March 22, 2018

What to Look for in a Dashcam

Filed under: Main — admin @ 12:01 am

I’ve burned through about five dashcams so far. Through the cheap ones, the expensive ones, the fancy ones, and my current selection, I’ve experienced the ups and downs and would like to share them with you.

Being inspired by Russian dashcam videos, I set out to get my own several years ago. The Russians have dashcams for insurance reasons. Here in the US, insurance companies don’t require them, but they’re appreciated. Especially when you’re not at fault, the dashcam provides an unbiased version of traffic incidents.

At the technical level, a dashcam is a digital video camera with resolution and image settings similar to any video camera. It records on standard microSD cards and is powered from the car’s USB port or 12-volt power adapter, once known as a cigarette lighter. You attach the dashcam to the inside of the car’s windshield, and it records your travels over and over, automatically erasing previous videos with newly-recorded material.

Ensure that you get a dashcam that has a good dynamic range, so that it can record well in bright or low-light situations. Most of them do. And most of them are 1080p, which is good. Higher resolution is better, but also requires higher capacity storage.

You’ll need to buy the microSD card separately. Confirm the camera’s maximum capacity before you do. I recommend splurging and getting a 64GB or 128GB card.

Attach the dashcam to an ignition-powered source. You want the dashcam to power-up when the car is started, not all the time. Most cars feature ignition-powered as well as all-the-time-powered sockets. And if your auto lacks a USB port, you need a USB car adapter.

The most important thing to look for in a dashcam is the interface. You won’t be using it often, but when you do you don’t want to fumble with mystery buttons or reference the skimpy manual. The brand I’ve chosen as my favorite so far is Aukey, which doesn’t have a touchscreen display (which would be best) but instead has four buttons below the touchscreen with labels for the buttons.

An Amazon link to my favorite dashcam is provided below. Like I wrote earlier, I’ve been through quite a few dashcams. For some, the power supply breaks. for others, they just fail. But the Aukey is robust and has a good interface. It’s not the cheapest, but it’s the one I recommend.

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