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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)

There aren't any UK distributors as yet and Chinese imports are usually immune from the $/£ conversion issue. It's a wait and see approach that is required here - it's less than 24hrs since the video went up - the resellers will need a bit longer than that.

You can't get speed and location info without GPS.
Battery is apparently a Standard GoPro battery (as per the manufacturer).

March 2, 2015 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Hi Mat,

After spending a couple of days researching Dual camera systems I'd given up and just this week invested in a Mobius for the front. Once setup and working I was going to get one for the back too.

What do you know... this little beauty appears. Great timing! How bizarre that nobody has done this before: two discreet camera with all the gubbins hidden away somewhere; seems obvious to me!

Also: I want to second Daz's comment above. Why aren't you on TV! Your videos are fantastic and your dry sense of humour always amuses. (I liked your unboxing).

Must we endure the vacuous nonsense of the Gadget Show drop testing and setting fire to things! Bring back Tomorrow's World and all that.

March 2, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterWheeldo

Thanks, Mat! This is what I was desiring too. I too am wondering about a more reasonable price. The Amazon link is $345 US which is a bit steep, but a great device. I have a question around hiding the DVR. Since all the cables must connect to the DVR, it must be accessible for all cables. And as the DVR has a screen with good information I would like to see it, but don't want to mount it to my dash or other visible location which invites theft. Can you suggest any other options for location? We have a 2012 Nissan Altima which doesn't have any location that stands out as a potential "hiding place". What did you do for your car (if you mounted it more permanently since your video)?

Thanks for the great review!

March 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDave K

They have spent so long developing this camera that they are using an Ambarella chipset with an Omnivision PV 2710 sensor which are nearly two years old, ancient in video development. They will be upgrading to a Sony sensor when Ambarella fixes the bugs for the Sony sensor but all in all very poor video quality for such a good unit.
I would wait for the new 'guts' to be finalized before buying this unit.

March 4, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Williamson

I hear what you are saying, Peter Williamson. But I've looked at Mat's video and the quality is as good as I've seen in a dash cam. Can you share how you know about the internals of this specific dash cam? Is the information available online somewhere to read about?

March 4, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDave K

Dave K. I've kept my recorder box hidden. If you want to keep yours on display it really depends on the available surfaces in your car. Look for where you could stick a box of playing cards and then you could always buy an adhesive phone holder or some Velcro. Personally I think it's likely to attract opportunist thieves who think it's a SatNav.

March 4, 2015 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Future products invariably improve upon current ones...with one important exception, they don't work today.

March 4, 2015 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Hi Mat. I agree that the device should remain hidden. I do not want it to be displayed, but I'm wondering about access to the micro SD card as well as access to the display. What do you miss by having it hidden if anything? I'm thinking I may have to hide it up underneath the dash (above my feet) maybe using velcro or something similar.

I was really asking about advice for choosing a hiding place keeping in mind that you do need to access the SD card and maybe the device for updating/checking device settings.

March 4, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDave K

I don't intend to look at my footage unless I capture something interesting. Given past experience I'd be surprised if there's one incident a year. Velcro is probably the way to go and mounting it under a dash makes sense to me.

March 4, 2015 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Thanks, Mat. That's what I'm leaning toward too. I think it's the best for our vehicle and device access. I'm just not too sure about pulling interior panel pieces and routing wires, but I've done it before (a long time ago), so should be able to muddle through it when the time comes.

Thanks for the great site!
Dave

March 4, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDave K

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