Also known as dash cams, car cameras and DVRs, dashboard cameras are an increasingly popular piece of equipment to ensure you have supportive proof in the event of a road incident.
There are a range of different designs with different specific characteristics to suit various needs and preferences. These include options for those who are conscious of distracting clutter in the windscreen, and options for those who want to be able to capture footage in the highest possible resolution.
The factor shared by all five of these options is that they are among the highest rated devices of their kind available on the market today.
Proofcam RAC 03
The ProofCam RAC differs to ordinary dashboard cameras as it fits over the existing rear-view mirror. The design encases your actual rear-view mirror and essentially becomes a larger one; significantly enhancing your rear field of vision with a mirror on a larger surface. This design then positions the camera out of the way of the driver’s usual peripheral space.
The sensor is equipped with 4-megapixels, and the top video recording resolution is “Super HD”, which is 2,340 x 1,296. But there’s also a 2,520 x 1,080 option, which provides a 21:9 aspect without the view being widened.
There are also three different quality options for recording, which are intended to allow you the freedom to conserve space on the memory card, depending on how sharp you want the recording to be at the time. The device holds a microSD slot for video storage, and the retail bundle includes a 8GB card.
When the memory card is full the recording will loop, replacing the oldest files unless they have been marked previously. The device includes a built in ‘G-sensor’ which will influence the recording if a sharp movement or stop is detected, and then this footage will be transferred from the ‘normal’ to the ‘events’ folder.
This device is priced at around £160.
The significant dynamic with this device is that it is both a dashboard camera and a satellite navigation system. Like the RAC 03, the reduction of clutter in the windscreen area is a core intention behind this model.
The sat-nav has a 6-inch display, while the camera is situated at one end. The comparatively large size of the device does take up a considerable amount of space, despite combining two devices in one.
Video is captured at Full HD, 1,920 x 1,080 resolution, and the 8Mbits/sec data rate allows for reasonable quality. The nuviCam is fitted with two microSD card slots, one for downloading maps for the sat-nav, and the other is dedicated to the dashboard camera.
The device also features Garmin’s Digital Traffic via DAB radio. There is a DAB receiver built into the nuviCam, which allows the device to connect with traffic reports and updates minute by minute. Because the Digital Traffic service uses DAB, it does not have its own built-in data connectivity. This will mean a smartphone is required to access interactive live services.
The price of this device is a round £259. This is a competitive price since two devices are combined within one, but if de-cluttering is your priority, the RAC 03 could be the smarter option.
Stream footage live from your dash on the next page.
NextBase Duo Twincam
The most important feature of this device is the incorporation of dual cameras. This model is equipped with two 180 degree rotating front and rear cameras, which gives the driver all round protection and a fuller range for recording.
The device also includes an image processing sensor and integrated night vision, meaning that the video quality is optimised regardless of dim or night time driving conditions. The front camera provides a wide 140 degree field of view, while the rear camera has a fixed 50 metre zoom lens.
The accompanying software allows the user to sort through date/time stamped files and play back recorded footage. During playback both the front and rear footage is played side by side as one file. Travel speeds, distance, and G-Force levels are all documented for review.
The Nextbase Dup features a 16:9 cinema aspect ratio screen, which minimizes cropping of the peripheries, and the screen is 5.08cm. The cameras have 720p video quality capability, which is typically lower that cameras with only a forward facing camera.
The camera also offers a feature which functions like a screensaver so as to reduce distracting glare and brightness, particularly useful for night driving. The GPS and mic can be switched on and off.
The device is priced at around £199.
Mio MiVue 688
The MioVue 688 has a 2.7in screen, and offers recording in 1080p Full-HD, supported by a Sony optic sensor. The main benefits of this model are continuous, automatic video recording, GPS-tagged recordings with G-sensor information and safety camera locations included with free lifetime updates. A main down-point is that a memory card is not included.
The camera does cause some clutter, as the mount is intended to hang down from the top edge of the windscreen. Only one recording option is available, Full HD 1,920 x 1,080 resolution at 30 frames per second, with a 17Mbits/sec data rate. This single option means a lack of ability to conserve space by selecting a lower quality mode.
Footage is recorded to a microSD and an 8GB card can provide around an hour of footage before the loop recording function occurs.
The device comes with some extra safety features, which involve a GPS receiver which will record locations along with the recorded video. This will also include the vehicle’s speed and a confirmation of the time, which is valuable evidence.
Lane Departure warning system (LDWS) is also available with the device, which will alert the driver if the vehicle drifts outside of the lines which indicate the lane. The system includes a headlight reminder which will warn the driver if the lights have not been turned on when it is dark. Another safety feature is a system which reminds you of how many hours you have been driving, so as to influence taking a break.
The device will cost around £150.
Cobra CDR 900E
The stand out feature with this device is a Wi-Fi function which allows the user to stream footage live. Released in late 2014, the Cobra CDR 900E is still a solid contender offering ‘Super HD’ recording with a 160-degree viewing angle. The price for this system also makes it competitive at around £130.
The CDR 900E allows you to share your driving footage with a smartphone, this is possible through Wi-Fi functionality via the users iOS or Android device. The device features a motion sensor for automatic recording when driving, as well as a G-sensor. An 8GB memory card is included with the device.
There is an app that enables the user to control the device remotely, this includes both simple functions of powering the device on and off, and it can also be used to manipulate other settings.
The ‘Super HD’ performance involves 1296p resolution, which is at the top end of recording capabilities. The device has a 2.0” LCD screen, on which you can instantly playback footage in real time. The ‘Ultra-Wide’ viewing angle is also attractive to some.
The device features an Ambarella A7LA Chipset image processor, which enables either 30fps in 1296p, or ‘Super HD’ or 60fps in 1080p.