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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)

Mine is also in the glove box (the trunk = the boot in British English!). The GPS antenna is under the centre speaker cover on the dash.

I've tried to route the cabling etc away from the DAB aerial, going so far as to route the antenna up and around the windscreen, then down across the drivers side rather than the passenger side (remembering we are RHD over this side). The only cable crossover is caused when the front cam wire runs alongside the DAB antenna as it routes across the top of the windscreen and down the A-pillar.

Tin foil has been used as EMI suppression in the past, I'm just avoiding covering all my cables in it until it is literally the last possible option on the list other than removing the DAB kit completely.

April 18, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDave

It's only with you mentioning it, that I recall a number of people over the years advising me that their dashcams (various makes) knock out their DAB reception. I've also heard about the same thing happening to Sat Navs.

I'd completely forgotten about this when I installed the K1S in my Mini which has both these devices built in...so its fortunate that there was no impact otherwise I would have wasted an afternoon routing the wires carefully around the car - because the K1S would have to be removed rather than lose these features on my new car.

One thing I haven't done though is plug in the GPS Aerial/Speaker into my K1S. I have no idea if this would help, but it may be worth trying your K1S without the GPS device attached to see if it is the culprit.

April 18, 2015 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

I am very glad I waited for your reviews as I always wanted a remote "Black Box" type dashcam. I was put off the Blackviue because of EMI issues and I am now trying to get a Lukas 7950 (hardly stealth). Fortunately The initial installation will be in an RV in Canada, I then intend to bring it home to UK and fit it in my car. Dashcams are a lot less expensive there so I will let you all know how I get on. My car has DAB and I love it as the FM reception where I live is awful. There could be more dire consequences of EMI in modern cars as "fly by wire" technology is now used for all sorts functions. I also have a reversing camera built into the rear number plate and parking sensors that in theory are used to auto park (never tested or used). I do wonder if a dashcam EMI could affect any other features.. Keep up the good work Matt I hope the manufacturers read all these comments and take them into account for future products.

April 18, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterIan

@Ian reading is one thing, comprehending is another

April 18, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterjokiin

I have just bought a K1S and wonder if the two cameras can be swapped over. I prefer to to install the box in the boot so it is out of the way but I would need to use the rear camera in the front screen so that the cable will reach - the rear camera comes with 6 meters of cable whereas the front camera only 3 meters.

In his reveiw Techmoan states that the two cameras appear to have different colorus lenses - so does it matter if I switch them around?

April 18, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterchris

Front and Back Cams not same bit rate,
back is lower, however your idea will work

Techmoans Review i recall mentioned Front has Faster Transfer Rate

April 18, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterEric Edwards

This seems to be an amazing system but I do have a question. Since there is a rear camera, is there a quick and easy way to use this camera system a back up camera when going in reverse, say by pushing a single button?

April 18, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMichael G

@Michael G I have the screen set down low next to the steering column and I can use it as a reversing camera, which I have done when I was in a tight spot.
There is a mode button-the startup screen shows both camera views, then one push show only the front and another push shows only the rear.
It has such a wide field of view that I have the rear camera so I can see the rear bumper of my van and still see any cars within a few metres of the van.
But it is a small display for using as a reversing cam.

April 18, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBrett

@chris - the cameras are on a regular micro-USB cable, so there shouldn't be any real reason why you can't buy a micro-usb extension cable to add a bit of length to the front cable - just make sure that the join is taped up tight to ensure it can't come apart.

@Techmoan - I'll look into removing the GPS from the camera - if that helps the DAB then I'll be happy as, if I'm being completely honest - the speed cam alerts are irritating! I'm going to build a tolerance of 10% of the limit into my copy of the camera script to see if I can make it a little less eager to alert but I can forego them for DAB reception if it comes to it.

@Michael G - not that I'm aware of. You can switch the display to show the rear cam only but the field of view might make it a bit unsuitable for reversing.

April 18, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDave

Reversing Cams not a bad idea

i was thinking, about that using the front cam on the back due to the short length cable
to mount in " boot " . You Would Have A Clearer Image of the guy on you A**
most of the trouble i encounter comes from the rear. it might be a good idea to use the Better of the Two Cams on the Back

i know it is backwards thinking, and way to suppose to go, but it does have merit

that is a great idea, the easy to find longer length USB CABLE and connect it up / plug and play
thanks for that suggestion, as it solves the issue of mounting the brain anywhere

HOWEVER how long can that cable go before the video is degraded?
that is the question, hope someone tests it out with an update.
see how long you can go with it, let us know, how far from brain will the cams transmit?

April 18, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterEric Edwards

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