Azdome M550 3 Channel Dashcam Review

DrekiTech

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The Azdome M550 is a triple channel dashcam with 2K + 1080p + 1080p video. A large wide screen adorns the back, and removable cameras offer interior and rear video feeds. This camera seems to be reliable as it worked throughout our week of 35 Celsius heat, and it offers decent video quality for a triple channel camera.

NOTE: Azdome sent a sample of this camera for review. Read more here.


Tech Specs​

  • Processor: Novatek NT96670
  • Front Sensor: GC4653 (4MP)
  • Interior Sensor: Sony IMX 307 (2MP)
  • Rear Sensor: GC2053 (2MP)
  • Super Capacitor: Yes
  • Parking Mode: Non-buffered, time-lapse (required hardwire kit)
  • 14,500kb/s data rate on main cam
  • 9,000kb/s data rate on supplementary cameras

In the Box​

  • Front camera / main unit
  • Internal camera / removable
  • Rear camera / on long cable
  • GPS Sticky Mount
  • Car Charger with Built-In Cable
  • Micro SD
  • Extra Stickies and Screws
  • Cable Guide Stickies
m550-2.jpg

About the Camera​

The M550 has a sturdy plastic build that feels solid in the hand. The magnetic GPS mount is unique and connects strongly, although it only tilts back and forth so it lacks flexibility to turn the camera left and right. I found when mounting in my car that I had the mount pushed to the extreme to have my camera pointed level with the horizon. How well this camera mounts will depend on the angle of your windshield. There's a white "GPS" badge on the front of the camera mount that can be blacked out with a permanent marker for a more stealthy installation however the size of the camera does make it difficult to hide behind the rear view mirror - especially since the interior camera will need to be pointed out beside the mirror to be functional.

The camera is easy to use with a straightforward user interface. The screen, despite being large and vibrant, is not touch. All the buttons do what is expected of them - up is up/right, down is down/left, OK selects items and menu goes back. Anyone seasoned with dashcams will find it easy to use and for newbies it should be fairly straightforward. Make sure to format the memory card before using this camera! Of important note, the only way to transfer data from this camera is by the Wi-Fi App or taking the micro SD out of the camera. There is no USB cable for data transfer. I wish that Azdome had included a SD Card Reader in the box due to make up for this interesting quirk.

The interior and rear cameras plug into the sides of the main unit. The interior camera has a little ball joint but the flexibility here is not super high either. On the little ball joint, unless mounted right in the middle of the car, it will likely point a bit higher towards the roof of the car than ideal. It will not see your lap, and thus prove that you do not have your phone on your lap, unless the camera is mounted in a highly visible place.

The rear camera is waterproof and can be externally mounted. The mounting hardware will not mount on the rear window without an additional fittings.

m550-1.jpg

m550-3.jpg

Daytime Video - Front Camera​

The 1440p video from the front camera offers a decent amount of detail while in motion. Expect license plates on adjacent parked cars to be readable up to about 60 km/h, as well as street signs and other finer details. In some cases oncoming cars will have readable license plates, especially at slow speeds, but with faster speeds the videos high level of compression will make it difficult to read them. The most important details are visible: colour of the vehicle, make and model, direction of travel, street signs and colour of traffic lights. Just that any fine details such as tree leaves, pavement stones or small letters can be blocked away.

m550-4.jpg


Daytime Video - Interior Camera​

With the interior camera, at 1080p it can produce decent quality video. There is a high level of detail and excellent dynamic range. The dynamic range is so high that occasionally it is possible to read license plates of passing cars through the side windows! Even in areas of high brightness, the camera does an adequate job capturing everything in the car, with a focus on the passenger if the camera is mounted behind the rear view mirror, or a good view of the whole car if it is mounted centered.

m550-8.jpg

Daytime Video - Rear Camera​

The rear camera is also 1080p although the level of detail is a bit lower. The quality is still adequate, as license plates close up to the vehicle are readable, but the dynamic range is also not as high as the other two cameras with white cars occasionally being too bright and black cars too dark. That being said, the most important things are visible: street lights, signs, and make/model of nearby cars.

M550-13.jpg

Night Video​

At night all three cameras become noisy and blocky. The front camera is still adequate to see what is going on, and above average in terms of detail when stationary, especially if there are street or city lights. Do not expect to read license plates or street signs at night unless the vehicle is stopped. The same applies to the rear camera.

The interior camera has its own IR LEDs and when it is too dark, they will automatically turn on. They are not visible to the passenger or driver. When it is bright enough to use visible light the amount of detail is good. It is possible to tell who is who and what they are doing. However once the IR kicks in the amount of light is pretty minimal resulting in blocky video overall. It is still possible to see what is going on but due to the way IR affects colour, it becomes harder to identify facial features.

M550-16.jpg

M550-18.jpg

Audio Quality​

Audio quality on this camera is loud and clear. Sometimes it is too loud and voices can go fuzzy and static, but in almost all cases they are easy to understand and clear. Even voices from outside the car can be heard with the window rolled down, even if it is not possible to point the camera right at the side windows to record interactions with people outside the car.

Conclusion​

The M550 offers decent video quality, a sturdy build and a capacitor for more reliable filming in hot conditions. In my 3 weeks with this camera it functioned as intended. The front camera could offer better detail with a higher bit rate, however as is the camera is entirely functional. Even with some issues with mounting flexibility, this camera is straightforward to set up and seemed easy to use. Overall it seems like a decent choice for a triple channel dashcam. Keen eyes may notice that this camera appears to be the same as the Wonvon W4K as reviewed on Dashcamtalk here. I did not have the stuttering issue either than the infrequent dropped frame when going over some bumps. This may be the reason that Azdome is using a lower bitrate.
 

SawMaster

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Yep, thought about the W4K on first glance. How good is the rear cam mounting? My W4K stripped the screws and I ended up gluing it in place. Didn't have time to view the whole vid but is this h265 all round, or split like that W4K was?

Nice review :)
Phil
 

Tritium

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I've now purchased 3 Azdome m550's and have installed 2. The first I've installed without any major issues. Mazda 2 install with hardwire parking kit. Ended up having to get supplies in fuse box under bonnet for the parking guard battery connection.
The 2nd install into a Mazda 3 was a little easier as the supply for the hardwire kit was able to be sorted in the cabin fuse box just inside the left hand door at the bottom of the windscreen pillar.
On this install the cabin camera appears to give a reasonably unnatural purple hue.
The other issue I have in general is with understanding the parking guard operation. There does not appear to be a parking guard control setting on the android app which is a disappointment.
The parking guard symbol on the screen when it is selected appears to look like a little car on a sideways incline which does not appear an intuitive graphic representation to me.
When going into the parking guard option on the cam menu the first selection is if the parking wire is connected or disconnected. I'm not sure if the active selection is the one in red or white. The next selection, for parking guard on follows the tick box like the rest of the menu options which is intuitive. But does not appear to give me the 1fps as suggested in the manual.
When I have the parking guard selected and the ignition/engine is off - when I tap the menu button and the screen comes on it looks like it is just recording in full resolution. I thought there might have been some parking options like motion detection choice, low bitrate, 1fps etc. I know this cam is at the budget end of the 3 camera spectrum but a little extra software could really make this a decent option.
There is a motion detection option elsewhere on the menu. I do not know whether turning this on will affect normal recording or if it is just for parking guard as suggested in the manual. If it is just for parking guard operation then I would have thought it more intuitive to make it a sub selection of the parking guard menu.
 
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Tritium

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A recent firmware update has improved the parking guard now giving 3 options for operation.
Thankyou Azdome.
I have 3 M550 cams. 2 updated without issue, the other will not initiate firmware update. I am experiencing some difficulties in contacting AZDOME support. An attempt to create an account on their forum support pages is still waiting on their administrator to activate after a couple of weeks.
M550 Firmware guide
 
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Tritium

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I have contacted the Aliexpress seller who is actively assisting with trying to resolve issue, which is appreciated.
 

Tritium

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Happy to say update issue has been sorted. Apparently there are 3 slightly different models of this dashcam. Each has a different firmware version.
Sunny from AZDOME spent a bit of time to work out what I had done with the firmware update and provided correct modified bin files to resolve the issue.
It's good to see that they actually have some knowledgeable support backing for this brand.
 
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