Pres­ti­gio Road Runner 545GPS

Tech Advisor - - Contents -

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.

De­sign

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.

Video qual­ity

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.

When you want to re­view the recorded video, Pres­ti­gio bun­dles a player (and the K-lite codec pack) on a mini CD in the box, but which is also avail­able to down­load. It shows the video, g-forces, speed and lo­ca­tion on a map and lets you take screen­grabs for ev­i­dence. We had the same JavaScript er­ror as with Asus’ sim­i­lar player when us­ing it in Windows 10, so we hope this will be fixed soon.

Ver­dict

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

Video play­back

Night vi­sion

Trav­el­ling to­wards the sun

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.