Viofo A229 - Dual channel 2K+2K dashcam with Wi-Fi

Nigel

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Dash Cam
Gitup F1+G3ꞈꞈꞈꞈꞈ Viofo A229ꞈꞈꞈꞈꞈ Blueskysea B4K
Following on from the Viofo A119 Mini, the Viofo A229 is now arriving with the testers and reviewers.

While the Viofo A119 Mini is smaller than the normal Viofo wedge cameras, the Viofo A229 goes in the other direction. Here they are side by side, and a Micro SD card for scale:

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Being large has some advantages, it allows a larger LCD screen, larger sensors, larger lenses, larger processors, better cooling, which in turn allows more powerful processing.

Think of this A229 as the start of a new series of larger dashcams, it does have a larger screen, it does have more processing ability with 2K resolution front and rear, but is still using the standard Sony IMX335 sensor and a standard size lens, as seen in other recent Viofo cameras. There is room in the case for a few image quality improvements in future versions - Maybe a 4K version? Maybe a larger sensor for better night performance? Maybe a larger lens to collect more light?

Like with the A119 Mini, the LCD Screen, buttons and menus will be familiar to all Viofo dashcam users, the buttons have the appearance and feel of the A139, with additional improvements, there is now absolutely no button rattle. The screen is larger than any previous Viofo dashcam, far larger than the A119 Mini as shown above, making reading much easier, no need for a magnifying glass!
 
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Looking at the right side of the A229, we some premium features only seen before on the Viofo A139:
  • A coax connector for the rear camera, a size larger than the A139 coax connector, so they are not interchangeable, but it is still small for fitting through small gaps.
  • The coax cable itself is only fractionally larger than the A139 cable and slightly more flexible, nice for installation.
  • A socket for an external microphone, which can give a decent improvement in audio quality since it moves the microphone away from the wind and road noise in the windscreen glass, and from noise from windscreen demisters.
  • Finally the standard MicroSD memory card slot.
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And on the left side:
  • A reset button
  • The USB-C data connector, which can also be used for providing power.
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On the windscreen side:
  • An A119 Mini style mount connector, complete with extra pin. Like the A119 Mini, it slides sideways onto the mount. The mount is not actually compatible with the A119 Mini mount, I think only because the extra size of the A229 required a larger sticky pad for secure mounting.
  • Ventilation grills at the bottom and top of the PCB, a decent size, to provide convective cooling.
  • And a nice feature first seen on the A139 - the screw holes are covered, which apart from making it look more stylish, are very effective at making it less noticeable from outside the vehicle, and if it is noticed the it looks more like original equipment rather than an addon.
  • In this image I have an optional A139 CPL (polarising filter) fitted. The CPL and hardwire kits are both interchangeable with the A139.
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A closer look at some of the features:

I haven't looked inside, so am not sure what this grill is for, possibly ventilation, maybe microphone, possibly speaker?
It doesn't look much like a speaker grill, but The A229 does have an exceptionally high quality voice for a small device, and like the A139 and A119 Mini, it only speaks when it has something useful to say, so it is not annoying.

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The USB-C power socket, has a nice click as the power cable plugs into place:

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The Coax socket for the rear camera cable, a little bigger than the one on the A139, but it does carry larger 2K resolution video!
The cable itself is only a tiny bit thicker than the A139 cable, and rather more flexible, which is good.
(I left the fingerprint on for scale!)

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The 5 pin mount socket. Like the A119 Mini, it has gained a pin compared to previous Viofo dashcams, which will allow the GPS receiver to be turned off in parking mode, thus extending battery life.

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The lens, with the CPL removed. Interestingly it seems to have a different reflection pattern to others, and not all the anti-reflection coatings are green, maybe some elements have extra multi-coatings for higher image quality?

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GPS Mount, this image is actually an A119 Mini GPS mount, I couldn't get the camera above my installed A229 mount, but they look the same other than the width, the A229 mount is a little wider to take the extra weight and provide extra stability. The USB-C power socket is at the top, and can be used with either a straight, or right angle plug power cable; which is best will depend on where you are mounting it and which vehicle you are mounting it in.

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The rear camera, looks identical to an A139 rear camera, but it records twice the detail at 2K resolution, and has the larger coax connector so you won't be accidently plugging it into an A139 and getting 2K rear video on the A139! They wouldn't be compatible anyway. It has 360 degree rotation, which is good for cleaning the glass, or for if you want to record the inside of the car instead of the outside. Unfortunately it is not demountable, but I very rarely want to demount the rear camera anyway, except to clean the glass, but that is not a problem due to the rotation.

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Image Quality

This is a higher quality dashcam than the rest of the Viofo range and comes with higher image quality, especially at the rear with the 2K resolution, twice the detail of the normal FHD. At the front it uses the excellent Sony IMX335 STARVIS image sensor, like most recent Viofo dashcams, so the front image quality is similar to the other recent Viofo dashcams, however it does have a better lens, and definitely does provide better image quality. The resolution is the same 2K though, so don't expect huge improvements at the front, at least not for this version of the A229. The lens is specified as F1.6, 140 degrees FoV, but best not to take those numbers too seriously; as I suggested in my A119 Mini introduction, it is the end result that matters, not the specifications, and the A229 has a horizontal FoV about 23% wider than the A119 Mini which has the same parameters specified for its lens, and that is not due to different sensors since they use the same sensor! The A229 is roughly the same FoV as the A129 and A129 Plus, for most people it is a good compromise between detail and not missing things off the side of the image, I prefer it to the narrower A119 V3/Mini.

The rear camera image quality, although 2K resolution like the front, does not match the front image quality, it has a significantly smaller lens and is recorded at lower bitrate, however it is real 2K and considerably better than FHD rear cameras. As far as number plate detail goes, it is not far off the front camera, definitely not as good for movie making though.

Audio Quality

Audio recording is very similar to other recent Viofo dashcams, however there is the socket for the external microphone, so then it depends on the microphone used, microphone positioning, and the acoustics of the vehicle.

Parking Mode

The A229 has Viofo's Advanced Parking Modes, same as their other models, so I won't go into details here, and there are so many options that I haven't tested them all anyway! Here is Viofo's summary:


I have mine set to the Low Bitrate Mode, with a Viofo HK3-C hardwire kit providing power while parked. Low Bitrate Mode provides continuous recording of both video and audio while parked, so is guaranteed never to miss anything, not even the lightest of trolly scratches in the supermarket car park. I have the "Enter Parking Mode Timer" set to 90 seconds, so that it doesn't switch to parking mode if I restart the engine after stalling, or if I turn off the engine while waiting at red lights. I have the "Parking Recording Duration" set to 3 hours, which covers any stays in supermarket car parks, but doesn't bother recording continuously overnight while parked at home. After the 3 hours has expired it will go to sleep, but still monitor the g-sensor for impacts. If the vehicle is hit then it will wake up and start recording, it takes about 10 seconds to wake up fully.

Currently there is no geofencing option for avoiding unnecessary overnight recording while parked safely in your garage, but that is currently being worked on for the A139, so I do expect it to be added to the A229 in a future firmware update.

Battery use while in parking mode is about 4.3 Watts while recording 2 channels at 2K+2K resolution, and 0.087 Watts while sleeping (with impact detection), so on a 75Wh powerbank (20,000mAh) with a short parking duration timer set, should provide impact protection for over 1 month.

Important Note: most USB powerbanks would turn themselves off when the dashcam goes into sleep mode since they are designed to charge phone batteries and they would detect that charging was complete due to low power consumption. So you need a dashcam powerbank or use the car battery with a hardwire kit and low voltage cutoff if you want long term parking mode. Most car batteries have a lot more than 75Wh available, although in recent years they have been shrinking. A month of impact protection parking mode should be easily feasible in most cars. If you don't set the parking duration timer then you may get around 24 hours before low voltage cutoff, if your battery is fully charged and in good health.

Note: Power consumption on the A229 for parking mode with the duration timer expired, thus impact protection only, is under half that of the A119 Mini, so you get 1 month of coverage instead of 2 weeks! I suspect there may currently be a bug in my A119 Mini, possibly not turning off the GPS receiver while sleeping.

Specifications (as Published by Viofo):

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Got mine in for testing. Haven't had time to do much but the video quality is excellent front and rear (y)

Phil
 
I like the updated plugs on the A229 rear camera, seating much better.
Tried to DL a file with 5GHZ wifi, and the time it took to Dl the 650 MB was reasonable i think.

Just did a drive in rain, and a little later back home in just grey weather, i am waiting until i have some night time footage in before i pull the memory card to get some footage.

That probably will not be before tomorrow evening, right now i sit here and headbutting my computer table as i have been awake for 30 hours. Still a bit early to go to bed otherwise i will probably wake up before midnight, and thats a bit early to get out of bed.
 
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I've had my VIOFO A229 Duo for a week or so. So far, I've been bench testing it. Found one issue with Auto Event Detection (AED) parking mode triggering a problem in normal mode. When the video bitrate for normal mode was set to Maximum and then the A229 entered and exited AED parking mode, the rear camera video would not record any longer. That was fixed with test firmware V1.0_0505.
 
Presentation box and packages are again excellent:

Box2_A229.jpgBox3_A229.jpgBox1_A229.jpg


MY first test video has a "stutter" to be resolved.



Paul.
 
Will be interesting to see how well it handles hot days. Maybe someone who lives in a hotter country can test and report this.
Footage so far seems good
 
The A229 case is bigger than any other wedge design from Viofo and this will help against heat. I am sure will be no problems for this A229 Quad HD dashcam.
 
Looking good so far - didn't see this post and had the question of if the rear camera cable was interchangeable with A139 or not, but that clears it in this post.

One would hope that some cables are interchangeable with other Viofo dash cams for simplicity of upgrading every now and then.
 
Looking good so far - didn't see this post and had the question of if the rear camera cable was interchangeable with A139 or not, but that clears it in this post.

One would hope that some cables are interchangeable with other Viofo dash cams for simplicity of upgrading every now and then.
The coaxial cable is not the same as the A139.
 
One would hope that some cables are interchangeable with other Viofo dash cams for simplicity of upgrading every now and then.
I expect they will keep the A229 cable compatible for future 2K rear cameras, I don't see any reason to change it again.

The USB rear camera cables keep changing though, due to changing technology, better to use the simpler coax. Only problem with the A229 coax is that it is a little more expensive than USB, so it will probably only be used for the better quality cameras.
 
I think I may need a CPL for the rear - front looks good with the one I have on already. The glass is seeing a lot of the parcel shelf. (Or the Bilbo Baggins Cat I'll just sleep on here shelf!)


cat1.jpgcat2.jpg


:D:D:D
 
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New remote camera cable are a step up,,,, very good (y)

CPL from A139 / T130 fit on A229 front camera (y)
 
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