The Vico-Marcus 3 is a Taiwanese camera sold by VicoVation (apparently another Taiwanese company is the actual manufacturer). VicoVation has released some very high quality dash cams in the past including the TF2+ and WF1. Many people have been eagerly awaiting the release of this camera.
The Marcus 3 comes with the Ambarella A7LA70D processor and the Aptina AR0330 CMOS sensor (we are still confirming the CMOS sensor). This hardware is quite capable and allows for recording of 1296p at 30f/s with an average bit rate of approximately 18.5Mbps. The camera can also record at 1080p at 60 f/s.
The camera has very good picture quality during the day and good picture quality at night. However, it doesn’t perform as well as we had hoped from a picture quality perspective. Many owners have complained of too much pixelation as well as over sharpening of images. Often times the images are not crisp or clear. Improvements have been made with the latest firmware, but many owners are still a bit disappointed with the results.
A similar scenario played out with the Vico-WF1 last year. The camera was released with disappointing video quality but after approximately 6 months and many firmware updates, the video quality improved dramatically. This may be the case for the Marcus 3. Note that most of the Ambarella A7 cameras released to date have not had outstanding video quality. This is most likely due to the platform being immature and early firmware versions have not been optimized. We are hoping some major firmware improvements for all Ambarella A7 cameras will happen in 2014 since the hardware is very capable.
The camera comes with G-sensor, 2″ screen, GPS (optional) and CPL filter (optional). It also comes with Forward Collision Warning and Lane Departure Warning features but they are not that effective and most owners turn them off. The camera now has parking mode which was added later via a firmware update.
The size of the Marcus 3 is 72 x 53 x 33 mm which is smaller than some of the previous VicoVation models. Unfortunately the mounts are still very large (especially the suction mount) and the camera has 2 wires coming out of the side of the camera, one for power and one for GPS. Overall not the most discrete camera.
This camera has just recently been released are there have not been many problems reported yet.
The early firmware versions of this cameras had problems with some MicroSD cards (i.e. Transcend). The latest firmware appears to have resolved these problems. VicoVation recommends a class 10 MicroSD card for this camera.
Many owners complain that the images are not crisp and clear from this camera. This appears to be an “over sharpening” issue that has yet to be resolved with the Ambarella A7 platform. This photo illustrates this issue (the Marcus 3 is on the left vs the DOD LS300W on the right).
Mounting the Camera
Should I Purchase?
The Vico-Marcus 3 has a lot of potential from a hardware perspective but the initial performance does not justify the price. It is not as discreet as we would like, especially the mounts. Could be a very good camera if future firmware updates improve picture quality and add a parking mode feature.
See our complete comparison on the comparison page.
Where to purchase for lowest price
VicoDirect is selling the camera on Amazon.com
WARNING! MAKING CHANGES TO YOUR FIRMWARE ARE PERFORMED AT YOUR OWN RISK. WE ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY DAMAGE TO YOUR DASH CAM AS A RESULT OF THESE INSTRUCTIONS.
Firmware Update Instructions
- Download the firmware file with
- Copy sd_vico_MS3.bin into your Micro SD card. (Special Notice: Do Not put into any folder, just the root of your Micro SD card)
- Insert the Micro SD card into Vico-Marcus 3, power on by USB cigar car charger in car. Auto recording will be activated normally after power-on. And press UPPER key button to enter the MENU → Playback
- (IMPORTANT STEP) In the playback mode, press ORANGE BUTTON and UP key together at the same time (first press ORANGE BUTTON and then UP key). Holding for 5 seconds, Vico-Marcus3 will enter upgrading automatically.
- Screen will show Updating. Please wait for 20 seconds. DO NOT power off Marcus 3 while upgrading. Device will show confirmation display and reboot automatically after upgrading successfully.
- Please reset to factory default after upgrading. The user might have to reset the previous configuration again. Notice: After default, interface will be English Default. User can re-start the device to reset the default language, clock and time zone. Enter MENU → System to make sure Software version is correct and format Micro SD card (Before format, please backup important file)
Published: June 9, 2014