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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 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%! 

            

 
« CCTV Basics - Wired day & night outdoor camera. | Main | The Big SJ5000+ Action Camera Review »
Sunday
Mar012015

K1S - The first Front & Rear Hidden 1080p Dash Camera

My full video review for the K1S 2ch HD Car DVR is below. 
   
  
If you want to watch my 'Beginners Guide To Dashcams' video - Click here.
   
The K1S manufacturer website is here, and pdf manuals for the camera can be found here.
   
For my downloadable sample videos click here  As always, download these files to your machine before viewing them - streaming will make them look worse than youtube.
Note: These files have been manually trimmed for length (and filesize) - therefore the start and end points for the front and rear clips no longer match each other perfectly.
  
Size Comparison
The control unit is approximately the same thickness as a box of cards but a bit smaller overall (without cables).
   
Buying the K1S
I’ll add links below as and when I discover additional resellers. 
 
EBAY
US link here
UK link here
  
AMAZON
(US) With GPS: http://amzn.to/1MKU4lY
(US) Without GPS: http://amzn.to/1DBbUpZ
  
  
 
   
UPDATE 02 March 2015
I've received the answers to a few questions I asked the manufacturers.
 
1) The Car Lamp Open/Closed menu as expected does warn the driver if they are driving in the dark with the headlamps off. It judges this by the exposure.
  
2) Apparently the battery used is a Standard GoPro size....which is great. Normally I try to avoid dashcams that use batteries, because when the internal battery fails you have to replace the whole camera - in this case you can buy a new battery. Just a reminder -  I can't comment on the long term reliability of any cam after only a month of use.
 
3) I wasn't sure how the emergency button handled the files. I was concerned that if you saw something you wanted to keep - but the camera started recording the next file before you managed to press the button then you would be protecting the wrong clip. Well it turns out the manufacturer has thought of this. "When this button is pressed, if current recording is less than 1 minute, then current file and the file before this (together 2 files) are locked"
 
4) Not a question, but I have raised the issue of the need for resellers in China who can export to Europe and also the Speedcam database is no use in the UK until the camera can support additional database formats. Both these things are being explored...but the database issue isn't a simple quick fix.
>>>>>IMPORTANT - READ THIS... (OCTOBER 2016)
Both my cars had a K1S installed until a couple of months ago - They were still working 100% at the point I took them out. I removed them so that I could test other cameras, although I was getting a bit sick of the rear wire interfering with the rear hatchback door on both cars - this would work better in a car with a fixed rear window.  It seems that my experience is not the same as that of other people - perhaps the manufacturer changed the product after I purchased my cameras...but if you read through the comments it seems that other people are having lots of reliability issues. You may have noticed that this is no longer on my list of Recommended Cameras - and this is the reason. I was happy with the performance of both of my cameras for 18 months...but perhaps my experience was uncommon. 

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Reader Comments (642)

Finally something to spend my money on

March 1, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterEddie

Mat, you have found the near holy grail of dash cams.
That price though!

March 1, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterEvilution

Hi Mat, wow I think that has to be one of your best review of dash cams for a while...loviing the professionalism of your editting and presentation, you make it look so easy. Why haven't you been offered a job on TV? You are far better than others on there.

I'm impressed with this dual cam...only a few gripes a bit too many cables, why cant they get good sound quality in this day and age. Otherwise quite interested and I've not see the price yet.

Great work.

Daz

March 1, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDaz

Great review as always Mat!

Really interested in this, hopefully more dealers will have this in stock quite soon. Looks really good :)

March 1, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterKarl

As always... thanks for making the review.
If you had the rear camera showing on screen could you use this like a reversing camera when parking?
If so then perhaps the manufacturer could add a feature where some coloured distance lines show up when in reverse.

March 1, 2015 | Unregistered Commenteraquacove

Hi Mat.

Another great review, and this one is definitely on my 'buy' list, though at $345 (£215+) it is a mite too expensive just yet. As it's currently only available from the US, by the time you add postage and customs duty. going to be well over £250 here in the UK. Better to wait for the price to drop a bit.

Having said that, from your review, I really think this is the dash cam of the future - or at least something very similar. I currently have separate front and rear cams. Although they are each effective in their own way, having a single controller unit is the way to go.

Love it.

March 2, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterQuaser

Hi Mat,
Another great review and I will definitely be getting this one when the price is more realistic. Am I correct that in your review you said that you can flip the picture over if you have the camera the other way up. I want to mount the front camera in the centre attached to the dashboard almost touching the windscreen as it will blend in better with its background, all the fitments higher up the windscreen are white and clearly visible from outside (rear view mirror, light sensor, wiper sensor etc) so down low would be better.
Thanks again,

Minataur.

March 2, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMinataur

Hi Mat,
Greeting from Stockport. Great review as always and I have been keeping an eye out for exactly this type of product. Desperate to see the product available in the UK and the price set at a reasonable level.
I am going to buy two, one for myself and one for my daughter. She has been driving for less than a year and already fallen foul of the "your word against their word" scenario where the other woman is more 'experienced'! A minor bump which will increase her insurance to a ridiculous level. This is despite my daughter having witnesses that back-up her story. If we had just ten seconds of footage then she would have been in the clear.
A side note: I love the idea of recording whilst parked as we suffer from minor vandalism to cars on a regular basis, is there anyway this could be fixed up to another battery/power source to enable overnight recording? Obviously without running down the car's own battery.
Keep up the good work.

March 2, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterRiggers

Minataur - yes that's right either or both video streams can be flipped vertically - so you can mount the cameras either way up.

Riggers - Just the other week a wife of a friend of the missus (lets call her Jane) was driving at the Traffic Centre ('Trafford' Centre - local joke) and a car in front of her repeatedly kept slamming on. Jane kept stopping to avoid rear-ending them. At one point a crazy woman jumped out of the car in front and started shooting that Jane had hit her in the rear (she hadn't - she'd stopped a good distance away every time) - surprise surprise, the 'husband' of the lady in the front vehicle magically drives up and claims he saw everything and yes the driver had been hit in the rear by Jane. The whole sorry tale has now gone to the insurance companies concerned.
I have donated one of my dash cameras to 'Jane' - who just wishes she had it installed in the car at the time.

With regard to your other question - there are ways to do these things. There are devices on the market that will monitor a car battery and if the charge is getting too low will cut the power off to a dashcam that's running off that battery. I briefly showed one at the start of my Blackvue review. http://youtu.be/Mwjf-XEXCYo?t=46s It's called a Power Magic Pro.

March 2, 2015 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

A great review of what promises to be a winning product. The downside is that Uk distributors think they can get away with just converting $ USD to £ PB. I will be buying in Canada when I visit in June and will decide between this and the Blackview 650.
his odes look to be the answer to a prayer. How does it get speed and location if you don't use GPS? Is the battery standard and will it run off the car power without it?
Please post when its available here.

March 2, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterIan

There aren't any UK distributors as yet and Chinese imports are usually immune from the $/£ conversion issue. It's a wait and see approach that is required here - it's less than 24hrs since the video went up - the resellers will need a bit longer than that.

You can't get speed and location info without GPS.
Battery is apparently a Standard GoPro battery (as per the manufacturer).

March 2, 2015 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Hi Mat,

After spending a couple of days researching Dual camera systems I'd given up and just this week invested in a Mobius for the front. Once setup and working I was going to get one for the back too.

What do you know... this little beauty appears. Great timing! How bizarre that nobody has done this before: two discreet camera with all the gubbins hidden away somewhere; seems obvious to me!

Also: I want to second Daz's comment above. Why aren't you on TV! Your videos are fantastic and your dry sense of humour always amuses. (I liked your unboxing).

Must we endure the vacuous nonsense of the Gadget Show drop testing and setting fire to things! Bring back Tomorrow's World and all that.

March 2, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterWheeldo

Thanks, Mat! This is what I was desiring too. I too am wondering about a more reasonable price. The Amazon link is $345 US which is a bit steep, but a great device. I have a question around hiding the DVR. Since all the cables must connect to the DVR, it must be accessible for all cables. And as the DVR has a screen with good information I would like to see it, but don't want to mount it to my dash or other visible location which invites theft. Can you suggest any other options for location? We have a 2012 Nissan Altima which doesn't have any location that stands out as a potential "hiding place". What did you do for your car (if you mounted it more permanently since your video)?

Thanks for the great review!

March 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDave K

They have spent so long developing this camera that they are using an Ambarella chipset with an Omnivision PV 2710 sensor which are nearly two years old, ancient in video development. They will be upgrading to a Sony sensor when Ambarella fixes the bugs for the Sony sensor but all in all very poor video quality for such a good unit.
I would wait for the new 'guts' to be finalized before buying this unit.

March 4, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Williamson

I hear what you are saying, Peter Williamson. But I've looked at Mat's video and the quality is as good as I've seen in a dash cam. Can you share how you know about the internals of this specific dash cam? Is the information available online somewhere to read about?

March 4, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDave K

Dave K. I've kept my recorder box hidden. If you want to keep yours on display it really depends on the available surfaces in your car. Look for where you could stick a box of playing cards and then you could always buy an adhesive phone holder or some Velcro. Personally I think it's likely to attract opportunist thieves who think it's a SatNav.

March 4, 2015 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Future products invariably improve upon current ones...with one important exception, they don't work today.

March 4, 2015 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Hi Mat. I agree that the device should remain hidden. I do not want it to be displayed, but I'm wondering about access to the micro SD card as well as access to the display. What do you miss by having it hidden if anything? I'm thinking I may have to hide it up underneath the dash (above my feet) maybe using velcro or something similar.

I was really asking about advice for choosing a hiding place keeping in mind that you do need to access the SD card and maybe the device for updating/checking device settings.

March 4, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDave K

I don't intend to look at my footage unless I capture something interesting. Given past experience I'd be surprised if there's one incident a year. Velcro is probably the way to go and mounting it under a dash makes sense to me.

March 4, 2015 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Thanks, Mat. That's what I'm leaning toward too. I think it's the best for our vehicle and device access. I'm just not too sure about pulling interior panel pieces and routing wires, but I've done it before (a long time ago), so should be able to muddle through it when the time comes.

Thanks for the great site!
Dave

March 4, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDave K

Hi Dave - I have been looking for a high quality dual lens camera recorder like the K1S for the last few years. I went to two electronics shows in HK in October 2013 and after visiting 165 suppliers still didn't find what I was looking for.
I have bought and sampled many cameras from Koonlung (even the K1 - predecessor to the K1S) Samoon,Jagco,Camshot and a nice unit from Zowietek but it was only D1 and very disappointing quality.
I keep in touch with all these companies to see what they are developing and the K1S has been released to get into the market and Koonlung "will improve the video in due course" !! - It is all about first to market with a new product, they forget that these are cameras and we want quality images.
I would have my own camera developed however the cost is prohibitive.
Naturally the manufacturers are chasing the high volume markets like Russia where image quality is not the highest priority and so most cameras have very poor video.
I just want a high quality dual lens camera that I can use here in Australia! - any ideas

March 4, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Williamson

Hi Peter Wiliamson. Thanks for the follow-up! You sound like you've had a lot of experience looking for a great quality product. And I understand manufacturers chasing the mass market. Watching dash cam videos on YouTube seem to come almost exclusively from Russia. I wish you good luck in finding something that fits your needs (and would definitely fit my own needs as well).

Any thoughts on when (if ever) something like this could come to market? I'm going to keep an eye on this K1S since it would probably do everything I would need, even if the video quality could be better. Unless, of course, something better comes along before I make the jump on this product! :-)

March 4, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDave K

Hi Dave - I'll check tomorrow to see what I can find out and let you know
Cheers - Pete

March 4, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Williamson

I don't understand the need for better quality than this. It's not like we're shooting The Hobbit with these cameras. This camera and pretty much all the other models I've tested recently produce excellent evidence of who did what in a crash. If anyone has watched the Car Crash Britain (or whatever it's called) programme on ITV....an entire program made up of Dashcam footage....and not one clip is of a comparable standard to this camera's footage. However every single clip perfectly shows the cause and results of each crash. That's all that's needed.

March 4, 2015 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Hi Mat - I guess I'm looking for more than just a dashcam for evidence of an accident, and yes these cameras are ok and the K1S is very good for that. For me I am looking for something that can also be used in the recreational market and the video quality is important. I understand it is a different application but it's just what I am looking for.

March 4, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Williamson

I still think a couple of Mobius's (Mobii ?) , one front and one rear on one of those very compact sticky mounts is the way forward for a discreet 'all round' system, permamently wired to an ignition controlled power point is the way forward. Not only is the quality great, less than £100 for both cameras but very discreet because of their small size

March 4, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBrian P

Yes, I agree that there's nothing wrong with that solution for a multi camera setup.

March 4, 2015 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

At last - price seems steep but then we are spoilt by the £45 mobius! - That said how hard could it be for them to make a mobius which supported a second remote lens?

March 4, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDerek

I concur with my learned friend Derek - not much to wish for is it.

Mobius still rules....so far

March 4, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDaz

Is there a specific model of Mobius that folks like? I haven't looked into that dash cam yet.

March 4, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDave K

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