The DR32 dash cam, sometimes referred to as the 808 #18 DR32 DVR, is a Chinese camera manufactured by Hetai Digital Technology.  The camera has very good picture quality during the day and good picture quality at night.  It records 1080p at 30f/s with an average bit rate of approximately 12,000kpbs. The video quality is quite impressive and likely one of the best for a $100 camera.  Note that the price has been recently raised to $140.  This camera comes with a G-sensor but does not come with GPS.  The camera is not the smallest at 66.6x 60.6 x 33.0mm and the form factor is not the most discreet.

When this product was first introduced, it came with a large suction cup mount, that placed the camera low on the windshield.  This made the camera not discreet at all.  After hearing the user complaints, the manufacturer started selling this camera with a much smaller adhesive mount.  Most vendors are selling the adhesive mount for this camera now.  In the picture below, the original mount is on the left and smaller adhesive mount is on the right.

DR32 Mount 5

Other Models

There is speculation that nearly identical / identical versions of this camera are being sold under different names:

  • Patriot F3 (one owner flashed the Patriot F3 firmware on his camera and it worked)
  • Essilor i5

Known problems

Given the excellent picture quality and initial $100 price tag, this camera quickly became popular.  However some issues were identified.

Audio Quality

Many early purchasers of this camera complain of very poor audio quality.  When stopped, the audio quality is usually fine but when driving, there is a lot of distortion in the sound.  The following video demonstrates the problem.

The manufacturer quickly released a firmware update to address the problem.

The audio quality has improved with this firmware but it is not perfect.

Color Trails

Some users report that the camera leaves color trails particularly with bright red.  This is not a major problem and you can see a screenshot here.

DR32 Colour Trail

Camera Freezing

After the firmware update to correct the audio issue, numerous owners have complained of the camera freezing up.  This has yet to be resolved

Mounting the Camera

Some pictures of the original suction cup mount.

DR32 Mount 1
DR32 Mount 2
DR32 Mount 4

Disassembling the Camera

Should I Purchase?

This camera has excellent video quality, likely one of the best for a $140 camera (note that the price used to be $100).  Unfortunately, the manufacturer is still working through the bugs.  The audio has been improved but it is not perfect and the freezing issue is a concern.  The manufacturer appears to be quite responsive in addressing these issues.  The camera is not the most discreet.  If you don’t mind the size and form factor, this could be a best buy once the bugs are worked out.  See our complete comparison on the dash cam comparison page.



Firmware Update Instructions

  1. Format the MicroSD Card using the DR32 Menu (for more information please read the manual).
  2. Copy the DR_32.BRN firmware file into the root of the MicroSD Card. This DR_32.BRN file is inside the ZIP archive which you downloaded.Insert the MicroSD Card to DR32.
  3. Power On the camera and make sure recording function works well.
  4. Enter Playback ModePress MENU Key and UP key at the same time till message !Firmware Update is shown on the screen. (About 5 seconds)  FW is upgrading when the red LED is blinking.
  5. When the LED light turns off, FW updating is complete.Press Reset key to restart the Driving recorder.

Latest Firmware

The latest firmware version is FW20130122-1.  This firmware improves the audio (but does not fully address it).  There have been reports that this firmware causes the camera to freeze.  Other owners have recently complained that the menu system gets corrupted with this firmware.  Please take this into consideration before upgrading.

Note that the Patriot F3 firmware has worked for one owner of this camera.

User Manual

You can download the English manual here.


Detailed Specifications

Read Review
Camera Type Single Channel
Form Factor Hanging - Square
Country China
Processor iCatch
CMOS Front Unknown
Channels 1
Screen 2.7"
G-Sensor Yes
Wi-Fi No
Parking Mode No
Lock Files Auto or Button
Max Resolution Front 1920×1080p
Front Frames Per Second 30
Max Bitrate Front (Mbps) 12
Max Resolution Rear N/A
Rear Frames Per Second N/A
Max Bitrate Rear (Mbps) N/A
Video Format AVI
Compression H.264
Diagonal Viewing Angle Front 127°
Diagonal Viewing Angle Rear N/A
SD Card Type MicroSD
Max Size (Spec) 32GB
Max Size (User) 32GB
Size Front (mm) 67 x 61 x 33
Size Rear (mm) N/A
Mount Adhesive or Suction
Power Supply 5V
Operating Temp 0°C to 65°C
Battery 250mAh
Error Notification No
Apps None
Cloud Connectivity No
Release Date Feb 2013
Unique Features None
Advantages Good video quality
Disadvantages Size and form factor are not ideal
Poor audio quality
Final Word Decent video quality but form factor is too large.

Published: April 24, 2013

Last Updated:  July 5, 2013

DR32 - DashCamTalk

The DR32 has decent video quality but form factor is too large.

Product SKU: DR32

Product Brand: Hetai

Product Currency: USD

Product Price: 140

Price Valid Until: 2023-01-01

Product In-Stock: SoldOut

Editor's Rating: