Car Dash Cameras are supposed to capture live videos while you drive. This might be a crucial legal evidence to protect you in a bad accident or from an insurance fraud. Sometimes you will be lucky enough to capture a rare footage on your cam that can be viral on YouTube and other social media.
In Russia, Dash Cams are very common and you may see some amazing footage captured by the Russian drivers while they were driving. You can capture entire pleasure trip of next vacation ride with a decent dash camera with 32GB or 64GB size memory card.
Dash cams are coming into an affordable price varies from $20 to $300 range based on the hardware and software features. These dash cams can automatically record live videos as long as you are on the road. It is crucial to select the right camera with right specification and features based on your requirement and budget.
Remember, you can’t compare these dash cams with your professional video camera or smartphone camera. These cameras are built to capture the video while you drive your car at any speed without any distortion.
We are listing here the essential features of a Car Dash Camera. There are several Optional features like Car Dash Camera Battery type, display type you don’t want to worry much. Be careful, don’t Waste Money for these Dash Camera Optional Features unless it is required for you.
In this Dash Camera buying guide, we are describing the essential features and least required hardware that should carry a decent Car Dash Camera. This Buying guide will help you to invest on right Dash Cam Model and avoid spending money for any unwanted features.
1. Dash Cam Auto Start and Stop
Auto Start and Stop is an essential feature for the Car Dash Camera. This feature is separating your cash dash camera from your smartphone or professional video shoot camera. Your Dash camera is coming with a power cable to connect into your car’s 12V cigarette lighter power source. This 12V socket will get power when you turn on your car ignition and that will trigger dash camera, which is already connected to car’s power socket. The Dash Camera will shut down when you turn off your ignition by sensing the power loss in cigarette lighter socket.
Few of these Dash Camera models has an internal backup battery that can offer some extra delay from one minute to five minutes to shut down your car dash camera after you turn off car ignition.
Note: There are car models with permanently powered Cigarette Lighter sockets those may not support auto ON / OFF. In this case, the choices are, turn off Dash Cam manually every time or rewire an additional socket. The other (not recommended) choice is to leave Dash Cam there and the Cam will turn off when internal battery run out of juice.
2. Dash Cam Loop Recording
This is another cool feature that you should aware of. Usually, the camera will record video on the memory card and it will stop recording when the memory card is full. But, If your camera has Loop Recording feature, then this feature let the camera to overwrite on the memory card on top of previously recorded videos. The advantage is, you don’t want to manually delete or format the memory card every time when it gets full.
This is an essential feature makes sure your camera will record each and every instant while you are on the road even the memory card reaches full capacity. The downside of this feature is that you have to move videos from your memory card to computer if you want to save those for the future before the Dash Cam overwrites on it.
3. Dash Cam Memory Card
The Dash Cameras currently in the market are supporting up to 128 GB Micro SDHC (Rexing V1 2.4 supports up to 128GB memory card). You may see TF Card in the specification of Car Dash camera. Technically, both Micro SD Card and Trans Flash (TF) Cards are same. So what would be the ideal storage size? It depends on how long you are traveling per day and the video recording resolution.
You can buy a SanDisk Ultra 16 GB MicroSDHC Class 10 Memory Card for less than $9.00 from Amazon. If you are looking for more recording time or high-resolution video, then go for 32 GB, Samsung EVO 32GB Class 10 Micro SDHC Card with Adapter is coming for a price less than $11.00 from Amazon. If you can afford, and your dash cam support, then go for a Class 10, 64GB Micro SD Card and this Samsung Evo Plus 64 GB Micro SDXC card cost around $23.00 from Amazon with 10000 Mating Cycles.
A Dash Camera which is recording 1080p video at 30 frames/sec into AVI format needs at least 400MB of storage space for a 3 minutes length video. 8 GB memory card can hold 20 minutes video with 1080p in AVI format. We recommend 16GB SDHC and set your recording resolution to 720p. You can get 80 minutes of video footage with your 16GB memory card if you select a 720p resolution. 720p resolution offers a decent clarity video, good enough to record road signs, name boards, and car number plates. When you buy SDHC cards to record videos, go for at least class 6 and above, better to have class 10 SDHC card to make sure the card support the read / write speed for the Dash Cam.
4. Car Dash Cam Resolution
HD recording is very common in video shooting cameras. Most of the Dash Cameras are coming with an ability to record video up to 1080p HD, 30 frames per second. A Car Dash Camera with 1080p resolution can carry more than enough details that can capture car number plate, street lights, and road symbols in detail.
I set my dash camera in 720p resolution and it is good enough to read the street names and number plates from my video footage. When you buy dash camera go for 1080p because there is not much difference in price between 720p and 1080p Dash Cameras.
5. Car Dash Cam Recording Angle
Recording angle is coming 120 degrees by default for the most of the dash cameras. Wide angle recording camera means that can cover more street area on both sides while you drive. There are dash cameras available like TaoTronics Dash Camera, those are offering 150 degrees and up recording angle. Featured & Image credit: TaoTronics Amazon Store
Advanced cameras have a wider view, offering 160 to 180 degrees of recording angle. For example, Rexing V1 Dash Cam is offering 170 degrees with 6-layers glass lens capable of catching almost every minute details on the road.
There are a lot of other features we want to discuss in this car Dash Camera buying guide, that we listed in a different dash camera buying guide article. Those who want to see the optional features about the car dash camera, please refer Car Dash Camera Buying Guide- Check these Optional Features
Best Dash Cams We Recommend
The price of each model varies based on the brand and other features; you can survive with the basic model and minimum features for less cost.
TaoTronics Dash Camera (buy from Amazon: $55)
TaoTronics Dash Cam offers 1920*1080/30fps Wide Angle recording and 150° recording angle. This dash cam has built-in G-Sensor, capable of record in the night time, and coming with 2.7″ Screen. Taotronics can start recording automatically with your car and records videos hands-free in a continuous loop. This Intelligent Dash Camera equipped with Accident Auto Detection Feature (G-Sensor) that can locks data from overwritten and support up to 32GB TF card.
Rexing V1 2.4″ LCD FHD Camera (buy from Amazon: $100)
This Dash Cam offers 1920*1080/30fps resolution with 170° Wide Angle and Accident Auto Detection Feature (G-Sensor) that can lock data to memory. The additional features of a middle-level dash camera include playback option in dash cam screen itself, wide angle lens to capture more street area, customizable incident detection sensitivity setting, etc.
Goluk T2 FHD Dash Cam (buy from Amazon: $150)
This Full HD Dash Cam coming with 1080P, 152° recording angle. This Cam is equipped with G-sensor for Real Time Video Sharing, Wireless Wi-Fi connection that let you instantly post online. This camera has a unique 360° Rotatable Structure that can record outside and inside, front & back with built-in high-powered speaker and high sensitivity Silicon Microphone. The more feature includes storage support up to 64GB, 1920*1080P, 6 glass lens, 1 infrared filter, f2.0, ultra-high quality and smooth video, superior night-vision and capture images at 2.1 megapixels with HDR. The Smart Go System Parking Monitor featured with highly sensitive G-sensor that can automatically record in case of Collision and the related video file will be locked and cannot be overwritten or corrupted.
Garmin DriveAssist 50 (buy from Amazon $269.00)
DriveAssist 50 NA LMT GPS from Garmin is an advanced Navigator System with Built-in Dash Cam, Camera-assisted Alerts, Lifetime Maps and Traffic, Smart Notifications, and Voice Activation. This advanced navigation system has dedicated GPS Navigation display, and built in Dash Cam that can continuously record your drive and automatically saves files on impact.
This Smart GPS and give you Forward Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning in addition to the alerts for upcoming sharp curves, speed changes, school zones, a fatigue warning, nearby red light and speed cameras, etc.
6. How to transfer Dash Cam Recorded Videos to your PC
Dash Cams are using external micro SDHC cards to record the video and audio. Most of these Dash Cams are coming with USB cable to connect the camera and move video footage from Dash Camera to PC. New laptops and desktop PCs have Micro or regular SDHC card reader that can use to insert Dash Cam cards. You can convert a micro SDHC card to SDHC card by purchasing an SDHC Card Holder/ Reader from Amazon for less than 9 bucks.
Usually, videos are recording by splitting into 3-5 minutes segments automatically by Dash Cam while writing into the memory card. For a user, he can take only the required videos, edit and stitch together on PC using any simple Video editing software. In addition to your car, if you are looking for IP camera for your home, this article will give you guidelines to take care while you select your IP Camera.
7. How to transfer Dash Cam Recorded Videos to Android Phone
Android phones are coming with micro SDHC card slot and you can directly put the micro SDHC card from dash cam to your Android phone. Use any compatible Android video player (List of Android Video / Movie Player Apps that Support All Formats) to play back this video on your phone.