Prestigio Road Runner 545GPS
Most GPS-equipped dash cams cost £100 or more, so what’s the catch with this one at under £80? Well, it seems there isn’t one unless you want your video recorded at 60 frames per second.
As dash cams go, the RoadRunner 545 is relatively good looking. We’d still prefer it if manufacturers would refrain from using silver or reflective finishes so the camera isn’t noticeable: Prestigio fits a silver ring around the lens which for some reason outlines the focal length and aperture. Not that any dash cam buyer cares about such information.
There are also a few tweaks we’d make to the design. On the rear is a 2.7in screen with 960x240 pixels. It’s covered with a mirror-like finish that makes it hard to see in daylight and near impossible when the sun is reflecting off it. As it isn’t a touchscreen, a matt finish would be much more appropriate.
Finally, you have to memorise what the buttons do (or have the manual handy) as there are no labels on the rear, and it’s impossible to see the four buttons on top when the camera is mounted to the windscreen.
The mount itself is good. It houses the GPS receiver and you apply suction by rotating it. It uses a ball joint for adjustment that’s held in place by friction rather than being tightened by a screw ring. This cuts down on size and makes it quicker to adjust.
The USB port is right at the top of the GPS part of the mount, which makes for a neat installation with hardly any visible wiring. Note that, like most dash cams, the supplied car charger does not have a USB passthrough, so you can’t use the 12V accessory socket for anything else. But, as with all the dash cams we’ve tested, you can buy a long mini-USB cable and use a multiport USB charger if you need to power multiple devices.
The 545GPS has a mini HDMI and another mini USB port underneath, which is for connecting to a PC and transferring video.
Inside is a 3Mp sensor and a Novatek NT96650 chipset, which allows the 545GPS to record video at up to 1920x1080 at 30fps. If you want to record at 60fps, this works only at 720p, but it’s better to record the extra detail of Full HD at half the frame rate.
The g-sensor’s sensitivity can be adjusted and an impact will automatically trigger the file lock
so the video won’t be overwritten. HDR mode can be turned on or off, and the power button doubles as a toggle for the four infrared LEDs on the front (we’ll get to those later).
You can enable motion detection, but this won’t work while parked if your car cuts power to the accessory socket when you remove the key. Other options include one-, three-, five- or 10-minute loop recording, a power-off delay and also an unusual power-on delay. It’s also possible to set how long the LCD remains on after powering up: one, three or five minutes.
In the settings menu you can adjust the exposure and white balance manually, and choose which information is stamped onto the recorded video, including date and time, logo, registration plate, speed (only in km/h) and GPS location.
While some dash cams record higher resolution video, or offer 60fps in full HD, the 545GPS’s video quality is perfectly good.
Using the default image quality settings, we found exposure was good, as were colours. Detail levels are decent: it’s possible to read
number plates as long as they’re close enough. It’s an issue with all wide-angle lenses: you have to be fairly close to a car in front to read its registration – otherwise the plate is simply too small. Video is recorded at 12Mbit/s, which is average, but audio, for some reason, is captured at a very high 512Kbit/s in mono and sounds great. When travelling towards the sun quality naturally drops but it’s still decent.
At night, things aren’t nearly as good. There’s a lot of noise suppression, which also appears to have the effect of blurring out number plates of other cars. Whether or not you can read the plate of a car you’re following or one travelling in the other direction will depend on many factors: how close you are and whether or not your headlights reflect off the plate. In the image right you can see that details are smudgy in general, but it is just possible to make out the car’s number plate.
The 545 is the first dash cam we’ve seen with infrared LEDs for ‘night vision’. Unfortunately, these made exactly no discernible difference to image quality. We even tested them in a pitch black room, but the image remained black, despite a glow from the LEDs, which confirmed they were indeed enabled. Had they worked as intended, they would have merely reflected off the windscreen anyway, so it’s a mystery why Prestigio used them in the first place.
If you want a dash cam with GPS so you can record your location – and speed – for extra evidence in the event of a collision, then the Prestigio RoadRunner 545GPS is good value. The mirrored screen is a bit annoying and quality isn’t great at night, but it’s good in daylight. Jim Martin
Travelling towards the sun