Dash­cams

WHETHER YOU WANT THEM FOR FRIV­O­LOUS OR FI­NAN­CIAL REA­SONS, DASH­CAMS COULD BE YOUR CAR’S NEW BEST FRIEND.

TechLife Australia - - WELCOME - [ PAUL TAY­LOR & JOEL BURGESS ]

DASH­CAMS ARE PROV­ING to be more and more pop­u­lar with the gen­eral pub­lic who seek peace of mind when driv­ing. In a worst case sce­nario, they’re proof of who’s at fault in an ac­ci­dent, pro­vid­ing cru­cial ev­i­dence. While they won’t lower your pre­mium, the footage you have can help bol­ster your claim, and they’re only grow­ing in pop­u­lar­ity — in­surer AAMI has said that ap­prox­i­mately 13% of Aus­tralian driv­ers were us­ing dash cams in 2015.

Mounted to the top or bot­tom of your wind­screen — any­where that’s not go­ing to ob­scure your view of the road ahead — these video cam­eras record footage of your sur­round­ings while you’re driv­ing. Some have GPS ca­pa­bil­i­ties, not­ing your pre­cise lo­ca­tion, speed and di­rec­tion of travel. The ma­jor­ity, though, are sim­ple video cam­eras that share tech with ac­tion cam­eras, but are far more af­ford­able as they’re not de­signed to be weath­er­proof.

They need con­stant power and use the 12V sup­ply in your car. Out of the cam­eras we tested, the best au­to­mat­i­cally power up and shut down when you start or turn off your car, and also note when some­thing un­usual hap­pens; namely, an impact with an­other ob­ject, or hard brak­ing. It’s a sober­ing thought, but use­ful nonethe­less.

Nav­man MiVue 630 EX­ACTLY WHAT YOU’RE LOOK­ING FOR IN A DASH CAM­ERA.

IN THEIR MOST prag­matic form, dash cam­eras are sim­ply tools to help you ex­pe­dite the in­surance claim process in the event of an ac­ci­dent and, if that’s the sum to­tal of what you’re look­ing for, it’d be hard not to rec­om­mend the MiVue 630 from Nav­man. It has a smaller screen than some of the more pricy units, but con­sid­er­ing dash­cams need to sit in a position that will ob­scure some of your view out the front wind­screen, we ac­tu­ally pre­fer that. The most im­por­tant fea­ture in a dash cam­era is a 3-axis gy­ro­scope as it not only trig­gers an in­ci­dent log if you hap­pen to cross the ac­cel­er­a­tion thresh­old (as you would when you are rear ended) but it also notes the ac­cel­er­a­tion read­ings through­out the in­ci­dent so you get di­rec­tional in­for­ma­tion on where you have been hit even if it isn’t in the cam­era’s field of vi­sion. Add GPS po­si­tion­ing, speed, times­tamp­ing and an il­lus­tra­tive 3D vi­su­al­i­sa­tion of ac­cel­er­a­tion to the cam­era’s full HD pic­ture res­o­lu­tion and you have some­thing that cap­tures the clear­est pos­si­ble pic­ture of any in­ci­dent.

Uniden iGo Cam 755 WELL MADE AND IN­TEL­LI­GENT.

UNIDEN HAS SET the bar with the iGo Cam 755. Its list of fea­tures em­bar­rases other cam­eras in the cat­e­gory, and is also the one with the most in­ter­est­ing de­sign and best suc­tion cup mount. You will need a bit of space to mount it, as a square, ded­i­cated GPS an­tenna pokes up out of the top of the screen, though get­ting it into place is easy.

Along­side stan­dard impact de­tec­tion, Uniden’s cam also senses when you’re de­part­ing your lane, will alert you to move­ment at traf­fic lights, and built-in speed cam­era warn­ings — you won’t find this pack­age any­where else. Only the Kaiser Baas units fea­ture 2K record­ing as well, and the qual­ity of the video is ex­cel­lent — bright, clear and lots of con­trast, able to pick up li­cence plates where others strug­gle. The wide an­gle lens cap­tures more of the pe­riph­ery of the road ahead, too, and the raw video files fea­ture the speed of your car and time. You’ll have to in­stall the soft­ware to view more in-depth met­rics, how­ever.

Swann 140DCM COM­PACT AND CA­PA­BLE.

TUCK THIS WELL-FEA­TURED cam­era be­hind your rear view mir­ror, and you’ll have good qual­ity footage you can later rely on. Swann’s diminu­tive 140DCM cam was one of the eas­i­est to use, with its large but­tons and com­pact de­sign that gave us ev­ery­thing we needed. Sud­den ac­cel­er­a­tion or bumps are recorded and the footage locked, oth­er­wise it can be on a five-minute loop un­til you man­u­ally hit a but­ton to se­cure it.

GPS data is over­laid on the screen, show­ing off your co­or­di­nates and speed, along with the time. Al­though this doesn’t feed into Google maps, hav­ing the info there will help later on should you need it. It also has a small in­ter­nal bat­tery, which is enough to use the cam­era out of the car and shoot ex­tra footage or photographs. Ex­tremely sunny or over­cast days can cause the im­age to wash out, so we’d sug­gest an­gling the cam­era down­wards a touch. Plus, as a bonus, it comes with sticky clips for the charg­ing ca­ble.

Kaiser Baas R20 GOOD-LOOK­ING AND SOLID.

KAISER BAAS AL­MOST shot it­self in the foot. The R20 comes in $100 cheaper than the also very good R30, has the same key fea­tures — auto impact de­tect, 2K res­o­lu­tion, GPS and an au­dio guide — and pro­duces iden­ti­cal footage. So why opt for the more ex­pen­sive cam?

The R30 has a bet­ter, sim­pler lay­out, as the R20 is ini­tially un­in­tu­itive for cap­tur­ing photo and im­por­tant mo­ments, and Wi-Fi isn’t avail­able here. That’s not a deal breaker by any means, though it is a com­pro­mise.

The R20’s large screen also doubles as a clock or com­pass when it ticks over to be a screen­saver, and you can record up to 10 min­utes of footage at a time. Un­for­tu­nately, the raw footage does not give your speed or di­rec­tion — you’re re­ly­ing on the soft­ware there. Like the R30, you also get ca­ble clips in­cluded in the pack­ag­ing, a dou­ble socket USB charger and a sticky mount. Great value, and an­other re­li­able unit.

Kaiser Baas R30 A PINT-SIZED PER­FORMER.

ONE OF THE most thought­ful dash­cams go­ing, the Kaiser Baas R30 of­fers a good first im­pres­sion. It’s one of the few units not to have a screen on the rear, in­stead shift­ing view-find­ing du­ties to your smart­phone. Down­load the (util­i­tar­ian) app, and you can get a live view in or­der to get the cam­era po­si­tioned just so. It’s one of the few that comes with a sticky mount, and only moves on one an­gle (pitch­ing up and down) so you’ll need to make sure you’re happy with it be­fore lock­ing it in place.

An au­dio cue also tells you when it’s started record­ing, and sav­ing im­por­tant footage, while the lights on the rear indi­cate power on and a good GPS sig­nal. In­side the box, you get a gen­er­ous ca­ble, clips and a dou­ble USB socket so you still have a spare port to charge your phone.

While the 2K footage is slight overkill, the qual­ity is among the best of this crop, and the op­tional PC/Mac soft­ware is also pretty pow­er­ful. You will need it to view your di­rec­tion and speed.

Nav­man MiVue 698 DUAL CAM THIS ONE HAS YOUR BACK.

THIS DUAL-CAM­ERA SETUP re­ally is the cremé-de-la-crem of in­surance claim dash­board cam­era set­ups. Of­fer­ing a 2.7-inch LCD dis­play that can show you real-time 1296p and 1080p dual-cam­era pic­ture-in­pic­ture feeds, pre­ci­sion 8-satel­lite GPS that re­lays speed lim­its and speed/red-light cam­era warn­ings and a raft of advanced safety fea­tures like col­li­sion, lane de­par­ture and driver fa­tigue warn­ings, the MiVue 698 is the most advanced dash cam­era setup money can buy.

Any­one who has come off sec­ond best in a car in­surance claim will see the in­vest­ment value in a dash cam­era and could more eas­ily jus­tify the $429 price tag of the MiVue 698, but even then, it’s a stretch. When you com­pare it with the en­try-level mod­els like the MiVue 630 that man­age to cap­ture ev­ery­thing you could want in a dash cam­era for $270 dol­lars less, you’ve ba­si­cally got to be pre­pared to fork out a lot of money for the rear cam­era and the speed and red-light cam­era warn­ings. If you’re con­tem­plat­ing buy­ing an ad­di­tional re­verse cam­era any­way, then the cost of the MiVue 698 makes sense, oth­er­wise you’ll prob­a­bly wish you were a lit­tle more fru­gal.

Laser Car Crash Cam­era Full HD1080P CHEAP AND PRETTY CHEER­FUL

LOOK­ING FOR THE ab­so­lute ba­sics? You’ve found it, as the Laser is the cheap­est, most af­ford­able cam­era here. Apart from not­ing when a se­ri­ous impact oc­curs, Laser’s HD cam­era will record footage in 1080p, and that’s it, as the func­tions you get on more ex­pen­sive mod­els are ab­sent.

De­spite not­ing im­por­tant in­ci­dents, footage is au­to­mat­i­cally looped with the older stuff writ­ten over, and you’ll have to stop record­ing if you want to save that key footage. Video qual­ity is ac­cept­able but not great, look­ing a lit­tle washed out. Cars need to be im­me­di­ately in front of the cam­era for it to make out their li­cence plate, and the rel­a­tively nar­row field of view doesn’t help ei­ther.

Still, it’s a tempt­ing prospect, and con­sid­er­ing the next cheap­est option — the Nav­man MiVue 630 — is twice the price, this could well end up in your car. We’d sug­gest stretch­ing the bud­get, how­ever.

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