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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

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%! 

            

 
« Dual HD Dashcam is almost half as good as two cameras | Main | Sharp RP-114 Turntable - Stand up for the 80s »
Sunday
Jun152014

Mini 0803 - Probably The Best Mini Dashcam with a Screen

Here is my review of the Mini 0803 Car DVR, in the video you'll also see a brief low-light comparison with the old Mini 0801. Low light is the area where the biggest advancement can be seen over the older model - but there are other improvements too. 

As I've already made a full review of the Mini 0801, I decided to keep this video as brief as possible, and didn't test every option fully. I have a feeling that the video quality might be improved still further if the settings were tweaked a bit - perhaps the 'Super Fine' mode adds grain to the image. These are all things you could experiment with yourself if you buy one from one of the links below.

As the Mini 0803 is a good camera for people looking to get their first dashcam, I've included a brief dash-cam overview in this video - for a more detailed newcomers guide to dashcams - Click Here. 

I ordered mine from Amazon as I've been having a few issues recently with Chinese dash-cam orders getting returned back to the seller by Chinese customs. Perhaps it's an issue with the exportation of devices with built-in lithium batteries...but whatever the reason, you may find that Amazon is your best bet for a quick and hassle-free delivery with buyer protection as well as the possiblilty of returning the camera if it's faulty.

Downloadable Sample Clips - Click Here

Purchasing Options

(I bought mine via Amazon in the UK)

 

Amazon UK  Amazon US

ebay US (store) ebay US (search)   ebay UK   ebay DE   ebay NL

ebay AU   ebay FR   ebay ES

Additional info:

It is possible to manually lock files by pressing the down arrow when the camera is recording. The G-Sensor will do this automatically when it's triggered.

I bought mine via Amazon Prime UK. It arrived the next day. Not all the camera configurations are available with Prime....so have a browse around Amazon or ebay for a configuration and delivery option that is most suitable for you.

The Mac & Windows  Dashcam Viewer software is available here.
http://earthshinesw.com/dashcam-viewer/

The popular Windows GPS Playback program Registrator Viewer can be downloaded here.
http://www.registratorviewer.com/index_en.html

IMPORTANT UPDATE (Overheating issues) - OCTOBER 2014

I've received a number of reports from people who live in hotter countries that have experienced overheating issues and failures with the 0803. Due to the short time that I use any one camera for and the lower temperature where I live, I haven't had any issues myself but I would now recommend you avoid the 0803 if you live in a hot country.

Final Update - April 2015

I've heard so many negative stories about the reliability of this camera - I no longer recommend it at all.

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Reader Comments (400)

@Andy,the recycle is set at 1 minute, resolution at 1080, quality fine.

August 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterWil

I watched your review, great job, great information. I bought one as you suggested off Amazon the 803 with all the bells and whistles. It was sent with a 32 Gig card. When i put the card in and drove the vehicle stopped looked at the files on the computer and put it back in the pick up. A little later I heard a whistling buzzing noise, not real loud and the screen was blank. I finally held down the on and off button till it reset. What is your guess that is causing this, sort of remember something about the memory card. What card should I use and do you think I should be considering hitting up Amazon customer service. I do like the little thing and if it is just something I am doing like the card maybe you would know. Thanks again for your very nice review and your help.

Glen

August 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterALCEDO

@Glen,
I think Matt is on holiday so I wouldn't wait but contact Amazon. My understanding is that class 10 SD cards should work with the 803 and I haven't read anywhere of the card causing the problems you reported. You could try a class 6 SD if you have one but it does sound as though you have a faulty cam.

August 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAndy Jenkinson

I have used a class10 32g card for a couple of months now without any trouble. I bought the card a Sandisk from Amazon and the 803 from Joovuu. Mind you its not easy to work out which way round it goes and I do wonder if damage can be caused by trying to force in the card the wrong way round! Thats not the cards fault, just my failing eyes... Both card and unit work perfectly, just check you have formatted the card as Matt described in his review.

August 15, 2014 | Unregistered Commenter@Tom

Just mounted mine this afternoon, wish me luck!

Here are some pictures.

August 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kwan

Hi ,I recently bought the 0803 with G.P.S, the unit on the recording aspect is satisfactory,however the GPS works intermittently and other times not at all,I contacted the seller and a new GPS unit was sent out ,This was fitted below the Mirror, as before this to is not picking up the Satellite ,I travelled some Two hundred miles with no result,has anyone come across this ,can anyone give me an explanation as to why this is happening,I have a Sat Nav and a detector both pick up signal within minutes and never lose it unless I go thro a tunnel but regain it at the other side.I live in Glasgow ,this is a Chinese unit maybe not set up properly to Scotland.

August 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterChris

Same thing happened again: full SD card, camera stopped.
I have formatted the SD card using the SDFormatter, hope that it helps.

August 18, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterWil

Hi
Just returned a mini 0803 from E-Prance via Amazon. Two issues: audio recording wouldn't turn off even though the microphone icon showed a red line through it and the camera became very hot, even when driving at night. Previously had an 0801 and delighted with it - until power connection failed. Is my experience with the 0803 shared by others or was I just unlucky?

August 18, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMeltonian

I'm looking at getting one of these thanks to your review. I heard you that you think it's not worth getting one with the internal memory but what about the optional GPS, any benefits to getting this add on or should I just purchase without memory or gps? Thanks

August 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTerry

@Terry,
I found GPS to be of limited value, You can watch the video of where you've been and see on a map your position at the same time - on a PC. It is interesting but not very useful. Would you use it more than once or twice? I doubt it.

August 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAndy Jenkinson

Hi,Re my last post I to have 1080 full hd on my unit yet I bought the 0803 what does this mean? ,is this an older updated model to 0803? , I notice that you did a test on a 0801,is this an update to the 1080, my unit has all the functions of the 0803 however I see the test you carried out has 1296 super hd, are there upgrades out there being passed as the latest model which seems to not have a very good critt,as before ,my comment on performance is ok but the mic is a bit of a nuisance don't know whether it is on or off, GPS waste of time ,works intermittently,have other units which pick up GPS signals within a few minutes and never let me down,does anyone out there have the same problem?**

August 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterChris

I have just completed a trip from Devon to Lower Largo (Fife, Scotland) and back, around 1300 miles. For the most part my 0803 has worked ok. However, there are some showstoppers which mean I am sending it back. Nearly every trip the unit stops recording after sounding a little beep. It eventually reboots after about 10 minutes if left, but can be forced to resume recording if rebooted manually. This is fine if you have a passenger but is not really safe if you are driving alone.
The more serious issue is that three times the unit has crashed. The screen goes dark and the unit emits a high pitched tone and won't respond to any button press. I had to leave it for more than an hour before it could be used again. Whilst driving, the tone is audible from the glove box and is distracting.
We haven't been able to work out if either of these issues is to do with vibration or over heating. Shame as I quite like the thing and enjoy watching playback of my trips.
I guess it may just be a bad one, but its difficult to recommend as it is.
Mark

August 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMark

I have the 0803. I would like to know where to get firmware update for these cameras ( I have two). with simple instuctions on how to do the firmware update to the camera. If anyone knows please post.

August 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJake E

Thanks for this review.

I currently own the Mini 801 (purchased from ePrance on eBay - BTW, what happened to them? Their eBay account is empty as of tonight).

A couple of issues with the Mini 801:
- Immediately, I noticed a lot of audio noise which seems to coincide with GPS updates (a loud 'hiss' sound once per second).
- After about 1 month of use, the LCD screen began showing a lot of noise (rapid random streaks). Since I do not use the screen very often, it isn't a serious problem. Or is it an indication of impending failure?
- The battery? I understand it is only good for about 10 minutes. But mine fails within seconds. It seems that it never gets charged.
- A few times, it has displayed a boot failure.
- Loose GPS mount! Bloody annoying! So, the captured video is on a permanent slant. Fortunately, it is for safety, not art. Still....
- Finally, the lack of polarization on the lens!! Without polarization, it records the dash reflection! I am going to try fitting on my own polarizing lens.

Anyhow, I need a second camera. Thanks for this review because I am considering the Mini 803.

Questions:
1) Is the GPS mount identical to the Mini 801?
2) I understand they changed the power adapter to microUSB?
3) How long is the included power cord?
4) OT... I am considering hard wiring the next camera (the USB power adapter makes powering the unit slightly unreliable - too easy to knock out the power). I'm wondering if someone can provide generic instructions for doing a hardwire connection?

Thanks

August 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterShawn

Couple of links.

Dock reliability/fixes (two listed - scroll down) - http://forum.dashcamtalk.com/threads/gps-dock-pin-repair.6493/
Newest firmware (12th August) - http://dashcamtalk.com/forum/threads/mini0803-firmware-update-to-0812-version-megtech.6859/

I've updated mine from fw20140507 v1.0 and it seems be be ok - after updating, delete firmware.bin from the SD card, otherwise it keeps asking if you want to update again and again. You may need to manually power on once then off again with the button after updating - mine wouldn't auto-start with power applied otherwise.

A couple of other things gathered from that forum.
There's a revised version of the 0803 with a heatsink that is already with some distributors. Not sure that would make any difference without any air flow...
And, setting the resolution lower (from 1296p to 1080p) reduces the temperature a little - turning WDR mode off reduces it even more.

August 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDan

Oh, and after updating quickly check your settings are how you'd like them, they may need to be fiddled with - in fact, after a firmware update it may be worth resetting and reentering them altogether.

Shawn, usually splice a permanent install in to the wires leading to the cigarette lighter socket, assuming it's switched with the ignition on your vehicle. Otherwise there are usually two going to the stereo, one always on to keep the stations and another switched so that it turns off the music with the ignition, splice in to the switched one there.

August 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDan

Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't the 12v cigarette lighter plug supplied step the voltage down to 5v USB? If so I don't see how you would hard wire it to 12v without damaging it.

August 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAndy Jenkinson

I meant either making use of the original power lead/charger, or something like eBay item # 130978722656.

Alternatively, ebay # 380708104111 - I've been using one of those with an old Canon printer power supply to run a Raspberry Pi and an external disk for months without issue - though that version doesn't come with the extra cables and a fuse.

August 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDan

@Dan
Fine. Just didn't want someone reading this thread assuming they could just hard wire to the 12v supply directly :)

August 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAndy Jenkinson

What a great post, and review thanks.

My stumbling blocks initially were - the early purchase of a Class 10 Micro SD card - BUY CLASS 4/5 or it may cause it to crash, give of a screechy noise and generally misbehave. Format it, and be careful inserting it and getting it out as the spring loading is fierce. In the time/date settings make sure the initial +06 setting is at 0 or it will add 6 hours to the GPS time every time you switch it on. When play back footage if it is gittery try different card readers or save the footage to the desktop before you play it.

August 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMatt

Matt,
Thanks for the info. What make of Class 10 did you try? That might make a difference.

August 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAndy Jenkinson

Dear all,
We have a 0803 dash cam had it for about two week only to find now and again this repeating noise starts IE, - Der-Der- Der- Der-very fast until the battery dies, then when we reboot it , it is normal again has any else had this problem.
If so is there any thing we can do, or is it just the case to send it back or is it the frim ware. Can we up grade the firm ware or not.

August 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNoggie

Hi,

I've been watching many of your reviews and wondered if you would advice this dashcam also as best spycam ? I'm looking for a cam that can be charged and record at the same time for hours in cyclus mode. It is for indoor with normal lightning condition. Would you still advice this camera or should I look for a real compact camcorder a IP camera ? If so which one ? Thanking you in advance. Stefaan.

August 29, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterstefaan

I am considering buying an 0803 but I have recently seen a B40 A118 Novatek 96650 AR0330 6G 170° Lens H.264 FHD 1080P Mini Car Dash Camera DVR which looks very interesting as it fits snugly against the windscreen. Have you any experience of this one or are you intending to review it as I think it could challenge the 0803 for daylight quality but I am not sure about night time. I look forward to your thoughts on this DVR as I think it looks more discreet than any others for fit and forget.

Minataur.

August 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMinataur

Check my post further up from the 22nd, it says where the newest firmware is.

Mine hasn't crashed with the new firmware, though it didn't crash that often with the previous version, so after just a week of use it's hard to tell if it's actually any better in that regard.

August 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDan

I have had my 0803 for about 3 weeks and it is starting to click like Noggie mentions above too. It won't stop, it won't power off, the only thing to do is let the battery run out to make it stop, it also gets quite warm when this happens. After the battery has gone dead I can use it again for half and hour and then it starts again. It seems to work fine for short trips but if going for longer than 20 minutes it starts malfunctioning again. I bought two of them that are doing this.

August 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJake Enns

It would be helpful if people said who they bought the device from and when in case there was a bad batch or problem devices are from particular vendors. If from multiple sellers we would then know it was a common problem.

August 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAndy Jenkinson

I All
just looked at my Email's to answer Andy Jenkinson asking where I bought it from it was amazon

August 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNoggie

Hi Noggie, Thanks!

Your best bet is report this to Amazon. I email so I have a record. I imagine they will send a free replacement and set up a return label for you to print off. I will be very surprised if they don't. Please report the outcome - especially if the replacement is faulty!
Amazon don't usually ask you to return an item until after you received the new one, so you don't lose the use of it altogether.
Hope that helps :)

August 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAndy Jenkinson

Mine was sold my EPRANCE, fulfilled by Amazon UK, order placed on the 19th July 2014.

During the first four weeks of use, it crashed three times:
-Once while driving, I noticed the blue light wasn't blinking. No response to button presses. I had left it in the window on a hot day.
-Once when I turned the engine off, then switched back on to move the windows. This time it froze on the EPRANCE logo.
-Once when I had it plugged in to transfer files.

During the last week with the new firmware, plus the paper mod on the mount, it has been fine. I also have WDR mode off which apparently makes it run a little cooler.

August 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDan

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