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Pick of the Camera Reviews

(Click the pictures for reviews & links) 

ACTION CAMS

Sony AS100V

Drift Stealth 2

Git2 Pro

 

Dazzne P2

Xiaomi Yi

SJCAM SJ4000

SJCAM M10+
SVC200
 
DASH-CAMS (CAR DVRs)
G1W Budget 1080p Cam

A118 Wedge Cam
Koonlung K1S
Marcus 5 Dual Camera
DrivePro 200
Transcend DrivePro 220
Transcend Drivepro 520
Marcus 4
MINI CAMERAS
(Some of these also work as dashcams)
Mobius
Polaroid Cube+
Mobius
HTC Re

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 and experienced too many issues with counterfeit cards - often sold on by unwitting resellers. 

NOTE - Some cameras work more reliably with Class 6 Cards as a Maximum (The Mini 0801 is an example). A lot of cameras will not work properly with cards larger than 32GB - so don't just buy the biggest card you can - read the specs in the manual first. 

VERY IMPORTANT. These links go to the product, but not necessarily to the Amazon Direct supplier. I recommend selecting from Amazon themselves not the reseller storefronts..even if it costs a bit more. 

UK & US LINKS & PRICES BELOW

CLASS 10 CARD

 

CLASS 6 CARD

 

 

            

« The Discovery HD - Demonstrating how good the SJ1000 & Mobius really are | Main | Audio Technica ATR3350 Lavalier Microphone »
Saturday
Aug312013

The Mini 0801 - Tiny 1080p GPS Car Camera with an LCD Screen

UPDATE 2014 - be sure to look at the New Improved 0803 Model HERE.

I finally have an answer for the people who ask me which Dashcam I use…. it's this one.

Up until this point whenever I finished reviewing a car camera, I removed it from my car and boxed it up again. This is the first camera that's earned a permanant place on my windscreen.

There are a couple of reasons for this - firstly one thing that shouldn't be underestimated is the WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor). I may be perfectly happy to live with a big piece of electronics hanging from the windscreen - but it's not completely down to me. The truth is though that I'm just as unhappy with anything messing up the car, however another more important concern is theft. Leaving an expensive device like a BlackVue camera in the windscreen is just not a good idea. To the average drug addict looking in car windows for something  to fund his next fix, you may as well have just left £50 on the passenger seat. However I'll be damned if I'm going to install and remove a camera every time I go for a short drive to the shops, I know that after a while I would get fed up doing it and leave it under a seat, and of course that's when something would happen.

However all those concerns are behind me because I've finally got a small car camera that appears to perform as well as any of the large devices that I've tried but that can be discretely mounted in a car and forgotten about.

Just prior to this camera's arrival I was thinking about how to permanently install the Mobius camera in my car and I still think that this would be a good alternative option if you can find some way to mount it, but I find that the design of the Mini 0801 fits better with my requirements.

You can download Sample Clips HERE 

You have a choice of sellers, 

 

ebay options for UK buyers

ebay store in USA

Amazon US

Amazon UK

If you want to download the Windows only GPS Playback software I used in the video - here it is.

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Reader Comments (649)

Great review! I think I picked the right camera if Techmoan himself is using it as his full time camera! :) There will be a firmware update to change recording from .TS to .MOV. If you search google for DashCamTalk Smallest Ambarella Car DVR, go to the first hit, http://forum.dashcamtalk.com/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=1001&start=300
and jump to page 31 and you'll see what I dug up on this so far. I also have a CPL mod in the works if you jump to page 32. I'll be sharing the 3D printed file you can print to any local hobbyist via the makexyz portal. Also, there is no need to display ANY stamp on the screen when RegistratorViewer app has the option to embed the gps .LOG data info into the new clip you generate. Until the new firmware update comes out to change .TS to .MOV i'm using VideoReDo to instantly convert the H.264 .TS container to .MP4. (1 second flat, lossless change) You can also tell RegistratorViewer to generate a .SRT subtitle file and then import that to Youtube as a CC (Closed Caption) That way you can turn the text on/off.

September 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJazJon

I'm glad you got round to reviewing this and that you're happy with it! If it was due to my suggestion a while back, then I'm doubly chuffed.

I'm using this in my car as well except my mic was awful. I ended up removing it and soldering a mic from a spare handsfree set. works fine now.

The mic is actually positioned below the small hole on the top of the camera, for future reference.

September 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterChris

Too bad price went up to 98.43€ (before it was only 75€) without GPS and 117.37€ with GPS...

September 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterShinju

I didn't even think to look at the mini DVD disc that came alone with my 0801. The playback software shown in the review is on it.
http://youtu.be/ZdPHXv8Hzj8?t=16m41s <~~~ 16m41s mark

So yeah it's not all that great, you're much better off using the free RegistratorViewer app. It's similar but with WAY more options and full GPS image maps from every known provider.

http://www.registratorviewer.com/index_en.html

Note that Google Maps isn't in the Quick List, you have to pick View, Maps, Google Maps. (or just hit F3)

September 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJazJon

@Shinju You're right about the price going up, I only paid $108 USD for:

Mini 0801 Ambarella Black Box Car DVR With A2S60 + OV2710 + Full HD 30FPS + Optional GPS/8GB for Backup + Free Shipping
(GIVOE Sales on AliExpress)

They have raised their prices already as well! If you search eBay for mini 0801 you'll see a few other sellers.

GIVOE is the only one that's confirmed they are shipping the new September firmware though. (records in .MOV instead of .TS)
http://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/Mini-Ambarella-Car-Video-Recorder-DVR-0801-With-A2S60-Chip-Full-HD-30FPS-MOV-File-Format/401974_858074589.html

I have a feeling this camera in it's latest revisionn will be selling fast now that the bugs are worked out. The first batches months ago had audio drop out issues. The last remaining bug was recording in .TS instead of .MOV as advertised. I guess there was some problem in the way they recycled old files and .TS was more reliable to use until they overcame the issue. That's why all the marketing out there says MOV even though it comes with a firmware that only records in .TS

It's all hashed out here, I posted the conversations I had with GIVOE.
http://forum.dashcamtalk.com/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=1001&start=290

September 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJazJon

Great review, like always.

I was just checking out some car cameras yesterday, so this came exactly at the right moment. Finally a camera that has a simple mounting, so you can easily take it out from the car.

Also the GPS receiver is finally compact and small, no extra wires needed.

Probably I will buy one from AliExpress.

September 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAndras

Terrific review of the sort of camera I've been waiting for, Matt! (I might not have been paying attention but don't remember if you said if it cycles recording - I expect it does though)

I think - but anyone know - that this is the same camera on ebay. Seems very reasonable for £61 and free postage.

September 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterVoyager03

@Voyager03 Yes that's the same camera, I actually bought one that exact one from the exact eprance buyer. After learning it only recorded in .TS even though their original description said .MOV I started investigating on DashCamTalk.com
What I found is posted in great detail here:
http://forum.dashcamtalk.com/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=1001&start=290

As you can see Aliexpress (Givoe) confirmed they are the first to get updated models with new .MOV firmware.
eprance said they don't have the new .MOV version yet so you'll get .TS
The firmware updates are not universal across all cams either, so you're better of buying from Aliexpress (seller Givoe)
I made a quick link since so many people are asking.
http://bit.ly/mini0801

September 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJazJon

Thanks Jazjon.

I think I would be more comfortable dealing with a seller on ebay than Aliexpress, just because I don't know anything about it!

September 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterVoyager03

@Voyager03 I forgot to answer your main question, yes it records in 1 to 5 minute segments and auto-recycles the oldest unprotected file automatically. So yes it cycles recordings. I think you get about 7 hours per 32GB microSD card. eprance is a good seller, but keep in touch with them so they can get you the new firmware update once/if it's ever out. They are great with communication. Apparently this camera is made at more than one factory so the people that code the firmware might be more or less talented per location. Recording to .TS was a work around because an .MOV bug caused problems which were apparently finally fixed. It's unclear if the factory eprance buys from will have this fix out any time soon though. Several trusted people on DashCamTalk have confirmed Givoe is a legitimate trusted seller on AliExpress. I'll post my own confirmation that things went well once my new 0801 arrives next week. (with latest September H.264 .MOV firmware) I'll post raw sample files to dropbox.

September 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJazJon

I've just placed an order for the Mini 0801 with GPS at Aliexpress Givoe.

I googled it, but it seems there is no official website for this product. So in that case, how do I get support, and how do I know if there is a firmware update? Or does it say such in the manual?

Sorry, I haven't received my order yet. So if I'm asking a question that has already been stated in the product manual, please excuse me.

Thanks in advance.

Gary

September 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGary

@Gary There is no product page. These best bang for the buck DashCam's from China often don't get firmware updates at all. This is why I stress and judge buying be based on what it delivers NOW, updates may not eventuate, there are two sources for this product, both use solution companies for the firmware, they're both capable of delivering a stable product but without some of the extras that others might achieve with the platform. (the .MOV bug for example) Both Givoe and eprance get A+ for communication so far if you follow the thread. I'll post and share any firmware updates they share with me, but we have to be VERY careful. The firmwares are different based on if you have GPS or the extra internal 8GB backup version. The firmware Givoe obtains from their solution company might not be compatible with the eprance sourced cameras. (turning your camera into a brick) The 0801 camera's might look the same, and have the same chips inside, but were put together by different factories, configurations and slightly tweeked revs etc. So again that's why I'm going hog wild with the communication on waiting to buy the .MOV version if you really want a fully compatible format. The firmware update for 0801's bought as .TS may or may not ever be released. I'm hopeful for everyone though since the firmware update is an option in the gui.

September 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJazJon

@JazJon

Thanks for the prompt detailed reply. I've also emailed to Givoe sales to check. So, in any case, I guess I should not expect too much on the product support. After all, it's yet a cheap product.

Thanks.

September 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGary

@Gary Glad I can help explain everything, it's a DashCam soup out there! So much low budget "junk" on ebay too. I only learned all this myself in the last few weeks. (dug deep) If you want to see a brand name example version of this camera at TWICE the price sold in Russia check it out here: (ProCam CX4)

http://www.aeextr.com.ua/product_301.html
&
http://procam.ru/catalogue/27-avtomobilnyy-videoregistrator-procam-cx4.html

Anyone that bothers researching complains it's too expensive and ends up buying the ebay or aliexpress models

September 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJazJon

Yep it is soup out there but it seems that models with AMBARELLA chips seems the best to buy.
Starting with A2 then A5 you can find now new A7 models in cheap camera (If I am not wrong Gopro use A7 too).
The A9 is the last chip availlable on the market and not included in cheap cams.

September 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterShinju

Sorry to repost so soon but here you can see chips in gopro:
GoPro Hero 3 Black chip A7 Ambarella
le Hero 3 white and silver A5S Ambarella.
A5S et A7 are build with CMOS 45nm Samsung.
A9 will appear on Gopro 4.

September 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterShinju

@Shinju. I read that if a DashCam isn't based on the XXX-A family, it's not designed for prolonged use in an automotive environment (keyword letter is A) I think A stands for Automotive. A5 has been around for a while but is being phased out, A7L-A range are purpose built for automotive use, the A5 offered ok performance but can suffer a bit in hot environments and had some other limitations, you'll probably still see A5 based product around for a while yet.

http://www.ambarella.com/products/automotive-camera-solutions.html

September 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJazJon

I'm pretty sure the field of view on the latest 0801 Rev 2 is 140 degrees, the 120º was the spec for Rev 1 many months ago.
Read this page: http://forum.dashcamtalk.com/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=1001&start=250

September 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJazJon

Sure Ambarella has developed series for automotive but no dash-cam has it because it is surely too expensive and my post was only for pointing at Ambarella as a good chip. When you see so many solutions in Chinese stores, it is good to find a "leading developer of low-power, high-definition video compression and image processing semiconductors" (working with GoPro). So when you buy a product with their chip you have more chance to have satisfaction ;) Lifetime isn't the main target for chinese products.

See:
http://www.aliexpress.com/item/New-2013-Car-DVR-Camera-GS6000-with-newest-Ambarella-A7-GPS-Logger-G-Sensor-Full-HD/1247590064.html

The GS6000 has great chance to be a good product but I agree that A2S in the Mini 0801 is largely good enough for a Dashcar (Sure I will buy one of those because of the good video, design and the size). Sure A5S is good too (hero 3 white and silver). But if you are a little more geek (but not rich) you maybe will prefer the last product available at the cheapest price. A7 will ring a bell ! (A2<A5<A7<A9...)

So I am going to wait a test from you about the GS6000 A7 Ambarella ;) :) Or other products which are using the same base as Gopro Hero 3 Black.

September 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterShinju

Love the reviews.

I see the 3M mount back is permanent. How would I removed this if I wanted to install it in another vehicle? Also, my fleets are leased. How would I remove after the lease is up? Thx.

September 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCowmissing

It's pretty easy to remove these sticky pads...I have to do it regularly whenever I've finished with a review unit. The easiest way is to saw them off with a piece of dental floss, and then if there is any sticky residue left, remove it with isopropyl alcohol.

September 3, 2013 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

I have 2 mobius in my car and while I loved them at first, they now refuse to connect to my windows laptop to configure the setting and I find the general operation too confusing without a LCD. ( I have too many gadget to remember all the keypress for each).

I used to have a DR32 with better picture quality and easier setup but my windsheild is pretty short and with the mount the camera is too big. So I just ordered 2 Mini 0801, as they fit nicely between both of them in size and ease of use.

I was wondering if I can put a 64Gb card in those or is it limited to 32gb like others. And also, what is the file size of the clips, the sample are pretty big for such short videos. I need to be able to record 7-8 hours in 1080p, is that possible?

September 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPhilippeFrechette

Is there a way to turn the screen off, so you don't have a "night light" in your car while you are driving?

September 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAndras

@PhilippeFrechette I agree, having the mini screen is a must and is a top reason whey I went with it after the mini size. The Mobius was third in line of my choices when researching DashCams

The DR32 was my 2nd pick but I don't like how low it hangs down, you can see the camera out of the corner of your eye when driving then. The 0801 is the perfect size, price, and feature set/price point.

Nobody has confirmed a 64GB works with this. I know you can special format 64GB cards to work on other 32GB only model dashcams, but it's not guaranteed to work. 32GB is plenty. Since this is a 10MBps bitrate 1080P camera, that's 7.3 hours!

http://dashcamtalk.com/recording-time-calculator-added/


My last post didn't go through I was saying I'm pretty sure the 0801 rev 2 is 140 degrees of view, not 120. (from earlier this year) See this thread:
http://forum.dashcamtalk.com/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=1001&start=250
(actually starts one page before that)

September 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJazJon

@Andras The screen turns off after 1 minute by default. (settable in options) The default beep noise is set to high. You'll see the screen and hear a chime when it's first turned on. If you set the beep to off you won't hear anything at all. I turned mine off. The flashing blue/red LED is enough for me to confirm it's recording. I only see the dim LED lights if I look around the mirror. It's not bright enough to notice at all if you have it behind your mirror out of site. So it's total stealth. You could probably mask the screen off too since it turns on for 60 seconds before auto off. By the time you start driving it's off though.

September 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJazJon

@JazJon: thanks, exactly what I wanted to know!

September 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAndras

Thanks for the great review as usual. I will buy this camera. I just have one question. If I remove the mount from one car, how do I use it in another one? Do I need to buy another mount?

September 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterUnni

@Unni
You need to buy a spare mount if you plan on moving this between two cars. The 3M sticky take is meant for long term semi-permanent mounting. The GPS unit is located IN the mount though, electrical contacts are made when you slide the camera into it for both GPS and power. You can get the same base without the GPS as well . (will be power alone then) This is nice because they can sell the same model camera with or without the GPS. You'll save $20/$25 USD without the GPS when buying everything as a package. I'm not sure if Aliexpress or eBay sellers offer the base as a single item though actually! You might want ask them if you can buy a second mount in your main order. The NZ site Techmoan bought his from is over priced.

I have an idea. The Camera can be powered from the USB port on the mount, or directly on the camera itself. I'm working with a 3D printer/designer soon to make a custom CPL filter base. (Polarized Filter)
http://forum.dashcamtalk.com/viewtopic.php?f=31&t=2343
I might go all out and design a model of a dummy base for everyone to re-print for general use. I'd share the 3D print file and you could print it at any local 3D print shop for $5-$10 USD via http://www.makexyz.com (this portal let's you in touch with local 3D printer owners ready to help for free/cheap) I met a nice guy in San Francisco. I'll see what I can come up with in the near future. I'll make one that requires another double stick tape, and one that has built in suction cup. (might be fun, I'll give it a go)

September 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJazJon

@JazJon
Thanks for the super quick reply. My situation is this. I am in US now, and will go back to India in a few weeks. So, the 3d printing option may not be possible.

I plan to use the camera when I am in US. Once I go back, I want to take the camera with me, and mount it in the car which I will drive in India. I have never used 3M tape before. Will it be possible to remove the tape from the device and stick another one?

September 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterUnni

@Unni, Mine came with 1 spare 3M double stick tape square in the box. I'm told you can remove the mount off the window using dental floss. Just pull the floss string slipped between the window and base to remove. If the sticky square looks like it's good enough to use again, you can then use a piece of wax paper (or the back left over of a shipping label etc) to preserve the "stick" for the next mount.

September 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJazJon

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