While we may believe we are safe and responsible drivers, we must account for those careless and irresponsible drivers who may cause an accident, as well as other unforeseeable circumstances such as unwarranted traffic stops or insurance fraud.
A dash cam can be useful as a second set of eyes on the road for all of these reasons and more.
So, what precisely is the purpose of a dash cam?
A dash cam is essentially a device that continuously records your driving while you’re on the road. You can show fault in an accident, watch your adolescent learning to drive, and more with a recording of what’s going on around you.
Not only that, but dash cams are becoming more affordable and user-friendly, so they’re no longer just for techies and early adopters. Are you unsure if you require one? Or do you need more information before making a decision?
There are a few things to think about before purchasing one. Because a dash cam is essentially a camera, the camera and video quality are the most important considerations. Aside from that, there are a number of features that may be useful to you.
To name a few, these features include GPS and Wi-Fi connectivity for smarter recording, more storage for the capacity to capture more footage, and a built-in display. We’ve put together this helpful guide because it can be difficult to know where to begin when purchasing a dash cam.
Everything you need to know about purchasing a new dash cam for your automobile is right here. We’ll also suggest some high-quality dash cams if you’re thinking about getting a new one or upgrading an existing one.
Dash cams can have a variety of features, but the overall quality of the camera is likely the most crucial factor to consider.
A higher-quality camera will produce a better image, which can be quite useful if you need to view specific details after an accident or other occurrence.
When it comes to camera image quality, keep the following specifications in mind.
When it comes to buying a camera of any kind, the resolution is likely to be the first measure you’ll notice. The number of vertical pixels in an image is usually used to represent the camera’s resolution.
If a camera is 1080p, the vertical resolution is 1,080 pixels. Vertically, a 1440p camera contains 1,440 pixels. A 2160p camera, on the other hand, has 2,160 pixels vertically. In general, more pixels are usually better. When a camera can capture more pixels, the resulting image will be crisper, which is a significant advantage.
We recommend purchasing a camera with a minimum resolution of 1080p, but if you can afford a camera with a greater resolution (i.e. 4K), that is the way to go. The high-quality dash cam Dual Dash Cam 1920x1080P FHD Front and Rear from Explon Dash Cams comes highly recommended.
Recording at super high resolution 1920*1080 30FPS, the front, and rear cameras capture the road in crystal detail at the same time. Even when driving at high speeds, the Full HD lens and 3″ big LCD screen give sharper movies and images and allow you to repeat crucial moments.
Another plus is that all of the items are on sale, which could be yet another motivation to get a new dash cam.
A camera’s field-of-view is essentially how wide it can see, and it can vary greatly. While some cameras have a small field of view, others are built with wide fields of view in mind, allowing the user to see a lot more at any given time.
Of course, there are costs associated with this. Because the pixels are spread out a little more when a camera’s field of vision is too broad, it can affect image quality. Unfortunately, dash cam manufacturers aren’t always forthcoming with information about field-of-view. Furthermore, there is no genuine standard measurement.
For example, some manufacturers supply a horizontal measurement while others exaggerate their numbers by providing a diagonal measurement.
Before you buy a camera, see if you can find screenshots of footage from it online. Pay attention to the details on the side and how detailed the image is overall. If you believe the camera will be able to capture all you desire, it will most likely be enough.
Frame rates are also vital to consider because dash cams shoot video rather than taking photographs. The majority of dash cams have a frame rate of 30 frames per second (fps). This is a common frame rate, and it will suit the great majority of users perfectly.
Some dash cams, on the other hand, record at 60 frames per second. As a result, video capturing is substantially smoother. That’s great for things like sports capture, but we don’t believe it’s a must for dash cams.
Furthermore, footage shot at 60 frames per second takes up twice the amount of storage space, implying that you’ll only receive half as much footage before your storage space runs out, forcing you to either replace old footage or purchase new storage cards.
If the dash cam you want already captures at 60 frames per second, it might be a nice bonus for some, especially if it can be toggled on and off, but we don’t recommend paying extra for this feature because it won’t make much of a difference in most situations and may even cause more harm than good due to the amount of storage it consumes.
Night vision is one more feature to consider, and it may be very useful for some drivers.
It basically ensures that your footage has enough detail to see what’s going on even in low-light circumstances.
It doesn’t matter if the footage isn’t as vibrant as it would be during the day when all you want to see is the license plate of the individual who hit you.
Other Features & Considerations
While image quality is undoubtedly the most crucial factor to consider when purchasing a dash cam, it is far from the only one.
Dash cameras have a slew of different features that make them easier to operate and more intelligent. Here are the most significant additional characteristics to investigate further.
Mounting: Suction Or Adhesive
You’ll need to mount the dash cam to your car in some way after you acquire it, and there are a few options. The majority of dash cams are located on the dashboard, although some are also mounted on the windshield.
This is useful for individuals who don’t want their dash to be cluttered or who already have a phone mount on it. Dash cams are usually attached to the dash or windshield by a suction mount, and such suction attachments are rather robust.
Some people, on the other hand, prefer an adhesive attachment that clings to the dashboard or windshield. These are a little more difficult to deal with because they’re more difficult to unstick and move, and they might occasionally leave a little adhesive behind when you do.
Even so, there is a benefit to employing an adhesive mount, and an adhesive mount usually takes up less space. It may be a better alternative if you have limited space to place your dash cam.
Wireless Connectivity: Bluetooth Or Wi-Fi
Because we live in an age of smart technologies, having dash cams that can link to the internet or to your phone via Bluetooth makes sense.
Wireless networking on your dash cam has a number of benefits. For starters, if your dash cam can connect to your phone via Bluetooth, you may be able to manage footage, adjust your dash cam’s settings, and more.
You won’t have to fiddle with your dash cam’s tiny built-in screen or navigate through confusing settings menus. There is a slew of other capabilities that may be added to your dash cam with internet connectivity.
For example, dash cam footage may be directly uploaded to the cloud, where it could subsequently be streamed to a phone or computer. Some dash cams can also connect to your phone using Wi-Fi, which produces comparable results to Bluetooth connectivity.
You’ll be able to download and view files directly from your phone if you’re connected to Wi-Fi. But, what do we suggest?
Most people who desire additional features and connectivity options will be satisfied with Bluetooth connectivity, and if you don’t mind fiddling with the dash cam’s settings and are adept at managing file storage, you may not require any additional connectivity at all.
GPS Records Location & Speed
GPS, like Bluetooth connectivity, can provide some extra features and functionality to your dash cam, even if it’s not something you’ll use all that often. With GPS connectivity, you’ll be able to record your car’s speed and location in addition to the film, which could be useful in resolving a disagreement.
Of course, GPS connectivity is beneficial not just for your own dash cam, but also for dash cams purchased for a company or work car that may be operated by others. You’ll be able to track the automobile and monitor driver behaviors thanks to the built-in GPS, which is useful when dealing with staff internally and if they get into an accident.
While GPS may not be essential for most users, it may be beneficial to others. Look for a dash cam with GPS if you like the notion of being able to follow your automobile or log location and speed data.
Because video recording can take up a lot of space, choosing a dash cam with ample storage is crucial. When it comes to storage, there are a few options to choose from. For starters, some dash cams come with built-in storage.
Dash cam storage typically starts at roughly 4GB, though you may need more if you want to keep more than a few days’ worths of film. Most dash cams, on the other hand, will have a MicroSD card slot, into which you may insert a MicroSD card to save your film.
Some dash cams have a MicroSD card, while others do not, and you will need to purchase one separately. When doing so, make sure to check the storage capacities of your dash cam. To ensure that you can record adequate footage, we recommend obtaining a MicroSD card with at least 64GB of storage.
You may not know you require recorded footage until after the fact, and because some dash cams record over existing footage on a loop, it may be too late by the time you realize you require it.
Many dash cams, on the other hand, offer safeguards against the overwriting film that you might require later. The G-Sensor, a sensor that can detect an abrupt change in motion and tell the dash cam to save film of that incident, is the most frequent defense against writing over the footage.
Once the footage is stored on many dash cams, it is locked and will not be overwritten. This is useful if you need to view it later.
Of course, don’t put your entire trust in the G-Sensor. You might be out of luck if you’re in a really catastrophic accident that damages the memory card inside the dash cam, but that’s an uncommon scenario.
While the video is the most crucial item to capture, some people may also wish to record audio. This can be useful for recording talks during traffic stops, as well as sounds from the environment.
Audio recording isn’t accessible on all dash cams, but it is an option if you want it. In general, the audio recording does not add a significant amount to the cost of a dash cam.
Some dash cams have two cameras, while others only have one. Most people just need to record what happens outside the automobile. However, people like Uber and Lyft drivers may wish to record what happens inside the vehicle as well.
As a result, some dash cameras feature one camera sensor aiming out the windshield and the other pointed into the vehicle. There are a few drawbacks to this, but it may be worth it for some. For starters, having double the square footage implies having twice the storage capacity.
We recommend obtaining an SD card with more storage.
The cost of driver monitoring is another downside. Adding an extra camera sensor to the device raises the entire cost of the dash cam, especially if you choose reasonably high-quality camera sensors, to begin with.
Some dash cams have a built-in display. Others cameras connect to your phone to offer monitoring and control over the camera’s settings. You’ll be able to do things like examine footage, change controls, and more through this display.
In general, larger displays make it easier to notice details in footage and move through menus. However, don’t expect your dash cam to have a smartphone-quality display. Dash cam displays often range from two to three inches in size,. If you want a larger display, you should seek anything in that range.
These devices’ displays are usually LCD displays that are bright enough to see throughout the day, which is useful for persons who need to alter a setting. Although a high-resolution display would be nice, dash cams usually have quality limitations.
If you plan on doing a lot of video playback, it might be worthwhile to invest in a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth-enabled camera to use with your smartphone.
Most dash cams are designed to run on your vehicle’s power. They’ll turn on when you start your car and turn off when you turn it off. However, there are dash cameras that include a built-in battery, so you don’t have to have your car running to utilize it.
For the most part, this is a non-essential characteristic, but it may be critical for others. Some people might want a dash cam to film after they’ve parked their car in a public lot, for example. Unfortunately, the majority of dash cam batteries are only meant to last a few minutes.
Some people, however, prefer to utilize a sports camera like a GoPro as a dash cam instead. GoPros have longer-lasting batteries, and they don’t have features like a G-Sensor. Plus, you’ll have to manually program them to record and stop recording.
Dash cameras are designed to record while you’re driving. Acquiring one that starts filming automatically while you’re driving can be very beneficial. When you turn on your car and the camera turns on, it will begin recording automatically. The automobile will then save the footage and turn itself off when it turns off.
This is only a question of convenience for people who are good at remembering to start and stop recording. However, for people who are prone to forgetting to start or stop filming, it may come down to whether or not they capture an accident.
Loop recording means that the dash cam will continue to record footage even if your storage card runs out of capacity. How does it accomplish this? Basically, by re-enacting past videos.
Older footage will be replaced with new footage when the storage card fills up, and you will lose that old material. This means two things. You’ll either want to get your hands on footage from an accident as quickly as possible, or you’ll want to invest in a large memory card that can keep a lot of material before it starts deleting.
It’s a great useful function that means you won’t have to bother about manually managing your dash cam storage.
Simply said, there’s a lot more to consider when purchasing a new dash cam than you probably realized. But maybe now that you’re aware of all the alternatives, purchasing one will be a bit easier. We have a few pointers if you’re more perplexed than before.
We recommend a 1080p dash cam with Wi-Fi connectivity, auto-start, and loop recording for individuals merely seeking a competent dash cam to catch what’s going on around them. Unless you’re also concerned about what’s going on inside your car, you probably won’t need services like driver monitoring.
However, no matter what you’re searching for in a dash cam, you should have no trouble finding one that meets your requirements.