Viofo A119v3 or Aukey DR-02 or Garmin mini

Marble

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Hi folks,

Just joined the forum after spending an hour searching for a dashcam. I have a budget of £100, I have narrowed it down to the Viofo A119v3, Aukey DR-02, Garmin Mini. It will be my first dashcam so I would like the opinions of you more knowledgeable folks on which one I should get. This is what my brief research has found out so far:

  • Viofo A119v3: Most expensive at £100, best image quality of the 3, regular updates, 1 year warranty, no app, reputable brand?

  • Garmin mini: Mid price at £79, reputable brand name, smallest form factor, has mobile app, 2 year warranty, prone to overheating in parking mode?

  • Aukey DR-02: Cheapest at £65, seems good image quality, 2 year warranty, no regular updates it seems, no app, reputable brand?

So my questions are:

What is Viofo and Aukey customer service like? I have not come across these brands before compared to Garmin

Is 1080p enough to read number plates at night? I understand youtube videos are compressed so hard to judge the videos

Is the Viofo worth an extra £35 over the Aukey?

I would like the camera to be as discreet as possible when viewing from the outside, does anyone have any photo's of how these look from outside the windscreen?

anything else I should know?

Sorry for the long post and apologies if I have got anything incorrect above, happy to be corrected and I appreciate any advice

Many thanks
 

DashCamMan

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Video quality will be better for the A119v3. Warranty can be extended to 18 months if register online for VIOFO. Garmin only has a 1 year warranty in North America....perhaps they have 2 years in UK.

Plates at night depend on amount of lighting, angles, reflections. No camera can guarantee reading plates always.

Aukey DR02 is 3.5 years old now. Garmin Mini has had overheating problems like you mentioned. See a comparison of the three here.


There are over 3,900 messages on the A119v3 in this subforum which covers pretty much everything on the camera.
 

SawMaster

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Welcome to DCT @Marble :)

The DR 02 isn't bad but there are many better cams now. Customer service with them is good, certainly better than many, but could be better. Good for a cheap cam.

The Garmin Mini has unaddressed and likely unfixable issues; IMHO they really should stop selling it. They make much better models than this one. Customer support here is quite good but don't expect much with this particular model as they've apparently chosen to see it's faults as "normal" and will recommend you use it accordingly; nobody knowledgeable about dashcams is truly happy with theirs.

The A119v3 is an excellent highly developed and reliable cam. Parking mode may present some issues according to how you configure it, but for driving it's IMHO the best non-4K cam around overall, and an exceptional value. To see how it looks installed start HERE with our "show your install" thread and scroll backwards from this newest page; should be several pics found there. I recommend you get this one of the three mentioned- you won't regret the small extra cost over the many years it serves you so well.

Phil
 
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Marble

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Video quality will be better for the A119v3. Warranty can be extended to 18 months if register online for VIOFO. Garmin only has a 1 year warranty in North America....perhaps they have 2 years in UK.

Plates at night depend on amount of lighting, angles, reflections. No camera can guarantee reading plates always.

Aukey DR02 is 3.5 years old now. Garmin Mini has had overheating problems like you mentioned. See a comparison of the three here.


There are over 3,900 messages on the A119v3 in this subforum which covers pretty much everything on the camera.
Appreciate your reply, the comparison tool is very useful. The Viofo seems to be the winner here, I shall read further in the subforums
 
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Welcome to DCT @Marble :)

The DR 02 isn't bad but there are many better cams now. Customer service with them is good, certainly better than many, but could be better. Good for a cheap cam.

The Garmin Mini has unaddressed and likely unfixable issues; IMHO they really should stop selling it. They make much better models than this one. Customer support here is quite good but don't expect much with this particular model as they've apparently chosen to see it's faults as "normal" and will recommend you use it accordingly; nobody knowledgeable about dashcams is truly happy with theirs.

The A119v3 is an excellent highly developed and reliable cam. Parking mode may present some issues according to how you configure it, but for driving it's IMHO the best non-4K cam around overall, and an exceptional value. To see how it looks installed start HERE with our "show your install" thread and scroll backwards from this newest page; should be several pics found there. I recommend you get this one of the three mentioned- you won't regret the small extra cost over the many years it serves you so well.

Phil
Thanks for your reply, seems the Viofo is the front-runner here. I have checked out the pics in that thread and found some helpful ones. I would hope to hide most of the dashcam in the frit area, just revealing the camera lens below it. It's a shame the Garmin has issues as I do like and how discreet it is.
 

ursamajor

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You should compare ViofoA119v3 to 70mai Pro, 70mai A500 (both having same sensor as Viofo's, at about half price) or even the 4k 70mai A800 (price around Viofo's). ;)


 
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Marble

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You should compare ViofoA119v3 to 70mai Pro, 70mai A500 (both having same sensor as Viofo's, at about half price) or even the 4k 70mai A800 (price around Viofo's). ;)


Thanks for your input, I had not heard of this brand before, a quick google search shows it is made by Xiaomi. I used to have a Xiaomi mobile phone for over 3 years, good build quality.

The image quality does look good in the videos, however these models seem to be sold out on Amazon in the UK. Other options would be Aliexpress or Ebay. I do prefer Amazon as it is easier to deal with any issues.

Will research these more in the subforums, do you have personal experience with these dashcams?
 

ursamajor

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TBH, I only tested a 70mai Pro. Overall it's a good and cheap camera. A best buy, IMHO.
What I disliked:
- no GPS stamp on movie (you need a GPS module, but still no stamp :D) , maybe a new firmware will make this possible,
- menu not so customisable as Viofo's,
- poor (in fact, absent) car plates readability in the night. But don't expect that the other's to be much better.
What I liked:
- voice commands,
- Wifi & app,
- ADAS,
- good image quality.

70mai A500, AFAIK has a weaker processor, same sensor, but it has GPS built in. No voice commands.
70mai A800 is true 4k Sony Starvis sensor, with good image quality. Built in GPS. No voice commands.

Viofo's advantages:
- parking mode
- capacitor (good for heat places)
- customisable menu (bitrate, exposure compensation)
But almost double the price of 70mai Pro.

Anyway, I think 70mai will become soon a hard player on dashcam market.
 
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Marble

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TBH, I only tested a 70mai Pro. Overall it's a good and cheap camera. A best buy, IMHO.
What I disliked:
- no GPS stamp on movie (you need a GPS module) , maybe a new firmware will make this possible,
- menu not so customisable as Viofo's,
- poor (in fact, absent) car plates readability in the night.
What I liked:
- voice commands,
- Wifi & app,
- ADAS,
- good image quality.

70mai A500, AFAIK has a weaker processor, same sensor, but it has GPS built in. No voice commands.
70mai A800 is true 4k Sony Starvis sensor, with good image quality. No voice commands.

Viofo's advantages:
- parking mode
- capacitor (good for heat places)
- customisable menu (bitrate, exposure compensation)
But almost double the price of 70mai Pro.

Anyway, I think 70mai will become soon a hard player on dashcam market.
Thanks for the detailed reply. The 70mai A800 is around £125 via ebay uk, sold out on Amazon. The 70mai pro is around £60 on ebay uk, however the poor/absent readability at night you mentioned may be an issue as I often drive at night and day equally. Warranty may be an issue too as these dashcams seem to be mostly catered to the Chinese domestic market?

I have a question regarding daschams in general, are there any fakes/replica of any type of dashcam? Is this an issue in the dashcam market?
 

ursamajor

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however the poor/absent readability at night you mentioned may be an issue as I often drive at night and day equally.
You're welcome!
It is a technological limitation, for now. The implementation of HDR in the firmwares is better at some or less better to others. For example, when using HDR at night it's possible to see some better details in the brightest parts of the image (as car plates), because the shorter exposure in the suite can correctly expose those plates. But don't expect miracles. At night the readability is poor no matter the brand.
 

SawMaster

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The A119v3 will do better with plates at night than the 70mai cams. You can watch raw vids and see this yourself. Hardware specs are only part of what makes for good video; it also takes the right lens and the right handling of the images being processed. Viofo always gets better images from the hardware he uses than anyone else. Best vid quality is what Viofo is known for. Also to answer about fakes and clones yes, they do exist, but using a good seller assures you that you won't get caught out by that. Viofo has authorized sellers in most markets so best to use them rather than chance problems from elsewhere.

Plate capture is always "iffy" and especially at night. Moreso by far with US plates which often have multi-colored backgrounds, small and low contrast lettering, and sometimes a reflective paint base too. Ten times tougher to get at night than European and Asian plates with their large wide format and lettering size which is mostly done with high-contrast colors. Some 'vanity' plates here are nearly impossible to get even when you slowly approach their stopped car in broad daylight with a top[-level 4K cam :eek: If you want best daytime plate capture a good 2K or 4K cam can get you better than the A119v3, but it will work against you at night as those have a higher pixel count meaning each pixel will receive less light and so offer less signal to the processor. You're also likely to go above your budget to get those cams. And in the end both day and night the v3 will be getting 9/10 or more of the plates any other cam can get or better; With plate capture there is no one cam which gives you the best both day and night; each one will be a compromise or biased to one end or the other. And none do an excellent job with it under every (or even any) circumstance. Your eyes will see more plates than every cam together can so the best way to get plates is to learn to look for them, and saying them aloud so your cam's audio recorder can keep track of them for you. Plate capture is the "Holy Grail" of dashcamming but not the only thing that matters :cautious:

Cam reliability matters most; a cam that's not working is worthless. It's ability to rapidly and properly adapt to changing light conditions matter a lot, as in most places you will go from sun to shadow and back often; in between the image can excessively darken or 'wash out' from brightness leaving unusable images till it settles down to steady lighting. The overall FOV matters; a cam can record only what it covers. Depth of field matters too as you want the largest area possible to be in best focus. Bitrate limits how much data the processor can send to the card to be recorded- more is better but too much can overheat a cam and lead to reliability problems. Adjustment range of the recording parameters can keep you from getting the optimum settings. Color clarity is usually good nowadays but some cams still get that wrong occasionally. And we haven't touched on features yet, many which work poorly or not at all. Then there's customer service, for every mass-produced product will see some bad units get shipped out and those need to be dealt with well and quickly which doesn't always happen. With dashcams if you have to ship to China from the US it's costly (but usually reimbursed) and quite frequently the packages sent in never arrive to their destination. When they do it usually takes a long time. People have been without cams for months waiting for warranty service. Firmware updates can be important with cams that have issues. Long cam life matters- not much good when a cam dies just past it's warranty period, which many LiPo equipped cams do (and all the 70mai cams are LiPo based while the Viofo cams use more modern supercaps). SD card compatibility matters as you're screwed if the only card which works reliably in your cam sees changes in how it's produced or gets dropped from production.

So there's a lot more to consider with dashcams than plate capture alone ;) Do your research. Look for and study raw videos on a computer that has enough resolution to deal with the level of vid resolution the cams have. Watch vids under all circumstances- dawn, dusk, noon, and dark both in-city and out where there's no street lighting. Look at how it does with oncoming traffic. Read about the issues owners of that cam have had and whether they've been resolved well or not, There's nothing more exasperating than needing a vid or a frame from a vid and not having it, or it not being good enough for your purposes. Only your research can keep you from having problems.



Phil
 
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The A119v3 will do better with plates at night than the 70mai cams. You can watch raw vids and see this yourself. Hardware specs are only part of what makes for good video; it also takes the right lens and the right handling of the images being processed. Viofo always gets better images from the hardware he uses than anyone else. Best vid quality is what Viofo is known for. Also to answer about fakes and clones yes, they do exist, but using a good seller assures you that you won't get caught out by that. Viofo has authorized sellers in most markets so best to use them rather than chance problems from elsewhere.

Plate capture is always "iffy" and especially at night. Moreso by far with US plates which often have multi-colored backgrounds, small and low contrast lettering, and sometimes a reflective paint base too. Ten times tougher to get at night than European and Asian plates with their large wide format and lettering size which is mostly done with high-contrast colors. Some 'vanity' plates here are nearly impossible to get even when you slowly approach their stopped car in broad daylight with a top[-level 4K cam :eek: If you want best daytime plate capture a good 2K or 4K cam can get you better than the A119v3, but it will work against you at night as those have a higher pixel count meaning each pixel will receive less light and so offer less signal to the processor. You're also likely to go above your budget to get those cams. And in the end both day and night the v3 will be getting 9/10 or more of the plates any other cam can get or better; With plate capture there is no one cam which gives you the best both day and night; each one will be a compromise or biased to one end or the other. And none do an excellent job with it under every (or even any) circumstance. Your eyes will see more plates than every cam together can so the best way to get plates is to learn to look for them, and saying them aloud so your cam's audio recorder can keep track of them for you. Plate capture is the "Holy Grail" of dashcamming but not the only thing that matters :cautious:

Cam reliability matters most; a cam that's not working is worthless. It's ability to rapidly and properly adapt to changing light conditions matter a lot, as in most places you will go from sun to shadow and back often; in between the image can excessively darken or 'wash out' from brightness leaving unusable images till it settles down to steady lighting. The overall FOV matters; a cam can record only what it covers. Depth of field matters too as you want the largest area possible to be in best focus. Bitrate limits how much data the processor can send to the card to be recorded- more is better but too much can overheat a cam and lead to reliability problems. Adjustment range of the recording parameters can keep you from getting the optimum settings. Color clarity is usually good nowadays but some cams still get that wrong occasionally. And we haven't touched on features yet, many which work poorly or not at all. Then there's customer service, for every mass-produced product will see some bad units get shipped out and those need to be dealt with well and quickly which doesn't always happen. With dashcams if you have to ship to China from the US it's costly (but usually reimbursed) and quite frequently the packages sent in never arrive to their destination. When they do it usually takes a long time. People have been without cams for months waiting for warranty service. Firmware updates can be important with cams that have issues. Long cam life matters- not much good when a cam dies just past it's warranty period, which many LiPo equipped cams do (and all the 70mai cams are LiPo based while the Viofo cams use more modern supercaps). SD card compatibility matters as you're screwed if the only card which works reliably in your cam sees changes in how it's produced or gets dropped from production.

So there's a lot more to consider with dashcams than plate capture alone ;) Do your research. Look for and study raw videos on a computer that has enough resolution to deal with the level of vid resolution the cams have. Watch vids under all circumstances- dawn, dusk, noon, and dark both in-city and out where there's no street lighting. Look at how it does with oncoming traffic. Read about the issues owners of that cam have had and whether they've been resolved well or not, There's nothing more exasperating than needing a vid or a frame from a vid and not having it, or it not being good enough for your purposes. Only your research can keep you from having problems.



Phil
Thanks, this is great advice, especially for someone new to dashcams as myself. So far from my research and for my requirements, the A119v3 seems to be the winner here.

I have a question if I may, do you you happen to know if MycrocamUK on Amazon UK is the authorised reseller for Viofo?

Also a general question, are fakes a big issue in the dashcam world? I mean people seem to produce fakes/counterfeit on almost anything, but is this prevalent in dashcams?
 

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I have a question if I may, do you you happen to know if MycrocamUK on Amazon UK is the authorised reseller for Viofo?
Not sure what the official relationship is, but yes they are the people to use, they also have a direct website: https://www.mycrocamuk.co.uk/

Also a general question, are fakes a big issue in the dashcam world? I mean people seem to produce fakes/counterfeit on almost anything, but is this prevalent in dashcams?
Not for the decent brand name cameras, but not all sellers give decent support, and some will just disappear before you can ask for support. If you buy from a Chinese seller there is also a difficulty returning it if necessary, might even be impossible if it contains a lithium battery.
 

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Nigel is spot-on with both points. Fake cams do happen but not often with the good cams. Most of the fakes are found on the Chinese 'mega-stores' like Banggood, Gearbest, and Aliexpress but they also appear on Ebay and Amazon sometimes too. This is why people here recommend dealing only with authorized sellers- you may pay a little more but you won't get a fake and there will probably be good customer service with them should you have a problem.

Fake cards are a HUGE issue, and especially here you need only known good recommended sources AND you need the check the cards yourself on receipt. The "h2testw" freeware will find most fake cards for you and will also verify that your card is good. Bad cards do happen occasionally- I just had one myself from a known good source and it was one of the top brands which lots of people here use. Mass production is like that, but with a good seller things are made right for you quickly.

It's usually those who buy on cheapest price who have problems. Just remember that you don't get what you don't pay for and you'll be OK.

Phil
 
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