The AKASO DL12 is a dual channel mirror dash cam released in Feb 2020. While AKASO has a Japanese sounding name, the manufacturer is actually Chinese and is known for their action cameras. This dual channel mirror dash cam is popular on Amazon and has many positive reviews.
The DL12 is based on the Huawei HiSilicon Hi3556 V200 processor. It uses a Sony STARVIS IMX335 CMOS sensor for the front camera but AKASO does not disclose the sensor for the rear camera. These are decent components and can be found in many other popular dash cams.
The front camera records 1440p (Quad HD) video at 25fps with an average bitrate of 10 Mbps. Most dash cams record at 30fps, so this frame rate is an unusual choice. Video quality for the front camera during the day is good and night quality is average. While not as good as some traditional dash cams in this price range, the video quality is better than other mirror cams.
The rear camera records 1080p video at 30fps with an average bitrate of 8 Mbps. Video quality is noticeably worse than the front camera. While acceptable during the day, the night quality is below average. Note some owners have complained that the rear camera footage is blurry.
The rear camera is waterproof and can be used externally. Depending on your vehicle, mounting this externally may not be the easiest. You may want to opt for professional installation of an external rear camera since it is more complex than mounting the camera internally.
The DL12 has a 12″ screen (actually measures 11.4″ but AKASO rounds this up to 12″), g-sensor and has built in GPS. Unfortunately the camera does not come with WiFi. The DL12 provides non-buffered parking mode if you hardwire the dash cam to your vehicle (optional hardwire kit required).
The DL12 is a large camera at 290 x 70 x 30mm but clips on to your existing rearview mirror which makes for a discreet installation. Unfortunately like most mirror dash cams, the DL12 suffers from a number of problems due to its design:
- You will lose any advanced features from your car’s rearview mirror (i.e. auto dimming) since the dash cam will cover it up
- At night, the reflection is very dark and in some cases not usable
- The mirror is only usable when the screen is off. When the screen is on, there is still reflection from the mirror so you end up with a double image (combination of screen image and mirror image). The following images illustrate this problem:
Note that the DL12 cannot swivel to record interactions at the driver or passenger windows. While the camera only comes with screen error notifications, given the large screen, any errors will be easily seen by the driver. Unfortunately build quality is average and reliability has not been the best.
The rear camera can be used as a backup camera. It comes with a red wire which you can tap to the reverse light of your vehicle. If this red wire is connected, the dash cam’s display will automatically go full screen to the backup camera when going into reverse.
AKASO appears to be responsive to questions but beyond that, the camera has limited support. We have not seen any firmware updates for this camera since it has been launched. AKASO provides a 12 month warranty, which is standard for most dash cams.
Broken Wire Connectors
As mentioned the build quality appears to be average. The following photo shows the poor quality of the wire connector used in this camera.
Touchscreen freezes / Unresponsive
The most common problem that has been reported is the touchscreen freezes and becomes unresponsive. There is no known cause for this problem or solution.
There are numerous reviews on Youtube for this camera. When watching these clips, day videos will look good in most conditions for the front camera. Night videos while not horrible are average. Rear camera videos are noticeably worse.
Should I Purchase
The AKASO DL12 is an affordable 2-channel mirror cam with acceptable video quality for the price. While video quality is not as good as traditional dash cameras, it is on the better end for mirror cameras. The GPS feature is also a positive but there are a number of drawbacks as well.
Use of a battery instead of a capacitor, limited support and not the best reliability are things to consider. While we are not fans of mirror cams in general and the DL12 is not exceptional, many people will find it acceptable if they get one that is reliable.
Published: November 17, 2020