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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
DR02 D - Best Budget Dual Cam
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%! 

 
« 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)

@jokiin Seems a bit Salvador Dali at the moment, the above post that has your name signed said "@brett not sure where you got the idea Street Guardian says the K1S is rubbish, I've made no such statement and nobody else speaks on behalf of our brand, if you've taken something out of context or misinterpreted as being a comment about this product then please let me know where and I'll address it so that it's perfectly clear"

That was what I was responding to.

Sorry if it was someone using your account or name.

And I hope to get the K1S myself one day, when back in stock.

March 25, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBrett

Really finding it very hard to believe that the only people selling this device are Spy Tec and Roadcam.

Roadcam's price is mental - not shy of £200, a large portion of which is their ridiculous postage charges - USPS 1st Class Int'l is less than $20, but they want over $50.

March 25, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDave

my unit came with an older firmware. I checked the manufacture website but no update.

mine says K1s:R0124/20140922 HW_V1
the video shows december

March 25, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterchris

Firstly let me say this is a great little unit. After reviewing this review we contacted Koonlung direct with a view to importing it here to the UK.

For the past 3 weeks we have had the unit on trial. A number of little issues / lack of function came to light.

All of which could easily be resolved via a simple software upgrade.

1. UK Speed cam data. We have this fully functional on our test unit, however to make proper use a number of changes need to be made for the general user.

The underlying control file will only accept the header description file in uppercase. Every data supplier supplies the format in lowercase. Not a major issue for the techno, but it is for mr average as this would need to be manipulated on every update.

2. The speed cam screensaver is pointless, works great until their is an event, it flashes it and then disappears within 10/15 seconds, a longer display is required. Again a simple fix. The addition of an additional mode would solve this issue and have it display at all times.

3. KM to MPH, again a very simple correction, well seems not for Koonlung unless you are prepared to commit to purchase of 500+ units. Something that no distributor is likely to do given the ever changing demands of the end user and competition.

These are just a few of the areas we have attempted to work with Koonlung on. Unfortunately, we are hitting a brick wall and have decided to walk away.

For those who have one, you can utilise the pocketpc data with a little manipulation, use the Igo SC data, you will need Excel or similar to manipulate the data, remember upper case only. You will also need to add the IDX manually.

Good luck , great little unit, but could easily be a lot better.

March 26, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterb2blx

@b2blx Thanks for that overview.

The one I find difficult to understand is the kmh.

They could never sell this in the USA like that, as many Americans (I am one but live in the UK) wouldn't even dream of something not being in my mph.

If realised, all their units would be returned.

They have eliminated themselves from the largest car market?

March 26, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBrett

We totally agree.

However, it is our understanding that the unit was designed/ written for primarily the Eastern European market. It is also our understanding that the software was developed/ paid for by them. We think Koonlung have very little shuffle room on design changes. (We could be wrong, but we can only make this assumption based on our extended contact with them)

We had major issues getting answers to simple basic software questions in this regard, which as we have said is a shame, because the actual unit is one of the best we have tested with regards to video quality and unit size.

March 26, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterb2blx

@b2blx Your assumptions could be correct, but I have had extensive experience with manufacturing in China over the last 8 years, and I have not known agreements to get in the way of money. Perhaps that is just the people I have dealt with.

It could be that they do not write the software and would have to pay someone to re-write it, hence the 500+ unit proviso.

The kmh thing could be why Spytec, based in NYC, sold out and does not know if/when they will get more in. I would think the GPS units have been a real headache for them.

So if a unit with no GPS was ordered, all the above problems would go away, wouldn't they?

March 26, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBrett

b2blx - thanks for the insight, regarding the mph/kmh thing - even as a UK bod, that doesn't bother me too much. As Techmoan said during the review, the speed data is extraneous to the functionality of the device.

Also I'm glad to know the PGPSW db can be used - it would need the trigger speeds changing into kmh (nice and easy, mph x 1.60934) but that's about it. Excel can handle that little task!

I'm still interested in one of these devices, purely on the merit of its video quality and the fact it's a (if not the most) discreet solution on the market at the moment. I had an email from Spy Tec saying that they were expecting stock of the K1S in about 2 weeks, so fingers crossed they haven't abandoned the device yet!

I just can't justify Roadcam's price - £200 is too much for this. Spy Tec's £156 was spot on, but even if their price does go up to the $249 mark (as per Roadcam's current price) - their quoted postage charges are a lot more agreeable to me.

March 26, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDave

I have had a Facebook answer to my query with Koonlung, and they say the new retail price is $249.

They did not say if that included shipping, I am waiting for their answer.

Here is what they said:

Koonlung Hi! We are sorry for this trouble. We have made new MSRP. Below this MSRP will have no stock from us. Thank you!

I am not sure how that will sit with anti-competition laws. But if true, then it would seem Spytec will either have to have a re-brand or sell it at $249.

And they said they are working on new firmware, but not that quick. Their words.

March 26, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBrett

I created this google docs for USA https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1ivNyJuOXM2NLaysIXQQ6qxf4BmAeuhwxhAoOoSmUv78/edit?usp=sharing You can copy this as a template for your country.

crowdsource this info?

March 26, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterchris

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