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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)

I have mine plugged in to a 12v supply so it also boots and records straight away. Regarding the bongs and beeps while driving - I believe this is to do with the G-sensor, and I assume the camera is actually operating 100% correctly.

@Jokiin - after reviewing some of the footage, the focus does seem to be fine - it was concerning how the dash was in sharp focus and the traffic outside was not.

I will hold my hands up on this one and say that um... dusty windscreens distort the image somewhat!!

Schoolboy error 101 for me in that respect!

I still find the AE bias a bit too high during the day and way too low during the night though but I'm going to have to experiment with the location and angle of the cameras - centre screen below the RVM is probably not the best place for this camera - I might go to top of the screen to the right of the RVM (which is where I had my old Lukas 7900 ARA) to see if it helps out any.

Interesting about the EMI problems with the blackvue cameras as well. I can't see the cable between the camera head and the main box being noisy though, I'll experiment with the ferrites to see if suppressing the camera cable itself helps the DAB signal.

@Techmoan - my car uses aftermarket DAB, so I wouldn't be surprised if the OEM kit is better suppressed against interference than some of the aftermarket stuff. Good choice of station as well - I'm a Kisstory fan myself at the moment though (when it works!)

April 17, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDave

The " Bong " Sound Is Not What I Hear.

There is a 3 Tone Musical Greeting. Yes that is True
Sounds Pleasant, and its also adjustable. The Sound Volume and can be turned off / no sounds.

6 out of 10 ? yet you say the daytime video is superb / great
I Very Picky & Rate My K1S 8 out of 10.

The " Beep " that comes on and off while your driving indicates Saved files "!" from overwrite
G-Sensor is overly sensitive. I Turned It Off,
Try "1" Lowest Setting if you use g-sensor. It should stop what you describe occurring

The 3 Tone Musical Greeting not a " Bong " indicates unit Turning on or Powering Off
its good to know don't you think?

April 17, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterEric Edwards

Video Quality Varies with the "Scene Selector "
18 Options to Choose from

I notice it does change the contrast and colors a bit.
not sure why, but they got Fire-Works as a Scene. Use Menu, Find Scene Selector, 18 choices effect final video appearance.

nothing you can do to " Take Away the Sky " however
what you see is what you get

April 17, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterEric Edwards

I know it plays the power on / power off sounds, the one I'm experiencing is while running - it plays a bong noise, then beeps as if it has just started recording again. I suspect this to be the G-Sensor however in the menu, the G-Sensor is set to off.

After checking a few things, the unit started exhibiting a reboot loop - I've uploaded a video of this here: tinypic.com/r/dzid0g/8

(The video was recorded on my mobile phone - the quality isn't amazing due to this)

I've done a reset on it, but it didn't cure it - it seems to have settled down now but when adjusting the front cam, the screen corrupted and it reset again so I'm guessing that there may be some other issues that aren't showing up. The car supply was showing as 12v with the ignition off, and 14v with the engine running, so a voltage problem preventing it from starting up can also be ruled out.

Also, I don't personally think the problems are down to the memory card - as it was boot looping with nothing attached other than USB, and no memory card in the device. For brevity, the card is a legitimate Sandisk Extreme UHS-1 64gb. Definitely not a fake - it was bought from the UK high street retailer Tesco, rather than online.

Eric: Good daytime video alone does not a dashcam make, unfortunately. The EMI problems are a big thing for me - so much so that I've spent £50 today on a new DAB antenna and cabling in the vain attempt that I can get it working happily with the K1S. This is expenditure that is a direct result of me using the K1S. I'll reiterate, the daytime quality is great - the night time quality (for me, personally) along with the EMI issues, and whatever is now causing the boot loop issues have really taken the "omg what is that I must have one!" shine off the product for me.

April 17, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDave

@Dave I have had a similar resetting/re-starting problem when I was messing with the front cam, even to the point that there would be no front video, just hte rear cam. It would be black when it should have been the front view.
I was/am tempted to send it back in the worry that it will happen in the future and just quit, but it makes me wonder if there is a bad connection or ciruit board in the front camera in the shipment you and I got from Joovuu.
It is working fine now it is in place, but if I move it around it will still do it, at least occasionally.

April 17, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBrett

@Brett - I'm beginning to feel the same way - the recorded boot loop was after adjusting the rear cam, then it rebooted while adjusting the front cam so I'm a bit edgy about the connection myself.

I freed off an inch or so of cable from the roof, and was able to wiggle the front cam around on all axis without it rebooting, so I think it may just be down to how tight the wire is.

I can see my Sunday being spent rewiring the whole lot to try and put these issues to bed once and for all, if I get no joy I may have to approach Joovuu with the intent of having the kit swapped out for a new one.

April 17, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDave

@Dave I agree it has something to do with the cable tightness. It was at its worst when there was no slack, although it also was not stretched tight.

April 17, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBrett

Please Help Me understand what i dont know,
maybe others too could use info

I see DAB, and you spent money on an antenna

and EMI as part of the discussions

======================
in the USA,
You guys sound like Tech Wizards

April 17, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterEric Edwards

DAB is another type of radio - Digital Audio Broadcast. It's similar to SiriusXM in the US. It is becoming more mainstream in the UK but older cars (mine is a 2006 model) need aftermarket kit in order to receive it, similar to an aftermarket Sirius receiver over the pond.

EMI stands for Electro Magnetic Interference. Everything electrical will emit some form of noise, but there are limits to what it can emit and how much it can emit. FCC conformity in the US usually takes EMI into account. If you hold a mobile phone next to a speaker and connect a call, you will hear noise picked up by the speaker - this is EMI in a nutshell.

Most electrical kit should have some form of EMI suppression built in, either basic (ferrite beads/cores - generally a lumpy bit on the cable) or more intricate (example the Xbox 360/PS3 and I assume Xbox One and PS4 have an inner metal box, inside the case - this works as a faraday cage, stopping any unwanted 'noise' caused by EMI 'leaking' out of the enclosure.

As I haven't dismantled the K1S, I can only say as a best guess that the device lacks some of the EMI suppression that it really should have, as there is enough electromagnetic noise being generated when the device is turned on that it is being picked up by the DAB antenna, crowding out (for want of a better term) the DAB signal. No signal means no radio, no radio means an unhappy me!

Imagine you had a SiriusXM receiver in the car that had functioned correctly for the past few years - only to find that you fit a K1S and when it is working, you don't get any Sirius radio - that's kinda the situation I'm in. I've made the best of a bad situation in that if the DAB signal is strong, it can get through the noise - but as soon as the signal becomes anything less than 100% perfect - it drops off completely.

I must apologise to be honest, the Internet is world wide but I kinda fell into a little UK bubble, being that Techmoan is a Brit :) I'll try and minimise the acronym use - I know not everyone is as techy as I am! :)

April 17, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDave

Thank You!

you did a great job in your explanations, and how it applies.
Now see your concerns and what your dealing with
============================================
i have the brain in the glove box . you guys call it a boot i think
it works good there with the GPS inside and picks up signal

have you tried to move lcd monitor further away from your mobile radio receiver
wonder how far that k1s shoots the emi and is issue for your device

not to be funny or anything but i wonder if Tin Foil will work.
Techmoan has mentioned that some folks wear it as a hat

April 18, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterEric Edwards

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