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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)

Followup from my previous post...

Looks like I may have gotten a 'dud' camera after all. Originally, I thought my 'fail to start' issue was an invalid TF card. In the 5 days I've owned this camera so far, 9 out of 10 times it fails to start, and requires me to press the reset button after I start my car. The yellow 'mute' LED (labeled AUDIO on mine) will illuminate brightly when the mic is on, so I don't think the fact that it glows dim when it fails to start means an invalid TF card. What's strange is that it continues to glow dimly for quite a while after power is turned off. There is a small battery in the camera, so maybe the dim LED is normal?

I tried reformatting my TF card (a SanDisk Ultra, Class 10) using 'SD Formatter 3.1' from www.sdcard.org, but still have the same issue. I read someplace that a few of these cameras don't like SanDisk cards, so my next step will be to try a different brand.

A new problem that I noticed on my drive home tonight is that every once in a while both the red and green LEDs turn on, which indicates 'Corrupt Video', whatever that means. After a few seconds, it returns to normal operation. I have a feeling this happens when it writes to the card, since I have the loop recording set to 5 minute clips now. I may change it back to 1 minute to see if that helps.

I am hoping these problems are all TF card related, because otherwise, I really like this camera. It is exactly what I was looking for. I don't need a built-in screen because I have an aftermarket head unit (Pioneer AVIC-F700BT), and have the camera connected to the auxiliary video input. This allows me to easily view and adjust the camera.

For the time being, I just check the camera when I start my car, and if it fails to power up, I press the reset button and it starts working. Luckily, the reset button doesn't reset the date, or any of my settings. It just reboots the camera.

I'll report back when I get a new card, probably this weekend.

-Eric

March 14, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterdericn

I bought three of these without the GPS features and it operates a little bit differently.
There is no software to install.
It can format the SD card even if it was already formatted. You press and hold the Left Arrow button for 5 seconds to initiate formatting.
The 'Mute' button and LED should have been called 'Mic On' instead since mute is on when the LED for it is off. I suspect that is why you didn't record sound when you thought you should have.
Setting the time and date is a matter of pressing the Orange button for 5 seconds and then using brief Orange taps and Left/Right Buttons to make changes to the settings and then end with another 5 sec Orange press to end it.
It produces standard AVI files that require no decoding with special software. You must playback on a PC or Mac media player to hear the recorded sound (which worked perfectly on these).

The mounting ring was very strong and not loose like yours was.
It also did not have anything but bare wires for the switched 12v DC but I prefer to wire mine in and if you are doing this type of work, it should be trivial to add your own Cig Ligher plug if you need one.
These units are $40 US delivered and draw about 170ma max during recording and about 125ma in pause or play.
The ebay seller I used for this is phitronic. I bought 3 of them to use with my V1000 to record in every direction simultaneously in my street-legal Electric Cart.
Hope some of that was useful to y'all.
Here is the ebay item link:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/321080232827

Four of these would have been about the same price as one V1000 although only 720p but that's all I want anyway.

March 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAndroidian

I think that your version lacks a good infrared filter. Sunlight contains a lot infrared component. Even after sunset it's still there for some time (but we humans don't see it). Just stick an infrared filter in front of the lens and see whats happening. Probably that means an upgrade to your camera :)

March 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTjalling

Have you seen this model? Known as the HD DVR D7 or 'New HD 720P Dual Separate Lens Car DVR Recorder Dashboard vehicle Camcorder D7' on eBay. Would you be interested in reviewing it? Great reviews btw.

Item number 221128239594, seller niximtech

March 27, 2013 | Unregistered Commentersnowbord

I just got one, the HD version with Chinese writing. That's OK, it was only ~$40. I'm guessing the power wires are white+ and black-ground. Is that right?

June 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRob

Oh, sorry, that was a really stupid question I asked. I withdraw it.

June 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRob

Hi,

I just bought this camera off amazon and was wondering if anyone knew whether it needed used 12v or 5v power? I'm debating on whether to wire it into the rearview mirror (12v) or if its 5v what other route i should take.

thanks in advance!

pat

July 31, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterpat

12 volts. Mine's still working after 6 weeks, hard-wired to a 12 volt source under the dash. It's the HD version from Hong Kong with Chinese characters on it for Play, Record, & Mute.

August 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRob

Thanks for the response. Lastly I just got the camera and there are 3 power wire (Positive, Negative and ACC). I was wondering if i want the camera to automatically turn on/record do i wire the ACC and Positive together after tapping into a 12v source? Thanks again in advance!

August 3, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterpat

Positive should be 12v constant power. ACC should be powered only when you want the camera to be recording.

If you wire them together to constant power, you'd get 24x7 recording. If you wire them such that both get cut off when the key is out, then (I think) the camera doesn't close out correctly -- it can't finish off the file being recorded and save it normally. It needs a few seconds of power after ACC power is cut. Plus, think completely cutting power makes it forget its configuration option settings.

So, it's best to have two separate power sources: one that's hot all the time, and one (ACC) that's powered only when the key is on.

August 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRob

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