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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)

Thanks

June 12, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterCharles

Hey Techmoan, not sure if you remember my situation with the freezing dashcam, but after purchasing the samsung card and ditching the sandisk card, the camera is working perfectly now. Thanks for the tip! Thought you may want to know in case another problem like this comes up!

June 17, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterDavid

Firstly I just wanted to say thanks for all your excellent reviews. I've been looking for a dashcam for a while and stumbled across your site a while ago but hadn't seen an item that seemed to meet my criteria. I was looking at the Xiaomi Yi car dash cam but the heat/focus issues put me off along with potential import duties and difficulties with returns if required.

When I saw the review of the Vantrue N1 I was impressed but was only on sale from Amazon.com and they didn't ship to the UK. When I saw it was available from Amazon UK I was a little disheartened to see the higher price meaning it wasn't quite as competitive with the recent offers on cams like the Transcend 200 and 220. When I saw the recent offer codes for the UK I decided to go for it.

First impressions are good but after reviewing more of the footage over the last few days following the commute to and from work I've noticed that the video can be very soft and blurry at times with what looks like lots of compression artifacts. This tends to be a higher speeds along roads where there is a lot of greenery. Pausing the video looks even worse and doing so in an effort to make out a number plate for example shows that it's impossible to read. This is a shame as for the most part, especially at slower speeds around built up areas, or even higher speed on the motorway it's generally very good. In these scenarios pausing the video you can still make out number plates relatively easy.

I can only put the problem down to the bitrate possibly being too low. It just seems like too much is changing too quickly and it's struggling to compress it adequately. I see the bit rate is around 12.6 Mbit whereas on the review of the Vantrue R2 it was around 18.1 Mbit although I appreciate that was a higher res too. However what I also noticed was the R2 had options for video quality (normal, fine, super fine) and in that review it was left on super fine. I don't know if it can be done but I think they could potentially overcome this issue if they were to offer an updated firmware on the N1 which offered similar video quality options as the R2 allowing you to increase the bitrate. I for one would certainly prefer to loose some recording time in order to have higher quality recordings and by having the options it at least gives people the choice.

I'm in two minds about keeping it for this reason as these are the type of roads I travel on the most during my long commute each day.

June 17, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJohn

Hello, just FYI I get "The promotional code you entered cannot be applied to your purchase." when attempting to purchase through Amazon US.

June 18, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAlan

Recently bought N1 from Amazon UK with discount code.
A comment on the connection to the window attachment. When I push the camera onto the window mount it doesn't lock. To make it lock I have to push the release tab and it clicks in and is then quite solid. I wonder if some problems some are having and even the rattling are down to this.
Just a thought.

June 20, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterDerek

Hi, as the two discount offers were coming to an end I bought the Vantrue N1 from Amazon UK for £59.99, and also the Nextbase 212 with case & SD Card from Halfords for £48.99. I only intend to keep one & can't decide which as they have very similar features. Any advice please ? Many thanks.

June 23, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterRic

I have never used the Nextbase 212 - so I just don't know.

June 23, 2016 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Thanks for the reply Technmoan. You rate the N1 highly though, yes ? I know it's not very scientific, but going by RRPs of both devices, the Vantrue does seem a more "premium" device ? Any sample footage online seems fairly similar between these two. Similar method for mounting too. Biggest obvious difference is the size of the screen. Anybody any comments on these models or on similar models by the same manufacturers ? Grateful for any thoughts . Thanks again.

June 23, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterRic

I bought this through the Amazon offer, and so far so good. My only problem has been setting the time and date, as each button press seems to skip two units of time, instead of one, so it's impossible to set the correct day and hour etc! Anyone else had this problem - should I try the software update? Matt seems a bit cautious about recommending the update...

June 29, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterKarl

I believe the update does fix that problem...so if your camera firmware is older than the one I've posted...I'd suggest giving the update a go if you feel happy about the process.

June 29, 2016 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

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