G1W

G1W Dash Cam

The G1W DVR is a Chinese manufactured camera released in 2013.  It is also called the GS108.  It is based on the popular Novatek NT96650 processor and the Aptina AR0330 CMOS sensor.  This processor and sensor combination have been very popular in 2013 due its reasonable cost and good picture quality.  The G1W  appears to be the lowest priced camera with this processor and censor at $60.

The camera has very good picture quality during the day and average picture quality at night.  It records 1080p at 30f/s with an average bit rate of approximately 15,000kpbs (EDIT: some newer models have a 12,000kpbs bit rate, however video quality appears to be fine).  The G1W comes with a G-sensor and 2.7″ screen.  GPS is not available on the G1W.

While the camera isn’t the smallest at 113 x 46 x 32 mm, it isn’t that large and can be hidden behind the rear view mirror.  The bigger problem is that camera is not all black.  Depending on the vendor it can come with a black, blue or brownish outer casing.  Also the silver ring around the lens is quite noticeable.  Painting the unit all black would make it more discreet.

G1WH Version

Recently a new version of this camera has been released.  It is called the GIWH and it uses an all black case that is slightly different than the original G1W.  It also has a slightly wider angle of view.  Cost is about $6 more and overall reviews seem comparable to the original G1W.

G1WH

G1W-C

Another recent addition to the G1W family is the G1WC.  This camera is identical to the original G1W with one difference.  It uses capacitors instead of a battery.  A capacitor typically has higher heat tolerance than a battery but the price of this camera is more expensive at $66.  Our member niko has provided a full review of the G1W-C in our forum.

“Fake” / Lower Spec Versions

There have been numerous reports of lower spec or “fake” G1W’s being sold.  Typically these cameras are come with a cheaper Novatek NT96220FG processor and video quality is much worse.  Some things to look out for.

  1. If the camera records in AVI format, it is not genuine
  2. If it is missing the HDMI port, it is not genuine
  3. If you open the camera you can easily see what processor it is using

There are numerous threads in our forum on these “fake” cameras (here, here and here).  eBay sellers totodeal, yinjishan, oohsomuch,  abeyerr and okletsgoo have sold “fakes” and there appear to be many others that sell them as well.

Amazon also appears to be selling “fakes”.  Sport Fort and Zeegoo have sold “fakes” and there appear to be more as well.

Be careful when purchasing from sites that do not indicate the camera has the Novatek NT96650 processor and the Aptina AR0330 CMOS sensor.  If the processor and CMOS is not listed, check with the seller to make sure it comes with those components.

Wide Dynamic Range

This dash cam claims to have Wide Dynamic Range (WDR) capability to improve low light video quality.  Unfortunately this is not true.

Dynamic Range is measured in decibels (dB) and most cameras have a dynamic range of 60 dB to 80 dB.  The human eye has a dynamic range of approximately 100 dB.  Anything higher than 100 dB is often referred to as “Wide Dynamic Range”.

While the Novatek NT96650 Processor supports Wide Dynamic Range, the CMOS sensor used, the Aptina AR0330, has a dynamic range of 72.4 dB (see datasheet).  Hence from a pure technical perspective, this camera is not providing true Wide Dynamic Range.

But night video quality is good and there is improved night performance with WDR enabled on this camera.  Note that a high dynamic range number (>100 dB) does not guarantee great night performance if other aspects of the camera are poor (processor, lens, firmware).

Known problems

This camera is relatively new so only a few problems have been identified.

Loose USB Plug

Numerous owners of the G1W have indicated that the mini-usb plug is loose.  To fix this problem, owners have used mini needle nose pliers to very slightly pry the male mini-usb tip outer casing.  Others have adjusted the holding pins slightly to ensure a tight connection with the USB cable.  Complaints regarding the overall quality of the USB cable have been made by numerous owners as well.

G1W Dash Cam USB Cable Holder

Build Quality

The overall build quality has been described as light weight and not the sturdiest.  The image sensor is held by dual-sided adhesive tape rather than screws.  Overall, given the low price of this camera, cost cutting is evident in the build quality.

Wavy Background Noise

Some owners complain of a waving noise in the background.  This is a common complaint for cameras with the Novatek 96650 chipset and no resolution is available.  The video below demonstrates the problem.

Lens Blur on One Side

Some owners have complained about blurry picture quality on one side of the camera (usually the right side).  This does not afflict all cameras but has been reported a few times.  The following snapshot shows the difference between the sharp image on the left vs the more blurry image on the right.

G1W Right Side Blur

FM Interference

A few users have indicated their G1W cameras interfere with the FM radio.  The problem may be a defective power cable.  This appears to be a rare problem.

Not Recording / Responding

A number of owners have reported that the G1W turns off without showing any signs of turning off (the red light was on).  When trying to press the buttons they would not respond with the exception of holding the ON button to turn the camera off.  The video files were corrupted as well.  There is no known solution and the camera appears to be defective.

Screen Saver Issues

Some owners of this camera have had issues with the screen saver function.   The screen saver turns the screen blank after a specified period of time (3 minutes).  The problems have included:

  1. No possibility to cancel the screen saver
  2. No possibility to wake from screen saver
  3. After 3 min the screen goes black or grey and the video file will be damaged and will be unreadable on a computer

There are no known solutions to this problem but it has only been reported by a small number of owners.

Mounting the Camera

G1W Mounted 2

G1W Mounted

Disassembling the Camera

G1W Open1 G1W Open2 G1W Open3 G1W Open4 G1W Open5 G1W Open6

image

G1W Disassembled 2

 64 GB Micro SDXC Cards

One of our members has successfully formatted a Samsung Micro SDXC Pro 64GB Class 10 Card with the G1W.  You will need to use the Guiformat tool to format the card in FAT32.

Sample Videos

Day Video

Night Video

Should I Purchase?

Currently you will likely not find better video quality for a <$50 camera.  When comparing to our previous best buy camera in this price range, the DVR-027, the G1W video quality is vastly superior.  The form factor is better than the DVR-xx7 series as well and can be positioned behind the rear view mirror easily.

While we consider the G1W a best buy in this price range, you should be aware of a few caveats before purchasing.  Reliability is average for this camera and build quality is not the greatest.  If you are OK with those items and are on a budget, the G1W is the best buy for a low priced camera.  For someone looking for a more discreet camera with better build quality, consider the B40 / A118 released in 2014.  See our complete comparison on the main dash cam page.

Where to purchase for lowest price

This camera sells on eBay, Amazon and online vendors.  Note that there appear to be many inferior / fake G1W’s being sold that use different processors and CMOS sensors (SQ processor, lower end Novatek processors such as the NT96220).

G1W

  • estore009 on eBay.com and on ebay.co.uk is the most popular seller
  • estore009 is also selling a “2014 version” with a 320mAh battery
  • Shenzhen Blueskyocean Technology on Aliexpress
  • Spy Tec in the US sells this camera
  • FoxOffer 
  • Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk it as well.  CAUTION – Amazon has been changing the supplier of this G1W frequently and there have been reports of fake models being sent out – see this thread.  If you do purchase, check the product carefully and ask for a refund if you receive a fake.  Watch out for cameras supplied by Sport Fort, Zeagoo (probably others as well).  These have been confirmed to be fakes.

G1WH

If you are looking for the G1WH the safest bets are:

G1W-C

The capacitor based G1WC can be purchased at:

Firmware

WARNING!  MAKING CHANGES TO YOUR FIRMWARE ARE PERFORMED AT YOUR OWN RISK.  WE ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY DAMAGE TO YOUR DASH CAM AS A RESULT OF THESE INSTRUCTIONS.

Firmware Update Instructions

  1. Download the firmware file to your computer
  2. Unzip the file
  3. Format your memory card in your computer (or unit)
  4. Copy the bin file to the root of your memory card
  5. For the G1WH, change the name of the firmware you would like to flash to FWDM800H (required as the G1WH will not update with bin files with names other then this)
  6. Put card into camera
  7. Power camera on (make sure the camera is plugged in)
  8. The camera will update automatically. The screen will stay off but the status light will ight up; it will take 30-60 seeconds
  9. After updating, remove the memory card and test with another memory card. Remove the firmware from the memory card you would like to use or it will flash every time”

Latest Firmware

We only have access to one firmware version for this camera.  It comes from estore009 and is for cameras using the S1088 main board.  Use at your own risk.

G1W Firmware estore009. 2014.0108 (S1088_M_Ver1.0).zip

For the G1WH, there are a number of firmware versions that can be flashed.  A zip file with all the firmware versions can be downloaded here.

Some feedback on the firmware in the zip file:

  • 12 kbps: Carscam, Tantugo, GW1H
  • 15 kbps: DOD (all 3), Shadow (both)
  • AWB: DOD LS388W, Shadow GT300W 1306180
  • Givoe G1W buttons were not responsive, all other firmwares worked.
  • G1WH: WDR on/off option. All others WDR stays on.
  • DOD LS300W 20130328: 2 channel audio @ 1024, all others 1 channel at 512. Not really noticeable; probably not true 2 channel anyways
  • Loop: Only G1WH has 3/5/10, all others have 2/3/5
  • LS300W 20130328: Highest bitrate of all at 15767 kbps, other 15 kbps bitrates were 15255 ish.
  • Image rotation on all DOD and Shadow; camera can be used upside down
  • Carscam has PC camera when connected to PC as well as mass storage
  • All work with AV out cable, all record when plugged in and stop when unplugged

 

User Manual

The G1W user manual can be downloaded here.

Specifications

G1W
Price$52
Read Review
Manufacturer
CountryChina
Specifications
ProcessorNovatek NT96650
CMOSAptina AR0330
Channels1
Screen2.7"
GPS
G-Sensor
Wi-Fi
Parking Mode
Lock FilesAuto and Button
Video
Max Resolution1080p 30fps
Max Bitrate (Mbps)12
Video FormatMOV
CompressionH.264
Diagonal Viewing Angle120°
Recording
SD Card TypeMicroSD
Max Size (Spec)32GB
Max Size (User)64GB
Other
Size (mm)113 x 46 x 32
MountSuction
Power Supply5V
Operating Temp0˚C to 65˚C
Battery300mAh
Release DateMay 2013
AppsNone
Unique FeaturesNone
Rating
AdvantagesPrice
Video quality
DisadvantagesBuild quality
Wavy background noise
Limited Support
Video Day
Video Night
Reliability
Size / Discreetness
Price
Available Support
Overall Rating
Final WordBest video quality for under $60, much better than the DVR-207.

Published: Oct 3, 2013

Updated: July 7, 2014