VIOFO A129 Pro Duo 4K

VIOFO A129 Pro Duo 4K

The A129 Pro Duo 4K is VIOFO’s first 4K camera, joining a handful of other 4K dash cams currently available. Released October 2019, the front camera records at 4K while the optional rear camera records at 1080p . The rear camera and cable is identical to the VIOFO A129 Duo so if you are upgrading from the A129 Duo, you will only need to purchase the front camera.

The A129 Pro Duo 4K is using the Novatek NT96685 processor and the Sony IMX317 Exmor R sensor for the front camera. This allows for 3840 x 2160p recording at 30fps with a bit rate of 60Mpbs. Video quality during the day is excellent and night quality is good. As of its release date, the A129 Pro has likely the best 4k video quality of any dash cam.

The rear uses the Sony IMX291 STARVIS sensor for the rear camera. This allows for 1920 x 1080p recording at 30fps with a bit rate of 16Mbps. This provides very good video quality during the day and good video quality at night.

The A129 Pro Duo is similar to other wedge shaped VIOFO cameras (A119 and A129 series) from a shape perspective. The A129 Pro is slightly bigger and heavier than the A129. The heavier weight is due to the inclusion of a heat sink in the camera to minimize heat related problems.

A129 Pro Heat Sink – From our member Nath

4K video requires more processing power and generates more heat. One of our members measured the temperature of the unit at 77°C while parked in a hot garage. Note that the camera has built-in overheat protection which will turn the camera off if it gets too hot at approximately 85°C , preventing any damage. The camera also does not allow the user to keep the display always on. This helps minimize heat as well.

The A129 Pro comes with a 2″ screen and WiFi (2.4 or 5 GHz). Choose the 5 GHz option for fastest transfer speeds. Optional items for the camera include a GPS mount, a CPL filter and a Bluetooth emergency lock button.

Hidden H.265 Option

The default compression used for the A129 Pro is the common H.264 codec. However VIOFO has included a hidden H.265 HEVC codec option.

While video quality at the same bitrate 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:

  1. Requires more processing power to view and edit
  2. May not be compatible with older computers and televisions

Typically H.265 generates more heat in the camera but the A129 avoids this by reducing the bitrate when using H.265 (52Mbps max with H.265 vs 60Mbps with H.264).

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:

  1. Stop Recording by pressing the record button
  2. Long press the MIC button for 4 seconds
  3. When an SD card icon appears on the left side of the screen, H.265 is enabled

Error Warnings

The A129 Pro provides error warnings to let you know if there are any issues while you are recording such as SD card errors. The camera displays any error warnings on the screen and also beeps if there is an error (which is more useful for most users).

Parking Mode

Recently VIOFO has improved the parking mode capabilities on there latest cameras by including pre-buffered parking mode. The A129 Pro offers 3 parking modes if you hardwire the camera:

  1. Auto Event Detection / Buffered: When a moving objects is detected while parking, a video is recorded for 45 seconds (15 second before the event to 30 seconds after the event.
  2. Time Lapse Recording: Records at 1fps, 2fps, 3fps, 5fps, 10fps or 15fps. While parked, the camera will be always recording at the low fps but no audio is recorded.
  3. Low Bitrate Recording will always record when parked and audio is recorded

The recommended hardwiring kit for the A129 Pro is the 3-wire VIOFO HK3 ACC hardwire kit.

Known problems

Double Beep and Missing Video

Numerous owners have complained about two rapid beeps when driving or in parking mode. The two beeps typically occurs when the camera is finalizing one video clip and stumbles to start a new clip. This has caused 5 second gaps in clips, clips being truncated or in the worst case entire video clips missing.

This problem is sometimes rectified by using a different MicroSD card in the camera. Some of the better cards to use are Samsung EVO Plus, Sandisk Extreme Pro or WD Purple (make sure to purchase from reputable sources and check it is not a fake card – many fake SD cards are for sale).

Note that the two rapid beeps is different than standard 3 slow beeps that notify you when the camera is saving an event to the RO folder. Also beeping as the camera transitions in and out of parking mode is normal.

Sample Videos

Day Video – Front

Day Video – Rear

Night Video – Front

Night Video – Rear

A129 Pro (top) vs A119 V3 (bottom)

Should I Purchase?

From a video quality perspective, the VIOFO A129 Pro 4K is quite impressive and in most situations, has better video than other 4K cameras available today. The rear camera video quality is good as well. The A129 Pro 4K also has many great features such as prebuffered parking mode, excellent build quality and discreet wedge shaped form factor. At approximately $250, price is very good compared to other 4k competitors.

From a video quality perspective, the VIOFO A129 Pro 4K is quite impressive and in most situations, has better video than other 4K cameras available today. The rear camera video quality is good as well. The A129 Pro 4K also has many great features such as prebuffered parking mode, excellent build quality and discreet wedge shaped form factor. At approximately $250, price is very good compared to other 4k competitors.

Since this is VIOFO’s first 4K camera, there appear to be some initial issues with the camera (double beeping and lost video). If these are resolved with firmware updates, this camera will be an excellent buy if you are looking for the best video quality available.

See what other owners have to say about the A129 Pro on our forum.

Where to purchase for lowest price

The A129 Duo sells for approximately $170. Confirm it is the Duo version (with both front and rear cameras) before ordering.

Firmware

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

  1. Download the firmware file
  2. Unzip the FWA129P.bin file
  3. Copy the FWA129P.bin file directly onto the microSD card root directory, not in any folders (card must be in Fat32 format)
  4. Insert the microSD card into the camera and power it on via a 5V/1A power source. Do not use computers USB ports, they do not supply enough power.
  5. While upgrading, the front REC red LED starts blinking (the light blinks slowly at the beginning, then blinks quickly), when the lights stop blinking, the firmware upgrade is finished. The camera will restart and the firmware file will be deleted automatically.
  6. IMPORTANT!!  Now go into the menu and manually default your cameras settings.  Do not miss this step!

Latest Firmware

The latest firmware can be downloaded at the Viofo site or below:

Previous Firmware

Beta Firmware

User Manual

The English User Manual can be downloaded here.

Specifications

 VIOFO A129 Pro Duo 4K
Price$250
Read Review
ManufacturerVIOFO
CountryChina
Specifications 
ProcessorNovatek NT96685
CMOSFront: Sony Exmor R IMX317
Rear: Sony STARVIS IMX291
Channels2
Screen2"
GPS
G-Sensor
Wi-Fi
Parking Mode
Lock FilesAuto or Button
Video 
Max ResolutionFront: 3840x2160p @ 30fps
Rear: 1920x1080p @ 30fps
Max Bitrate (Mbps)Front: 60
Rear: 16
Video FormatMP4
CompressionH.264 or H.265 (Hidden Feature)
Diagonal Viewing AngleFront: 140°
Rear: 140°
Recording 
SD Card TypeFront: 130°
Rear: 140°
Max Size (Spec)256GB
Max Size (User)512GB
Other 
Size (mm)Front: 84 x 55 x 40
Rear: 53 x 50 x 31
MountAdhesive
Power Supply5V
Operating Temp -10˚C to 65°C
BatteryCapacitor
Release DateOct 2019
AppsAndroid, iOS
Unique Features4K Front Camera
3 Parking Modes (Buffered, Timelapse, Low Bitrate)
Rating 
AdvantagesExcellent video quality for dual camera
Discreet
Good support
DisadvantagesInitial release issues (double beeping)
Video Day
Video Night
Reliability
Size / Discreetness
Price
Available Support
Overall Rating
Final WordBest 4K video quality to date. If initial issues are resolved, this camera will be an excellent buy
.

Published: Dec 28, 2019