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What Is a Car Camera?
A car camera, also known as a dashcam, has recently grown in popularity, thanks in part to stunning viral footage of stunt driving and breathtaking weather events, such as a beautiful sunset or a scary tornado.
Drivers are installing dash cams in their cars for a variety of reasons, including limiting responsibility in accidents and capturing vandalism while parked.
Having video documentation of your role in an accident is particularly important if you operate a company vehicle or work for Uber, Lyft, or another taxi service. For the rest of us, it's just another piece of documentation to present to your insurance company in the event of a collision or vehicle damage.
There are several different types of dash cameras available, each with its own set of functions like GPS tracking, safety warnings, and mobile app connectivity. Some even have tripod mounts and action cameras, allowing you to take them out of the vehicle and into the breathtaking outdoors.
What Do I Look For In a Car Camera?
You could not require a dashcam with 4K resolution or numerous smart functions. At the very least, you'll want a camera that can record high-quality video and quickly detect when you're in an accident.
One feature you can consider skipping is GPS, but it is still useful. After all, GPS can record the exact location of an accident as well as your speed at the moment. Knowing both of these things can help you in the proper situation.
Similarly, voice controls can be extremely useful if you need to control your camera while it is in motion. After all, not all instances result in collisions, and being able to record proof of wrongdoing without having to fiddle with your camera is useful.
Finally, check to see if the dashcam you have can link to other cameras. After all, vehicles come from all directions, and being able to keep track of what's coming at you from various angles is beneficial, especially from behind, when you are unlikely to spot danger approaching.
Which Is The Best Car Camera On the Market Today?
While some dash cams also function as GPS navigation devices, others only use GPS to determine the location of a video, which is useful in the event of accidents or other issues. It's also useful if you want to know precisely where a sunset, hurricane, or other noteworthy activity occurred.
Since the different car cameras available today offer different benefits in terms of design and usability, it can be tough to choose between them. However, we have reviewed the best parts of each car camera listed below to make it easy for you to pick the right option for your needs.
The latest dash camera from Nextbase offers considerably higher video quality, increased stabilization, and the addition of some interesting What3Words GPS services as well as a lot of Amazon Alexa Skills, so don't think of it as just a successor for the previous range-topping 522GW.
If you opt for the 4K at 30fps video resolution, the resultant footage isn't dissimilar to that of today's finest action cameras, with wonderfully clear, vivid, and clean footage when played on a laptop or PC.
It's easy to select details and functionalities even in low-light situations, and a unique Super Slow-Mo mode (1080p at 120fps) makes reading number plates on fast-moving automobiles easier than ever.
A polarizing filter on the front of the cam can be spun to prevent glare from windshields, and digital picture stabilizing is another first for the dashcam market, helping to smooth out shocks and rattles produced by potholes and bad road surfaces.
This model, like its 522GW predecessor, can be controlled by voice using Alexa Skills. However, it requires the use of the associated smartphone app, which isn't ideal. It still has problems linking with phones to transfer photographs and video clips, despite the new dual 2.4 GHz + 5 GHz Wi-Fi.
The 3-inch rear touchscreen is fortunately sharp, clear, and simple to use, and the addition of What3Words is innovative in that it can warn emergency and breakdown providers of a precise location even when Wi-Fi or mobile data is unavailable.
The Nextbase 622GW is our top option, as it is simple to set up, sleekly packed, and simple to use. It does everything a dashcam should do and does it well while also providing some valuable extra capabilities.
Garmin Dash Cam 67W
The 67W improves on Garmin's already excellent 66W by adding a few more linked functions to an already appealing product. The 67W is one of the tiniest dash cameras we've tested, only being surpassed by Garmin's Mini, which is extremely small in size.
However, a high-quality sensor is jammed inside this little container, capable of taking crisp 1440p footage and boosting it in difficult weather circumstances thanks to an HDR (High Dynamic Range) capability. It looks amazing, and the extra pixels let you edit film on the computer to read license plates or identify minute details that could be used as evidence.
The 67W is easy to set up, use and comes with a basic smartphone app. It improves on its predecessor by incorporating connected capabilities including the ability to instantly upload any saved footage to Garmin's cloud when the camera finds a trusted Wi-Fi network.
Keep in mind that Garmin will bill you for a storing plan, and you'll have to hardwire the cam into your car's primary power source if you want to make use of its linked capabilities, such as the capability to wirelessly check in on a parked car from anywhere on the planet.
You'll also need to ensure the camera is linked to a Wi-Fi network, which requires either parking near a friendly router or purchasing a mobile hotspot, both of which demand continual power. You can see how it quickly devolves into a deep and costly rabbit hole.
Whatever the case may be, if you just want a high-quality film that is automatically recorded by a device that fits into a top pocket, look no further.
The Kenwood DRV-A31W makes a great case for becoming the car camera for your vehicle, with a powerful design and up to 1080p resolution. Not only does it automatically identify crashes and record film for safekeeping, but it also has a large display and built-in GPS to track your speed and location.
Even better, one of our favorite Dash Cam companion applications is the Kenwood Dash Cam Manager. Not only can you access your recorded film through a local wireless network, but you can also see a live feed of what the camera sees on your monitor. The quality of the recorded video is likewise outstanding. However, the audio might be a touch sluggish at times.
The Kenwood DRV-A31W may not have any distinctive features that set it apart from its competitors, but it does offer all you need in a dashcam – and at a reasonable price.
Thinkware F800 Pro
The Thinkware F800 is possibly the car camera we've used the longest, owing to its low profile, which allows you to forget about it.
The F800 is attached to your car's windshield with 3M tape, and because there is no screen, it may be hidden behind the rearview mirror. That, we believe, is the best location for them.
The F800 includes GPS navigation, a lifelong safety cam, speed warnings, and Safety Warnings like forwarding crash and lane departure recognition. While these are moderately useful on dashcams with screens, they are useless in the absence of one.
The HD video quality is superb, and the night mode (now in its 2nd generation) is very outstanding (it's unexpectedly sharp and noise-free). There is built-in Wi-Fi so you can link to your smartphone, though we had some connection issues and it appears to be quite old.
Time-Lapse Mode captures your parked car for up to 48 hours. If you're concerned about the car being vandalized when it's left overnight, this is ideal.
This last feature necessitates the camera be plugged into the vehicle. That's what we believe you'd like to do with the Thinkware. It is not only simple but also the most attractive alternative for freeing up the 12V port.
Thinkware's new Cloud service is the most intriguing feature included with the F800 Pro. This includes the option to receive notifications when your automobile leaves a geofenced region or when it is involved in an accident. You may even use it to find your car when it's parked.
These are potentially really valuable features, but we had a lot of trouble getting them to operate, and based on other online evaluations, we're not alone.
Viofo A129 Pro Duo
We won't judge you if you've never heard of Viofo; it's not the most well-known brand in the dashcam industry, but their 4K resolution Pro Duo model offers incredible value.
The front camera is larger than many of its competitors on this list, but it includes a built-in GPS module, which many other brands only provide as an add-on. Although its plastic exterior appears to be cheap, it conceals some very sophisticated tech that undermines its overall build quality.
It uses supercapacitors instead of standard rechargeable batteries, which means its power source is built to survive and can withstand a wide range of temperatures without compromising performance.
Furthermore, you have the option of recording in spectacular 4K (3840 x 2160p) video upfront, with the resultant footage featuring a high level of clarity and Wide Dynamic Range for rich colors in all-weather circumstances.
Unfortunately, 4K recording is only available at 30 frames per second, which isn't ideal for slowing down recordings. Dual recording (front and back cameras) is only accessible in full HD (1080p), which is pushed out at 60 frames per second for substantially smoother results.
Viofo is an easy-to-use smartphone app that allows you to instantly examine and save clips. Unfortunately, installing two cameras necessitates removing interior trim and cleverly concealing long wiring. Getting it correctly can be a tangled mess, but it's worthwhile to avoid a dangling tangle of power wires.
At this price, you get night mode, parking setting, motion sensors, automatic emergency filming, GPS navigation, and dual-channel 1080p, making this a bundle well worth considering if you drive a lot of miles and want complete camera footage that doesn't cost a fortune.
The Nexar Beam GPS dashboard camera might be the one for you if you're seeking excellent video coverage, an unobtrusive and tiny design, and all for a low price.
It's not just a good dash camera at a good price, but it also comes with limitless cloud storage from Nexar, so you don't have to worry about losing your footage after an accident.
The companion app isn't excellent, and accessing your cloud storage can be difficult at first. But, flaws and all, the Nexar Beam is still a great option that provides all you need from a dashcam.
About The Author
I've spent many years selling cars, working with auto detailers, mechanics, dealership service teams, quoting and researching car insurance, modding my own cars, and much more.Read More About Charles Redding