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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)

Cheers for the reply Martin
I know that and I said that to the company when I replied
Back to them and told them my other camera still works and my phone charger still works they then replied back saying it was bought on 10th November and they can't do anything
I told them it was a Christmas present and the reason I'm just getting round to fitting it is due to work that I work for the council and we've been dealing with all the floods and crap over the past couple of months but the weren't interested
I think they thought I was some kind of idiot that doesn't know how to plug something into cigarette lighter

February 3, 2016 | Unregistered Commentergerry

Gerry - who did you buy it from? Not Joovuu by any chance? They removed my mediocre feedback of the camera when I reported the device switching on/off intermittently and the breaks in recordings.
I've sold it since with the car it was fitted to.
Anyway, with regards to your purchase, I was informed they all came with a year's warranty. Also, get TS involved as it's up to them to prove it's your fault.

February 3, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterSteven

gerry said:

'we've been dealing with all the floods and crap'


Gerry,

Are you in Aberdeenshire?

With any micro-usb or combo charger you choose for the K1S, you should make sure it can supply at least 5v @ 3A, anything less and you may not be able charge and power the K1S simultaneously.

Chargers that are designed as a regular phone charger with USB output might not work but there are some examples on the online auction sites that are suitable, generally models that are designed for tablets or GPS units for example.

Be aware that most car accessory sockets will only supply 120w, in which case you may be limited with only 5v @2.5a or worse, 4v @ 3a. Ideally you would be better taking your power direct from a high current source (perhaps direct from the battery depending of what type of car you have and switching it via a relay on the acc socket.

In the mean time keep on at the supplier, as the charger failed under normal use and should be replaced under warranty. If you are struggling have a look for a genuine TomTom SatNav charger with micro-USB plug, pick one with the highest current rating you can find.

February 3, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterRussell Jee

Hi Steven the wife got it from alpha electronics only after me emailing them to ask if it was up to date firmware and mph version.. they said it was
That's why we got it from them (£200) I wouldn't bother if it was a cheap one
I told them that it still works that it is the charger that is not working now they have told me to get in touch with koonlung.
I still don't get how they can say I must have reversed positive and negative especially when it's not possible with the fixed charger supplied
I'm just looking to buy a new charger just now to make sure it is just that but I need to get the right voltage

February 3, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterGerry

Thats so wrong.... Seller is responsible for warranty.... I will definitely get back to them ... Otherwise small claims court...
Product Guarantee

All goods are supplied with the Manufacturer’s repair/replacement warranty. Details of which can be supplied on request. Defective goods must be reported to Alpha Electronics. Our Sales Team will then be able to advise accordingly.

No repair/replacement will be provided until we have the defective goods and the goods have been inspected by our specialist Service Team. The standard conditions of Warranty for the appropriate Manufacturer will apply.

February 3, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMartin

Cheers for the reply Russell jee I'm in glasgow
Iv been checking some other chargers on they sites but not right voltage tom tom charger is no good either
Sorry techmoan if iv done anything wrong asking for a wee bit of help here
Cheers gerry

February 3, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterGerry

Sorry, I haven't been following this.
From what I've read it doesn't sound good.
First thing - all dashcams run off USB - USB is always 5 volts. The only difference is that some devices need more amps than others. You can't damage anything by giving it too many amps, but if you don't give it enough it won't turn on. So before you buy a new car charger, plug the device into a USB wall charger that is 2.1A capable (one that you'd charge a tablet with - most people have a number of these in the house). See if it works fine with that - if it doesn't then getting a new car USB adaptor won't make any sense.
If it does work - just get a car USB adaptor with a USB mini B plug that can output 2.1Amps...or a car USB socket and a USB A to Mini B wire.

February 4, 2016 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Can anyone point me to a copy of the latest version of the firmware please? Preferably one in mph rather than kph, which mine has loaded. Thanks!

February 5, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterSimon

hi,
In reply to my question 27/Jan Thank you all for your feed back.
I eventually cut the back cable and front exchanged lengths, very fiddly soldering back up, used cooking foil as shied and very pleased it works perfectly.
used 1mm heat shrink , have to say took couple of hours.
Thanks

February 7, 2016 | Unregistered Commenternigel

Hi Mat
What a great review. I bought the K1s after watching your review.I have installed it in my car and have now been using it for 1 week.What a great system.....just as you described quality,easy to set up and hidden away.It was money well spent £152.Thanks for your help

February 7, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJim C

Thanks for your excellent reviews.

After running the Koonlung for 3 months I decided I ought to check whether it was working properly. It isn't. I have two problems.
I cleared the card yesterday, so all observations are from last night and this morning.

The rear camera has power going to it, I can see the red light in the rear view mirror. If I click on split view on the control box I can see the image. But it isn't recording to the card.

I forgot to unplug the cam last night and this morning. Last night it continued to record for 4 1/2 hours and this morning, while I was parked for about 40 mins. I have set motion detect to OFF and Park Mode to OFF. This is a bit worrying for the health of my 12V battery.

Any suggestions? Thanks!

February 28, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterBev

Hi
Is anyone using a power magic pro with the K1S?
How are you getting on with it?

March 1, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterrob

Hello Matt,

I've recently had my car covered in paint stripper, its an Audi Q7, and i'm unable to park it in my garage, so it stays out on the road, could you recommend a security system that runs when motion is detected near the car, and also that can run off its own batteries, as i wouldn't want it to run off the car batterie. Also i would need a high resolution, my street is very well lit at night.

Love the videos you do.

lee

March 2, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterLeeeee

I wrote an article all about this problem. Here's the link.
http://www.techmoan.com/blog/2013/6/23/q-which-car-camera-is-best-for-catching-a-vandal-in-the-act.html

March 2, 2016 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Does the price on U.S. based Amazon site include any import fees?

March 8, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterCarl

I purchased Koonlung, K1S, from roadcamc on eBay for my daughter's car. I have got the same faults with this DVR as other purchasers: It keeps stop recording and starts recording, with a annoying bleep, Unfortunately it came from the USA ON EBAY, it's been a very expensive mistake, ($283.35) as you will know, everybody is uncontactable, This product should be taken off the market and Koolung shut down!

March 12, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterDon Dexter

What country are you in Don Dexter and how long ago did you buy it?

Paid through PayPal?

March 12, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterjokiin

Hi Don Dexter,

I had the same problem and all I did was reduce the length of each video to the minimum and I have not had a problem since.
Best of luck.

Minataur.

March 13, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMinataur

Has anyone else noticed the K1S having trouble seamlessly recording and constantly losing, then re-acquiring GPS lock? I've noticed that since my memory card has gotten full (I'm using a Samsung EVO 64Gb Class 10 card), there is a 6 second gap between files. My assumption is that since the card is full, the DVR has to stop recording, delete a file (probably pair of files - one for front, one for rear), then it can start recording again. I've got the Split Time setting set at 1 minute, which means that 6 seconds lost every minute is 10% of the total time this unit should be recording. It also seems the unit cannot maintain a GPS lock unless it's actually recording. Since it stops recording for 6 seconds every minute, this means I'm getting "Recording started" every 66 seconds and "GPS ready" multiple times (but less frequently than "Recording started" since it takes longer to acquire a GPS lock).

When I formatted the card and then went out for a drive, I got "Recording started" and "GPS ready" exactly one time each (as expected). Playing back the video confirmed that GPS lock was maintained for the entire hour I was out driving around. I've contacted Spy Tec, Inc. - who I bought it from, and am expecting a reply from them today or maybe tomorrow - but I thought I would come here and ask what others' experiences have been with this product.

March 21, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterC. Smith

Hi, I took the plunge and bought one of these from amazon. It was delivered last week and installed it yesterday. The wires are still a little messy but it's in there. I noticed that it flashed up a red message a couple of times. Does anyone know what this message means please? "ADS CAN'T WORK UNDER 3D OUTPUT" Have I got a dud unit, or is the message insignificant? Cheers for any help.

March 21, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterCarl

@Carl,

I have not received that error with mine. However, I remember reading about that error somewhere online. It may have been in Amazon product reviews, as I've spent a fair amount of time reading those, as well. I'll try to find it again later. If I do, I'll post back.

March 21, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterC. Smith

@Carl,

Here it is! http://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R2JTH54SH71PP1?ASIN=B00TM59NCK

Apparently, it happens when the unit freezes up. I ran mine with the battery in for a few days, and found the DVR and battery get quite hot during use. This concerned me some and so I removed the battery and connected the little button to let you start/stop recording. I only need to stop recording before turning the car off in order to prevent corruption of the last file being written. The unit works fine without the battery in and automatically starts up when I start the car (unless I've disconnected it and taken it into the house to review the footage). I've read in other places online that the battery can swell and explode, which is another reason I've removed the battery.

March 21, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterC. Smith

Hi, @ Smith I haven't noticed any issues with 32gb card, but I haven't checked all videos properly yet... have you reformatted I card in the unit and not on the pc?...let us know your reply pls...

@ Carl.

I have noticed that message on the first day of using this device but have restarted it twice (one from menu and one by the restart button) and it has stopped... I think that the message started when Device was connected to pc by USB... I have also tried to charge it through pc when I have tested the dvr the first time I have used it... I have left the dvr after restarting it through the night and it stopped.... Have also searched for this message on Internet and have contacted Koonlung directly but have not received any reply from them...

Once I will get some reply from them I will let you know... (if I will get one)...

March 21, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMartin

Yep, it could be the reason of that message... I have charged it because the battery was dead so it may be the reason... also the amazon review was the only one I have found too :)

March 21, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMartin

@Martin,

Yes, I formatted the card while it was in the DVR unit both before installation into the car (and without any cameras connected). I also formatted it after initially noticing the 6 second gap between files. The problem doesn't happen when the card is not full. When I spent the couple of hours required to copy footage back to the DVR unit and took it out on the road with just about an hour's worth of space left, the DVR recorded seamlessly until the card got full. I was thinking perhaps I need to get a different memory card. I figured that a Samsung Class 10 card would be sufficiently quick. However, I see that Kingston makes a faster card and maybe the one I have is simply too slow.

March 21, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterC. Smith

Is "Motion Detect" Off?

March 21, 2016 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

@ Smith, I am using Samsung simply because everyone else is using it too... I have also read about some lexar cards but I think that final winner was again Samsung... can you change the video time from one minute to any different one?.. This may solve the issue too... I will try to find the original post for you, but am not 100 percent sure where have i seen it... right now I think I am using 2 minutes sequence.

March 21, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMartin

@Martin,

When I first got the unit, it had old firmware on it and defaulted the Split Time to 5 minutes. I tried to change it to 2 minutes and it would never actually make the change. Once I flashed the latest firmware, I was able to select 1 minute lengths. I could try changing the Split Time to something else. I like 1 minute because it's the most atomic you can get, but I'll try making that change tonight and see how things go. It's good to know other people have had success with Samsung cards. That makes me feel a bit better.

March 21, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterC. Smith

@Techmoan,

Motion Detect should be off. I have never turned it on and do not want it on. I've also kept LDWS, FCWS, and Park Mode turned off. Prevoiusly, G-Sensor was off, but I have set it to 1 now (the lowest setting) because I was trying to figure out how to make the unit capture altitude data. Since this has had no effect, I'll be turning it back off, too. I'm not interested in automatically write-protecting files based on what the unit thinks is a collision. Also, I have no write-protected files at this time. So, that's not part of the problem, either.

March 21, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterC. Smith

Good to know - I had to ask because that's the number one cause of 'unexplained' gaps between recordings with dashcams.

March 21, 2016 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

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