The VIOFO A119 V3, is an updated version of the popular A119 series of cameras. This camera was launched in June 2019 and it replaces the A119S and A119 Pro. The camera uses the Novatek NT96670 processor and Sony IMX335 Exmor R Starvis CMOS. This combination provides better video quality over the A119 V2 in both day and night.
Overall we are very impressed with the video quality of the A119 V3. The maximum bit rate can be set as high as 30.8 Mbps. This allows for very good video quality during the day and good video quality at night. We suggest setting the bit rate menu option to high for best video quality. There is a noticeable improvement when compared to the other A119 camera variants.
While video resolution can be set up to 1600p (2560x1600p), we recommend setting this to 1440p (2560x1440p). This is the standard 16:9 video format. 1600p captures the same width but more sky which really does not provide any tangible improvement as a dash cam.
The A119 V3 uses a narrower field of view ( quoted at 140° diagonal) compared to the previous A119 versions which actually improves the ability to capture license plate numbers since objects look closer in the video and there is less fish-eye effect.
The camera sticks with the popular wedge shaped design of the A119 family of cameras. The A119 V3 comes with a 2″ screen and an optional GPS mount. Build quality is excellent and the camera comes with a G-Sensor. Size is 85mm x 52mm x 36mm and the wedge shape allows it to be mounted discreetly. An optional Circular Polarizing Lens (CPL) is available as well. The camera does not come with WiFi.
A big improvement offered by the A119 V3 is buffered parking mode. While many expensive Korean cameras (BlackVue, Thinkware, QVIA) have offered buffered parking mode for years, this is a very rare feature in most lower cost dash cams. Overall there are 3 parking options to choose from:
- Buffered parking mode: Records 12 seconds before an impact or motion detection. The camera will save a 45 second video at a bit rate of 8 Mbps. If not movement or impact detected, the camera enters low power standby mode. Audio is recorded in this mode.
- Low bitrate mode: Records continuously at 4 Mbps and does not enter low power standby mode. Audio is recorded in this mode.
- Time lapse mode: Records continuously at a low frame rate. You can choose 1fps, 2fps, 3fps, 5fps or 10fps. Note that the camera will not enter low power standby mode and audio is NOT recorded in this mode. You can also use time lapse mode while driving.
To enable these parking modes, you will need to hardwire the dash cam to your car (the Viofo 3-wire hardwire kit has a low voltage cutoff and is recommended ) or use a powerbank.
While VIOFO does a much better job for parking mode than other Chinese cameras, they are not at the same level as the Korean cameras (Blackvue, Thinkware, etc.). Many of the VIOFO complaints we see on our forum relate to parking mode issues.
Hidden H.265 Option
The default compression used for the A119 V3 is the common H.264 codec. However VIOFO has included a hidden H.265 HEVC codec option.
While video quality is virtually the same using H.264 and H.265, file sizes are approximately 20% smaller when using the H.265 codec. However there are some drawbacks with H.265:
- Requires more system resources hence generates more heat in the camera (not ideal in hot environments)
- Requires more processing power to view and edit
- May not be compatible with older computers and televisions
Since one of the primary purposes of a dash cam is to have video evidence of an event that you can provide to police or an insurance company, we recommend sticking with the more popular H.264 codec. Those video files are more compatible with older equipment which can minimize head aches when submitting to agencies that don’t have the equipment to view H.265 files.
That being said to access the hidden H.265 HEVC codec you will have to:
- Stop Recording by pressing the record button
- Long press the MIC button for 4 seconds
- Enter the MENU and select the resolution settings.
- You should see a 3840×2160 24fps option (do not use this option since it is fake 4k). However all resolutions will now record with H.265. See pictures below:
The A119 series has generally been a reliable camera. To date there have been very few problems reported with this camera. Overall reliability is above average.
Should I Purchase?
The VIOFO A119 V3 is the currently the best all around bang for your buck dash cam for video quality. Video quality is some of the best we have seen, price is reasonable, camera is discreet and buffered parking mode works well.
If you don’t need Wifi, dual cameras, cloud storage, the A119 V3 is the right choice. While the A119 V2 is still for sale, we recommend paying a bit extra for the V3 due to the video quality improvements.
Overall one of the best cameras available for the money.
To see what other owners are saying, visit our VIOFO A119 V3 Forum.
Where to purchase for lowest price
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 and unzip it. You will find a file named: FWA119V3.bin
- Format a microSD card (16GB to 128GB recommend) as FAT32 format in the camera or on a computer
- Insert card in camera and connect it to computer using USB cable
- Copy the FWA119V3.bin on the root of the card
- After the FWA119V3.bin is copied to the card disconnect the camera from computer
- Reconnect the camera to your computer and wait few seconds until the camera restarts
- The front red LED will be blinking while upgrading
- The firmware will be automatically deleted from Micro SD card after upgrade completed
The latest firmware can be downloaded from the VIOFO website or below:
Previous Firmware Versions
The English user manual can be downloaded here.
Published: Dec 23, 2019