Mini 0801S Dashcam (Mstar MSC8328P, Omnivision OV2710, GPS) [GearBest.com] *UPDATED 10th MAY 2017*

Agie

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**UPDATE (10th May 2017)**:
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Skyhigh-Global were kind enough to send through the latest firmware update for testing:

This firmware: 20170506
Initial firmware: 20161226 V1; the March 2017 update brings the version number to 20170311 V1 (with MCU added of 20161010 V1).
Changes for May 2017 update: sound captured by the camera is louder now, video time lapse mode added to normal mode, Solved: when speed stamp set to OFF, camera still displayed the speed stamp on the final recorded video
Changes for March 2017 update: improved IQ, more menu options - white noise reduction, the ability to input driver number, to power-off screen (i.e. screensaver in intervals of 10, 20 and 30 seconds), GPS lock is now pretty much instantaneous - a very welcome improvement.


The verdict on this dash camera (after May 2017 firmware update): the sound is very much more noticeably louder now, and the camera works much better overall. It is nice to see Skyhigh-Global communicate more with their customers and continue to make this product better in its life-cycle. Well done and looking forward to see what they come out with next :).


The verdict on this dash camera (after March 2017 firmware update): daytime footage has been improved again with better focus, even though the video bitrates for all scenarios have largely remained the same. Sunset and night-time footage also gain quality improvements, with sharpness and focus having the most work here. Exposure changes are also handled well at night, with this sensor reminding me mainly of the Aptina AR0330 in the A118. Video footage is now at least usable. Audio footage on the other hand is unfortunately still way off the mark - recording in the stone-age ADPCM format is a sore point of this camera, and this hasn't changed and neither has the microphone sensitivity. Why do I have to shout to attain a usable volume for my dashcam video narration??

In spite of all of this, the original faults are something that the camera never should have shipped with. Although newer units coming off the factory line may have this firmware pre-installed, it is simply not acceptable in this day and age to do so. Seeing the track record of updates not being provided clearly on the manufacturer's website for other devices either, gives pause for purchase decisions.

A functional firmware should have been on the Mini 0801s from the very beginning, as a lot of users will simply 'set and forget' their dash cameras and not bother with firmware updates. What happens when users that purchased any of the original batch are involved in an accident, only to find their footage was next to useless in deciphering number plates? As a priority, the manufacturer needs to communicate better with their customers.

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Another month and another dashcam for review. This time we have the Mini 0801S dashcam, adding capacitor functionality to the mix, and a first for me with a non-Novatek chipset on board and GPS. Massive thankyou to @GearBest for providing a review sample. You can purchase the Mini 0801S directly from here: http://www.gearbest.com/car-dvr/pp_595417.html Released December 2016.

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Specifications: Omnivision OV2710 sensor w/100 degree field of view, Mstar MSC8328P chipset, 1.5 inch TFT LCD display, capacitor. Full HD 1080p video recorded at varying rates: 16MBps during daylight, 11.8MBps at sunset and 15.8MBps at night. Audio bitrate is constant at 257 KBps (mono at 32KHz). Recording modes of 1080p at 30fps and 720p at 60fps.
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Box Contents: Mini 0801S dashcam, instruction leaflet, slide-in mounting bracket with GPS (one spare), adhesive mounting clips, cleaning cloths, microUSB cable, hardwire kit, car charger (one-piece with no separate USB port).
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The (old) verdict (see new one above): I held off on this review for a couple of more weeks to see if I would revise my opinion. The original Mini 0801 had a reputation for having problems in certain areas, and unfortunately the Mini 0801S has some of it's own. Overriding all of this though is the simple fact that this dashcam is nigh on impossible to use at night - it's up to the buyer whether the attractive form factor and the cool factor of GPS outweigh this dash camera's other shortcomings. Granted, it does perform reliably at daytime all the way up until sunset.


Unboxing video:


My nitpickings:

The Mini 0801S comes with the Mstar chipset, and the firmware loaded on the device is dated in early December 2016. As the camera has only been out for a month or so, I haven't been able to locate any firmware updates as of yet - this may change in future. Coming to my gripes:
  • This dashcam runs quite warm even on an evenly temperate day, not a cause for concern but certainly gives concern considering this is a capacitor version and how it will deal with overly hot climates.
  • Night-time footage is bordering on unusable, reflections are severe (see sample footage on YouTube) with licence plates washed out completely no matter how I positioned the camera. Graininess of the image only compounded the issue.
  • Using the ADPCM audio codec here presents the difficulty of using QuickTime player to playback footage. Are we in 2003? Initially I thought the microphone was broken on the dashcam until I discovered the codec it was using. Why should a user have to install the outdated QuickTime Player (as indicated themselves in the user guide) just to hear the audio?
  • To add to the audio issues, the microphone is not sensitive and very weak in picking up audio. I had to almost shout in order to pick up a 'normal' speaking volume.
  • Bugs in software - a couple of reboots, and having set the loop record to 3 minutes, it does not update on the dash camera itself, instead going over the limit until user input occurs. I understand this is initial firmware - but still not nice to see on any device out of the box.
  • Mounting is slightly jutting at best and this is a problem that all the Mini's will have with their bulbous form factor - that being said, a stronger adhesive mount may have assisted in this case.


The positive:
  • Form factor is lovely and has a nice touch to it, easily hidden and the display is bright and menu easy to navigate. Give me that tiny blue blinking LED on every dash camera please.
  • Visual warnings regarding SD card usage and power-off are big and bright, along with the colours used. The most menu options I have seen on a dash camera yet - everything you could ever need plus more is on board here.
  • GPS works fast and reliably each time I used the dash cam. It can take a couple of minutes to obtain a lock from a cold start, but this is purely down to it not having Assisted GPS on board. GPS coordinates are overlaid on the video in an easy to read manner.
  • Daytime footage has a fair degree of saturation and oversharpening, but preserves a lot of detail and deals extremely well with exposure changes. The same applies with sunset footage, where the footage is a little on the dark side but details are held and not blown out.



Close-up photos of the Mini 0801S dashcam:

IMG_20170129_172650_HDR.jpg
IMG_20170129_172719_HDR.jpg
IMG_20170129_172812_HDR.jpg
IMG_20170129_172852_HDR.jpg
IMG_20170129_172949_HDR.jpg
IMG_20170129_173027_HDR.jpg
IMG_20170129_173136_HDR.jpg
IMG_20170129_173236_HDR.jpg
IMG_20170129_173329_HDR.jpg
 
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Agie

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Mini 0801S Dashcam sample footage (now updated with March 2017 firmware samples):


Daytime footage, 1080, HDR turned off (UPDATED MARCH 2017 FIRMWARE):

Daytime footage, 1080p, WDR/HDR turned off:





Sunset footage, 1080p, WDR/HDR turned off:




Sunset footage, 1080p, WDR/HDR turned on:




Night-time footage, 1080p, HDR turned off (UPDATED MARCH 2017 FIRMWARE):




Night-time footage, 1080p, WDR/HDR turned off:




Night-time footage, 1080p, HDR turned on (UPDATED MARCH 2017 FIRMWARE):




Night-time footage, 1080p, WDR/HDR turned on:

 
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Some screengrabs (old December 2016 at bottom, Updated March 2017 firmware at the top):

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three.jpg

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Joy

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@Agie , we change the new IQ for Mini0801s , night video quality improve much , we can send firmware to you for update if you don't mind, thanks.
 

barry123best

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@Agie , we change the new IQ for Mini0801s , night video quality improve much , we can send firmware to you for update if you don't mind, thanks.
Hi, I also have this camera. Can you also send the new firmware to me? Thanks.
 
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@Agie , we change the new IQ for Mini0801s , night video quality improve much , we can send firmware to you for update if you don't mind, thanks.
Sure thing, please private message me and i will send u my details :)
 
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Note: I have now updated this review with the latest March 2017 firmware findings on image quality and operation.
 

tiras73

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Добрый день. Приобрел такой регистратор. Можно получить версии Вашей прошивки и инструкцию по выполнению прошивки? Если будет удобно, можно прислать на адрес почты: v22512@ya.ru
Спасибо.
 

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Too many ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

hultaj

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I have bought 2 of them. Ordered on 29.03 and they came with newest firmware (from march 11). for now I am testing them. I mean one of them- one is for my dad. cam is quite nice for this price. ofc there are some bugs. the newest one I have found - speed stamp is on my videos even when it is turned off in the menu. too bad I don't have a parking kit and I can't test it, but I am working on to get one. sound as You mentioned is very poor. I am trying to capture different weather conditions, but since I have cam it is cloudy outside. maybe in one week I will put my own review.
 
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I have bought 2 of them. Ordered on 29.03 and they came with newest firmware (from march 11). for now I am testing them. I mean one of them- one is for my dad. cam is quite nice for this price. ofc there are some bugs. the newest one I have found - speed stamp is on my videos even when it is turned off in the menu. too bad I don't have a parking kit and I can't test it, but I am working on to get one. sound as You mentioned is very poor. I am trying to capture different weather conditions, but since I have cam it is cloudy outside. maybe in one week I will put my own review.
yeah hoping it gets better from here on in, the audio is a sore spot. not sure why this dash camera and also the Xiaomi Mijia use this heavily outdated codec when noone else does - if an incident happened to your car, you'd hope the persons on the outside of the vehicle were also shouting in order to pick it up (if you're lucky)
 

hultaj

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Right now to hear anything at decent level I have to put speakers on ~80% or more. Ok, then You may hear siren, horn, people inside Your car. But You can forget about people outside. You know what? Next time I will try to say something standing next to my car with window down and up. I am just curious how it goes. Me yelling at my car- fun for my neighbours ;)
 
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Right now to hear anything at decent level I have to put speakers on ~80% or more. Ok, then You may hear siren, horn, people inside Your car. But You can forget about people outside. You know what? Next time I will try to say something standing next to my car with window down and up. I am just curious how it goes. Me yelling at my car- fun for my neighbours ;)
it's a real shame really. these are the only two cameras i have come across that have this problem - which shouldn't be there in the first place. hopefully manufacturers will take note for the future, as audio is quite handy believe it or not.
 

hultaj

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I am full of hope, they will fix it. I don't like videos without a sound, and here I feel like a deaf person.
also good news for me- I managed to buy hardwire kit today. and here I want to thank Joy, because She was helping me since day 1 with my cams. sorry for my spam on Your email, You have a lot of patience ;) She found a shop for me, so She really wanted to help. big thanks for that. and the world is small- we both contacted the same shop, at the same time ;) so in one month I will be ready to test parking mode too.
 
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I am full of hope, they will fix it. I don't like videos without a sound, and here I feel like a deaf person.
also good news for me- I managed to buy hardwire kit today. and here I want to thank Joy, because She was helping me since day 1 with my cams. sorry for my spam on Your email, You have a lot of patience ;) She found a shop for me, so She really wanted to help. big thanks for that. and the world is small- we both contacted the same shop, at the same time ;) so in one month I will be ready to test parking mode too.
they certainly are listening and it's great to see from a brand, and positive. Joy is a pleasure to deal with, I myself couldn't be happier
 

hultaj

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did You get the newest firmware? I have tested it and sound is a bit louder. not very loud, but this change is noticable. also bug with speed has beed fixed. so yes, They do listen, and that's great that manufacturer is in contact with customers and is open for sugestions. also there is timelapse mode for normal videos, not only for parking mode. If You don't have a parking kit, but have source of constant power (I have 2x usb in my car), You could manually change mode and do timelapse parking for a few hours in an emergency situations.
 
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