Car dash camera buying guide: Types, tips, and 5 best picks; All that you need to know before buying one - Hindustan Times
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Car dash camera buying guide: Types, tips, and 5 best picks; All that you need to know before buying one

May 21, 2024 05:37 PM IST

Planning to buy a car dash camera, here is all that you need to know before buying one for your car

Car dash cams, short for car dashboard cameras or popularly known as dash cams, are no less than a second pair of eyes for a driver. The dash cams not only record what’s happening on the road outside but also keeps a track of the inside of the car. These second pair of eyes can keep you stay protected and safe while you are behind the wheels and provides extra vigilance while out on the road, trust on that. With timestamps and GPS coordinates, these car dash cameras monitor what’s happening on the road in the form of a high resolution video that you can watch of course in case of a mishap or an accident (God forbids).

Ease your purchase of car dash cameras with our detailed buying guide. (Pexels)
Ease your purchase of car dash cameras with our detailed buying guide. (Pexels)

So, in this guide, we have deeply driven on all that and more you need to know about dash cams. This comprehensive guide will help you figure out the types of dash cams, benefits of installing it, its features, our top 5 picks, and more. Read on to know all that is required and make your pick with ease.

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Do you really need a dash cam?

The first question that will cross your mind would be that do you really need a dash cam? Well! Dash cams can be considered as the ultimate protector and saviour for all drivers and car owners. A dash cam not only is a recorded proof in case of theft, vandalisms, but also for insurance claims that can cost a lot of cash. Though the choice is yours, but we would encourage installing a dash camera in your car.

Types of Dash cameras:

Let’s understand the types of dash cameras that are available in the automotive industry. There are three types of dash cams available in the market:

Basic dash cameras: As the name suggests, a basic dash camera does the job of recording and capturing the video footage of the road ahead of your vehicle. It is one of the most affordable and easy to install car dash cameras. Most of the basic car dash cams comes with a single lens. The only downside of the basic dash camera is that it does not capture any road mishaps happening at the rear or side of the vehicle.

Dual-sided dash camera: This kind of dash cameras are the most common and beneficial for use. The dual-sided or multiple lens dash cameras capture video footage of both ahead and rear of the vehicle. These multiple lens dash cameras can come as a single or two unit cameras. Wherein, the first one can be easier to install and operate, the latter can be a little complicated to power, which means it needs to be wired with your car’s electric gadgets. The downside of these dash cams is that they are a little overpriced than the basic options available.

Hybrid or GPS enabled car dash cams: These dash cameras solve your purpose of installing a GPS and a dash camera separately, and thus is space savvy. Again, when it comes to installing a hybrid car dash cam, you need to consider the cost of installing it as these may be more expensive than the single lens ones.

Also Read: Best portable car washers for on-the-go cleaning: Top 9 options to consider

How does a dash camera work?

A dash camera automatically starts recording when the vehicle is turned on and continues to record until it is turned off. It records video in a loop, overwriting the oldest footage when the storage is full. Most dash cams use microSD cards for storage and are powered by the car’s power supply through the cigarette lighter socket or a hardwired connection.

Where does the footage get recorded?

Now that you know what dash cams are and their types, you need to know where the footage of the video recorded by dash cam gets stored. It's simple- it gets stored in a micro-SD memory card. However, as video recording takes up a lot of space, it is important to choose a dash cam with enough storage space. For the start, most of the dash cams comes with ample storage capacity that can store a few days of video footage for you to view. However, in case you need to store more days of video footage, you need to buy an external micro-SD memory card.

Then there are some dash cams that come with an external slot for inserting the micro-SD card for you to store days of data. Keep in mind that there are some dash cams that can overwrite on the old video footage that gets erased, and you might miss it when you need it. Thankfully, there are a few dash cameras that protect against over writing of the footage.

With the advancement in the automotive industry, there is a sensor called the G-Sensor that can detect a sudden change in motion and tell the dash cam to save footage of that incident. This is the most common protection against writing over the footage. In the case of many dash cams, this type of footage is locked and won’t be overwritten, which is helpful if you need to access the footage later.

However, for security purposes, we recommend that you save the recorded footages and files as a backup in your PC or Mac for later access.

Benefits of installing a dash cam:

Let's have a look at the benefits that you can reap from installing a car dashboard camera:

Evidence in case of accidents: The very first and most important benefit of getting a car dash cam installed in your car is that it acts as an evidence in case of any road mishaps or accidents. It provides valuable evidence to prove who was guilty at the time of the incident, and the recorded footage can also be used by law enforcement to investigate accidents and prosecute reckless drivers. Where the dash cams are GPS-enabled, it also provides the actual footage of the location and time of the accident took place.

Protection against fraudulent insurance claims: The bitter truth is that fraudulent insurance claims do happen in the country and thus a dashcam can act as a saviour in your favour that can protect you against the fraudulent insurance claims.

Helps in deterring theft: A potential thief might not take the risk of stealing your car if it has a dash cam installed. To put in simple terms, the dash cam can ascertain the exact parking location of your car and thus, it helps in deterring theft. Some dash also have a surveillance mode that turns on even if your car is turned off.

Record your happy trips: Dash cams are not only for recording the bad moments or mishaps that occur, but you can also record happy memories of your road trips with friends or family weekend getaways. You can watch these videos together and relish those moments later.

Dash cam vs 360 degree viewing camera:

Dash cams and 360-degree viewing cameras serve different purposes and offer distinct benefits for vehicle monitoring and safety.

A dash cam, typically mounted on the wind shield, records the view through the front (and sometimes rear) windows, capturing incidents and providing evidence in case of accidents or disputes. Its main advantages include high video quality, ease of installation, and features like GPS tracking, night vision, and loop recording.

On the other hand, a 360-degree viewing camera system, usually consisting of multiple cameras placed around the vehicle, provides a comprehensive bird's-eye view, aiding in parking and manoeuvring in tight spaces. This system minimizes blind spots, enhances situational awareness, and significantly reduces the risk of collisions with obstacles or pedestrians. While dash cams are primarily for recording and legal protection, 360-degree cameras focus on improving driving safety and convenience. Choosing between the two depends on whether your priority is recording incidents on the road or enhancing overall vehicle safety and maneuverability.

How much storage do you need for a dash camera?

The amount of storage needed depends on the resolution of the recording and the length of the footage. Higher resolution videos require more storage space. Most dash cams support microSD cards ranging from 32GB to 256GB. A 64GB card can usually store several hours of 1080p footage. Loop recording ensures that you don’t run out of storage by overwriting old footage

What are the best Dash Cameras available on Amazon:

Now that you pretty much know a lot about dash cams, here are our top 5 picks:

The Vantrue N4 3 Channel 4K Dash Cam is a state-of-the-art car camera designed to capture every angle of your drive. This advanced dash cam offers three-way recording, featuring a front camera with 4K resolution, a cabin camera, and a rear camera, ensuring comprehensive coverage. It provides crystal-clear video quality day and night, thanks to its superior night vision capabilities. With loop recording and a G-sensor for collision detection, the N4 ensures critical footage is saved and protected. The dash cam also supports up to 256GB microSD cards, allowing for extensive recording time. Its user-friendly interface and easy installation make it a perfect choice for those seeking reliable and high-quality road documentation.

Specifications of Vantrue N4 3 Channel 4K Dash Cam

Resolution: Front 4K, Cabin 1080p, Rear 1080p

Screen: 2.45-inch LCD

Storage: Supports up to 256GB microSD card

Night Vision: Infrared night vision for the cabin, superior night vision for front and rear

GPS: Built-in GPS for route tracking

Power Supply: Supercapacitor

Operating Temperature: -4°F to 158°F

Additional Features: Loop recording, G-sensor, parking mode, time-lapse recording

Reasons to BuyReasons to Avoid
Excellent 4K front camera qualityHigher price point
Three-way comprehensive recordingLarge file sizes require ample storage
Superior night vision capabilities 

Also Read: Best home security camera: Add an extra layer of security for your loved ones with our top 8 picks

The 70mai Pro Plus+ A500S Dual Channel Car Dash Cam is a versatile and efficient dash cam designed to enhance your driving security. It features a high-resolution front camera and an additional rear camera, providing dual-channel recording. The front camera records in 2.7K resolution, capturing clear and detailed footage. Equipped with advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS), the A500S offers real-time alerts to improve driving safety. The dash cam supports GPS for route tracking and includes a user-friendly app for easy access to recordings. With loop recording, G-sensor, and parking surveillance, the 70mai Pro Plus+ ensures comprehensive protection and peace of mind on the road.

Specifications of 70mai Pro Plus+ A500S Dual Channel Car Dash Cam

Resolution: Front 2.7K, Rear 1080p

Screen: 2-inch IPS LCD

Storage: Supports up to 128GB microSD card

Night Vision: Enhanced night vision capabilities

GPS: Built-in GPS for route tracking

Power Supply: Built-in battery

Operating Temperature: -22°F to 158°F

Additional Features: ADAS, loop recording, G-sensor, parking surveillance

Reasons to BuyReasons to Avoid
High-resolution dual-channel recordingLimited storage capacity (128GB max)
Advanced driver-assistance systemsRear camera quality could be better
Built-in GPS 

Also Read: Best Wi-Fi CCTV camera to help protect your home and stay safe: Top 8 picks worth considering

The REDTIGER Dash Cam 2.5K WiFi Car Camera is designed to provide high-definition recording and easy connectivity. It features a 2.5K resolution front camera that captures sharp and detailed footage, ensuring you don't miss any critical moments on the road. The built-in WiFi allows for seamless video transfer and sharing through a dedicated app. Equipped with a G-sensor for automatic collision detection and loop recording, the REDTIGER Dash Cam ensures important footage is saved and space is managed efficiently. Its user-friendly design and simple installation make it an ideal choice for drivers looking for reliable and high-quality road documentation.

Specifications of REDTIGER Dash Cam 2.5K WiFi Car Camera

Resolution: 2.5K front camera

Screen: 3-inch LCD

Storage: Supports up to 256GB microSD card

Night Vision: Superior night vision capabilities

GPS: Optional GPS module available

Power Supply: Built-in battery

Operating Temperature: -4°F to 140°F

Additional Features: WiFi connectivity, G-sensor, loop recording, parking mode

Reasons to BuyReasons to Avoid
High-definition 2.5K recordingOptional GPS module not included
Easy WiFi video transferBuilt-in battery less durable in extreme temperatures
Superior night vision 

The Qubo Car Dash Camera Pro is a rugged and feature-rich dash cam designed for modern drivers. It offers high-definition 1080p recording with wide-angle coverage to capture comprehensive footage of the road. Equipped with advanced night vision, it ensures clear video quality even in low-light conditions. The built-in GPS tracks your routes, while the dedicated app provides easy access to recordings and settings. With a G-sensor for automatic collision detection and loop recording, the Qubo Dash Camera Pro ensures critical moments are captured and saved. Its sleek design and easy installation make it a convenient and reliable choice for any vehicle.

Specifications of Qubo Car Dash Camera Pro

Resolution: 1080p front camera

Screen: 2.8-inch IPS LCD

Storage: Supports up to 128GB microSD card

Night Vision: Advanced night vision

GPS: Built-in GPS for route tracking

Power Supply: Built-in battery

Operating Temperature: -4°F to 140°F

Additional Features: WiFi connectivity, G-sensor, loop recording, parking mode

Built-in battery less durable in extreme temperatures

User-friendly app integration

Reasons to BuyReasons to Avoid
High-definition 1080p recordingLimited to 1080p resolution
Advanced night visionStorage capacity limited to 128GB
Built-in GPSBuilt-in battery less durable in extreme temperatures
User-friendly app integration 

The DDPAI Mini Pro Dash Camera is a compact yet powerful dash cam designed for discreet and efficient recording. It features a high-definition 1080p camera that captures clear and detailed footage. With its small form factor, the Mini Pro is easy to install and blends seamlessly into your vehicle. It offers WiFi connectivity for easy access to videos and settings through a dedicated app. Equipped with a G-sensor for automatic collision detection and loop recording, the DDPAI Mini Pro ensures important footage is preserved. Its advanced night vision and wide-angle lens make it a reliable choice for capturing all road events.

Specifications of DDPAI Mini Pro Dash Camera

Resolution: 1080p front camera

Screen: No screen (app-based viewing)

Storage: Supports up to 128GB microSD card

Night Vision: Advanced night vision

GPS: Optional GPS module available

Power Supply: Built-in battery

Operating Temperature: -4°F to 140°F

Additional Features: WiFi connectivity, G-sensor, loop recording, parking mode

Reasons to BuyReasons to Avoid
Compact and discreet designNo built-in screen
High-definition 1080p recordingStorage capacity limited to 128GB
WiFi connectivityOptional GPS module not included
Advanced night vision 

Factors to consider when buying a car dashboard camera:

When buying a car dashboard camera, several factors should be considered to ensure you choose the best option for your needs. Here are the key factors to consider:

1. Video Quality

  • Resolution: Look for at least 1080p Full HD resolution. Higher resolutions like 1440p or 4K offer better clarity, which is useful for capturing details such as licence plates.
  • Frame Rate: A higher frame rate (e.g., 60fps) provides smoother video, especially important for capturing fast-moving scenes.

2. Field of View

  • A wider field of view (e.g., 140–170 degrees) captures more of the surroundings. However, too wide a view can cause distortion at the edges.

3. Night Vision

  • Ensure the dash cam has good low-light performance or night vision capabilities to capture clear video in low-light conditions.

4. Storage Capacity and Loop Recording

  • Storage: Consider the type of memory card the camera uses (e.g., MicroSD) and its maximum supported capacity.
  • Loop Recording: This feature ensures the camera continues recording by overwriting the oldest footage once the storage is full.

5. Build Quality and Durability

  • Look for a dash cam with robust build quality that can withstand high temperatures, especially if you live in a hot climate.

6. Mounting and Size

  • Choose a model that can be easily and securely mounted on your wind shield or dashboard without obstructing your view. It is advisable to mount it as much as at centre of the wind shield to get the balanced angle.
  • A compact design is preferable as it is less obtrusive.

7. Power Supply and Battery Life

  • Dash cams typically draw power from the car's power outlet. Some models have built-in batteries or supercapacitors that allow the camera to function for a short period after the engine is turned off.
  • Parking Mode: Useful for recording incidents while the car is parked, but requires either a battery, capacitor, or hardwired power supply.

8. GPS and Speed Logging

  • GPS functionality can log your vehicle’s location and speed, which can be useful for evidence in case of an accident.

9. Additional Features

  • G-Sensor: Automatically saves and locks the video file if a collision or sudden movement is detected.
  • Wi-Fi and App Connectivity: Allows you to transfer and view footage on your smartphone.
  • Dual Cameras: Some dash cams have both front and rear cameras for more comprehensive coverage.
  • Audio Recording: Some dash cams also capture audio from inside the car.

10. Ease of Use

  • User-friendly interface and easy-to-navigate menus are important for setting up and using the camera.
  • Quick and simple installation process.

11. Price and Warranty

Balance your budget with the features you need. Higher-end models offer more advanced features but at a higher cost.

Check for warranty terms to ensure you are covered in case of defects or issues.

 

FAQ on car dash camera:

1. Are dashcams legal in India?

Yes, dash cams are legal in India with a few considerations. There might be restrictions on using a dash camera if you enter a private property, say a military base or a confidential office park.

2. Does dashcam work if the car is turned off?

There are certain advanced dashcams that run even when your car is parked or the engine is off, ensuring continuous surveillance and security.

3. Do dashcams drain a car’s battery?

Most of the dashcams are battery-powered, that consume very less power, so you don’t have to worry about your car’s battery draining.

4. How do I install a dash camera?

Installation typically involves mounting the dash cam on the wind shield near the rearview mirror using a suction cup or adhesive mount. The power cable is then routed to the car’s cigarette lighter socket or hardwired to the car’s electrical system. Detailed instructions vary by model, so refer to the user manual for specific guidance.

Disclaimer: At Hindustan Times, we help you stay up-to-date with the latest trends and products. Hindustan Times has an affiliate partnership, so we may get a part of the revenue when you make a purchase. We shall not be liable for any claim under applicable laws, including but not limited to the Consumer Protection Act, 2019, with respect to the products. The products listed in this article are in no particular order of priority.

 

 

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