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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.

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments (493)

First of all, thnx for the great review and btw. sorry for my poor english...

what I really love to know is, what happens when I rotate the built in cam to the display side looking to the display and inside the lens. Is the vodeo "up side down" or does the image/video flip/rotate so that it is correct? Maybe there is an option in the menu to flip/rotate this?
Would be very nice if an owner could check this and post some experiences :-)

Regards from germany

October 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterWChilla

Quote from the manual in the box:
"REC/up button:
Flip function -positive
While recording state, press the button 3 seconds to start the flip function. If the image (such as plate number) is inverted while recording, thhe user can record it as a positive way by this function. The setting will be saved while power off."
"Mic/ down button:
File function-inverse
While recording state, press the button 3 seconds to start the flip function. If the image is positive while recording, the user can record it as reverse way by this function. The display screen will be reversed accordingly. The setting will be saved while power off."

Haven't tried it yet.

October 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEric

Thnx for the response Eric... would be great if someone could check this.
E.g. does it really work? what happens to the date/time?
My challenge is that I will need to mount it behind me (at the rear window) with the display in driving direction and so I will need to rotate the lens in driving direction... for any who are curios why, just google the pisc of "vx220" or "opel speedster" :-)
Cheers

October 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterWChilla

Nestorius/Eric

The Smart Cam II is not the same model I reviewed, I have never reviewed this model and therefore the price has not increased due to a review by myself. I assume that the Smartcam II was probably always this price since day one. If it has increased it is not because of any review I have done. Equally the wired rear camera Car DVR I reviewed went up in price before I published my video. I think the price was increased by the seller to match the prices asked by other sellers for the same camera. Perhaps he sold it too cheaply to start with because the price changed a couple of days after I placed my order. The Liquid Image Ego camera price increased because the retailer that I ordered my one from sold out and the only others for sale were at retailers at higher prices. The price they were selling them for did not increase, it's just the unusually cheap place sold out.

This site is supposed to be a friendly place for people to chat and have a bit of fun. Please keep things civilised.

October 18, 2012 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Hi. I was not trying to be rude, just thought I could help with a quote from the manual that came with my cam. It seemed a bit more useful than the one you showed in the vid.
I was a bit in a hurry, so I posted a reply that might just have been a little too short. ;) apologies.

I do have the same cam you reviewed, albeit in black. Nice piece of hardware, I think. Your review helped a lot. Thanks for that.

As I said in an earlier post, it did not come with the remote, but all functions can be operated with the buttons on the cam.
Now if only my memory were a little bit better, then I could actually remember what all buttons do ;)

October 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEric

Eric(Borst) - No my comment wasn't in reply to you, it was to Nestorius, a few comments earlier (who's name is also Eric...I can see the email addresses). Your answer was helpful and in no way short, so apologies for the misunderstanding.

As far as flipping the screen image goes, you are right, it is possible, as to WChilla's question, I'm not too sure what happens to the time on screen etc...I'd need to check this at the weekend. If anyone wants to beat me to it and save me a job, please feel free.

October 18, 2012 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

@Eric

I don't think TechMoan's reply was targeted to you but to me only as Nestorius (first name Eric, with a eric.xxxxx@gmail.com) based on some email exchanges we had the two of us outside this blog about IPOL comments here.

Thus my post on Oct. 18 above, which may sound "paranoid and sinister" to some of you, which I apologize for.

Best regards,

Nestorius/Eric

October 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNestorius/Eric

nestoria eric sorry to disappoint you no trolls here actually I am retired in france and the information i posted was supposed to be of help to people using the site.If my experiences with sellers had been negative believe you me I would have roasted them and post a comment not to go near them.As it is so far I have had no nasty surprises but never say never.The details i posted were in response to Charmins requests and the installation progress as a thank you to Techmoan without who,s help I would not have got this far.That said constructive discussion is never a bad thing..... best regards to all who rely on this site for guidance as i do....and to coin and slightly change a Techmoan quip ......but for the moment thanks for reading ......sorry its the sense of humour of a 74 year old non troll

October 19, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteripol

Hi Nestoria (Eric)sorry to disappoint you no Trolls here actually I am retired in france my purchase details were in response to Charmins request and my installation progress as a thank you to Techmoan without who,s help I would not have got this far.If my experiences with chinese or any other sellers had been negative the readers on this blog would be the first to know and I would have roasted the sellers concerned.But so far I have had no bad experiences (never say never) I hope this clears up the confusion and I am sorry to have caused undue concern.That said best regards to you and all who rely on this site for guidance and to coin and slightly change a Techmoan quote all it remains for me to say is bye for now and thanks for reading ......sorry its a 74 year old non trolls sense of humour........PS if this message duplicates its because I messed the first one up but it might load any way

October 19, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteripol

Sadly my DVR had to go back, no sound was ever recorded which wasn't a huge problem, but it also corrupted the sd card when the rear camera wasn't plugged in. In the end it failed to record off the rear camera and struggle to charge.

Very annoying as its was perfect and I had done a cracking job of routing the cables around.

Can't decide whether to get another or wait for another excellent review.

But keep up your excellent reviews Mr TM

October 19, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterterry

am in need of a little advice with the cam from anyone using this site before I contact the supplier as the problem might be me and not the camera.I set the camera to record rear cam only and the record segments to off hoping it would record from the time I started the car till I switched it off again.Well it does every part of the journey is recorded .......15 seconds here 3 seconds 1.20 minutes 4 plus mins the longest segment so far has been 11mins plus and plays back in random order these are not individual files as per usual file numbers but run continually skipping from one to the next.In the meantime I reset to run in 5 minute segments Nothing too technical as far as the help goes mind, when the cam first arrived it took me two hours to realise why the remote wasnt working I hadnt noticed the plastic tab between the battery preventing power reaching the remote....In my defence the tab was transparent and so tiny it was hardly noticeable .Production lines take note if you cant make the tab bigger at least make them brightly coloured.Techmoan.....anyone .....HELP

October 20, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteripol

ipol, Just one question from me (no answers unfortunately). Are you using a decent fast reliable card in the camera...e.g. a Class 10 from a reliable manufacturer and retailer?

October 20, 2012 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

reading back through some of the posts I noticed Techmoan mentions that this should be a friendly and fun place to chat....with that in mind i would like to put a smile on your faces by relating my holiday plans for 2013 I HAVE BEEN IN MANY PLACES BUT I HAVE NEVER BEEN IN CAHOOTS..APPARENTLY YOU CANT GO ALONE YOU HAVE TO BE IN CAHOOTS WITH SOMEONE...I HAVE ALSO NEVER BEEN IN COGNITO I HEAR NO ONE RECOGNISES YOU THERE....I HAVE HOWEVER BEEN IN SANE THEY DONT HAVE AN AIRPORT YOU HAVE TO BE DRIVEN THERE... I HAVE MADE SEVERAL TRIPS THERE THANKS TO MY CHILDREN ....FRIENDS....FAMILY AND WORK....I WOULD LIKE TO GO TO CONCLUSIONS BUT YOU HAVE TO JUMP AND I AM NOT TOO MUCH ON PHYSICAL ACTIVITY ANYMORE....I HAVE ALSO BEEN IN DOUBT....THATS A SAD PLACE TO GO AND I TRY NOT TO VISIT TOO OFTEN....SOMETIMES I AM IN CAPABLE AND I GO THERE MORE OFTEN AS I AM GETTING OLDER...I HAVE BEEN IN FLEXIBLE.....BUT ONLY WHEN ITS BEEN IMPORTANT TO STAND FIRM....ONE OF MY FAVOURITE PLACES IS TO BE IN SUSPENSE IT REALLY GETS THE ADRENALIN GOING AND PUMPS UP THE OLD HEART...AT MY AGE I NEED ALL THE STIMULI I CAN GET...I MAY HAVE BEEN IN CONTINENT I DONT REMEMBER ITS AN AGE THING ...THEY TELL ME ITS WET AND DAMP THERE...MAYBE I WILL PLAY SAFE AND STAY HOME ...........

October 20, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteripol

yes its a sandisk class 10 and from as swiss company as far as i know they are a reliable company

October 20, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteripol

hi techmoan its a sanddisk ultra HC1 it came with an adapter so I tried it out on the other cam before the new cam arrived and it was fine the initial site was amazon.fr but the company is swiss based I have also re-formatted it several time

October 20, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteripol

Well that killed my best guess..I was thinking your problem might be caused by a slow card. I'm out of ideas now.

October 20, 2012 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

to techmoan not to worry thanks for the quick response it might still well be the card going on the blink. I might be able to borrow one to check.Failing that it will be a call to MS W### poor girl I hope I dont make her choke on her (chicken chow with crispy fried noodles)..... mind you for the moment there is no conclusive evidence that its the camera or the card at fault or just me tapping the wrong buttons.......a process of elimination hopefully will shed some light.My previous technical skills with something that is not working as it should consisted of tapping the said object on the table.......something I might add I have successfully restrained myself from doing with the camera in question

October 20, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteripol

So I have my camera, installed and working and happy with the picture quality, uses H264 Mov file format, so all good.
This version came with the adjustable rear camera, 2012-17-6 software version, remote, adhehsive fixing and suction fixing, no string...
Installed quite easy with 12v DC supply plugged into armrest console where there is a spare 12v cigar/lighter skt. wires tucked away through and underneath trim.
Unlike Techmoan version there is no seperate file folder for manualy saved files or files saved when G force comes on, however these files have a different naming convention so may not get overridden, will have to check. Have fitted a 8Gb card so should be about 5 hours of continous recording so that shouldn't be a problem re the files being over ridden per incident, hopefully there won't be...
There is some slight EMI interferance from the unit being picked up on the radio, only noticable on a weak station as slight background hiss, you can try this by slightly off-tuning a station and then turn unit on, you will (probably) hear it. I'm going to tackle this by fitting Ferrite cores to both end of the DC cable and the rear camera, have tried one already on unit end of DC cable and slight improvement.
A couple of times when the unit has turned on with very low light levels (night time) the front camera goes into some unsatable mode with green bars and 'rolling' picture visible, this has only happend randomly so is hard to pin down exactly but I have pre-warned the supplier there may be a possible problem, again I will see if adjusting the settings can get rid of this, turn it off and back on and then ok.
Pressing the triangle key (Manual save) briefly does switch between PIP, rear cam and front cam.
Pressing the MIC button briefly will flip the picture from the front camera if you had it facing backwards, however it doesn't save that setting when turning off.
Time and date recorded display is the same as Tecmoans, GUI is same as as well.
Sound quality very good.
G sensor has Hi Med Low setting, on Med seems fine, no false triggers but give it a good tap and it works.

Take away the slight EMI prob and hopefully sort out the sometimes rolling picture I would say all in all a good buy, Techmoans revue was excellent however you can't beat good user feedback.

Feedback welcome.

October 27, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercharmin

My 2 arrived from China ok..ish. The packet was split open but the contents seemed ok. Installed one of the cameras in one of my cars and I'm very impressed. Does exactly what I wanted it to do. Sadly the other camera is faulty. The mini USB socket seems duff. There is a bit of battery life in the unit, so I know it works and powers up and records ok, but it does not charge nor does it connect to my laptop via the USB. I'm gutted because seeing how good the first one was, I expected the same but alas, no. Just waiting to see what the seller says but expecting to have to spend £10 sending it back to China and then waiting about 4 weeks to get a replacement.

October 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMatt

Update to my last post....I realised I had made a big mistake so there would be no chance of me getting a replacement so I got impatient and took it apart. Earlier in the day I had plugged it into a charger to test the auto recording. I didnt realise that the charger was a higher voltage that the standard one. To cut a long story short, I've melted the insides of the mini usb port, which has covered over the terminals. Really stupid I know. I will order a new part for about 80p and try and replace it. If it doesnt work I will just buy another camera. Tthe rest of the circuits seems ok, so hopefully just a new socket should fix it. If it doesnt I will buy another camera as buying 3 from China is still much cheaper than buying 2 in the UK.

October 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMatt

this is somewhat an accident prone site Techmoan shoots himself in the face and I shoot myself in the foot .....as far as the cam is concerned that is.......Nothing too drastic mind the sort of thing techmoan would call a minor niggle In continious record mode the cam has a mind of its own....see previous post....Rather than having all the bother of sending it back I have set to record in 5 min segments Nice to hear your cam is installed Charmin ........sorry to hear your problems Matt hope you get things sorted out best of luck with that.....As I already have a front cam I am thinking of placing the main new cam in the back of the car to give me HD resolution for the rear view If you do have to order a new cam Matt I was looking at a site on Ebay called Savebase they offer the cam with version X6 rear view cam the one you can rotate plus both the 3m sticker and a suction mount. Not sure how good the site is but it maybe worth a check .......cheers

October 28, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteripol

Well after a morning of tinkering, I've decided it's best to buy a new one and save the other one for parts incase I need to replace something in the future. Even with power applied directly the circuit board where the 2 power pins of the USB port are it still wont charge. So chances are there's something else that I've blown aswell, although it will still switch on with the remaining charge that is in the battery. Not going to throw any more money at it, a new one has been ordered and I'll put it down to experience!
Ipol, I bought the ones with the rotating rear camera from an Ebay seller instead of the fixed cam like Techmoan did. The rear camera is good quality, obviously not HD, but the same quality of footage as in Techmoan's review. It is good in low light conditions, but if someone is following you at night with headlights on, there is a bit of glare but on the whole very good. One thing I have noticed though is that although the footage from the front camera is very good and clear, sometimes it does go a little bit blocky and jerky in places. I've put this down to a basic 4gb class 4 card I'm using so I have ordered an 8gb class 10 to hopefully see an improvement. Even with the class 4 card the footage is very clear, but I just want perfection. My night time footage also seems to be better than in techmoan's review. Certainky not as dark and if on a road with street lighting, I can read the registration numbers of passing cars. It may be due to my xenon headlights though but it's certainly able to used as very clear evidence in the event of a collision. If I had any doubt with the quality and performance of this product then I certainly would not have ordered another one. For info, I got mine from this seller:
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/261082589454?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1423.l2649

October 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMatt

For information, I have found that the fault was actually the car power lead. I thought it was mine but it wasnt. Part of the male USB has over heated and melted inside the unit. The seller has messaged me back apologising and offering an exchange. I am just waiting to see if me opening the unit will prevent me from returning it.

October 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMatt

Hi Techmoan,

would it be possible to review this cam again but with the rear camera used as a internal (occupant) view camera in day and night?

October 28, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercyben76

@Cyben76 unfortunately I've got quite a lot of stuff on at the moment. Perhaps someone else who bought one of these could comment. Although I can confirm that at night the interior of the car would just be darkness. I'm not too sure what you are looking for for daytime footage, but if you elaborate, perhaps someone could help.

October 28, 2012 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

cyben76 - having been playing around with mine the last few days I've had the rear camera pointing inside the car whilst I fixed the radio interference problem. During daylight the camera is fine, good enough quality but when dark, as techmoan suggested it is 'dark'.
I wondered if you thought because this type of rear camera, the adjustable one does have the IR LED's fitted and yes they do work, well I say work, they light up but that's about it, the same as the front camera they have literally no effect past about 2 inches ! why they fitted and bothered with them is a mystery…
The radio RFI is now sorted with ferrite cores fitted on DC and rear cam cable, my radio antenna is part of the rear screen heater element which is a bout 1” away fro the rear camera, sorted now though I’d say 90% better.
Did a re-set on the camera and the rolling on start up when dark seems to have gone as well.

The link Matt highligted for his supplier is the same place as mine came from but using a different seller name, same return address... velly interesting... -)

Thanks all for the input.....

October 28, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercharmin

I too have noticed there are a few of these for sale on ebay by what appears to be the same seller but with different names. Strangely, I was submitting 'best offers' which were declined but were actually the same price that they were selling under a different name. Either way, I am happy that the seller I bought from is trustworthy. My package came complete with a tracking number which gave me some info about where it was in the world, and arrived in about 18 days from China. I am even more impressed with the fact that the seller has told me it is ok to open the unit and try to fix it and if I cannot then he will still accept it as a return. Well, I cannot fix it and I will returning it to him for a refund or replacement. My other camera I bought has already been dispatched, and if he sends me a replacement for the faulty one I will have 3! Friends and family who have seen the camera have been very impressed, and would quite happily take it off my hands. Just one word of warning on a lighter note. Watch out what your wife records on it. She parked the car on my parents driveway, and to wind me up and give me a little surprise, turned the lense round and pulled faces and stuck her fingers up at it before it switched off. Trouble is, she didnt realise her mother in law was watching out the window and thought it was directed at her!!!!!! LOL!!!!!!

October 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMatt

Matt, you need to expose this seller who stands behind
their product, even after you dismantled it. Thats someone
we should think about supporting. Usually a seller would
use ANY excuse to not do what they should. I was a
retail manager for twenty years and major Japanese
companies would use any excuse to NOT stand behind
their products. Don't get me started!!!!

October 29, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterbillib

In my comments from yesterday, I have added the link to the seller the ebay ad where I purchased from. It was a bit of a gamble when I purchased as although they had 100% positive feedback, they had only sold 160 items. Now it's over 300 with only the rare minor complaint.

October 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMatt

HI Charmin ..Matt..... and the others nice to see the information flowing and thanks Techmoan I hadnt heard of FLV Crunch it sounds like an interesting download. In a previous post about the camera the instruction book mentioned one of the ports was for a gps module (not included) it was in english (chinese style) if anyone has ever watched the Benny Hill /Henry McGee chinese sketch will know what I mean....someone had mistakenly thought I had translated chinese into english....perhaps I should have phrased my wording differently Anyway I am now thinking that if its possible to plug in a module that maybe in the not too distant future the latest versions of the camera might be updated to include gps. Right now I am going to have a look at the FLV Crunch......hope it doesnt turn out to be a chocolate bar I am on a diet.......

October 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterIpol

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