A suction cup fixture makes less of a mess of the windscreen but there’s a spare adhesive strip included should you get placement wrong first time around. Plus, like most cameras tested, it comes with a long 12V to mini-USB power cable, which you’ll have to pin out of the way to stop it dangling in the driver’s face. Monitor Mode also helps keep unnecessary files off the memory card, as it will record just one frame per second when no movement is detected and will record as normal when movement is picked up again. The Kaiser Baas R30 promises better-than-HD picture quality and lots of functions but in reality the picture quality is only OK and the key functions can be found on cheaper models. Not having a built-in screen is a major problem, in our experience , even if it has WiFi connectability, and in this case the mobile app connection let us down.
The other two icons open up the camera view and the footage respectively and herein lies another problem. Everything is accessed via the touchscreen, rather than physical buttons, and pressing the right area of the screen while on the move is difficult to say the least. In fact, we’d have to recommend pulling over and stopping the car if you want to find and change a setting as there is a danger of being distracted. Helpfully, Mio supplies a 16Gb memory card in the box, allowing you to get up and running without delay. Once powered up, the clock sets automatically and it starts recording straight away, assuming you’ve inserted a memory card into the slot on the underside. Unfortuantely Nextbase don’t include one, as some other manufacturers do. Nextbase is marked down as usual for not supplying a memory card with the product; you’ll need to purchase one separately .
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However, there’s a nice long cigarette lighter charger and it comes with a 4GB memory card, meaning it can be used straight out of the box. Another low-cost winner from Cobra, and it comes with the company’s usual 8GB memory card in the box. If you don’t want GPS tracking or other high-end features, the CDR 835 is worth a look.
Power to the camera is supplied as soon as the ignition is fired up and the unit will give audio instructions regarding its current state. Users must log on to its Wi-Fi network via a smartphone to get a live feed from the cameras, as well as access files and use other functionality. Video footage can be reviewed via the device, along with a map view of where the incident took place and the time of the incident. The box contains a long USB cable and car charger adaptor that plugs into the 12v socket, as well as cable clips for pinning the power cable out of the way, a 32GB memory card and sucker mounts.
We also like the fact that it comes with a long warranty, and two types of mount along with other helpful bits and pieces in the box, including a 32Gb memory card. Overall, it’s easily a match for the Nextbase 112; it’s just a shame you have to pay a fair wedge more for it. Next you have to download the app and connect the phone via WiFi, but first you need to put the camera into pairing mode, which involves another round of button pressing. This took more time and much frustration, as the camera didn’t seem to want to pair with our Samsung Galaxy until the fifth or sixth attempt. If you have the GPS accessory then you’ll get voice alerts any time you near a speed camera zone at around the speed limit, keeping up with the flow of traffic, which gets incredibly irritating after a while.
The front camera is pretty good in this regard, featuring a Sony Stravis SMOS sensor and up to ISO 12,800, but there are other top devices with more crystal clear images. The good news is, you probably won’t use the app much and if you want to access footage, the best way to do it is to remove the micro SD card and connect it to your computer (via a USB adapter.
Resolution for front and rear cameras is 1080p but the quality of the footage from the rear camera is so much poorer than the front. Not only is it more pixelated but it’s also a lot drivers for Windows darker in low light.
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A smartphone app is simple to use and connects quickly, allowing you to download and share footage. We’re warming to the idea of WiFi/app-enabled dash cams but really, their use is limited. As usual with Nextbase dash cams, a star is knocked for there being no SD memory card in the box – you’ll have to buy that separately. Includes GPS, so you can view your position via map coordinates or on the map provided in the accompanying software, plus a G sensor to detect accidents. It’s just a shame there’s no emergency button, allowing you to lock footage of accidents or events you witness in front of the car. On the basis of this, TaoTronics could become a major player in dash cams. The TT-CD06 is an attractive, compact dash cam delivering decent quality video and excellent audio clarity.
Then attach the power cable and plug into the 12V supply, again tucking the cable away behind trim and under carpet. If you want to hardwire the RC500S into your fuse box for an even more permanent installation, expert knowledge and extra time will be required. The rear camera is less good at recording number plates, due to the fact that they’re normally below what is visible through the rear windscreen, and at night you can see virtually nothing in unlit areas.
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To be fair to the Dod, once you’re installed you don’t have to think about the cameras at all – they just run in the background. Press the WiFi button on the main camera and you get a voice alert telling you it has switched on, ready to connect to your phone. It also has a clear emergency record button, to lock footage of an incident, should you spot one ahead . They good news is that a 32Gb memory card is supplied in the box. Then you’ve got to connect the cameras using the supplied AV cable, which should then be concealed behind the roof lining.
We also didn’t like the adhesive mount and the fact that you have to buy a memory card separately. Unfortunately our night-time footage didn’t record due to a “card error”, and connection issues with the app meant that we weren’t able to format the card to correct the problem. Trying to rectify the problem was intensely frustrating and, after some time, we gave up. Without a built-in screen, you’re relying on the mobile app to replay footage and check the framing of the camera, and to change settings. One the plus side, there’s little to distract the driver and the emergency record button is clear enough, should you want to lock footage of an accident ahead of you. Although the compact Garmin takes up very little space on the windscreen, its sticky window mount is more permanent than suction-cup rivals. In fact, it’s a pain to peel off and leaves a terrible smudgy mess, making it difficult to experiment with positioning.