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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
MINI CAMERAS
(The Mobius also works as a dashcam)
Mobius
Polaroid Cube+

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 a couple.

 

 

 

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%! 

            

 
« Christmas Special Episode - BNIB | Main | The HP Envy 120 - A printer you want to show off. »
Monday
Dec162013

G1W - The cheapest Dash-Cam that’s worth buying.

When I recently tried to find a good cheap dash-cam, quite a few people suggested that I should take a look at the G1W camera, so I picked one up. Delivery from China took a while, but the wait was worth it. This camera is capable of recording good quality video day and night, better than many more expensive cameras, more than adequate for the majority of people and at a price that can’t be beaten.

To put it simply, if you have any intention at all of picking up a dash-cam but up until this point have been put-off by the price, then this is the camera for you. You will need to obtain your own MicroSD card – (Class 6 or 4, but not Class 10)  from a reputable retailer.

The following paragraph is only for people who are thinking about buying this as their first dash-cam and who may not realise what they are getting themselves into…

Do not buy this camera and expect to get superior levels of build quality and customer service. If you choose to have your camera sent from the Chinese ebay supplier I used, it will take some time to arrive (mine took over 3 weeks to the UK).  If you break the mounts you will not get spares. If it arrives DOA your best option might be to bin it, as the alternative would be to send it back to China. I have no idea how reliable this camera will prove to be over time – but like all electronic devices, it will not work forever. Dash-cams have to work for hours on end, often in extreme temperatures, the kind of thing that puts a strain on even the best made cameras. I have no connection with the manufacturer or retailers. I bought mine off ebay.

Now that’s said, if you do want to buy what I think is the best performing dash-cam currently available for £32/$55 – this is it and you can get one from one of the links below.

DOWNLOADABLE SAMPLES HERE

BUYING LINKS - NEW 2014 VERSION (Click a country)

UK US NL IT FR ES DE AU

 

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Reader Comments (258)

I have two G1Ws and both work well with Transcend UHS-1 Class 10 cards. Other people have reported problems with the San Disk Class 10 cards. I agree, buy the card(s) through Amazon and you'll get the real thing.
J

December 17, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterjwc

Hi Mat

I'm sorry to hear that you're putting the dash cam reviews on pause - and excited to hear, that you're contemplating taking up multicamera set ups and rear view camera.

Some time ago I went and bought the rear view camera, you tested once. The bronze one. I bought a black one similar to that and it hides wonderfully in the black dotted area of my Mondeo. Once I learned to format it once in a while, it more or less did the job it's intended to do. The Kingston class 10 32mb card stoppes working after a while, but the new Sandisk gets the job done.

What I'm getting at is, that the rear view camera has proven to be invaluable - in spire the awfull quality of the video: The other night I allmost hit a bicyclist making a right turn on a dark road. Mind you I live in a country with right hand driving. And the rear view camera told the story that I just could'nt figure out: where the heck did that bicycle with a woman in black clothes come from, and why had'nt I seen her at all?

The answer was right there on my Mac the next day: The woman, a collegue driving to the same christmas party, had run a red light full speet in a pedestrian crossing, just as I turned the corner and moments after, she came up on my right as a turned right.

Now she gave me hell moments later and I was baffled. I noticed that she was invisible wearing black in the Dark, and that her front light turned out to be the smallest little blinker thing you could imaging placed on one side of the bikes wheel. But I just couldnt figure out why this had happened. So I listened to all her yelling and once in a while groaned: I looked before I turned, but you were invisible in the dark.

And boy did it feel good to play the video, seeing what had really happened and emailing her the video. Now she is not the kind of person who admits to wrong doing. She could see no problem at all in running a red light. But she went and bought a new set or lights. And I felt peace of mind in disclosing what she would have never admitted to, had I not had the rear view camera installed.

So thank you Matthew and keep up the good job. Your work is really great.

December 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHenrik

Henrik, thanks for the story, it's really interesting to hear about the different scenarios people get into. I'm very conscious of people driving too close to me in my small car - and I think a rear-view camera would be very useful. After I've done a few more videos about other things, I'll see what Chinese ebay sellers are offering in their multi-camera set-ups (which are easy to install and remove) and I'll take another look at these.

December 17, 2013 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

I just bought this myself. My class 32gb 10 card works fine. Can't remember the brand, it's out in the car ;)... Not a problem acquiring the microsd for me, I popped it OUT of my old phone (g2x) which had been replaced with a Nexus 4 that doesn't support memory cards. I miss the huge storage on the phone, but at least the card is being useful.

As far as shipping, I can't recommend enough that if your seller offers it cheaply, get the FedEx Int'l Express. I ordered from estore009, and paid the $9 shipping charge on the 10th. FedEx was knocking on my door by the 14th. No kidding.

As far as the quality - the mount remains to be seen. It is SOLID on my windshield once I figured out the snap. However, how long the soft bits last in Texas summer heat remains to be seen. I've never had good luck with suction cup mounts, they plastic deteriorates and the suction cups fail. However, since the weight is light, I have a backup plan. If the cup fails, just fill the void it leaves with filler and stick a 3m sticky pad on it.

December 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlvin B.

There's another on eBay for AU$38 from tonsee_mall and vovotrade_hot & go_vovotrade that has the same layout and camera amount with a slightly more stylized case and a black rather than silver lens surround. Bargain if it has the same or newer innards!

December 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCraig

@Craig the link you've provided is most likely a cheap knock-off with a lower grade chipset. In general you should refrain from advising alternative ebay links to others. Ebay is full of fakes and scams. People like Matt know which Ebay sellers are reputable and will only link to them.

@Matt thank you very much for this review, I really appreciate it. I think I've made up my mind and will go for the Mobius camera after all.

December 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSteven Devijver

It's possible that there are lots of places selling this camera...but I just don't know, and I'd hate to send people to the wrong places. On this one I'm only going to link to the place that I got mine from, because I can see they've sold 1400 of them, so I'm guessing they'll have a few more as well.

December 18, 2013 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

@Matt,

Thanks for reviewing the G1W, as I suggested, though I'm sure I wasn't the only person requesting it.

Not that I'm going to buy a G1W. My Mobius is what I want from a dashcam in terms of minuscule size, excellent video & audio quality, & near invisibility from outside the car.

I recall you saying you intend to install your Mobius permanently. For installation tips, see http://forum.dashcamtalk.com/threads/mobius-mounting-solutions.2654/

December 18, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterruss331

Great review. I dont know why they dont use a unversal mounting option like a tripod mount screw. Then there would be more options for mounting the camera and replacing the braket if it brakes. I still like the mobius. I think im becoming a mobius fanboy :)

Any teasers for whats to come in 2014?

December 18, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterjohngr

I took my older model G900 (that survived the wreck) and mounted it facing out my rear window. My GS900 (with GPS) is now my forward-facing camera.

After my wreck I determined the more coverage, the better.

December 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterChris

Rear view camera setups would be an interesting step as dual camera systems usually use a low resolution camera at the back.
They also have to be better at dealing with night and powerful headlights in the same scene.
Not to mention catching footage like this from my mate's dual cam system from last week (he's ok).
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10152456703763642

December 18, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterevilution

Hello Matthew,
My name is Rene from the Netherlands, I can say that you have a lot of supporters in our country who are reading your articles. Very interesting always! Thanks!!!
My question is, you wrote: "You will need to obtain your own MicroSD card – (Class 6 or 4, but not Class 10)". I cannot read by the sellers that this cam needs a class 4 or 6. Most people and so am I, think that class 4 or 6 is minimal. "Better buy a class 10 card". Is that a wrong mind? Will it not work?
Because nearly every cam I deliver to customers is equipped with a class 10 card in the knowledge that it is faster therefore better? I have never got complains about the cards (transcend class 10) which I sell with the cams.
What is your opinion and what do you know what I don't know?
Thanks very much.

December 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRene Demmers

I'm looking forward for cheap, minimum 720p, multiview car cam :) After your review of mobius cam i've bought one and it is my best buy :D

December 21, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterkriis

Seems excellent; thanks for making another great video. I am poised to buy however I just checked your sample downloads and have the following observation: I can only read number plates when you're right up behind a vehicle; i.e. pulled up at traffic lights, etc. As soon as the vehicle in front is even a short distance away, the registration mark becomes a blur. Is that a fair assessment or is that just due to some recompression when you upload?

December 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSi

No, I think you're spot on there. The downloadable files are completely untouched when it comes to the quality (they are just trimmed for length).

December 24, 2013 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Today I bought a NAVIG[8]R CRASH CAM from Office Works (Australia) for $79. It is exactly the same as the G1W except that the mount is slightly different. It is easy to set up and use and the picture quality is excellent - number plates can be read at 20 metres. So far it's working well but there again I've only had it 9 hours! We will see.

December 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDonR

Thank you for your very informative review. I ordered one for my wife and another for our daughter from (eBay) estore009 on 12/24, it was delivered to my home in California, USA on 12/27! The unit works just as I'd hoped it would. I tried it out on a moonless night, on a road without street lamps or other fixed light source and headlight illumination alone provided acceptable video quality under the circumstances.
I haven't figured out how to get my PC to interface with the camera when it is plugged into the USB port. It does charge the battery via the USB but has not otherwise communicated with the computer. The instructions are minimal. I expect I will figure it out eventually but if anyone can provide a link to more detailed instructions, it would be most helpful.
Keep up the good work!

December 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDave Martin

I didn't connect mine up to the computer, I always use a USB Memory Card Reader instead...no need to pay more than one £/$

December 31, 2013 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Update: I used an SD card adaptor to read the microSD card the first time. When I plugged the camera back into the computer via the USB connection, it did begin interfacing properly. Also, the suction cup mount that came with these two cameras has a swivel ball joint to adjust the position of the camera.
Thanks again!

January 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDave Martin

Great review as always, however, I think there is even a better and cheaper camera called D33. Costs less than 60 USD with shipping. Found it myself here http://www.foxoffer.com/d33-super-mini-size-full-hd-1080p-car-camera-p-646.html#.UsovDfTuLcs . It is very small and the mounting options are more versatile due to the standard tripod mount. Also there is an option for a GPS. IMHO it is better value for the money than the G1W.

January 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNGG

After following Techmoan's excellent reviews for a good while and almost actually a more expensive camera on a couple of occasions I eventually had a punt on a G1W from this vendor http://tinyurl.com/p4ohfla (no affiliation) as it claimed to be shipped from the UK, with all the benefits which come with that fact.

It arrived within 3 days so was indeed UK stock. The box graphics matched the description in the vid, right down to the 'Specieations' bit so I'm pretty sure I have the 'right' one. One difference with my unit is the mount. It's toothed/ratcheted and very sturdy and there's none of the rotation that matt experienced. Maybe Matt's unit had a dodgy mount?

The actual mount slot is a very, very tight interference fit and I can see it giving way if it's forced but I'm resigned to it at this price and as it's a UK sourced unit, getting a replacement or refund shouldn't be impossible if the mount proves to be lacking in reasonable durability. I got 20 minutes filming from a full charge which is adequate for filming the aftermath of an incident, for example.

The video is great but the audio *is* inadequate but that's not really an issue for me and perhaps a firmware update / hack might appear sometime?

So far I'm happy with it and for the price I think it's a pretty god deal.

Thanks, Matt, for providing so much useful info.

January 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPaul H

Thanks for the very informative post/vid about the G1w. I was oscillating between this one and the K6000/DVR027, but I think I'll go with the G1W.

My only sticking point that remains is if it has a parking mode record option if I hard wire it into the car (for power). That would tick all the boxes I have for my dash cam.

January 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNmid

Hello,

at first a BIG thanx for your reviews.

I klicked the link above for Germany, but strangely the seller doesn´t ship to Germany and on the other hand has written arrival times.
Bad luck for me?

January 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterReef

Hi Matt.

Just received my G1W today. I'm a bit alarmed as the box is totally different from the one featured in your video, though the camera appears to be exactly the same. I'm really hoping that I haven't received a fake one, even though I used your link to buy. Only time will tell. I am trying to reassure myself that the change of box is merely an indication of the popularity of this camera - but I'll be trying mine out tomorrow to check the quality. Here's hoping....

January 13, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterquaser

Hi again, Mat

Well my fears appear to be unfounded. My G1W worked fine straight out of the box. Once set up, (using as class10 32GB microsd card), picture quality was as good as can be expected from a dash cam in this price range. The unit did get very hot though, and I mean HOT, but not sure if that was because I had the demister blowing for most of the test run. Being quite early, the sun was very low, and this seemed to make much of the lower portion of the resulting film a bit darker than I would like - you mentioned this during your review, so it wasn't entirely unexpected.

Not sure why you had an issue with your SD card, mine worked OK, and I see from the other comments that they haven't had any issue either. Oh well, perhaps it was a problem with your particular card?

Keep up the good work.

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterquaser

I found the dimming in bright light a significant problem - you cant read number plates! Conversely night vision is really good! I am hoping there might be a firmware upgrade to stop the picture over-darkening when the roads are wet and the sun low.

As far as tight mounting is concerned, I put a bit of silicon grease on the sliding part to enable disassembly with less risk of breaking

January 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJohn

When the roads are wet and the sun is low...There is no camera that can shoot in from the sun.
See this movie, this is what you mean? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VRiR9dOuKe8
Just play with the horizontal- and vertical position of your cam! Do not expect a firmware update for this.
This is how it works when the sun is low. With nearly every cam!

January 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRene Demmers

I think these products are great and we start relying on them too much. When they fail inside the warranty period you will regret buying them online. My experience dealing with one of the eBay sellers that was recommended in these posts should be a warning to everyone. "Please don't worry, we will send a replacement when you send the product back via airmail. Send the copy of the receipt for airmail and we will post to you."
So not only did I waste my money on the purchase, the seller made me waste money to airmail it back just to delay the communication beyond eBay's 45 day Seller Liability period. That seller has blocked me from their eBay store and ignores my emails.

January 17, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbargain4me2

I see a lot of license plate stamp as a feature on dash cams. What exactly does this mean? Also as on just the cameras you reviewed which one do you like the best and why?

January 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMiguel

The licence plate stamp lets you put a string of text in the corner of the video, useful for identifying footage if you are running a fleet of vehicles, each with their own dash-cam. As far as favourites, the recommended cameras are shown on the right.

January 22, 2014 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

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