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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%! 

 
« 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)

Yes, the recording settings are set to the following:

Resolution: 1080FHD
Loop: 5 Min
HDR: On

I am using a Samsung 32GB EVO SDHC Class 10 UHS1 U1 Micro SDHC

June 3, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterRick

Unfortunately it sounds like you have a camera with a manufacturing fault. I've heard from a number of viewers who bought the camera using the offer and are very happy, and I can't imagine a factory manufacturing good models for review and bad ones for buyers as they would cost the same to make and all the bad ones would get returned under guarantee as they fail to match up to the demonstrated quality of the reviewed cameras, and this would bankrupt the operation. No one would benefit.
A more likely explanation for the fault you are experiencing is that the lens probably isn't properly aligned...a manufacturing fault....and as long as you have removed the protective plastic film from the lens (I had to ask as it wouldn't be the first time) then I suggest you return it immediately for a replacement.

June 3, 2016 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Hello again sir, once again thankyou for your helpful reviews & comments.
I now find myself in the position of choosing between the vantrue N1 or taking a punt on the unproven Xiaomi-Yi-Smart-Car-DVR.
My outback circumstances have not changed, nor has my significant feeling of great customer support from vantrue. It's not even much of a price issue as I truly do believe this is a solid product. It's a question of most environmental suitability (outback temps etc). Another reviewer put the Xiaomi-Yi-to a test in an oven heated to a temperature of 60 degrees Celsius (140 Fahrenheit), for one hour. The video quality of the unit was significantly hampered but once cooled down the quality of image & performance were at the former standard. That's satisfying to me because our car is kept in a carport out of direct sunlight & is air-conditioned.
The vantrue is a proven performer, my impression is that it has very good video qualities, the Xiaomi-Yi records in a higher resolution on paper, you have reviewed both, does it in fact have at least equal performance?
I'm a great fan of the KISS PRINCIPLE (Keep it simple stupid) and the vantrue N1 is the epitome of this. The Xiaomi-Yi does have troubles, big ones actually eg the latest firmware update on the international version renders the app unusable with the dashcam (use it without the app until it's sorted).
I'm thinking that given the solid performance of the companies other products eg the action cam it's worth a punt, that the troubles the YI has are only teething troubles and will be sorted out.
In your valued, respected & considered opinion which dashcam of the two has the overall better quality footage in typical circumstances, sun in camera, night etc?

June 4, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Bourke

You have to have to remember that a dash cam is only there to capture video of who did what in an accident - so any slight change in image quality will not impact upon this ability.
Both cameras capture clear sharp video in all lighting conditions - the Xiaomi has a slight edge in absolute darkness.
Basically both cameras will do the same job.

June 4, 2016 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Thank you sir

June 5, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Bourke

Rick, one rather silly thought. I finally got around to installing the Vantrue today and when looking at the videos, noticed that the videos were horribly blue and terribly soft. I then realized that I had left the protective little bit of plastic over the front lens. Have you removed that bit of film?

June 8, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterBroseman

I finally had some time to download some videos to my PC and found my Vantrue N1 also suffers from tremendous softness. I've posted the sample here. I've contacted Joe at Vantrue to see what they can do. Some tests initially without the camera mounted in the car seemed sharper. I'll need to check more carefully.

The image is particularly soft on the left side a slightly better on the right side. You can tell near the end when my car is parked in the following video. The leaves appear sharper on the right side. Copy the link below and paste into the address bar.

https://youtu.be/sn4G3h9bVYQ

June 10, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterBroseman

A sharpness change from one side of the image to another is the sign of a cross-threaded lens. This was a problem experienced on some keyring cameras in the past. It's a manufacturing fault. I recommend getting it replaced.

June 10, 2016 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

In your review you mentioned that there would be a promo code starting June 20th. Do you if that is still the case and if so where could it be found?
Keep up the good work.

June 12, 2016 | Unregistered Commentercharles

Please re-check the article - new links have been added.

June 12, 2016 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

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