The right dash cam can help you protect yourself, your vehicle, and your passengers. Choosing the right one isn’t always easy, though.
You’ll want to think about factors like a wide field of view, resolution, and low-light capabilities. These features can greatly affect how good your video footage looks.
Wide Field of View
A dashcam with a wide field of view can help you capture important events. A narrower viewing angle can mean you miss vital events, such as a car accident or someone trying to hit your vehicle.
The best dashcams have a field of view of at least 120 degrees, but you can find models with lenses as wide as 180 degrees. However, we recommend sticking with a lens that is 120 or 130 degrees to ensure you aren’t missing anything in your footage.
This is because lenses that are wider than this can cause distortion at the edges of the image, making footage useless as evidence in case of an insurance dispute or police investigation. A 150-degree wide lens, on the other hand, will not distort any images and will offer a very clear view of what is happening on the road.
It is also important to look for a camera with good-quality video output, even when recorded in low light or at night. A camera that doesn’t output high-quality video can lead to the recording of blurry images, which is not only unprofessional but could potentially result in a ticket or worse.
Choosing a dashcam is also worth considering what you intend to use it for. For example, if you want to protect yourself against accidents while driving, you will likely need a dashcam that offers features like a G-sensor and loop recording, which will help you save footage in the event of a collision.
If you want to monitor your vehicle while it is parked or while you are on the road at night, you will need a dashcam that offers motion detection and night vision. These features will allow you to record clear images even in dim lighting and help conserve battery power while idle.
A dashcam with a wide field of view can also help you save money and time by allowing you to avoid buying multiple cameras. This will ensure you have access to all the footage you need in the event of an incident, no matter how minor or severe.
High-resolution video is one of the most important aspects of a dashcam. It lets you see things clearly as you drive and provides clarity when dealing with insurance claims and police investigations.
You can choose various resolutions to suit your needs, such as 1080p and 4K. The latter is recommended for those who want to save the footage for future reference and improve road safety, while 1080p is an excellent option for those who only need a basic recording tool that captures what’s happening in front of them.
Whether you invest in a high-end model or opt for a more budget-friendly dashcam, it’s a good idea to ensure the camera has a large memory card that will hold plenty of video. That way, you won’t have to worry about losing or accidentally losing important footage, which can be a big stress when you’re in an accident and need to get evidence for your insurance claim.
There are many different dash cams, each with its unique set of features. Some boast AI driver assistance alerts, supercapacitor power sources, or a built-in glare-reducing polarizer. However, while these may be useful features, they do not play a significant role in determining the quality of the video the cam records.
The best dashcams are those that record clear and accurate video with excellent audio. The right resolution and lens size can be critical in making this happen.
If you have extra cash, it’s worth investing in a model with a high-resolution screen. The Thinkware U1000 is an excellent example, recording stunning 4K video through a wide 150-degree lens. It also comes with a hard wire kit that connects the camera to your car’s battery to record even when you’re not driving.
Another feature to look for when choosing a dash cam is whether it can be connected to your phone via Wi-Fi. Some models, such as the Viofo Pro Duo, offer this ability, which can be a lifesaver in a crash. A good dashcam should also come with an intuitive app that is easy to use, enabling you to quickly pull up and play back the most important events in front of you.
Depending on what you want to use your dash cam for, the audio recording feature may be one of the most important factors in choosing the right model. This can include recording the sound of someone speaking or music made by instruments.
Generally, the higher the recording’s sample rate and bit depth, the more accurate the audio signal will be. It also means a larger dynamic range (the difference between quieter and louder sounds in a recording).
Many cameras have the option to record from a mic-level input or a line-level input. The former requires amplification to get a clear signal, while the latter does not.
In addition to a microphone, some dash cams have a built-in speaker that lets you listen to the recorded audio while driving. This feature can be useful if you want to review the footage after a long trip or when taking difficult routes.
The audio recording feature on your dashcam can be turned on or off, though some models are designed to turn on automatically based on g-sensor-triggered events. This functionality is helpful if you want to keep a close eye on a new teen driver or if you’re monitoring employee driving behavior in a large business.
Some of the most advanced dash cams also feature uninterruptible power supplies that will keep recording even if your car’s battery is dead or you switch off the engine. This is especially useful if you’re trying to catch a speeding ticket, a crash, or an insurance fraud case that could be devastating.
You’ll also need a microSD card to store the videos that your dash cam records. Make sure that the one you buy has a capacity that will hold up to the time you plan to use it.
Most dash cams automatically start recording when you turn on the car, stop recording when you turn off the vehicle, and then save the footage to a memory card on a rolling basis. This is known as loop recording and is a good way to ensure that your dash cam will be recording even if the card runs out of storage.
GPS tracking systems are a critical feature of modern dashcams. This technology entails a network of satellites and devices on the ground that can precisely establish a person’s location.
This can help in a wide variety of scenarios, from helping you find your way through traffic or in a foreign country to allowing you to track your employees’ movements while on the clock. It’s also a lifesaver in the event of an accident or other emergency, as some dash cams have built-in GPS and can send out alerts to emergency contacts via text or email.
In addition to letting you know where you are, GPS tracking can also provide valuable data about your travel speed and direction. Some cameras also offer turn-by-turn directional functionality that can be useful in areas with spotty to no cellular data coverage.
You should also ensure that your dash cam is compatible with your vehicle. Check its power and storage capabilities and compatibility with a smartphone app for easy file transfer and review.
It’s also a good idea to choose a camera with multiple lenses. This can be particularly helpful for drivers who work for ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft.
Some dash cams are equipped with rear-view or interior-view cameras to help you capture more details of what happens inside your car. This can be helpful in proving fault for an accident that occurs in the rear seat or if someone else is involved.
Additionally, many dashcams have voice controls that allow you to change the settings without having to reach over the steering wheel. This can be especially useful if you’re driving late at night or in an area with poor visibility.
You should also ensure that your dash cam has a long battery life, as you’ll rely on it for hours to record video footage. Generally speaking, this should be enough to record at least a couple of days of footage.
You should also check whether your dash cam is waterproof, which can be important if you need to document your car’s interior or a watercraft. This can prevent damage from spilled liquids and condensation that could affect the quality of your videos.