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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)

Techmoan,

Another excellent review...this little camera's exactly what I was looking for to use during my daily commute just in case of a bump ( peoples driving standards are appalling ), I looked around and found this version of it in black with a different style of rear camera - http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/120977762751?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1497.l2649#ht_4226wt_1393 - I offered $70 (£45) for it which was accepted.

Today two weeks later it arrived and looks very good indeed everything seems to work OK so now to install it in the car.

And this one records in MOV format.

October 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKlippie

Not sure if this has been posted.

The link for DX points to a sold out item, which usually means that its no longer sold, but I did find something similar.

http://dx.com/p/2-0-tft-5-0mp-cmos-separated-style-dual-lens-wide-angle-car-dvd-camcorder-w-8-ir-night-vision-149441

October 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCliffh

There is another on deal extreme which is not sold out. It is exactly the same as reviewed here, but in black. Just one little hint, buy it in $ and let paypal do the currency conversion. If you buy it from DX in £ it's £55 ish. If you buy it in $, at the point of sale, paypal converts that to £52. However, I was going to buy that until klippie posted that link which might be worth a punt.

October 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMatt

Here is the link for the other on DX
http://dx.com/p/x6-2-0-lcd-3-0mp-cmos-wide-angle-car-dvr-camcorder-w-rearview-camera-tf-av-out-black-141488

October 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMatt

Can anyone - Techmoan or anyone who's bought one of these - confirm what the behaviour of the emergency button really is? Does it save video from when you pushed the button, does it save a few minutes either side, does it just move everything to the protected folder until the card fills up?

October 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJohn U

When the emergency button is pressed (or the shock sensor is activated) the current clip that is currently being recorded gets moved to the folder on the camera that doesn't get overwritten. The next clip carries on as normal. The length of these segments is determined in the settings.

October 5, 2012 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Really glad I found this Blog and Techmoan, excellent that's all I can say.
I was about to buy the this camera after a recent 'incident' and was a bit hesitant until I saw this. The particular camera, coincidentally was the one Klippie above has just bought and from that site, so have now ordered it and wait with baited breath to receive it and take it for a spin...
What I did find in my searches is that all the models seem to be made by NEI Shenzhen Ming Heng Chang Electronic Co, Ltd. and no that's not in Wolverhampton.... China I believe....
So like the others on here, once received and fitted I'll report back.

October 6, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercharmin

Really glad I found this Blog and Techmoan, excellent that's all I can say.
I was about to buy the this camera after a recent 'incident' and was a bit hesitant until I saw this. The particular camera, coincidentally was the one Klippie above has just bought and from that site, so have now ordered it and wait with baited breath to receive it and take it for a spin...
What I did find in my searches is that all the models seem to be made by NEI Shenzhen Ming Heng Chang Electronic Co, Ltd. and no that's not in Wolverhampton.... China I believe....
So like the others on here, once received and fitted I'll report back.

October 6, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercharmin

Greetings Techmoan,

Another great review as we get used to here :-)

Three points though:

- Color of the DashCam: I believe we want those cameras to be as discrete as possible.
Plain black is probably best, especially since more drivers now have dark films on windows.
Anything goldish -or silverish like the latest SmartCam HD V2- will stand out and be counterproductive as a stealth product.

- Motion Detection testing: many of those DashCam claim to have a Motion Detection capabilty (ie. Detect a motion when on "sleep-mode" then start recording for 30-120 sec). This is most useful for us users who want to get an extra insurance against "Hit & Run" in order to track the culprit.
Could you test that again, as you once did by "dancing in front of the camera" ?

- It seems your brilliant reviews are getting noticed by the resellers and, as a result, some are upping their selling prices.
The product reviewed here is an example: the price jumped to GBP 65, vs. 50 as per your review.
I have another example with a product you reviewed a few months ago: the SmartCam HD (again ^!^) which selling price jumped from GBP 55 to 95 now.

Best regards,

EPB

October 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNestorius

Just another hopefully useful (or useless) note, 'AVI' the recording format mentioned in a few of the posts and for some of these products, means Audio Video Interleave, it is simply a multimedia container format name introduced by Microsoft in November 1992. The 'CODEC' the clever bit that compresses the video file can just as well be in an AVI as an MP4, the CODEC is the 'H.264'. Often any format that contains H.264 will be called an AVI file, whether it be MPEG or whatever, I think it just boils down to naming convention.
AVI without H.264 or similar (there are better CODECS about now) would use enormous amounts of data, Gb per few minutes.

Cheers

October 7, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercharmin

Thanks for clarifying. I find that .mp4 or .mov containers are more compatible with my Mac than .avi ones. Even when the codec used in the file is h.264, iMovie just ignores .avi files, so I then need to convert the format before I can import and edit the files.

October 7, 2012 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

I bought the camera on DX before it sold out. The menu's are in Chinese. Its very difficult to guess at the settings. Does anyone know if the language can be changed to English and how to do it?

October 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterFred

Hey Matt. Thanks for this one. I now know the answer when someone asks, 'how long is a piece of string?'

October 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJonny

Answering my own question: How to set the language using the button names from my manual:
In video standby mode, press the Model/menu button three times to get to the Settings menu
Press the Mic(down) button seven times to get to the language menu. Press the Emergence lock button to enter the Language Menu.
Use the Mic(down) button to find your language. Press the Emergence lock button to select it. Press Model/menu button to exit the menu.
Now all the menus should be displayed in the language of your choice.

October 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterFred

Well I've taken a punt and ordered 2 with the uprated rear camera from a reputable ebay seller in China for £88. Fingers crossed they arrive ok.

October 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMatt

The string is for dis attaching the part sticked on windshield. See the picture here:http://img30.360buyimg.com/popWaterMark/g9/M03/07/19/rBEHalBiiH8IAAAAAARB-ZQ07_sAABhVQMLdO0ABEIR012.jpg
Sorry for my poor English.

October 10, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteraatoy

Hi. Nice review, I just ordered one from dealextreme because of your review.
One thing I was wondering about though: you mention the screen can be switched off. Can that be done by pressing a key or do you have to enter the menu? And does it remember that setting for the next drive?

October 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEric

On mine the screen can be switched off by pressing the top left button. It forgets the setting when powered down though.

October 11, 2012 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

hello all
been waiting for months for a good review
so at last just bought 2
help please at the moment i take the cams out of car and leave in the house
but as winter draws close if i did leave the cameras in the car would it be to cold and damp
if i left them in the car would they get damaged from Condensation ?
thanks paul

October 12, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterpaul

ordered this camera from SOMAX china after reading your review....the cam was posted on the 25 sept and arrived around 10.30 this morning 13th oct....apart from problems accessing the settings menu ( a mixture of me not being tech savvy and the diagrams showing instructions in wrong order) the cameras work fine.there was no micro card there is a reset button rear cam port and a G Mouse port (it used for connecting with GPS MODEL) chinese translation.Looking forward to installing in car tomorrow and trying it out on the road....will keep you updated.....

October 13, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteripol

Hi all,

Yesterday I installed the DVR in the car so this morning I set off to test it in town, along some B roads and then motorway. After looking at the recorded footage its pretty good but I reckon with a few tweaks to the settings here and there it should improve the picture some more.

The only minus point is the hideous power adaptor this will be replaced with a plug-in USB adaptor and an extended USB cable, I may even install a second 12v socket to power it.

Marks out of 10...9 outstanding little bit of kit for £45.

Excellent find Techmoan keep-up the good work...

October 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKlippie

as promised cam test update I fitted a class 10 32gb card and first impressions are quite good..I found the front cam quality not quite as good as the 72Op classical cam (the big one with the flip down screen as per TECHMOAN,S accurate description) running alongside the new camera. Having revisited the menu I find its possible if I understand correctly to chose to record just the front cam .....the rear cam.... or both the cams at once so next time I will try just the rear cam. This in theory should give me more record time on the card while still recording the tailgating fraternity.Many thanks Techmoan for your great reviews and sharing your expertise with us. By the way the cam came in at just under 79 dollars and the colour is black and not gold

October 15, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteripol

Rear cam test successful..... results far better than I expected wires all hidden away....job done....when I said it should give me more record time I meant of course for the rear camera seeing that it is not now recording both front and rear cams.Perhaps this is an update option that has been added since the model that Techmoan tested. One moan though I didnt get a piece of string.Thankfully the suction bracket on the front cam is a lot smaller than the one you showed Techmoan and the cam remains hidden behind the sun visor so all in all its a pretty discreet installation.

October 16, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteripol

I'm glad that someone is happy. Given the other comments from people who had received different versions, I was beginning to wonder if I was the only person who had the decent one. I believe that the firmware has been updated on more recent ones to enable switching between cameras using the buttons on the device rather than just the remote.

October 16, 2012 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

It would be useful I guess if anyone trying out this camera could specify where and who they bought the camera from and if it's possible, what version firmware is installed, this would allow a good comparison.

Ordered my one from Ebay, Sue_winner, China, £45, black and silver, should be here next week.

October 16, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercharmin

And again, as several of those cameras sold on eBay or DX.com reviewed by TechMoan, claim to have a "motion detection" capability in order to guaranty a "Car security (auto records when it detects movement) ", I can assure you that some of those dash-cams fail to deliver on that subject.

I, for one, bought two SmartCams reviewed by TechMoan on April 8 2012 with such a capacity (.ie Motion Dtection) from SmartCamDirect on eBay.
And all I can say is: my car got towed -and lifted on a truck- one morning and driven to 10km away and none of the SmartCam (basic and HD) recorded anything, nada as in que dalle...

Not to mention that when TechMoan reviewed the Cam, it was sold by Scott from SmartCam on eBay for GBP 54.95
http://cgi.ebay.fr/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItemVersion&item=190701446952&view=all&tid=702742862009

And now Scott from SmartCam sells the same product for a lovely GBP 96.95
http://cgi.ebay.fr/SmartCam-2-HD-Car-DVR-Camera-1080p-Dashcam-Driving-Recorder-Night-Vision-/190731080669?pt=UK_In_Car_Technology&hash=item2c687553dd#ht_1495wt_982

So please be aware that while TechMoan does a tremendous job as testing those DashCam, maybe less so when it comes to their true "motion detection", some of the resellers take a fast notice to boost their resale price by GBP 10-50.

So once you read a review from TechMoan, write down the price he mentions there and make sure you don't get "TechMoaned" by its reseller's audience.

I Salute You.

Nestorius

October 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNestorius

Mine arrived yesterday from Dealextreme. Black, firmware F20-20120716, with suction mount and the same rear cam as in the review. Language set to Russian, but thanks to Google translate, I could set it to english ;)
No string, no sd card and no remote, but with a slightly better manual. Still no top marks for that though.
The rest of the camera seems allright to me.
I have ordered an sd card, will get that tomorrow I hope.
One question I hope someone can answer: I set auto shutdown to 1 minute, but it also shutsdown after 1 min with the cam on 12v. I hope that's because there is no recording going on yet. It also does not shut down immediately when i unplug the power. Suspect that that also has to do with the lack of sd card.
Oh,and another question: has someone found a way to disable that annoying startup and shut down sound?

October 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEric

hi CHARMIN if it helps here are the details of my purchase....ali express SOMAX(SHENGHEN) Tech Co.Ltd ......contact MS JENNY WANG model no SOMAX SM-CSC0197 version 1.0.0.9 a little late I know if you already have a camera en-route payment was through ESCROW who withheld payment until I received and tested the camera and clicked the box to finalise payment The camera arrived at the end of last week and I still had up until the 3rd of november before I needed to confirm completion But the camera is fine....very well packaged so I saw no reason to delay payment

October 17, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteripol

hi all bought 2 of these great cams
just sent the company a email stating fully charged cams only record for 5 minutes the other 20 minutes SCREEN OFF !!!!
Also if of any help to anyone
When I plug cam into the 12v it comes on and starts recording but !
When the cam becomes fully charged it knocks off !
To get around this start up the cam first before plugging in the 12v stays on the hours this way !
paul

October 18, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterpaul

Oh well...

Seems like our worst fears about this site's reviews getting "TechMoaned" just capped a new level:

- Now not only do we see products reviewed by TechMoan to be "TechMoaned" by their resellers (Chinese as UK, thank you SmartCam on eBay.uk) who boost their prices by GBP 10-50 once a positive review is posted here.
- But now we see Chinese vendors' undercover agents trolling TechMoan's comments to manipulate the feedbacks and do some under-subtle advertising....

Here's an example with "IPOL" which I'm sure Techmoan could track through an IP Tracer.

On this review "car-dvr-with-rear-cam" only, IPOL made four posts.
Please read -and verify on your own- so you can make up your mind: is IPOL an undercover troll or not ?

- Oct 13: "Ordered this camera from SOMAX china after reading your review....the cam was posted on the 25 sept and arrived around 10.30 this morning 13th oct"
WOW ... what a pretty excited buyer to post ASAP on Techmoan the same day he received the good.
And he can already tell us what the G port means in chinese ("for connecting a GPS device")
What a man...

- Oct 15: "Many thanks Techmoan for your great reviews and sharing your expertise with us. By the way the cam came in at just under 79 dollars"

- Oct 16: "Rear cam test successful..... results far better than I expected wires all hidden away....job done.."
To which TechMoan candidly replies "I'm glad that someone is happy."
(That's an uber-achievement for the troll, he probably got a bonus for that one ^!^)

And then IPOL the troll forgets its undercover and switches back to its true self: a Chinese customer service rep.
- Oct 17: "SOMAX(SHENGHEN) Tech Co.Ltd ......contact MS JENNY WANG" and "But the camera is fine....very well packaged so I saw no reason to delay payment"

So what do you think: is TechMoan getting trolled by some Chinese Sales Reps ?

I believe so, without extending my research to other reviews.
But it's also a collateral damage of his smart SEO (Search Engine Optimization) on Google as he explained in one of his videos.

Next step ?

/salute

Nestorius

October 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNestorius

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