Mobius

Mobius Dash Cam

The Mobius dash cam is a Chinese camera produced by the same manufacturer of the popular 808 #16 key chain camera.

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 18,000kpbs.  The viewing angle is 87 degrees, which is a bit narrow for a dash cam.  It can also record 720p at 60f/s but viewing angle drops to a disappointing 48 degrees.  Apparently, there are plans to introduce a wide angle lens in the near future (116 degrees for 1080p and 63 degrees for 720p).

This camera also claims to have Wide Dynamic Range (WDR) to improve recording in low light conditions.  However, there have been some complaints for low light recording.  While above average, there are better cameras for night recording.  When recording at 1080p, this camera likely has the best video quality for a $85 camera.

This camera does not come with a G-sensor, GPS or screen.  One of the greatest features is the small size (61 x 35 x 18mm) and discreet form factor.  Due to its small size and low weight this camera has become popular for radio controlled vehicles.

Processor and CMOS Sensor

The manufacturer has tried to conceal which processor and CMOS sensor are being used on this camera.  However, it appears this camera is using the Novatek NT96650 processor and the Aptina AR0330 CMOS sensor.  This is based on the following facts:

  • Developer is a Novatek shop and the NT96650 was the best chip available from Novatek when the Mobius was released
  • If you run the strings output command (in Linux) on any available firmware version there are many references to  NT96650 and AR0330 (v0.32 string output and v1.13 string output). This is consistent with other cameras who are using this processor and CMOS combination
  • If you run a hex dump (in Linux) on any available firmware version there are many references to  NT96650 and AR0330, consistent with other cameras who are using this processor and CMOS combination
  • The manufacturer has indicated it is a 3.5MP sensor.  The ONLY Aptina sensor that has this resolution is the AR0330 and Omnivision does not sell a 3.5MP sensor
  • The Mobius captures photos with a resolution of 2304×1536. This is a very unique resolution and surprisingly is the same as the active array for the AR0330
  • Here is a picture of an unlasered NT96650BG, beside a picture of the lasered chip in the Mobius.  Notice any similarities.NT96650Mobius Lasered

Based on these facts you can decide which processor and CMOS sensor the Mobius is using.

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.

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

Given the excellent picture quality and $85 price tag, this camera quickly became popular.  However some issues were identified:

GPS Interference

Some users have complained that this camera causes interference with GPS devices (navigation, smart phones).  Some potential solutions to the problem include:

  • Moving the camera further away from the GPS unit
  • Painting the Mobius case with “metal-impregnated” paint to create an electromagnetic shield
  • Wrapping the dash cam with aluminum tape

Mobius Dash Cam Aluminum Tape

Our member Mtz has created a video demonstrating this interference.

Excessive Heat

Heatsinks have been built into the underside of the Mobius case.  These heatsinks get very hot when used as a dash cam.  Users have reported temperatures of 155° F / 70° C.  There have been only a few reported problems associated with overheating yet but the camera is still relatively new.  One owner used the Mobius as a dash cam on a hot day in the sun.  The camera died and the casing was warped from the heat as seen in this video.

Apparently, the manufacturer is looking at replacing the internal battery with a capacitor to allow for higher operating temperatures.

Colors Over Saturated

Some users report that the colors are oversaturated.  Light tan or brown colors (skin tone) have an orange hue.  This is not a big problem for dash cam users hence would only be considered a minor problem at most.

Beeping Sound

Some owners have complained of a small beeping sound every second if the background noise is low.  This appears to be a minor problem and has only been reported a few times.

Mounting the Camera

Mobius Mounted 1 Mobius Mounted 2

Our member Mtz has created a topic on custom mounts for the Mobius dash cam in our forum.  A lot of great ideas on mounting this camera.

Disassembling the Camera

RCGroups have created detailed instructions and pictures for disassembling the camera:

Mobius Disassembly 1

Mobius Disassembly 2

Mobius Disassembly 3

Mobius Disassembly 4

Mobius Disassembly 5

Mobius Disassembly 6

Mobius Disassembly 7

Mobius Disassembly 8

Mobius Disassembly 9

Mobius Disassembly 10

Mobius Disassembly 11 Mobius Disassembly 12

Mobius Disassembly 13

Mobius Disassembly 14

Sample Videos

Day Video

Night Video

Comparison Videos

Should I Purchase?

This camera has excellent video quality during the, likely one of the best for $85.  Video quality at night is average.  The size and form factor is discreet and initial reliability appears to be ok.   Also the manufacturer appears to be quite responsive in addressing  issues via firmware.

Overheating issues do not appear to be common, but do not run this cam in a parked car on a hot day to minimize problems

Overall this is the best discreet camera for the money.  See our complete comparison on the dash cam comparison page.

Where to purchase for lowest price

This camera sells on eBay, Amazon and online vendors.  While the camera costs approximately $70, you will need to purchase a mount, car charging cable and car charger adapter if you would like to use this as a dash cam.  This adds another $15 to the price.

eletoponline365 on eBay.com and on eBay.co.uk is the most popular seller for this dash cam (sold thousands of cameras).  They also sell the tape mount, the car charging cable and the car charger adapter.  A suction cup mount is also available if you prefer instead of the tape mount.

digitalele889 on eBay is another seller of this camera. The tape mount, charging cable, charger adapter and suction mount are available as well.

Cheaper mounts are available on eBay here: suction mount and tape mount.

Spy Tec is selling the Mobius camera on Amazon (tape mount, charging cable and adaptersuction mount) and on their site.  They have a physical location in New York City.

In Europe you can purchase from Amazon.co.uk, JooVuuCar Camera Shop or Mobius-cam.com.

Camera Configuration

A configuration tool has been developed by Isoprop that works in Windows.  The tool can be downloaded from his site.  This tool can be used to edit configuration settings or update firmware.

Alternatively, you can edit the camera configuration manually using the steps found here.

An Android application exists for configuring the Mobius cam as well.

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

The easiest way to update the firmware is via the configuration tool above.  You can manually update the firmware with the steps found here.

Latest Firmware

The latest firmware version can be found here (Mobius FW v1.20) or here.

Previous Firmware

User Manual

You can download the English manual here.

Specifications

Mobius
Price$85
Read Review
ManufacturerC&D Tech
CountryChina
Specifications
ProcessorNovatek NT96650
CMOSAptina AR0330
Channels1
Screen
GPS
G-Sensor
Wi-Fi
Parking Mode
Lock Files
Video
Max Resolution1080p 30fps
Max Bitrate (Mbps)18
Video FormatMOV
CompressionH.264
Diagonal Viewing Angle100°
Recording
SD Card TypeMicroSD
Max Size (Spec)32GB
Max Size (User)64GB
Other
Size (mm)61 x 35 x 18
MountAdhesive or Suction
Power Supply5V
Operating Temp0˚C to 65˚C
Battery500mAh
Release DateJun 2013
Apps
Unique FeaturesTime lapse
Rating
AdvantagesVideo quality
Excellent manufacturer and user support
DisadvantagesInterferes with GPS devices
Video Day
Video Night
Reliability
Size / Discreetness
Price
Available Support
Overall Rating
Final WordThe best discreet camera for $85. Great video quality, size and support.

Published: August 20, 2013

Last Updated: March 24, 2014