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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 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%! 

            

 
« Belkin CarAudio Connect AUX with Bluetooth | Main | Liquid Image Ego Review - Part 2 »
Tuesday
Sep182012

A Car DVR with a wired rear camera

My Car DVR reviews seem to be quite popular, so I thought it was time to do another one. It takes something a bit different to get my attention with so many similar car cams available. This model does have the interesting feature of an additional wired rearview camera. The fact that the camera is compact and pretty cheap also counts in its favour.  

I hijack the beginning of the video review to explain why it’s really not possible for me to answer the (hundreds) of email requests I receive asking me to recommend a specific ‘best’ car camera. This will also apply in relation to the similar requests I often get regarding action cams. 

I really can’t tell people what camera to buy, any more than a car magazine would try and tell you what car you should drive. These reviews are produced only to help people to formulate a decision based upon their own very specific personal requirements. Please also bear in mind that everything I test is only used for a short period of time, I have no idea about the long term reliability of any of the products I review. 

Overall though, this seems to me like a pretty decent camera for the price, despite one or two relatively minor niggles. I paid approximately £50 for mine from this seller on eBay who despatched from the UK. If you want an up-to-date list of auctions, you can click This Link which will perform a search on eBay UK for you.

Some of the other eBay sellers stock a grey coloured model and some also come with a different style of adjustable rear camera. 

I have also found it for sale on DX.COM where it seems to be supplied with an additional suction cup mount

As always there seem to be a few variations of this camera around - so take a close look at any example screenshots shown in any adverts. The menus in mine appear as a bar along the bottom of the screen.  Here's an example of one where the OSD looks completely different, and I have no idea how this one performs (It also comes without the rear camera).

UPDATE - 22 SEPTEMBER 

Download four clips here - Front & Back, Day & Night.

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Reader Comments (493)

I think the 80cm piece of string might have been as a helper tool for fishing the various wires through places in the car.

Thank for another great review. I think what I'd like to know as a comparative is how you found this camera to be in relation to the others you've reviewed. Where does this on excel vs. the others. But your feature's to look for summary at the beginning was very helpful.

September 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGeoff

I think it's the one that's closest to what I'm looking for. There should be no reason from now on, why all the manufacturers can't produce a camera with video performance to match the high standards of this one. So at this point it just comes down to design and features. So if someone can make a flat screenless model that sticks behind my rear view mirror with a thin power wire and I'm sold. Before anyone says it....yes I know that you can buy models that clip over the rear view mirror, but I don't want to do this. I like my mirror, it was designed to fit the car and it has a nice auto-dimming function.

September 19, 2012 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

I've looked at a few of this car DVR on eBay/USA and none of them mentioned recording in H.264.
This model also doesn't seem to have a GPS Logger which I think could come in handy. They are
available in Black, though. So, your right, this probably isn't THE car DVR we should buy though
I think the Chinese are getting close. It must be the selling price point they'er going for that causes
them to not give us all the features that would make for a truly great car DVR. I mean this isn't
Rocket Science. Another GREAT Review, BTW!!!

September 19, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterbillib

What do the 'Open' and 'Close' do. They are embossed into the plastic, just under the screen. Another great review, have you ever considered the 'Blackvue HD' Cameras?

September 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAA

They just show the direction to slide the camera to remove it from the adhesive bracket. Open = remove.

September 19, 2012 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Another great review as usual. I can't tell from your footage but is the front video of sufficient quality to read car number plates? Thanks

September 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRob

At certain distances I can read reg numbers, yes.

September 21, 2012 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Went to check the ebay the price went up :)

September 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKier

Prices may have gone up due to this positive review. Thanks Techmoan. :)

But something else to be aware of if you're looking for one of these is that it seems the cheapest versions of this cam only record in AVI.

September 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRob

Another great review :) thanks for putting in the time and effort

September 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMartin

Things get confusing when shopping for this camera. As I mention at the bottom of the post, it seems from looking at the On Screen Displays shown in various adverts that there are a few models out there.
I was concerned when I ordered mine as the seller stated it was h.264 .mov but the box showed AVI recording. My heart sank when it turned up. The only way for me to tell whether I was going to go ahead and do a proper review, or just a make quick warning video and then bin it....was to record a clip and look at it on my computer.
Luckily it really did record in .mov h.264.....but it so easily could have one the other way.

September 22, 2012 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Techmoan, another great review, but perhaps too good! As stated above, the price of these going up coincides exactly with your review being released. Can you do a follow up review and slate it so the prices come down again?! LOL! This camera is exactly what I've been waiting for, so thankyou for showing it to me.

September 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMatt

Looks good, as you say there are waaay too many cameras out there but your videos help give some idea of what you're getting (which most eBay ads don't), with a sensible review of the features and output quality.

Can you expand on what the emergency button does - does it START saving video from when you push the button, does it move the current 1/2/5min clip to the protected folder, or what? Reason for asking is if something happens and you push the button it would be nice if it saved the last few minutes leading up to it as well as the next few minutes.

September 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJohn U

I know I don't have to use the secondary camera on this unit, but seems like a waste to buy it and then just toss it into the trash bin. Do you have any recommendation on a single camera unit that has as good video quality and a similar mounting scheme? (I also hate the amount of vertical room a suction cup mount takes up.)

September 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGeoff

Techmoan, has that rear camera mount got any adjustment in it? Or is it a case of once it's stuck on, that's where it stays. Looks like the mount could be bent to a slightly different angle but can you confirm? Many thanks.

September 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMatt

Yes the metal bracket can be bent by hand I had to do this to use it in my car. You will also see that some of the sellers of this camera include a different rear camera that can be rotated.

September 29, 2012 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Yes the metal bracket can be bent by hand I had to do this to use it in my car. You will also see that some of the sellers of this camera include a different rear camera that can be rotated.

September 29, 2012 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Thanks for the quick reply, I have seen those different rear cameras. I really want a black one rather than the bronze one and it seems they are only sold in the uk with the upgraded rear cameras that have a price of about £85. I have seen the black ones with the basic cameras from sellers in China but dont know whether to risk it.

September 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMatt

I bought this then found your excellent review, I normally do it the other way round.
Mine didn't come with the remote control, but I found that the emergency button (the one with the triangle on it) cycles between front and rear views and PIP. The record lock function operates with the same button when pressed for a couple of seconds.

I'd be delighted if anyone has worked out how to stop the dreadful noise emitted from the device when it powers on and off.

September 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMartin Slater

Mine was the other way round. No matter what I did, it wouldn't beep.

September 29, 2012 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Hi Techmoan, I sent you an email on Thursday evening through the contact form on this site but not sure if it went through or not.

If you could take a look and see if that arrived, that would be good thanks.

Lee

September 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLee

Hi again, I need a little guidance. What would you recommend?
A Dash Cam that is 3MP with 1920x1080 (1080P) MOV?
Or would you prefer a 5MP Camera that records in 1280x720 (720P) MOV?
Whats better, low Megapixels with high Resolution or high Megapixels with a lower Resolution?
I'm not finding Dash Cams with both 5MP and 1080P MOV.
Not sure why, Must be how fast the cameras can write to a file.
Another thing you've exposed is when many (all?) of these Dash Cam Cameras
use their 1080P setting it simply chops off the top and bottom of the frame
so it isn't any wider or bigger. It creates an illusion of being wider but you actually lose image.
You lose the top and bottom.

So, how important is 5MP over 3MP and 1080P (real if possible) over 720P?
I'm leaning toward a Dash Cam that specs out to have 5MP/720P
as opposed to 3MP/1080P.

Your thoughts?
THANK YOU!

September 30, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterbillib

As far as I can tell the 3MP and 5MP numbers mean very little.
720p is approx 1MP and 1080p is approx 2MP so the large MP numbers just relate to the stills capabilities. I don't think that the stills abilities are important and the numbers are usually made-up or exaggerated as well. I'm only guessing, but I'd imagine that most of these cameras will have a sensor that matches the video resolution and then will upscale this with interpolation to a higher resolution for the stills.

So I'd suggest that you ignore the MP number and just look for a camera with h.264 mov or mp4 video at either 720p or 1080p. I think that 720p should be adequate for a car camera...you are not shooting a big budget movie, so there's no need to pay more for 1080p. Also, I think that you are more likely to get an accurately specified camera if the seller states it's 720p. 1080p could just be someone faking the highest available resolution to get the buyers attention.

September 30, 2012 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Techmoan, the string in the box was not an error! If you see here: http://www.aliexpress.com/item/Dual-Lens-car-dvr-the-second-lens-can-be-separated/629879628.html
it is used for removing the mounting plate from the windscreen. Still completely pointless though!

September 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMatt

Love to have this one Can anyone suggest where to buy and ship to Canada? ty

September 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKier

An excellent review of this DVR. I too have been casually looking for one as I drive a van a lot and the number of idiots on the road has made me consider one many times.

what made be decide to purchase this is the ability to have a rear view camera. I have a van with no rear visibility so im hoping that I will be able to rig up the rear camera somehow so when im reversing I can watch the 'dead spot'.

Looking forward to it coming and keep up the brilliant reviews.

October 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTerry

Just got mine and the quality of the video is good for the price.

The latest one seems to have a newer firmware on it which allows you to disable the g sensor and changes the time stamp to something readable.

The one problem I have with it is that the charging cable for the car seems to keep cutting out, meaning it uses the battery.
going to try it with my tomtom cable on the way back from work and see what happens.

I assume it's the same problem you had with another dvr, where the cable wasn't wired up correctly.

But apart from that problem, its all hooked up in the car and working well.

October 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPieh0

Well, i tried it with the tomtom power supply, and it worked.

Turns out the 1A of current the supplied PSU gives isn't enough, but the 2A tomtom PSU is.

Got some video as well which i need to play with and ill add it as a video response to your review.

October 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPieh0

Good news on the power supply. Before you go to any trouble to create a video response I thought I'd mention that I'll only authorise my own videos as responses to my other videos because I like to keep everything neat on youtube. You can however post a link to your video here.

October 2, 2012 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Fair enough :)

October 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPieh0

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