The A139 is the first 3-channel camera released by the popular Chinese dash cam manufacturer VIOFO. The camera will likely be launched November or December 2020 and is joining a growing number of 3-channel rideshare cameras such as the Vantrue N4 and the Zenfox T3.
The A139 is based on the Novatek NT96687 processor. It uses a Sony STARVIS IMX335 sensor for the front camera, a Sony STARVIS IMX291 sensor for the rear camera and a Sony STARVIS IMX291 for the interior camera. This is the first time we have seen the NT96687 processor in a dash cam but these STARVIS sensors are common in many premium cameras.
The front camera records 1440p (Quad HD) video at 30fps with an average bitrate of 27.8 Mbps. The rear camera records 1080p video at 30fps with an average bitrate of 17 Mbps. The interior camera records 1080p video at 30fps with an average bitrate of 17 Mbps.
Video quality for the front camera during the day is very good and night quality is above average. When compared to good dual or single channel dash cams, the A139 picks up a bit less detail but still does a good job.
The rear camera’s video is good as well but the 1080p quality is less impressive then the front camera. The interior camera comes with 6 infrared LEDs which does a good job of illuminating the cabin at night. Cabin video quality is good (color in the day, monochrome at night) and the 170° lens captures the entire cabin.
One of the key differences between the A139 and other VIOFO dash cams is the A139 does not come with a screen. You will need to use your Smartphone and free Android or iOS apps to use the camera.
While VIOFO has one of the better dash cam apps for Android (ratings are better than average) there are complaints of connectivity issues for some owners. Unfortunately, the VIOFO iOS app is rated lower. App quality may not be a deal breaker when a dash cam has a screen, however it is critical for a screen-less camera. Something to consider when purchasing.
The A139 has a g-sensor and GPS built into the mount. While the A139 does not have a screen, it does come with 4 LED lights to indicate recording, mic on/off, GPS connected and WiFi connected. With no screen, error notifications are audio based. Audio based error notifications are preferred since there is less chance of you missing an error.
VIOFO is known for there wedge style dash cams. The A139, while still a wedge shape, has a wider and flatter design with the lens offset to the right side. While other rideshare cameras include the front and interior camera together, the interior camera is separate from the front camera. Some people prefer the simplicity of having the front and interior cameras together, like the Vantrue N4 and the Zenfox T3. Others prefer the flexibility of being able to place the interior camera exactly where they want it.
The A129 comes with an adhesive mount but cannot swivel to record interactions at the driver or passenger windows. The build quality is very good but reliability is unknown since it has not been released yet.
Like other VIOFO dash cams, the A139 offers 3 parking mode options (when hardwired to your vehicle):
- Buffered Parking Mode: When a moving object is detected while parking, a video is recorded for 15 seconds before the event to 30 seconds after the event.
- Time Lapse Recording at 1fps, 2fps, 3fps, 5fps or 10fps. While parked, the camera will be always recording at a lower frame rate but no audio is recorded.
- Low Bitrate Recording at approx 4Mbps will always record when parked and audio is recorded
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.
VIOFO is responsive to questions and has adequate support. They also provide firmware updates which is a positive as well and have been making firmware updates pre-launch based on feedback from numerous testers
Mounting the Camera
Our member SawMaster shared the following photo of the A139 camera mounted with the interior camera above. It is next to the Blueskysea B2W.
This camera has not been released yet.
Should I Purchase?
2020 is turning out to be the year of COVID-19 and 3-channel dash cams. VIOFO has done a good job with the A139 and from both a video and build quality perspective it is an all around good camera. Out of the small number of 3-channel dash cams available, the A139 is leading the pack.
The only caveats are reliability is unknown, selling price hasn’t been announced (but rumored be in the $250 range) and the WiFi app while above average is not great. Once the camera is officially released we will update this review with further thoughts.
Published: Nov 5, 2020