The C550 is a dual channel dash cam released in Jul 2019 by the Chinese manufacturer APEMAN. This camera is sometimes referred to the as the C550A. This reasonably priced dual dash cam is popular on Amazon and has many positive reviews.
Unfortunately APEMAN does not provide the processor and CMOS sensor specs for the C550. Given the low price point of this dual camera, we suspect entry level hardware is being used. There is mention of a Starvis sensor but this is hard to believe given the poor video quality at night. We haven’t been able to verify the hardware used in the C550.
The front camera records 1080p video at 30fps with an average bitrate of 12 Mbps for the front camera. Video quality for the front camera during the day is average and night quality is below average. Video allows appears a bitit choppy. The rear camera records 720p video at 30fps with an average bitrate of 8 Mbps. The rear camera performs significantly worse than the front and is disappointing at night. The wide angle 170° lens also creates a fish-eye effect on the videos which is not ideal.
The rear camera is waterproof and can be used externally. Depending on your vehicle, mounting this externally may not be the easiest. Many people opt for professional installation of this camera since it is more complex than mounting the more typical internal rear camera that most other dual dash cams come with.
The camera has a 2″ screen, g-sensor and GPS is an optional module. Unfortunately the camera does not come with WiFi or supporting smartphone apps. The C550 provides non-buffered parking mode if you hardwire the dash cam to your vehicle (optional hardwire kit required).
The C550 is a wedge shaped camera that comes with an adhesive mount. Like most wedge dash cams, the camera cannot swivel to record interactions at the driver or passenger windows. The C550 is a medium sized camera at 93 x 53 x 34mm. Build quality and reliability are average and reliability has not been the best. Unfortunately the C550 does not come with audio error notifications. Instead it has screen error notifications but these can easily be missed by the driver.
APEMAN appears to be responsive to initial questions but beyond that, the camera has limited support. We have not seen any firmware updates for this camera since it has been launched.
Note that while the camera has a large number of very good reviews on Amazon, APEMAN does provide a free gift in exchange for 5-star reviews. This may influence the overall ratings and it is a common tactic that APEMAN uses for all its dash cams.
The APEMAN C550 has less reported problems than other APEMAN cameras and there do not appear to be any common widespread problems.
Should I Purchase?
The APEMAN C550 is one of the lowest priced dual dash cams on the market at only $60 and would seem to be a bargain. Unfortunately video quality is disappointing which is the biggest drawback for this dash cam. The camera appears to be more reliable than other APEMAN models which could be due to the fact that a 32GB SD Card is provided. Many dash cam problems stem from a poor choice in SD cards or counterfeit SD cards.
While the low price tag and easy Amazon returns may lure you into purchasing this product, unless your expectations are low, you will likely be disappointed with the C550. We suspect the free gift in exchange for positive reviews has influenced the Amazon rating for this camera (not an ethical practice).
See what other owners have to say about the APEMAN C550 on our forum.
The English user manual can be downloaded here.
Published: October 17, 2020