being 99% on country roads, my xyz impact sensor has a bad audio buzz from road noise being transmitted into the windscreen of my 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer. I am re-positioning my crash cam to the rear window as trial.. then as a dash mount to see where I get the quietest recordings. Remember, if you do have an accident, let your family know that the sd card can not be given to third parties.. even the police with first seeking legal advice.. even if you are believed to be in the right. Leave a copy of the locked file password in your legal papers with your will, lawyer, bank. The file must be assessable in case of accidental death. Did yoy know that you could use a camera like this to monitor yourself working as proof of work of innocence on a work site. I have a 4000 mA hour battery that enables me to extend the recording time to greater than 24 hours. My cam has rear facing infrared diodes to illuminate inside the car and particularly myself and my passenger. I hope I have been of some help. If anyone has problem obtaining jplayer, I am happy to send the file to you. Noel

June 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNoel D Pulleine

I saw your review for the X3000 A cheap Dual Camera Car Black Box DVR with GPS, but as you know, the quality of the video inside the car was useless. Have you come across a dual dash cam that has good video quality outside as well as inside the car?
I love your reviews, keep up the good wo

August 25, 2014 | Unregistered Commentereye LoveLA

Hello
I bought the X3000 camera, but I'm not satisfied with its performance, it is not as an existing specifications, Videos are 150 Mega and above (480X640 AVI format NOT HD), As for the pictures are worse than you can imagine and clarity I can say it is non-existent, since it does not catch plate number which 3 meters, More than once I got back to the car I found it fallen on dashboard may be the reason is the temperature could reach 60C inside the car where I live in area of desert, Now the LCD has disrupted, the screen completely OFF after it was blinking to the blue color Nearly two months , I purchased it on March 2013 and working fine up to June 2014 but the battery still works, My review of this item 5/10 Yes i bought worse than this.
I apologize for my language is not will, but I loved to share my experience,

Kind Regards

Badr Al Shehri
Saudi Arabia

September 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBaDeR

1.I m get a kind of flashing symbol (incloding exclamation mark) while recording with the camera.
2. Cannot see the recording.
pls advise.

thks
ilan

January 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterIlan

Hello,

There is a flashing icon, a globe with a cross (X) at bottom right and a red exclamation mark to the right. What is this telling me and how do I clear it? It can be seen briefly at the start of the video.

Does anyone have a link to a downloadable copy of the user manual

Thanks

January 15, 2015 | Unregistered Commentergdn1947

Please .

1.wich TF card class will fit the camera drive? i bought the class 4 and it is not recognized. by the camera.

2. I bought the X3000 and i haven't a tf card yet it could be the reason that i cant enter to camera menu?

THANK YOU

May 4, 2015 | Unregistered Commentertdye08

There is a flashing icon a world with an X and an ! Anyone know what it means

July 12, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterj d

I too have a flashing globe/card/exclamation symbol on my screen after saying 'yes' to formatting inquiry and during recording. There is NO reference to this alert anywhere in the user manual. Has anyone figured this out. China saison.com chat help could only forward the same user manual I already have. Has anyone figured out what this alert means?

November 17, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterKB

Does anyone have a manual for this camera please? My camera will not maintain the correct time. Whether I change the time with the GPS connected or not,, it changes back to an incorrect time within a few minutes!

November 17, 2015 | Unregistered Commentergdn1947

i gust bout one and i have a problem with "SPI READ ERROR" can u advice what i need to do

April 18, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAbitbul Yoram

I was never able to get this unit to recognize/accept any size of formatted micro card. Unit wouldn't format a card itself. No point in a unit that can't record. Also, jviewer software wasn't Mac compatible. I threw it out and bought a different camera.

April 23, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterkb

To anyone else going crazy trying to figure out the flashing world icon, it's just an indicator that the g sensor was set off and there is a flagged event stored. It can be cleared by deleting the event.

December 5, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterVincenzo

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