Best bang for buck Dash Cam in 2020?

BraXzy

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I'm looking to pick one up after seeing yet another dash cam video on Reddit that helped prove fault... It seems like a no brainer in this day and age. Only problem is the amount of choice and the range in price.

  • I'd prefer something without a screen, I'm fine with using my phone to check and set it up, I feel like it'd be distracting having one but I'm not entirely against it.
  • I want a parking mode if possible for peace of mind - but as I understand it that would require hard wiring? (Extra kit to buy).
  • I want quality good enough that car registrations are easily visible, otherwise what's the point?
  • Dual cam would be nice but I'm fine with just a front cam.
  • My budget in an ideal situation is £100 and under.

The Viofo A119 v3 seems to be one of the most popular cams at present. It is available for £99.99 which is at the limit of my budget. I could live with the screen and based on videos I've seen online it does indeed have great quality. I'm guessing this has yet to be topped.

The Aukey DR02 D is currently available on Amazon in a bundle with the duo set up for £92 which is good, and footage I've seen online looks surprisingly good for an older camera. But would I be better off spending a tiny bit more for the Viofo (with the loss of a rear cam).

The Garmin Dash Cam Mini looks like the perfect form factor for me, but there's barely any info online on it, including on this site. I can pick this up for £56 which is almost half the price of the other two. There's very little footage that I found besides this great review - and it looks to do the job well enough. They also updated in Jan 2020 to say the overheating issue is potentially fixed through firmware, but again, there's no concrete info online.

I'm open to other suggestions but these 3 seem to be the best bang for buck compared to other cameras I've looked into. Just need some advice please.
 
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kamkar1

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Welcome to the forum.
The screen are only on for a few seconds after startup, you can turn this off but that's just stupid, and here in DK i even think that's illegal.
License plates are rarely captured, sure on a nice sunny day you get most of them, but it don't take much before it become a issue, one of those grey rainy English summer days and all bets are off.
But that's just the limitations of the technology deployed in all dashcams today.
You dont have to capture a plate, only if you are the victim of a hit and run, and those are on the up here but still far from the norm.

I would go for the A119 V3, i really would like to see that 1440p footage ( all my cameras so far have been 1080p )
 

kamkar1

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The mini i like if my memory serve me right, in that if you have more of them they will sync up, something that have been a "issue" with installs of several single cameras which many of us did in the old days.
 

Nigel

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License plates are rarely captured,
That is a bit pessimistic for the A119 V3, it does rather better than 1080 cameras because it can read the plates at 50% more distance where there is a lot less motion blur. It will read plates whenever you are stopped, nearly always when it is sunny, and often when it is cloudy until a couple of hours before sunset. From an hour before sunset onwards you need to be nearly stopped to read a plate unless the plate is going the same speed and direction as the camera.
 

Nigel

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I'd prefer something without a screen,
Don't worry about the screen on the A119, the camera is a lot smaller than it looks in images and when hidden behind the rear view mirror is almost invisible when driving.
Aukey DR02 D
A 720 resolution rear camera is not good for reading plates, it can only show what happened and who was at fault. Normally a front camera will also show who was at fault since it shows if you were driving sensibly or not, and if you were and you get hit from behind then it is their fault. It is nice to have a rear camera, but more important to have a good front camera.
 
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BraXzy

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I would go for the A119 V3, i really would like to see that 1440p footage ( all my cameras so far have been 1080p )
the Viofo is the best choice of the 3 you have shortlisted
Thank you for the responses so far, I appreciate you taking the time :)

I get that the Viofo is the best pick of the bunch (so I'll discount the Aukey entirely at this point) but is it worth the 80% increase in price over the Garmin Mini?
 

kamkar1

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Yes the screen on A110 V3 the is one of the "large" ones with a size of 2" diagonal, but as i said it can be set to go black i think as fast as 5 - 10 seconds after start
 
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BraXzy

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I've ended up biting the bullet and splashing the extra out to get the A119 v3 - I've also picked up the hardwire kit and polarizing filter. Hopefully it lives up to expectation.

Excited for it to arrive tomorrow!
 

kamkar1

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I think you will be very happy with that one.
 

SawMaster

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Used with a good card, the A119V3 is probably the best reliable dashcam on the market today for video quality, and I'm sure you'll like it :) Just know that no dashcam is very good with capturing license plate numbers compared to almost any other type of camera- it has always been and probably always will be rather hit-or-miss with these. There is something of a workaround: If you see the plate, say the number (or any part of it you do see) aloud and let the audio recorder remember it for you ;) You're lucky to have the number plate layout you do there- here in the US our heavily decorated plates are immensely harder to capture on dashcam video :(

Phil
 
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Everything arrived yesterday...

20200214_143109.jpg

Just had chance to stick it onto the windscreen and do a quick test. Thankfully I don't think I managed to mess that part up.

The quality is really good but it was the tail end of the day with rainy weather, a lot of blur on registration plates (everything not moving was unreadable) and because it wasn't middle of the day I was getting a lot of crushed blacks. Should I bump the exposure up? The lens I added reduces brightness so I might need to correct for that?

I don't have time to do any more testing today but will tinker more tomorrow. Annoyingly the weather stopped me hardwiring today so that's yet to do. All in all happy so far regardless :)
 

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Should I bump the exposure up?
Probably not, just make sure that you have the horizon half way up the image, and then give it a good test.
 
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BraXzy

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Rain and night conditions, which is unfortunately a frequent occurrence in the UK, a little rough but I know that's expected of dash cams - this is with the CPL filter thing. Does this look about right to you?

 

Nigel

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Looks like it is pointing too high, too much sky.
The car lights in the distance should be at 50% height.
 
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BraXzy

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Looks like it is pointing too high, too much sky.
The car lights in the distance should be at 50% height.
Roger that, I'll dip the camera down tomorrow thanks :)
 

SawMaster

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Half sky or a bit less is usually the 'sweet spot' for dashcam aim. Too much sky causes the cam to lower the brightness of the recordings.

From looking at the pics you posted it seems that your windshield might need cleaning; for a cam to get a clear pic it needs to be absolutely spotless inside and out or you get fuzzy edges on the objects seen, and 'flares' around lights in the cam's view. I've seen a lot worse than this, but when you want the very best vids, every detail becomes even more important ;) Best to use daytime vids to determine if the cam is doing well, as those allow you a much closer look at the details so I won't make a judgement call about the cam yet- post those when you can. Looks pretty good overall at this point, just needs a bit of fine-tuning :cool:

Phil
 
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BraXzy

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Half sky or a bit less is usually the 'sweet spot' for dashcam aim. Too much sky causes the cam to lower the brightness of the recordings.

From looking at the pics you posted it seems that your windshield might need cleaning; for a cam to get a clear pic it needs to be absolutely spotless inside and out or you get fuzzy edges on the objects seen, and 'flares' around lights in the cam's view. I've seen a lot worse than this, but when you want the very best vids, every detail becomes even more important ;) Best to use daytime vids to determine if the cam is doing well, as those allow you a much closer look at the details so I won't make a judgement call about the cam yet- post those when you can. Looks pretty good overall at this point, just needs a bit of fine-tuning :cool:

Phil
Is this more like it?

I went to try my hand at wiring it up, got a panel off and exposed the fuse box to realise the 3-wire kit that Viofo sell doesn't come with the fuse ends? Bit bizarre so I guess I need to buy even more stuff?

 

Nigel

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Is this more like it?

I went to try my hand at wiring it up, got a panel off and exposed the fuse box to realise the 3-wire kit that Viofo sell doesn't come with the fuse ends? Bit bizarre so I guess I need to buy even more stuff?
Looks decent, but also looks a bit low on bitrate, what bitrate have you got it set to? Might just be the low light levels.

The type of fuses (fuse taps) required depends on the vehicle, that is why they don't come as standard.
 
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