Driving can be dangerous at times. We have witnessed millions of accidents every year globally. However careful drivers we may be, other reckless drivers on the roads are likely to cause the accident; or other unforeseen situation could happen during your road trip, such as corrupt traffic officers stopping you unnecessarily for fraud allegations. This is where the dash cams come in. They can act as your independent witnesses on the roads.
The work of dash cams is to record footage of both the road in front of you and the one behind you and save that footage which you can playback later after you have downloaded your smartphone or computer. Most dash cams usually come with additional functionalities and features, such as the GPS which allows you to track your location and speed, car parking surveillance, and collision detection features.
With these features, you can prove your fault, monitor someone who uses your car, or simply record amazing road trip views! These special features and functionalities vary from one dashcam to the other. Hence, there are some things you should consider before buying one.
The majority of people normally look only at the camera and video quality before purchasing a dashcam. However, there are a lot of other features and factors you should consider when buying one. It may be difficult to know where to start in your search for a quality dashcam. Below are some of the factors you should probably know and consider before purchasing your dashcam.
Table of Contents
The camera and video quality
This is the first thing to consider when purchasing a dash camera. It will be of little essence to purchase a dashcam that can barely show the road ahead and behind you. Go for dashcams that produce higher quality images and capture clearer recordings. This can be very helpful when you are looking to retrieve finer details of an event such as an accident. When choosing the camera quality, consider the following:
Resolution: Resolution is the first metric that comes to people’s minds when purchasing a recording device like a smartphones or camera. The more pixels, the better and clearer the images. A 1080p has a higher resolution than a 480p. if you are in a position to buy a camera with a higher resolution like 4K, please do.
Field of view: This describes the width the camera can extend to and it varies a lot with different dash cams. It is usually expressed in degrees e.g. 140 degrees, 180 degrees, etc. The wider the field of view, the better since you will be able to see a lot more at any given moment.
However, when the field of view is too wide, it is most likely to affect the quality of the image and footage produced since the pixels will be stretched. When buying a dashcam, consider viewing screenshots of footage the camera produced and see the quality of details.
Frame rate: A majority of dashcams offer 30 frames per second (fps) while others produce 25 frames per second. Others stretch up to 60fps. The more the number of frames, the smoother the video capture. More frames however consume greater storage space in dashcams. This can result in older footages being overwritten faster to record new ones.
Night vision: This refers to how clear the dashcam can produce images especially at night and also in low-light conditions. The clarity of footages is likely to be diminished at night compared to daytime. An ideal dashcam should capture enough footage details even in dark situations.
Mounting type and place where the dash camera is to be placed
Dash cams are mounted on a car in the windshield or dashboard. They are mounted with strong suction mounts. Some people, however, prefer sticking the camera on the windshield or the dashboard using an adhesive mount.
Adhesive mounts do not require a lot of space but they are harder to unstick or move. Some laws of different countries also restrict dash cams from being placed in the windshield so as not to obscure the driver’s view of the road.
Type of wireless connectivity for the dash camera
Dash cams are embedded with wireless connectivity like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to enable you to transfer your recorded footage onto your smart device or computer. You can manage your footage and menu settings. Both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi produce similar results. A Bluetooth can be enough for those who want added features on their dash cams.
Does the Dash camera have a GPS?
This feature is not necessarily required on the dashcam but it can add extra functionalities such as the ability to track your location and know your speed. This can come in handy when tracking driver habits or when you are involved in an accident. Some of these dashcams can alert the Emergency response units with your location information so that you can get a quick and rapid response. You can also avoid disputes with this feature.
The type of Dashcam memory Storage
Some dash cams come with an in-built microSD storage for you to save your footage while others require you to purchase the microSD separately. Storage spaces in dashcams usually begin from 4GB. When buying a dashcam, consider the amount of storage it can support. The microSD card you purchase should be at least 64GB. This will allow you to record enough footage before older files begin to be overwritten.
The overwriting can be stopped if the dashcam has the G-sensor functionality. This feature will simply lock all your footage when a sudden change in motion is detected, allowing you to save your important files.
Other factors to consider
When selecting a dashcam, you should also consider how it can be powered while in operation. Most of them will run on your car’s power, even when your car is switched OFF. This will require hardwiring. They however have in-built batteries which do not last long.
Other factors include considering whether they have loop recording functions that allow your dashcam to continue capturing footage even after your storage is exhausted.
If you are new to dashcam and are still figuring out what to go for, consider purchasing a dashcam with 1080p, Wi-Fi connectivity, and has both loop recording and auto-start functions. It should no longer be hard to find a dashcam that can work for you.