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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
DR02 D - Best Budget Dual Cam
Yi

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%! 

 
« Harman Kardon Aura Airplay Speaker | Main | Retro Tech: The 3M Cantata 700 Background Music Machine »
Tuesday
May172016

A great small Dashcam (with a screen) - Vantrue N1

Small dashcams with an LCD screen are few and far between. The Mini-08 range is one of the most common, but suffers from reliability issues. So much so, that I refuse to review any more due to the high failure rates.

So it's refreshing to see a new mini camera that works well. It isn't overloaded with features like GPS or Lane Departure Warning, it's just a good solid sensible little camera that comes with an 18 month warranty.

Of course only time will tell how reliable the N1 proves to be, but I have a lot more confidence in this camera than I would with yet another Mini 080*. 

 

Using the Discount Code YHBTWINU at checkout will unlock the following prices.

Amazon US: $69.99 http://amzn.to/1UJQoFa

Amazon UK: £59.99 http://amzn.to/1PmHysV

Amazon CA: CAD$99.99 https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B01A4YUITY

The Deal times are active from: 13th June 2016 00:01 PDT/BST until 19th June 2016 23:59 PDT/BST - or until stock runs out.

If you want to look at some sample clips - then click here.  Do Not Stream These Video Files - they are for downloading - if streamed they look terrible and you'll only have yourself to blame.

   

 

FIRMWARE 14th May 2016

Here is the firmware (I take no responsibility if you brick your camera with this). 
Only use this if the Time and date Stamp is not appearing on your videos and your existing firmware is OLDER than 14th May 2016. There is no need to install it if your camera is already working perfectly.

The file is here - http://pc.cd/eJ9ctalK
INSTRUCTIONS
1) Copy bin file to memory card
2) Put card in camera
3) Turn camera on ....AND WAIT UNTIL IT AUTOMATICALLY REBOOTS ITSELF
4) Turn camera off
5) Take card out of camera
6) Delete Bin File (empty the Trash on your computer to make sure it's gone)
7) Put card back in camera
8) Check the firmware number in the menu to confirm that it has updated to the 14th May 2016 Firmware.

 

 

 

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Reader Comments (62)

Code is still active today!

May 27, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterthesmalldog

Okay that could be it, as I am replacing another dashcam with similar freezing issues using the same card. However it is a new card that is 32GB class 10, so the specs are good. I'll update with more information when it's resolved.

May 27, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterDavid

Not sure if you know anything about cards in general, but this is the card I'm using.

SanDisk Ultra SDSDQUAN-032G-G4A 32GB UHS-I/Class 10 Micro SDHC Memory Card With Adapter

Any reason you would think this wouldn't work well? I used it in a GW-1C and now this Vantrue with issues on both. I had sandisk replace it once already bc I did blame the card at first, but now I'm not super sure.

I'm not asking you to be my tech support haha, I just know you are much more knowledgeable than I am and may know something about sandisk that I don't.

May 27, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterDavid

Of course I can't categorically say it is the card, but the evidence suggests so. Given that you've had issues before I'd certainly recommend trying a different model.
I used to have issues with Sandisk cards in the past and switched to Class 10 Samsung cards (Amazon links on the right) and since then I've not had a single compatibility problem with any device.

May 27, 2016 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

I appreciate your time. I used your affiliate link on the right and purchased a Samsung card. I'll update with any new results.

May 27, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterDavid

VANTRUE WILL SELL TO CUSTOMERS IN AUSTRALIA I'M PLEASED TO REPORT.
I'm in the South Australian outback and I've decided on getting a Vantrue N1 as an improvement to my current camera which is a $40 cheapie, mainly used as a guinea pig trial to learn about dashcam's and see if it interested me. I still travel frequently and regardless of whether the collision was with a Kawasaki or a kangaroo footage of the incident is a nice thing to have.
My choice of the vantrue N1 is greatly influenced by the extreme temps here, the small size is a smaller heat catching profile, the metal heat transference strip and the small battery all work in its favour. I'm not paying for something that I'm expecting to have eventual poor performance from (I've now had the $40 cheapie through all 4+ seasons without trouble, even its battery) and the only foreseeable circumstance within reason for needing a battery is to take a photo of collision damage etc from outside the car anyway in which case I'd use my smartphone. For the same reasoning I think of infra red night lights on dashcams as a joke. My cheapie has 12 of them and they are useless.
I looked on Amazon, found no vendors who'd ship to Australia, left a comment asking for such a vendor and got a response from vantrue itself, some emails later and a deal has been struck, they'd ship it to Australia if I paid the freight (about $23au). I must pleasantly say that responses were prompt, service efficient and courteous. This last point was a clincher for me as it built confidence that if something were to go wrong the support would be there. Some other dashcam manufacturers haven't given the same level of customer support (based on 6 months of seeing reviews etc). I must also say that the email address given me brought up Chinese writing and not English, it isn't a company site it's just an email address. Nonetheless it worked and I got a response (in English). If you look on Amazon America at the vantrue N1 comments you'll see this exchange.
The email addresses are :
vantrue@yeah.net
support@vantrue.net

May 27, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Bourke

Just a followup. My N1's inaugural test was a road trip last week from San Diego to San Francisco for Maker Faire. My suction cup mount power issue self resolved magically and works fine now. Go figure. I also got the e-mail from Joe at Vantrue via Amazon. I upgraded the firmware from EVA05LHNC.160215.V2 to EVA05LHNC.160514.V1. This solved some bugs. For example, before upgrading I was having issues entering the plate number because the numbers/letters changed on both the press and release of the buttons. So I'd get every-other character for each button press. New Firmware fixed it. As far as recording video, it worked great. Thumbs up!

May 28, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterDan

Works great, I like that it has motion detection in parking mode. I pulled the blue bulb out of the charger, it lit up my car when parked at night. Thanks for discount.

May 29, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJJ

Techmoan,

I've been watching your videos for a long time and appreciate your reviews. I finally pulled the trigger on this one after your review and thought it was a great deal with the Amazon code. I figured the video quality seemed superb because the plates were legible! Unlike some other cheap ones before.

The camera was installed last night and I was able to utilize it during my commute to and from work today. After pulling the videos from the SD card and playing them back on the computer... The video quality was very soft in comparison to the ones you've posted as samples. The plates number were only legible if cars were within 3-4 feet in front and the same for street names. The edges of buildings, trees, cars, etc... were all very soft or pixelated where as your samples were very sharp.

I had similar issues with Paul (above commentor) with the scrolling letters. I've also updated the firmware hoping it may resolve other issues as well but it did not.

I'd hate to think that they sent you a different version (Public Relations/Promotional Model) to review and sell a lesser model to the public or maybe just a bad apple out of the crop.

Will be contacting Vantrue about this.

June 3, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterRick

Rick, did you check hour settings to confirm that you were shooting at 1080p?

June 3, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterBroseman

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