If you’ve never used a dash cam before then odds are you may find the specifications a little confusing.
To help you choose the right dash cam we have put together a list of must have features for any dash cam.
It is important to note that you should not attempt to use a sports cam for the purpose of a dash cam. Each type of camera is specifically designed to serve its purpose, so for instance a sports cam may not have the wide angle lens or G Sensor technology available.
Essential features for a dash cam:
- Full HD vision (1080p or greater) – otherwise you can’t capture number plates correctly
- Wide angle lens (130 to 170 degree) – provides greater side vision when people cut you off etc.
- Motion Detection – ability to automatically record when movement occurs. Useful for car security or carpark scrapes.
- Seamless Recording – Video will record in sections e.g. 5min sections and there should be an overlap so that no vision is missed when transferring to the new section.
- G Sensor – This will automatically record and store a crash or serious incident.
- Lithium Battery – longer lasting high quality battery.
- 32gb Memory Card Support – If the memory card is too small then the amount of vision you have stored is much shorter. You want to be able to store at least 4 hours or so on your cam at all times.
- LCD Screen – Quality units always have an LCD screen so you can see what the cam is recording and it makes the menu options much easier to navigate.
- English Menus – Good luck navigating your menus if there’s no english language option! All of our cams have this feature.
- Microphone/Speaker – Quality dash cams will have a microphone that records inside the cabin. This can also be switched off via the menu.
- Still Images – Your dash cam should be able to take a photo if and when needed with a simple press of a button on the cam.
- Time & Date Stamp – This is useful when proving the time and date of an incident.
Price Versus Quality – The eBay experiment
Strike 1 – The cheapest camera was $14.91 from Hong Kong and took two weeks to arrive. It was a “Black 2.5″ LCD 270° 6 IR LED Camera Digital Video Car DVR”, unfortunately it didn’t work at all. You could turn it on, in fact the slightest bump would turn it on because the on/off button protruded out the end of the camera but it would not record and we had to remove the battery to turn it off! When we left negative feedback we were harassed for weeks by email to change the feedback to neutral, to appease us they offered to refund 50% of the cost.
Strike 2 – The next camera cost $28.98, it was claimed to be a 2.0″IR Full HD 720P Dash DVR Car Video Camera Recorder. For a start 720P is not Full HD as claimed. The picture quality was so poor that you could barely make out the model of the vehicles in front, let alone the number plate. This camera was sold as a “Full HD” camera but clearly it was not even Hi Definition. It was like watching a frame by frame movie shot in a snow storm from the silent movie era with stop-start frames frozen for nano seconds at a time.
Strike 3 – And your out! We purchased and tested other more expensive cameras with similar results, poor video quality and some of them didn’t work at all. None of the cameras we purchased came close to meeting our expectations.
After our experience with the the cameras purchased on Ebay, we made a conscious decision to stock only quality cameras that produced as a minimum, Hi Definition videos while being mindful of our customers budgetary constraints.
We stock a range of high quality cameras that have been extensively tested to suit Australian conditions. We don’t believe in listing 40 different cameras just for the sake of having a large range, we would prefer to offer quality rather than quantity.