Car Dash Camera Buying Guide-Don’t Waste Money for these Optional Features

Last Updated: April 13, 2017

Nowadays, Car Dash Camera videos are getting very popular on YouTube and other video sharing platforms. This is a Car Dash Camera Optional buying guide for those who are shopping around for a new Car dash camera.

For those who landed on this page, please refer the main Dash Cam features we already discussed in an article Car Dash Camera Buying Guide – 7 Things You Should Know.

However, for those who are interested to read about the additional features offered by Dash Cameras in the current market, this is a must have buying guide to refer.

Related: Best 4 GPS Dash Cams to Record Car Speed & Location

Please consider this as a secondary buying guide for dash Camera, and most of these features described in this buying guide are optional and not mandatory. There is no need to spend money for these features and invest carefully.

1. Dash Camera Battery in Hot Climate

The Dash Cameras in the consumer market is rated with a maximum working temperature of 60°C/140°F. Dash Camera is supposed to expose sunlight and may raise the internal Car temperature more than 100F. There are two choices for Dash Cams with high working temperature.

Dashcam with Lithium Iron Phosphate Battery:

Lithium Iron Phosphate Batteries are safer than Lithium batteries in a high-temperature environment.LiPo batteries are more reliable, robust and less chance for explosion or fire compare to Li battery. The downside is LiPo has a short life due to continues expose to heat.

Dashcam with Capacitor Power Supply:

There are a few Dash Cams (labeled with C suffix) are coming with Capacitor instead of Battery. Capacitors can condition and backup the power for a short time. These types of Dash Cams are only good where you have an uninterrupted power supply and high-temperature places that cause battery explosion.

2. Date and Time Stamp on Dash Camera Recording

This is going to be an essential feature while you are presenting your videos as a legal evidence to prove the history of an accident. By default, most cameras can record time and date. Before you start recording the first time, please set your local date and time properly and make sure time stamp is inserting into your video footage. Once you activate time stamp, you will be able to see date and time on your dash cam display and video footage.

Based on my experience, there are a few cheap cameras available in the market, and those are resetting the time to a default value when you start your vehicle. On those cases, better to hide date and time from your video recording than printing a wrong date.

3. Card Dash Camera Display

Don’t invest much on high-end or large dash cam displays. Typically, you are going to use the display only one time in beginning to set and configure the camera features and format the memory card. You may need to adjust the camera angles by seeing on the dash cam display. Other than that you are not going to use the display every day like your smartphone. The ultimate aim of this type of cameras is to save the video while you drive into an SD card with good resolution.

4. Car Dash Camera with Built-in GPS Module

Dash Cams with built-in GPS Module can record GPS data along with the video clips. This will help you to get legal proof of incident with vehicle location, speed, and route in addition to the timestamp. Built in GPS cameras are expensive than normal dash cams and KDLINKS Dash Cam is offering 1920 X 1080 recording resolution with GPS with bit higher price.

5. Recording Format for Dash Camera

The expensive Dash cams can support compressed video formats like MPEG-4. The Dash Cameras those are supporting compressed formats can record more time on the same size of memory card. Make sure you are buying a class 10 SDHC card, higher class means the SDHC card can read and write in higher rate/speed.

6. Dash Cam Recording Segments

This is not an important feature that you want to worry about when you select your cam. The Dash cameras are recording videos in small segments like 3 minutes, 5 minutes, etc. The cam itself split the videos into these small lengths while recording. By default, your dash cam will create a folder for each day and save this three minutes or five minutes length videos for each day. You will not lose any data between these splits. Instead, you will get the same sample of few milliseconds length video at the end of one segment and beginning of next segment.

7. Dash Cam Night Vision Support

None of the cameras in the market are perfect for night recording. But they are offering night-time recording with Infrared LEDs, and those can record in a better clarity under the street light.

8. Dash Camera Battery Backup Time

No need to worry much about long time battery backup unless you are planning to use Dash camera for a regular video shoot. Remember, your dash camera is going to utilize the power from car battery; in that case, five to ten minutes of inbuilt battery backup will be more than enough for your needs.

There is one more situation where your Dash cam is going to work on battery. That is  Motion Detection / Impact Sense recording time that we described below in detail.

9. Dash Camera with GPS

This is the high-end feature, and that cost you more if you need a built-in GPS chip with your camera. With GPS Chip-enabled dash cameras, those can calculate and record your speed, location details, etc. Don’t waste your money if you are not seriously worried about recording your speed and sometimes it may bite you back.

10. Dash Camera with GPS Map

GPS manufacturers are trying to bring Dash Cam into their products and combined MAP application with Dash camera as All in One Device. Garmin launched the model DriveAssist 50 NA LMT GPS Navigator System with Built-in Dash Cam, Camera-assisted Alerts, Lifetime Maps and Traffic, Smart Notifications, and Voice Activation cost around $269 from Amazon. The benefit of these models is you can enjoy the feature of MAP and GPS features while recording the street video with a built-in video cam.

11. Dash Camera Snap Photo

While recording the video on the road, you can take still pictures with a single click. Good cameras are offering to take instant photos while you drive just with a single touch on a dedicated button. I am not sure how comfortable you will be to tap on the snap button while you are sitting behind the wheel.

12. Dash Camera Motion Detection / Impact Sensor

Many Dash Cams have built-in accelerometer / G-sensor, which can detect any sudden impact or acceleration of your vehicle. These advanced dash cameras can record videos whenever your car involve in a sudden impact. These videos can store in a specified location, where those videos will be protected from automatic overwriting.

This Motion detector feature will kick on if somebody hit on your parked car. The cam will detect the impact and turn on the camera and record the video itself for a certain time, ideally few minutes. But even in this case, there is a turn on delay (near to one minute) for the Dash Cam to start recording. Ideally, these low battery back up Dash Cams will not be able to record the video for a long time. This feature may be helpful in the hit and run cases; your cam will keep the crucial records for you.

13. Dash Camera Operating Temperature

The performance of camera sensor and other electronics circuitry heavily depends on operating temperature. When you park your car on open space, internal temperature can rise and affect the quality of the recording and the internal Came circuitry. We noticed that few cameras are recording blurred images if the Cam exposed to sunlight and baked for a long time.

Image credit: Goluk T2 FHD Dash Cam from Amazon.

Hope this Car Dash Camera buying guide brings you some additional insight about the mandatory features and optional features. Now it is your turn to decide the money you want to spend for dash camera with the optional features you want to get.

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