VIOFO A119

A119

The A119 dash cam is the sequel to the popular A118 camera.  The A119 uses a similar wedge shaped form factor which provides a very discreet installation in most vehicles.  The camera is produced by the Chinese manufacturer VIOFO.  It is based on the  Novatek NT96660 processor and Omnivision OV4689 CMOS sensor.  This is an improvement over the A118 Novatek NT96650 processor and the Aptina AR0330 CMOS.  The A119 has a capacitor making it more reliable in high temperatures than battery based cameras.

The A119 can record 1440p at 30fps or 1080p at 60fps with an average bitrate of 20Mbp.  The recommended resolution 1440p since it is the native resolution of the camera.  Video quality during the day is very good and night quality is good, with an overall improvement of night quality over the A118.  Note a A119S version will be available that will have a Sony CMOS sensor and may improve night quality as well.

One of the complaints of the A118 is that the video was grainy.  The graininess has been reduced on the A119 but some graininess still exists.  The video from the pre-production versions of this camera had a blueish tint but that has been corrected with the latest firmware.  Viofo has been quite active in improving the firmware on this camera which is a positive sign.

The camera comes with a 2″ screen and an optional GPS mount is available. Build quality is quite good.  The size of the A119 is 70mm x 50mm x 45mm, quite similar to the A118. While not the smallest camera, it is very discreet because the camera mounts directly to the windshield rather than using a large mount.  It also can be mounted high up on the windshield so that only the lens is visible from the outside.

The camera comes with G-sensor but does not have a buffered parking mode.  An optional Circular Polarizing Lens is available as well.

Comparison

Our member SergeiF has shared some comparison photos of this camera.  A119 on the left, Mini 0806 top, DR400G-HDII bottom and A118C right.

A119 Comparison 1 A119 Comparison 2 A119 Comparison 3

Known problems

Hot pixels at night

Some owners of the preproduction models  have indicated the camera has hot pixels at night (bright dots on the video).  This can be corrected by calibrating the camera in engineering mode.  To get into engineering mode, you will need to create a blank file named ENGMODE.  The steps are as follows if using Windows 10 (from our member Gibson99).

  1. Click start, type CMD, then hit enter or click the Command Prompt icon.
  2. Perform a Quick Format of the SD card with this command:
    FORMAT X: /Q
    Where X is the drive letter of the SD card.
  3. Change to the drive that is the SD card by simply typing X: (or whatever letter it is) and hit enter. the prompt should now be X:\>
  4. Create the engmode file with this command:
    echo. > ENGMODE
  5. To verify that the file is there, type DIR and make sure it’s the only thing listed besides the two “dot” entries at the top.
  6. Now you can close the dos window or type exit.
  7. Most important part is to safely remove the sd card before you physically remove it from the computer.  Down in the lower right next to the clock, there’s a picture of a USB thumb drive – click it once and it will list the removable devices – click the one for the SD card and it’ll tell you when it’s safe to remove it.
  8. Put the SD card in the camera and the camera should be in ENGMODE
  9. Select Format SPI from the menu
  10. Point the camera to something white with lots of light (avoiding shadows) such as a white sheet of paper.  Select DP Bright from the menu and press the OK button
  11. Cover the lens with foil paper in a dark room.  full black in a dark room and wait 10 minutes (20-30 recommended) for the sensor temperature to stabilize, then press the Shutter button and wait for the following message to be shown on the screen, the bright pixel calibration is then complete.
  12. While the camera is  pointing to a white sheet of paper, select DP bright from the menu.  Press OK when done.
  13. While the lens is covered with tin foil in a dark room perform select DP dark from the menu.  Wait 10 minutes, then press the OK button.  It should say DP PASSED FINISHED

Mounting the Camera

Our member SergeiF has shared some photos of the mounted A119.

A119 Mount 1 A119 Mount 2 A119 Mount 3

Sample Videos

Day Video

Night Video

Comparison of Shadow 1S (top left), Yi Dashcam (top right), A119 (bottom left), GitUp Git1 (bottom right)

Should I Purchase?

The A119 is a nice upgrade to the A118 due to the better video quality.  The discreet wedge shaped form factor, good build quality and GPS built into the mount makes this an excellent camera.  The manufacturer has been making firmware updates which have improved the performance of the camera.  Preliminary reliability is good but we will keep track of how it performs as time goes on.  Overall, one of the best cameras for the money we have seen released in 2016.  An excellent buy if reliability is maintained.

See what other owners have to say about the A119 on our forum.

Where to purchase for lowest price

With GPS:

Without GPS:

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
  2. Unzip the file using an unzip program
  3. Open the file and copy the .bin file directly onto the MicroSD card root file (use a 32GB maximum card, FAT32 format)
  4. Insert the MicroSD card into the camera and power it on via a 5V/1A power source, e.g. cigarette lighter or power bank, it will start upgrade automatically.
  5. While upgrading the front REC red LED starts blinking.  The light will blink slowly at the beginning, then it will blink quickly.  After the light stops blinking, the upgrade is compete.  Note the firmware will be deleted automatically after the upgrade

Latest Firmware

The latest firmware can be downloaded on the Viofo website or here:

  • VIOFO_A119_FW_V2.0.zip (Note this firmware file uses a loader file – LDBA119.bin – to update firmware.  Please follow instructions included in the zip file)

Previous Firmware Versions

User Manual

The English User Manual can be downloaded here.

Specifications

 VIOFO A119
Price$90
Read Review
ManufacturerVIOFO
CountryChina
Specifications 
ProcessorNovatek NT96660
CMOSOmnivision OV4689
Channels1
Screen2"
GPSOptional
G-Sensor
Wi-Fi
Parking Mode
Lock FilesAuto and Button
Video 
Max Resolution1440p 30 fps
Max Bitrate (Mbps)22
Video FormatMP4
CompressionH.264
Diagonal Viewing Angle160°
Recording 
SD Card TypeMicroSD
Max Size (Spec)64GB
Max Size (User)128GB
Other 
Size (mm)70 x 50 x 45
MountAdhesive
Power Supply5V
Operating Temp-10 to 65°C
BatteryCapacitor
Release DateJul 2016
AppsNone
Unique FeaturesLane Departure Warning System
Front Collision Warning System
CPL Supported (optional)
Camera not recording warning (beeps if missing card or camera not recording)
Rating 
AdvantagesPrice
Video quality
Discreet Wedge shaped
DisadvantagesNight video could be a bit better
Video Day
Video Night
Reliability
Size / Discreetness
Price
Available Support
Overall Rating
Final WordThe discreet wedge shaped form factor, good build quality and GPS built into the mount makes this an excellent camera.

Published: July 21, 2016

Updated: Feb 2, 2017