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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 (My recommendation)
Yi Dashcam (also in black)
   
    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 a couple.

 

 

 

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 (639)

There's really only one model with three different types of lens (for different fields of view). It's also worth swapping the battery for a capacitor of its being used as a Dashcam. It's not a plug and play solution, requires a bit of setting up from the user. These links should give you idea what to expect and whether it fits your requirements.

http://www.techmoan.com/blog/2014/2/24/using-a-mobius-camera-and-some-accessories-to-make-my-ideal.html

http://www.techmoan.com/blog/2013/7/8/the-mobius-camera-the-do-it-all-mount-anywhere-1080p-micro-c.html

March 4, 2015 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Great, thanks Mat! Looking at the second link I do recognize the device, but didn't remember its name. But I don't recall seeing the first link with accessories. I'll watch them both today - thanks again!

March 4, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDave K

For Dave - The standard Mobius is here - http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Mobius-ActionCam-Full-HD-Sports-Camera-1080P-30FPS-720P-60FPS-Pocket-Camcorder-/151071891306?pt=Camcorders_Professional_Video_Cameras&hash=item232c961f6a - the other variation is the wide angle lens.

Note there is no screen included and there is a fairly large heat sink on top, which I find does get hot on long term use but the quality and neat design is great.

March 4, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDaz

Thanks for the link and the information about the wide angle lens. I watched Mat's video about the available accessories and another about hiding it in a plastic housing behind the rear-view mirror. I want to see if I can find something like that for my vehicle. I may just pick up one of the Mobius cameras (maybe 2?) and use that for a while. Thanks, Daz!

March 5, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDave K

This looks to be the dash camera I've been waiting for, I've been looking to replace my ageing BlackVue for a while now.

How do you think the rear camera would perform if looking out of a factory rear tinted window? Does the manufacturer plan to update the firmware to include MPH as well as KPH?

Looking forward to seeing a UK reseller.

Keep up the good work, I enjoy your reviews and you've got a bit of a following on the dashcam thread on pistonheads.

March 5, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDave W

Hey Mat. Have you looked into kome CR900?. Its seems to have all the features this one has with better resolution

March 5, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterparker

First I've heard of it. it appears (from the scant information available) that each camera is a separate recorder in its own right and the LCD Screen is there to switch between them and provide the power. The cameras look quite large.

March 5, 2015 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Is there a good reason why car manufacturers do not offer new cars with an inbuilt dashcam as an option? After all, they can be had with parking cameras and all sorts of other technical wizardry. A built-in camera, utilising the cars existing lcd screen, would solve the problem of opportunist thieves - just as it has almost completely with car radios. An OEM camera built-in would undoubtedly be of a higher quality than the majority of dashcams flooding the market and they would be covered by the vehicle's warranty.
Re the K1S, it appears to be an excellent camera and hopefully the minor niggles will be sorted soon. Oh and the price needs to come down alot. Finally, thanks for a great review as always. Very professional - apart from the sellotape holding on your lapel mic!!!

March 6, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterTerryC

Hi Mat,

Excellent review...I read this with great interest as its exactly the type of Dashcam I want...good to see you managed to get one to test, if you remember I sent you a link to this camera from Koonlung's website in one of your other dashcam reviews.

A couple of questions...how do you rate the image quality front and rear compared to a 0803 camera, and does it feel like a nice bit of kit regarding quality.

I must admit the price is quite off putting its way more expensive than two 0806 2nd batch cameras, it's a shame it's so expensive as I really like the idea of the descreet cameras and separate recorder...it's the way forward for dashcams.

March 6, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterKlippie

Hi Peter Williamson,

I would love to see this camera in the Australian market as well. I contacted Koonlung direct to see what option Aussie buyers have but as yet got no reply. I am guessing our market is to small to be of interest to them just yet.

March 7, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterChris H

At the $ price quoted I think the price is fine,but by the time it gets to UK via a distributor who can support it on a technical level it will be twice the $ price. My concerns are : The battery (I would rather have capacitors to take out spikes), Current drain from the vehicle battery (I want it off when the ignition is off) and reliability (It gets very hot in a windscreen in the summer even in UK). Lastly I have heard reports of RF leakage causing DAB problems (not with the K1S yet). With the amount of complex electronics in modern cars cameras need to be well screened. The last thing I want is to cause a problem by introducing an expensive, unsupported product.

March 7, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterIan

Hi.
Great review.
Hope in long run big Korean names will start manufacture dash cam with separate main blocks.
I was looking for similar cam for a while and I was able to find model named:
Iconbit DVR QX DUO.
I guess it is manufactured in China for Russian market. Also they have office in Germany.
I emailed them and asked how much it would cost to UK.
They responded 'We offer the DVR QX DUO for 179,95€ plus 15€ shipping'.
At meantime there is a older model of it on Amazon UK:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/iconBIT-DVR-FHD-Q2-1080p/dp/B00CY1FUFS/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1425758077&sr=8-8&keywords=Iconbit

I passed on it as according to feedback from russian bloggers (in russian), there is a big problem in performance of latest model.
It is unstable and can 'freeze out' without a reason and customers have 'permanent headache' with it.

Could you give us feedback how is performance of this cam on later stage?

About parking mode.
Usually for that to perform you should connect dashcam with Uninterruptible Power Supply directly to fuse/battery.
That looks after battery and when car's battery is discharged to set level, it stops parking mode.
Do manufacture have this on offer?
As myself decided to buy Cowon AW2 soon, this is how Uninterruptible Power Supply looks like for my future model:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/COWON-AW1-UNINTERRUPTIBLE-POWER-CABLE/dp/B00CIDFK02/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1425105760&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=UP2+Uninterruptible+Power+Equipment

Parking mode is designed to protect us from hits and runs like this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8DHSRhP5JyQ


br
Eugene

p.s.
btw if you would be interested in reviewing Cowon AW2 I should have it around first week of April. You will need to collect/arrange courier and return it from/to West London

March 7, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterEugene

I would love the Cowon AW2 but if you think the K1S is expensive the Cowon in UK is very expensive

March 8, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterIan

Hello there !! Congrats on your web page info. it is very helpful !! would you suggest to use a K1S for a sport car ( racing ) and also on a KTM1190 motorcycle ??

Regards,

March 11, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterTHOMAS

No.

1) It's not easy/quick to install or remove.
2) It's not waterproof.

March 11, 2015 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Hi Mat - Thank you for all your reviews. I check in regularly and really appreciate all your efforts. One question I have about this dashcam (as well as others going forward) is whether there is a way to manually mark/move the file for saving from the device itself. For my work I find that I have several events in a 12 hour workday that I want to save, but if I didn't remember to hit the emergency button, the file gets overwritten. Since I can't stop and download the files I need, I find that I have to switch memory cards out before they get overwritten so I can go back later and find the files. Perhaps you could consider looking for that feature in your future reviews.
Keep up the good work!

March 15, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBrent

Great review as always.

Just bought this system and I am eagerly awaiting its delivery. After being rear ended this week and the other driver running to the police to say I hit him head on and then I drove off after hitting him. I will not have this happen to me again. Now fitting other dash cams to our second car and my wife will be getting a helmet cam for when she's on her scooter.

Got to say yes it's a bit more money than other systems but when that accident happens and the other driver tries to lie then they prove their weight in gold.

March 15, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJim Bond

Quote:

"the Speedcam database is no use in the UK until the camera can support additional database formats."

It may be worth them communicating with http://www.pocketgpsworld.com/ as they regularly update their own speed camera database in many different formats.

See here:

http://www.pocketgpsworld.com/modules.php?name=Cameras

There is an annual subscription fee to download it, but if you find a new speed camera you get it free for a year.

Note: I have no connection with them other than using their database with my Co-Pilot software.

March 15, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterTraction Tim

Yes I bought a subscription just so I could try out their databases with this camera. None of them worked and one actually locked up the device until I replaced it with another database. I've been in touch with the manufacturers about them adding support for additional databases. However at the time of typing there is no support for any other POI databases other than the one that's no use in the UK.

March 15, 2015 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Hi there! Congrats for your excellent job!
I am new in dash cams, I’ve seen all your videos to decide what cam is better for me and my car. Finally I decided that this product (K1S) is perfect for me, as I need in particular a hidden cam. After this, I tried to find about a way to purchase it. There is nowhere. At the end, I found that Koonlung has a Facebook page, and guess what, it has only 28 likes (from 2004 !!!! ???) and one from me 29. There is a post from them includes your comments and video, and it has comment “Now you can buy from us. send email to info@koonlung.com”. I’ll try to contact them.

March 17, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterThanos

Hi Thanos.

I will be interested to see how you go. I sent Koonlung an e-mail on the same subject a month ago and got no reply. Looks like they have a solid research and development team but no sales team to support them. Interesting business model

March 17, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterChris

Well, I am surprised about their immediate response! They answered me by email and they replied on my facebook message. The answer is this: “Yes, you can buy from us directly. So far we don’t have distributors in Europe. One unit price is $349.00usd, included GPS. If you need it, please let me know in advance.” So, I’ll reply to that answer to discuss the way of payment and shipping. Do you think that I’ll have extra customs fees?

March 18, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterThanos

Yes you'll definitely get import costs. My sample package incurred them. I think they send via DHL and they always charge. I'd put aside another £50 - £75 or so for this. It's a pretty expense option. They won't want to undercut their only western reseller by selling directly. However there are wholesalers companies advertising that if someone buys, say 100 units then the trade cost is more like $150. It really would be advisable to wait s bit longer until the reseller issue is resolved.

March 18, 2015 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Thank you Techmoan for the information. I' m in negotiations for the final solution. I'll inform you about the result.

March 18, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterThanos

Hi, guys!

great to hear that yours like this model so much and thanks for a friend invite me here, especially Techmoan)))
I'm Freya from Koonlung company -K1S manufacturer.

for the sound issue, we heard ur voice and in the improvement.
any question welcome to communicate with us;)

March 18, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterFreya KOONLUNG

So, in the previous post you can see the result of our conversation we had with the representative of Koonlung. She declared that we can purchase directly from Koonlung, payment via paypal, support also directly from them, and they can do “something” for the customs fees.

March 18, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterThanos

HI Guys n girls n Matt

I don't know if it's any better or worse than the widely unavailable yet (for Europe) K1S dual lens car dvr, BUT THIS ALTERNATIVE here is available n much cheaper than the K1S while (seemingly at first sight) able to do the same job, although a bit bulkier

http://www.ebay.com/itm/A42-7-QUAD-MONITOR-BUILT-IN-DVR-CAR-REAR-VIEW-CAMERA-KIT-FOR-TRUCK-TRAILER-RV-/321697453757?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4ae6a996bd

Ikeep searching, (KOONLUNG not responding at all to my questions)

350 dollars is much to expensive, specially knowing that the USA gets it from China at a low price, we may as well order it ourselves from China directly

Another way to get the K1S would be to buy it by bulk here, straight from CHINA and resale them in Europe, but don't know if it's worse it anyway ...

OR, buy a separate DVR with dual channel n plug in 2mobius cams ????

(Anyway, sooner or later KOONLUNG will be copied n some others will sell something like them, if they do not fast supply the European Market heheheheeeee that's a message to you hoo hoo)

cheerio

March 18, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDESFORM

The K1S is now available at a much cheaper price on Amazon in the US.
With GPS: http://amzn.to/1MKU4lY
Without GPS http://amzn.to/1DBbUpZ

I'll update the blog post info on Friday.

March 18, 2015 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

HI again

Ithink this one is very much similar to KOONLUNG K1S and maybe much easy to get from them and hopefully much cheaper too, why not with free shipping by ebay (we can dream hey ?)

ITis the : D36 Ambarella A7LA70D Dual lens 1080P*30FPS 3.5" HD TFT LCD Screen Car DVR

http://www.iro-electronics.com/en/productshow.php?id=157

ANYWAY, now this is a serious alternative to K1S so difficult to get for Europeans, maybe this will help the race for providing Europe now ?

AND some guys here may even find links where to get it n at what price ????

CHEERIO

March 18, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDESFORM

HI Matt

thanks for the new amazon links of a cheaper K1S, but it's almost impossible for Europeans to buy from the states, because shipping cost often as much, sometime more than the item, and there is always custom taxes to pay with USA... Which renders a bargain impossible to finalise....

The best way so far has always been to get it from china, because CHINA somehow manage to do FREE SHIPPING n of all items ordered there by the past by me, none of them were taxed to me from CHINA to France

Hopefully, this K1S will soon appear outside the US

and may be the IRO cam (similar to the K1S) is a good alternative ?

http://www.iro-electronics.com/en/productshow.php?id=157

hopefully it IS MUCH EASIER TO GET ??? (and maybe one of your next review ???)

March 18, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDESFORM

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