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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

 

 
DASH-CAMS (CAR DVRs)
 
A119
DR02 D - Best Budget Dual Cam
Yi

Yi Ultra 2.7K
   
    MINI CAMERAS
Mobius (also works as a Dashcam)
Polaroid Cube+
    HELMET CAMERA
Drift Ghost X

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%! 

 
« A review of the Sony AKA-LU1 Action Cam LCD Screen Grip | Main | A review of the Senseo Sarista 8030/60 Coffee Machine »
Thursday
Feb072013

The Smallest Car DVR - So close, but misses by a mile.

The form-factor of this car DVR is almost exactly what I want, compact, neat simple and inconspicuous.

The camera attaches with one wire, doesn't beep (ever), eschews using distractingly bright LEDs, and doesn't have the typical overly-large suction cup mount. It also doesn't have features that I find unnecessary like an LCD display, GPS or LED Night Vision. It just performs one simple role, recording driver's eye view footage all your journeys.

But if it's so good, then why did I remove it from my windscreen the moment my testing was complete. You'll find the answer in the full video review below.

The auction that I bought mine from has closed and the typical selling prices are now quite a bit higher than I paid. I should mention that at the time of typing many retailers of this camera have temporarily taken down their auctions during Chinese New Year. There should be more sellers appearing after the holidays have concluded.

If after watching the video you do still want to buy one, you could CLICK THIS LINK - which will perform an appropriate search on eBay - but when you get there you'll need to change your buying/search location preferences to worldwide to bring up the Chinese retailers.

I do like this camera's external design so I may revisit this model again but next time I'll try to source an improved model that really does record in h.264. I have my eye on this one (on eBay) - which looks like it might be the real deal.

 

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Reader Comments (37)

I presume that it is faulty, yes. But even if it didn't exhibit the coloured light issue it's still missing the advertised h.264 and12V plug, so I'd avoid this one and try the other version I link to in the post.

February 10, 2013 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

@Willy @2/10/13 2:29 AM:
I really dont understand how you can compare this dashcam to a Blackvue. Yes - the Blackvue may cost 10 times the money but it has one big advantage - it works

"Works". You could say this about the DoD products that Russian truckers have documented to last for years of all-day every-day use(ref. Youtube). Versus frequent, rapid and massive failures of Blackvuew products due to day-to-day heat exposure. So "works" is a variable. This cam obviously failed but you can compare this unit to a BV or any other cam (but not equate them). An interesting comparison table is done at dashcamtalk.com.

Lets take 30 Dollar dashcams out of the equation and have a look at a better dashcam (tested by Techmoan) ->V1000GS.

I think it's interesting that Matt opted to review this tiny cam that is from the lower end of the scale just to see if it *would* work (even if he didn't get what was ordered). But a non sequitor, really, as v1000gs is not even listed by 2wincctv and has long been reported to be no longer manufactured. A current equivalent in purpose and price would be interesting to see reviewed by Matt, even if someone has to send him one.

Now - compare the V1000GS to the DR500GW-HD and the latter doesnt seem that expensive anymore, does it?

At a local price of ~US$350-400 the dr500 is well over 2x the price of a v1000gs. I think most would say that is (much) more expensive.

Compare the nighttime footages and you will see how bad the V1000GS is.

Except that it's still better than many or even most.

You say these Blackvue cams are overdone. IMHO they only meet the minimal requirements. Are they overpriced? Maybe

But they don't even have an LCD screen! :) The power monitor module is an extra-cost option! Some won't be satisfied until a RED EPIC-X is available with parking motion detection. Minimal is subjective.

In the end, the value equation is an individual one. Our friend Techmoan tends to look for high function, lower cost, preferably with a unique twist or advantage. This is why I would suggest that just as you "take 30 Dollar dashcams out of the equation" one must take out the top end of the price range as well. When a US$60 DVR-027 (genuine) will suit most people as an "avtoregistrator". That's another reason the BV and FV DVRs move to the exclusion zone here.

Whatever our individual preferences and differences may be, I'm always looking forward to Mr. Moan's next review. Thanks for watching.

February 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTom

@Tom:

You cant just mention russian truck drivers and youtube and deduce that DOD cams are reliable. What kind of an argument is that :) Do you mean to insinuate that DOD cams dont ever fail? Cause I know better...

What modell are we talking about - how much does it cost - whats the image quality like? If you dont even mention a modell name any debate is pointless. The fact that there is some OK footage on youtube does not prove that all DOD cams work well under all conditions. Ive seen reviews of most DOD cams and I am simply not impressed.

Check that:

http://dashcamtalk.com/dod-gs600/

As you can see - one of the most famous DOD cams, the GS600, is nothing but a branded V1000GS such as tested by Techmoan. Same thing - therefor same ok/poor image quality - same price. Read about the known problems and watch the nighttime footage. You will see that the GS600 is an SD card killer and that the nighttime footage is useless.

You said you couldnt find the V1000GS on 2wincctv but have you seen the TW-V1000? Looks pretty much alike doesnt it? I think they just renamed it. When I talked to the sales manager Betty from 2wincctv some time ago the V1000GS was still available (under that name) for 145 Dollars. Get in touch with her and ask her - if you think that matters somehow. BTW - judging by what I know about chinese manufacturers I would say that most cameras on sale (especially the older ones on your dashcamtalk table) are no longer in production.

You spoke about rapidly failing Blackvue PRODUCTS. Be told - it was ONE model (out of a big lineup) that had a heat problem. Blackvue is one of the biggest players in one of the biggest markets for dashcams. They offer warranty services that noname brands dont offer. I know what to do when my Blackvue fails. What do you do when your noname camera stops working?

You complained about the optional "power monitor" as if that was a disadvantage of some sort. Its like saying that Mercedes cars are bad because Mercedes also sells bicycles. The fact is - the Mercedes car will work - even if you dont buy the optional Mercedes bicycle. Same thing with the camera. It will work without the power monitor. On the other hand - does DOD even offer a power monitor that protects your car battery?

Preference is one thing - but when something happens you need the best image quality you can get. A camera that offers OK image quality during daytime and bad grainy, noisy image quality during nighttime could turn out to be "not good enough".

Why am I on fire for things like parking mode? Couple of years ago someone backed into my parked car and fled the scene. I had to pay 4200 Euros to have my car repaired...

Ive seen all of Techmoans excellent reviews on dashcams. Ive noticed that there were some dashcams that he liked. I also noticed that he hasnt found the perfect dashcam yet. This is why I suggested to test one of the "better" dashcams. After all - Ive noticed that Techmoan owns a lot of high end stuff (Iphone, Ipad and so on). I deduced that Techmoan is not a screw. So I made a suggesstion. Nothing wrong with that - right?

February 10, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterwilly

Did you try out the Mutations Record???? I don't know if this was supposed to be the G-sensor

I was hoping the red button was going to be an event log.

February 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMainsail

I'm looking same thing to be small and not expensive Car DVR, but sometimes quality cost, that one quality is better looks for 29$ Car DVR.

February 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterThom

I got the newer h.264 camera and it kills FM reception in my car. I didn't see any CE marks on the camera either.

February 28, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterjoop1987

Got that exact same effect when I accidentally damaged the ribbon connector to lens of an 808 cam.

March 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMotorMac

I purchased one from Techmoan's "this one (on eBay)" link (seller hopezone001). I paid US$43.49, with free shipping. It arrived within a week, and I installed it today. At first I thought it was broken, as I had to press the RESET button each time I started the car for it to start recording. Eventually I noticed the yellow 'MUTE' LED was on (very dim in the daylight), which indicates an invalid TF card. I was using a standard SanDisk (Class 4) card. I replaced it with a SanDisk Ultra (Class 10) card and all it well.

It is indeed the latest model, with the full on-screen menu. The menu system is a bit confusing to navigate at first, but once you figure out which button does what, it gets easier. Video quality is very good for a camera in this price range (and no 'thermonuclear' issues... LOL). I am impressed with its low-light performance as well.

It produces .AVI files, averaging 57.5 MB for a 1 minute clip. I see no missing frames between clips. In fact, it appears to add the last few frames from the previous clip onto the next one. Here is what the 'media information' tab in VLC media player shows:

Codec: H264 - MPEG-4 AVC (part 10) (H264)
Resolution: 1280 x 720
Frame rate: 30

It is 30 FPS, but when I click the 'frame by frame' button in VLC, a new image appears every TWO clicks, so the actual rate may be 15 FPS. Still looks quite smooth on playback at normal speed though.

Overall, I am extremely happy with this camera. Many thanks to Techmoan for your excellent and thorough reviews!

-Eric

March 10, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterdericn

Eric, thanks. I purchased one of these as well and intend to test it out soon and make a short follow-up video. From your report it sounds promising.

March 10, 2013 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Could be a winner...........

March 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEddie

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