VIOFO A119 Mini 2 - Test and Review RCG

rcg530

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BlackVue, Thinkware, VIOFO, Vantrue, Blueskysea, FineVu
I received a test sample of the VIOFO A119 Mini 2 on 04-May-2023. I've only started some preliminary testing of the A119 Mini 2 since my car's windshield has been fully loaded with dash cameras to complete my VIOFO WM1 review. I'll get the A119 Mini 2 installed in my car this week.

While bench testing the A119 Mini 2 in my filming studio with the A119 Mini bitrate setting set to "High", I've found that the bitrate for the normal mode recording videos seems to be about 1/2 that of the older A119 Mini with the IMX335 image sensor. I've added a TV to my desk so the A119 Mini 2 will have a lot of visual activity to record while filming in my studio. I was starting my power consumption tests and as part of that I check what the video bitrate is of the video created during the test. I've submitted my findings to VIOFO, but I'm still waiting for a response to understand why the A119 Mini 2's video bitrates are so low compared to the previous A119 Mini video bitrates with both are configured with the same resolution and bitrate settings.

A119 Mini 2 Box Pictures:
viofo_a119_mini2_unboxing_pics_00.jpgviofo_a119_mini2_unboxing_pics_01.jpgviofo_a119_mini2_unboxing_pics_02.jpgviofo_a119_mini2_unboxing_pics_03.jpgviofo_a119_mini2_unboxing_pics_10.jpg

A119 Mini 2 Pictures:
viofo_a119_mini2_unboxing_pics_05.jpgviofo_a119_mini2_unboxing_pics_11.jpgviofo_a119_mini2_unboxing_pics_12.jpgviofo_a119_mini2_unboxing_pics_13.jpgviofo_a119_mini2_unboxing_pics_14.jpg

Voice Commands Demo:

Added 25-June-2023:

I was issued a discount code for the A119 Mini 2 when purchased on the Amazon.com or Viofo.com websites. Please check out my company's website blog post with that information.

Save Money On Your Purchase Of A VIOFO A119 Mini 2
 
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I've found that the bitrate for the normal mode recording videos seems to be about 1/2 that of the older A119 Mini with the IMX335 image sensor.
There's definitely something going on with the bitrate of the Mini 2.
So far the maximum I've seen is 30Mbps.
For a 1 minute video the file size is around 217MB.
File Size .png
As far as minimum bitrate I want to say around 10Mbps because a 1 minute file is around 70MB.
 
I received an updated test firmware for the A119 Mini 2 (v1.0_20230509). I now have the A119 Mini 2 installed in my car along with a WM1 and the older A119 Mini. I wanted to see how well the audio recording level issue was or wasn't addressed in the A119 Mini 2. The older A119 Mini has a terribly low audio recording level.

I imported one video file from the A119 Mini, A119 Mini 2 and the WM1 into my Adobe Premiere Pro video editor. I examined the audio level of each video file's mono audio track. The A119 Mini 2 audio recording level has improved somewhat, but it's not where it needs to be (IMO). Overall, the WM1 has a very good audio recording level.

The first three green audio level bars (counting left-to-right) in this screenshot are for the A119 Mini, A119 Mini 2 and the WM1.

The audio levels in this screenshot are: A119 Mini -40 dB, A119 Mini 2 -29 dB, WM1 -13 dB
viofo_a119_mini2_audio_levels_1.png

This next screenshot shows the audio tracks for all three video files for the time period that all three video files had in common. You can see the general audio recording level for each dash camera is the same across the entire time period.

Top to bottom: A119 Mini, A119 Mini 2, WM1
viofo_a119_mini2_audio_levels_2.png
 
The A119 Mini 2 audio recording level has improved somewhat, but it's not where it needs to be
So is this a firmware issue, or a hardware issue.
Can you pop the hood on the WM1, remove the microphone, and install it in the Mini 2?
How's your soldering skills? lol
 
So is this a firmware issue, or a hardware issue.
Can you pop the hood on the WM1, remove the microphone, and install it in the Mini 2?
How's your soldering skills? lol
I'm not popping the hood on anything just yet. lol. I ran into a similar but opposite problem with the Vantrue E1. The E1 recorded the audio at such a high level that audio would clip at the upper dB range at times. Vantrue tried a firmware change to reduce the audio recording level, but it was far too low. The E1 audio gain settings that the firmware could change would only result in the super loud audio or super quiet audio. There was an investigation by Vantrue engineering to see if a different microphone would resolve the issue, but in the end they did not find that to be a viable solution, so Vantrue changed the firmware back to recording audio at the super loud recording level. The microphone and audio level issue impacts not only the recorded audio but the voice control feature as well.

Based on the E1 issue, I don't know that simply switching in a different microphone in the A119 Mini 2 would be the resolution to the issue. It could be where the microphone is placed, the microphone itself or the granularity of the audio gain controls that the firmware can use to set the recording levels. Just like with the E1, now that the A119 Mini 2 has the voice commands feature, the audio level has to work with audio recording and voice commands.
 
I'm not popping the hood on anything just yet.
Didn't you say you have 3, or 4 WM1's laying around.
Crack open that pre-production unit.
"If he dies, he dies"
-Ivan Drago
 
As I've mentioned many times I've been using dash cams for 13 years now and have had experience with and have tested dozens of them. I have always wondered why the issue of audio quality and volume is such a persistent problem. It goes back as far as I can recall. Sometimes you get a camera with decent audio but often low and/or muffled audio is common. Of all the things that make dash cams tick one would think audio should be pretty straightforward these days. Of all the cameras I've ever owned the Mobius has always had the best audio quality across the entire frequency range. In fact, the audio is so good I've occasionally used one as a dedicated pocket audio recorder with the lens cap on it. There is even an option in the GUI to record WAV files (audio only). Their engineering team seems to be on to something.
 
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Their engineering team seems to be on to something.
They were onto something on 2013... Sadly, the 2023 M1S doesn't share the excellent audio of it's older sibling.

But you're right that poor audio quality has blighted many dashcams over the years when it should be fairly easy to record sound inside a car.
 
Android VIOFO App v3.2.11 bug - Cannot set "HDR" or "HDR Timer" settings for the A119 Mini 2

In my recent testing of the A119 Mini 2, I discovered that the Android version of the VIOFO app (v3.2.11) cannot change the "HDR" and "HDR Timer" settings of the A119 Mini 2. I mentioned this to @Panzer Platform and last night he confirmed the same issue with the Android VIOFO app. The other issue is that the Android VIOFO app does not display the current settings accurately. Sometimes if the "HDR" set is set to "Auto", the app will display "On" or sometimes "Off".

I tried to examine the HTTP GET requests going from the app to the A119 Mini 2, but I don't see anything obviously wrong. I executed a series of "HDR" setting changes and it looks like those requests send a "cmd" number of 2004 for the "HDR" setting and a "par" value of 0, 1, or 2 depending on which of the three settings are selected.

1684337576780.png

The XML response from the A119 Mini 2 contains a "Status" value of "0" which indicates success. I don't have a way to easily get an iOS packet capture to see what the iOS version of the VIOFO app is doing differently with its HTTP requests to the A119 Mini 2 that makes this work.

1684337763747.png

If I use the iOS VIOFO app v3.5 it will successfully display the correct current values for those settings and it can actually change the settings successfully.

If you only have Android devices to run the VIOFO app on, you must use the A119 Mini 2's firmware settings menus to change the "HDR" and "HDR Timer" settings.
 
They were onto something on 2013... Sadly, the 2023 M1S doesn't share the excellent audio of it's older sibling.

But you're right that poor audio quality has blighted many dashcams over the years when it should be fairly easy to record sound inside a car.

You have a point that the audio quality from the original 1080p Mobius M1 camera is superior to the new 1440p Mobius M1S but I find the differences to be relatively subtle. I have no serious complaints about the M1S audio and find it quite serviceable although I do find that in comparison with the M1 it sounds just a little "tubby". Other than that it has that quality I find with Mobius audio of picking up every last detail of sound across a wide frequency range and the sound has a natural quality and is quiet and hiss free. Compared to some dash cameras I've owned debating the merits of audio quality of Mobius cams reminiscent of one of those audiophile debates about stereo equipment; it's a dash cam after all.

I don't want to distract from the subject at hand here, the A119 Mini 2, but if in the end the Mini could end up sounding anywhere even close to this good I would be more than happy with it.

(This probably isn't the best example I could provide, but it was conveniently available.)

 
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it's a dash cam after all.
I strongly disagree.
It's like you're saying my ears are not as important as my eyes.
Audio is 50% of any video source, (movie, tv, youtube video, dash cam).
I demand / expect audio quality to be equally as good as image quality.
Standards must prevail.
Anything worth doing, is worth doing it right.
Fight me. Lmao
 
I strongly disagree.
It's like you're saying my ears are not as important as my eyes.
Audio is 50% of any video source, (movie, tv, youtube video, dash cam).
I demand / expect audio quality to be equally as good as image quality.
Standards must prevail.
Anything worth doing, is worth doing it right.
Fight me. Lmao

Well, yeah, it's a dash cam and we want the best possible audio quality but it's not an audiophile level sound system.

Then again maybe in the future we'll see dash cams with high end branded audio like in cars? I can just see it now......VIOFO with sound by BOSE! :smuggrin:
 
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Please god, no. lol
Just give me the microphone from the A229 in all Viofo cameras.
It has the best audio from any dash cam I've ever tested.

The A229 does sound good.

One interesting thing I've noticed over the years with audio quality in dash cams is that sometimes it can differ within the same model. I recall a situation a couple of years ago where people were reporting different experiences depending upon when they purchased the camera. There was a lot of debate about getting the low volume and distortion problems fixed in the firmware until someone finally established that the manufacturer was using different microphones, apparently from different suppliers in different production runs. It seems that finding some different components inside dash cams of the same model manufactured at different times is fairly common.
 
Can I ask a question here?
The packaging of A119 Mini_2 indicates the maximum capacity of the memory card is 256GB.
On the Viofo website, the maximum capacity of a memory card is 512GB.
Where is the correct information?
 
Can I ask a question here?
The packaging of A119 Mini_2 indicates the maximum capacity of the memory card is 256GB.
On the Viofo website, the maximum capacity of a memory card is 512GB.
Where is the correct information?
Back in February, I had the same question about the A119 Mini as well. The product documentation stated 256 GB but the website started to state 512 GB. According to my VIOFO contact, it turns out the A119 Mini actually supports 512 GB microSD cards. I believe the statement of the max microSD card size for the A119 Mini 2 is a carryover from the A119 Mini.
 
Android VIOFO App v3.2.11 bug - Cannot set "HDR" or "HDR Timer" settings for the A119 Mini 2

In my recent testing of the A119 Mini 2, I discovered that the Android version of the VIOFO app (v3.2.11) cannot change the "HDR" and "HDR Timer" settings of the A119 Mini 2. I mentioned this to @Panzer Platform and last night he confirmed the same issue with the Android VIOFO app. The other issue is that the Android VIOFO app does not display the current settings accurately. Sometimes if the "HDR" set is set to "Auto", the app will display "On" or sometimes "Off".

I tried to examine the HTTP GET requests going from the app to the A119 Mini 2, but I don't see anything obviously wrong. I executed a series of "HDR" setting changes and it looks like those requests send a "cmd" number of 2004 for the "HDR" setting and a "par" value of 0, 1, or 2 depending on which of the three settings are selected.

View attachment 65255

The XML response from the A119 Mini 2 contains a "Status" value of "0" which indicates success. I don't have a way to easily get an iOS packet capture to see what the iOS version of the VIOFO app is doing differently with its HTTP requests to the A119 Mini 2 that makes this work.

View attachment 65256

If I use the iOS VIOFO app v3.5 it will successfully display the correct current values for those settings and it can actually change the settings successfully.

If you only have Android devices to run the VIOFO app on, you must use the A119 Mini 2's firmware settings menus to change the "HDR" and "HDR Timer" settings.
We have reported this to our engineer and a new Android APP version will be released later.
 
I think, i better pick up a 512 GB card soon, fortunately quite a few of them have quite reasonable prices,,,,, BUT ! i still want to make sure first that the camera like a particular brand / model with a 256 GB card before i pull the trigger.
 
I ordered the SanDisk 512gb extreme that Viofo recommended for 50 bucks (on sale for 54% off normal pricing) from Amazon.
I know there have been issues in the past with fake versions of that brand, but I ordered directly from “the SanDisk store” so it ought to be the real deal.

I only hope the Viofo iOS app isn’t nearly as bad as the App Store reviews I read last night. I know most people don’t leave positive reviews on there, so hopefully the negative reviews are the minority.
 
I ordered the SanDisk 512gb extreme that Viofo recommended for 50 bucks (on sale for 54% off normal pricing) from Amazon.
I know there have been issues in the past with fake versions of that brand, but I ordered directly from “the SanDisk store” so it ought to be the real deal.

I only hope the Viofo iOS app isn’t nearly as bad as the App Store reviews I read last night. I know most people don’t leave positive reviews on there, so hopefully the negative reviews are the minority.
This is the exact one Viofo links to on their website memory card recommendations
https://www.amazon.com/gp/B09X7C2GBC
 
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