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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%! 

 
« 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)

One last thing - I've only just noticed on the pastebin, the line:

from enum import Enum

can be removed as I went to dictionaries instead of enums and, as I pasted it anonymously - I can't edit the paste!!

April 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDave

I purchased this DVR from Spy Tec via Amazon and have been using it for a couple weeks. I have it configured for one minute clips and the memory card is a new Samsung 64GB EVO Class 10 Micro SDXC, which I configured in the device. I think the unit is great and it's exactly what I've been waiting for in a dash cam, but I'm having a serious issue with it. After it records somewhere around 135 clips all the subsequent files have thumbnails with a blank white background and bold red type through the middle saying "Invalid." On my computer the "Invalid" files are the appropriate data size, and are listed as .MP4 files, but they are not recognized as video files by any viewing software. Has anyone experienced anything similar, or have any idea what the problem might be. After spending a couple hours routing cables in my car I would hate to have to return it. Thanks!

April 11, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJeff

HI JEFF

CHECK YOUR EVO CARD

should say korea on back, if it says taiwan?
You Might Have a Fake. and it wont work.

i got one on ebay,

==================================
GENERIC CARDS
they dont work in the K1s
tried it

I HAD SAME ISSUES and worse,
cam1 and cam2 flipping video feed, and missing sections of clips

Tried Several Generic SD cards
NO GOOD NO WORK

Found // LEXAR 633 (gopro approved)
now its good

try to experiement with only High Quality UH-1 (ultra high)
class 10 alone is not enough.

ITS A UNIQUE 2 Cam Dual Lens setup into 1 Card

before you tear your wires out, try different cards, helped me, and now its good

April 11, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterEric Edwards

Eric,
As you suspected, the Samsung chip is indeed stamped Taiwan in the back, not Korea. Strange since I purchased it from Amazon with the DVR, and not from some shady third-party off Ebay. That being said, I just tested it with CrystalDiskMark 3.0.4 and it does read/write better than 80MB/s, so it's fast although this doesn't necessarily prove authenticity. At this point I'm going to quickly purchase another chip to try before pulling the plug on the unit, but the 30 day return window is closing fast! Thanks.

April 11, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJeff

Amazon and Ebay Sell Fakes

THIS IS NOT NEW NEWS
they have been doing it for awhile

Techmoan mentions it
as a precaution to take in his posts

===========================================

GOOGLE: / SAMSUNG FAKE EVO SD CARD

read hundreds of customers saying how they got burned,
and did not know it, until they read about it on Forums Boards discussing this topic

THE COPIES LOOK EXACT! cant tell the difference, packaging is perfect copy.
your dealing with professionals, know what they are doing

Needs to Say Korea, per Samsung Alert,
and what i read online,

Do Your Own Research To Confirm
==========================

most say they got it on Amazon or Ebay

ITS A FAKE FOR SURE what you got!
even samsung says check the back

==========================================
WILL NOT WORK PROPERLY / Guaranteed

"you have had the same thing happen to me, but i purchased my card online
came with a sony card, but ended up using it in a sony camcorder,
and tried generics 1st cause they were laying around

Tried 4 Generic Cheap SD micro cards, they record, but its buggy big time

that spy tech should include a Real Card Not A Fake, or provide instructions on how important the card you use actually is
THE CARD IS THE RECORDER, when you think about it

Your one of his 1st customers from a group of 30 to get the early release

Count Yourself Lucky,

HE IS SOLD OUT CURRENTLY

==========================================

THE CARD NEEDS TO BE UH-1 CERTIFIED
otherwise / wont work properly,
size does not matter as much. 32 to 64 g is all you need
I use only 16 g Lexar 633, a bit pricey / highly rated

the recording that you see thus far
YOU OK WITH IT?

also if you got any install tips or photos
visit dashcam talk

there is a special forum for users
/ K1s Koonlung Listed under " other "


Its Listed Correctly Being " OTHER "
as there is Nothing Else Like It

April 11, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterEric Edwards

I've fitted the camera today and there are some good points, but also some quite significant bad points.

Pros:

Very discreet, really only visible if you know what you're looking for
Speed cameras do work in the UK with the PGPSW db, however I'm going to have to do some work on the script as it's not quite there yet.
Daytime image quality is superb, from both front and back cameras. Really happy with it in the daytime.

Cons:

Build quality is a bit dubious - while fitting the emergency record button, it stopped clicking. I'm going to have to dismantle it to see if I can figure out why, but this shouldn't happen out of the box.
Night time image quality leaves quite a bit to be desired, forget about freeze framing either the front or rear cameras to get a reg number at night - it isn't going to happen. The only time they're visible at night is when they're right beside the car and you aren't moving.
The initial settings are ignored by the camera - I had the speed stamp saying 'off' on the camera, however it still recorded the speed. I had to turn it right down to 20kph in order for it to honour hiding the speed stamp. Maybe this is just me and 'off' means 'on all the time rather than off above a set speed' but it's still a valid point. Park mode was set to 'off' as well, and it merrily kept recording in park mode until I turned it on and back off again.
The beeps and bongs made from the unit are LOUD, but the speed cam warnings can be missed as they are a little bit on the quiet side. I'm going to experiment with the GPS antenna/speaker to see if I can site it a bit better or ensure it stays where I put it.
This may just be my car, but at night, the autofocus seems to latch on to the dash top or dash display rather than what is out of the window. I'm gonna have a bit play around to ensure that the cameras are positioned as accurately as I can, so this is technically a bit of an unfair criticism and it's probably more my car than the camera.

All in, am I happy with the unit - yes, definitely. OK, so night performance leaves a lot to be desired but in terms of what it does, how discreet it is and the fact that it has only been in the car for a few hours - I'd give it a solid 8/10.

I'll try and get some photos of the setup tomorrow, and I'm going to tinker on with the PGPSW db script as I now know how the camera operates, so fingers crossed once I've had a bit of playtime with the device, I'll be in a much better position to give pointers to other purchasers of the device.

April 11, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDave

One thing I did notice, is that the speed cam alerts tend to only fire if you are bang on the heading it wants you to be on - so as part of the testing, I've updated the script to drop the directional alerts. It now works like an oldskool detector, alerting whenever you're close to a camera.

Understandably this may hack a few people off, but until I can find a more accurate method, it'll have to do for now.

Also, as the device speaks the camera type to you, I've rolled up all of the different types of camera on the PGPSW db into "speed camera", "mobile camera" or "speed limit" for SPECS. This was determined from the Navitel support site here: navitel.ru/en/support/instructions/radars

The updated PGPSW-Natitel script is here: pastebin.com/TtipA2Nd (v0.2)

April 11, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDave

WOW
you got a Bonus Using that Speed Cam Alerts in the UK

HERE IN USA
we don't have that feature

======================================

regarding the " DARK NIGHT VIDEO

mine too was on the dark side even during the day
I BUMPED UP THE AE BIAS to .3 and to .7 and see improvements
1.0 is too much

play around with this setting
its in the menu settings.
AE BIAS (bump it up)

=====================================
also you will see SCENE SETTINGS
there are 18 .
these too change the video how it looks

TRY PLAYING AROUND WITH SCENE SETTINGS
see what works best for you

funny how they have fireworks as a setting

April 12, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterEric Edwards

Thanks Dave for your feedback. I currently have a Mini 0801 dash cam and its night video is only mediocre. My next dash cam purchase must have better night video than the 0801, and it is a bit disappointing to hear this K1S's night video is not that good either.

April 12, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterefoo

I now have the K1S installed, I am impressed with the quality of the night video in comparison to what else I have seen, which is not many, I admit, but I can see colour, which is an improvment on what I have had in the past.
My front camera has been acting up a bit, I think it is probably a bad connection, but it has been ok for the past two days, so we will see.
I have a 32gb card which filled up in about 35 minutes on the superfine setting, at least on the inside night test I ran.
It is not a fake, I ran the excellent h2testw program to test it.
The battery lasted 34 minutes from full charge with GPS and both cameras running.
Only cons so far, aside from the glitchy front camera, is that it would be nice to have an 'audio off' setting, and the cables for the GPS and the front camera are a bit shorter than what I need to run it where and how I want. But that is just me.
Dave, I would be interested in knowing how I install s POI file. If you are wondering what I need to know, please just think of me as an idiot and start from there.
Overall I am pleased with the K1S.

April 12, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBrett

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