Cobra CDR-840 questions

2xR

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Anyone know about the Cobra CDR-840, with 8GB Micro SD card, being sold by Costco for $99.99?

Advertising claims HD. Includes built in GPS.

Chip set? Imager? Lens?

General description claims "Full HD (1920x1080)". But specs section shows 1440x1080 30fps. What's the truth here?

Price is good, but...
 

2000rpm

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I think that @2000rpm has a Cobra 840. He may have some advice for you.
Yes, I have a CDR840E, along with several other cams (Nextbase 402G, Mio Mivue 538, Mio Mivue 528, Transcend Drive Pro 100, Cobra 820, Nextbase 101).

2xR said:
Chip set? Imager? Lens? General description claims "Full HD (1920x1080)". But specs section shows 1440x1080 30fps. What's the truth here?
I haven't been able to find definite answers to those, but based on what I see in its recordings.....
The chipset seems to perform the cam's tasks well.
The imager according to Cobra's manual claims 5MP.
The lens is probably F2.0.
Resolution is claimed 1440x1080/30fps (but seems to be 1920x1080) or 1280x720/60fps - and it's genuine 60fps (plus some low-resolution options which most people won't use except to economise on memory space).
Peculiarly, as I mentioned on another topic, the field of view is wider on the 720p settings than on the 1080p setting. I'd say F.O.V. is the stated 118 degrees on 720p but is probably closer to 100 degrees on 1080p.
However, the narrower F.O.V. means a more zoomed-in image and more concentration of what light the lens manages to gather, which can mean the ability to capture more details at longer distances than wider-angle cameras - but at the expense of capturing less of what's going on at the sides of the vehicle.

The specs don't sound particularly outstanding - and to be fair, nothing is outstanding - but the cam seems to capture details well in daylight.
A highly adjustable mount gives more mounting options than most other cams, although its shorter than average power cable can be a problem - I replaced my power cable with a longer one which I tucked around the windscreen trim.
 
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2xR

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OK. Picked one up today. What the heck, it might be a bargain. The specs on the package show: Audio Format AVI. Resolution 1920x1080 30fps, 1280x720 60fps, 1280x720 30fps, and 640x480 30fps. Photo Mode JPEG 14MP. Outputs Mini HDMI and Mini USB.

Note that 840 specs, as specified, for this dash cam are improved over the earlier models released last summer.

Built-in GPS, Motion Sensor, Auto-Record, and Auto -Power Off, supports up to 32GB Micro SD, 8GB Micro SD CL4 included, etc.

Has a one year warranty plus a second year when buying with Costco AMEX.

Lens??? Chipset??? Imager??? Although Cobra as an electronics company has been around for a long time.
 
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2000rpm

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....Note that 840 specs, as specified, for this dash cam are improved over the earlier models released last summer.....
Are you saying the Cobra 840 cams from 2015 are not the same as Cobra 840 cams from 2014?
 
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Are you saying the Cobra 840 cams from 2015 are not the same as Cobra 840 cams from 2014?
Well, yes. But, I could easily be wrong. That's based on what Cobra listed as specs compared to what's printed on the Costco package that I bought today. Of course, actual vs. claimed might be a questionable delta!
 

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I bought a Cobra 840 from Costco for $99.99. I was pleased with the form factor and especially the mount.

However, the video quality at "1080p" is not satisfactory. I would attribute this to the fact that the sensor is not actually delivering 1920x1080 (thus the quotes around "1080p"), and that the bitrate is too low. The latter seems like it could be fixed in firmware, but I could not find a way to improve the bitrate. In the recordings I took with it (<1920 x 1080 x 30fps), the video bitrate appears to be fixed at 1.4752Mbps, with 128kbps audio.

I could not read license plates in broad daylight with a car directly in front of me, unless that car was <20feet away. Macroblocking was evident in all video recordings regardless of lighting. Night recordings were useless.

I will be returning the camera to Costco for a refund.
 

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have to say for $99 from a retail outlet it would be hard to deliver a decent result, sounds worse than what I would have expected though
 

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Screenshot captures of the exact same moment (notice position of car shadow relative to the solid white 'stop' line for the crossing).

Top cam: Nextbase 402G (about the highest spec we can readily find in shops in the UK).
Bottom cam: Cobra 840E (video is virtually identical, if not identical to its little brother, the 820).

The cam time stamp is an hour slow (forgot to change from GMT to BST).

The Nextbase 402 undoubtedly produces better video, but the finer details are harder to see because the wider field of view makes all the details smaller. Notice the clearer 'ANOTHER TRAIN COMING' sign as seen by the Cobra compared to the Nextbase.
However, as the train passes (estimated speed: 55mph/90kph based on estimate for crossing width/number of frames taken to pass etc), the superior lens of the Nextbase 402 is allowing a shorter exposure time, giving less motion blur.
 

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Received a reply today, regarding my questions, from Cobra C/S. The 840 records 16:9 HD 1920:1080 30fps. The chipset is ATI8427 and the imager is an OmniVision 2710. The lens is a ZM3001. In short, about low to mid-range. That said, YouTube has some decent video examples from users.
 
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Don't have a nearby Costco. But, one of my friends last week bought a Cobra CDR900 off Amizon for $90. Seems like it could be a good buy. The original mrsp and strong company for warranty sort of causes me to take a look for my wife's car. Some YouTube samples looked to be good enough for dash cam purpose.
 

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...one of my friends last week bought a Cobra CDR900 off Amizon for $90. Seems like it could be a good buy. The original mrsp and strong company for warranty sort of causes me to take a look for my wife's car. Some YouTube samples looked to be good enough for dash cam purpose.
@mspin bought the CDR900. He found it to be inferior to his Mobius...

https://dashcamtalk.com/forum/threads/cobra-dash-cams.6357/

A brand name that's familiar to the general public guarantees nothing in the dashcam world. $90 is better spent on...

https://dashcamtalk.com/forum/threads/amazon-usa-bargain-deal.11847/
 
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jokiin

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@mspin bought the CDR900. He found it to be inferior to his Mobius...
Cobra have put their name on some very lacklustre products, the Mobius would easily shame them, they'd be in a good position if they actually put the Cobra name on some decent models
 

2000rpm

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Cobra have put their name on some very lacklustre products, the Mobius would easily shame them, they'd be in a good position if they actually put the Cobra name on some decent models
Mobius may (or may not) be great cams, but in the UK the only way to get one is to take a chance on mail-order.

If the product is so great, it puzzles me why no major reputable 'bricks and mortar' UK retail chains sell them.
If we want a good chance of a genuine product, backed by the ability to return for refund/replacement, we're limited to Cobra, Garmin, Mio, Nextbase and Transcend. Even the vast mail-order/internet-order company 'Amazon' don't seem to offer Mobius in the UK.

So why can't we get hold of this legendary make of cam, Mobius? Surely someone is missing out on a huge selling opportunity.......

As for Cobra: I contacted them to (politely) explain the problems I was having with my 820 in the hope that they might give me some ideas and instead of saying 'return it for a refund', without me even asking, they sent me out an 840 for free (shipped from Ireland to England; probably not a cheap courier fee) - and I still have the 820 to do with as I please. That's some of the best customer service any company has given me.

And I still think that of the cams available from reputable places in the UK, the Cobra 840 actually performs fairly well in the real world. Side-by-side, the Cobra 820 (which appears to basically be a non-GPS version of the 840) was better able to read number plates than a similar-price Transcend DP100, although the DP100 has a wider field of view and brighter image. However, the 820 seems like a fundamentally flawed design due to what appear to be issues with it being very fussy about its power supply.

I have two cars and both now have a Cobra 840 mounted to the dashboard (one of the 840s being the freebie), along with one car having a Nextbase 402G tucked behind the rear view mirror and the other a Mio Mivue 538 tucked behind the rear view mirror. My various experiences have suggested that for various reasons dash cams in general are not the most reliable things - including power cables being shaken loose on poor road surfaces - so I always intend to run two front cams (and one lower-spec rear cam).
 

2000rpm

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......I could not read license plates in broad daylight with a car directly in front of me, unless that car was <20feet away.......
Some Cobra 840 'license plate' screenshot captures attached.
Pics 1,2,3: as a car passes me and its plate goes from clear to just about readable to blurred. The clock is an hour slow due to GMT-BST change.
Pics 4, 5,6: night-time with 'license plate' in view, the next pic out of view, but road sign in view, the last pic back in view.
Pics 7, 8: road signs as I pass them at 50-70mph.
Pic 9: night-time, heading into town.
Pic 10: screenshot capture from a different cam: Mio Mivue 528 (same as 538 - 13.5kbps) with resolution of 'license plate' that's not noticably better than the Cobra.
 

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Mobius ... great cams ...
I'm not willing to settle for the mediocre choice of DashCams on offer from Halfords & other UK high street outlets. There's none on sale in these shops that appeal to me, & they're not among the best performing DashCams available in the wider market.

Mobius is sold through Amazon UK, but not by sellers officially approved by Mobius. I bought my first Mobius from JooVuu & the second from Webbex. Both are UK-domiciled sellers approved by Mobius. Both provided excellent sales service. JooVuu promptly replaced a camera to PC data cable when it failed prematurely. There are two other Mobius-approved sellers in the UK.

My Mobius cams continue to function perfectly after 21 months & 13 months, respectively.
 

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