When you hear the phrase “dash cam”, it’s easy to think of the ridiculous dash cam videos recorded by Russian drivers, but they have much more functionality than capturing crazy events that happen on the road. We decided to look at the pros and cons of having a stretch camera and give you our recommendation.
How do Dash Cams work?
An instrument camera is a camera mounted on the inside of your car, often just below the rearview mirror. Its primary function is to record the road in front of your vehicle, but you can also buy more dash cameras that you can use as spare cameras or to view the sides or interior of your vehicle. Recorded images can be used to document car accidents (especially hit-and-runs) or create a wonderful timelapse.
Usually, these devices are powered either by connecting to the car̵7;s cigarette lighter port or by being professionally connected to the car’s battery. Newer devices transfer data to your smartphone or computer via built-in Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, but some still choose to write data to a local microSD card. Some can support multiple GB of data, but usually these cameras only wind recording over images indefinitely until you save a clip.
Dash cameras are usually quite small and can be mounted more or less discreetly on the windshield. Some even have a small built-in screen and navigation panel that lets you view photos and adjust settings without having to use your phone or laptop.
It is fair to say that when it comes to dash combs, you get what you pay for. Super cheap or overpriced bar cameras are seldom worth looking at, and the best bar cameras usually sell for anywhere between $ 150 and $ 300. In general, advanced models offer better video resolution (which is important for capturing small details like registration numbers, dents etc.), wider viewing angles and maintain good video quality while shooting in low light.
The Benefits of Having a Dash Cam
Dash cameras can help you compete with fast tickets, catch car thefts or other unexpected events, and record evidence of dangerous drivers or car accidents (whether they involve you or other drivers). Some car insurance companies may also offer discounts to dash cam owners.
Some line cameras also have handy features, such as built-in GPS, that can geotag a specific location you recorded. This is great for finding exactly where the beautiful road you were driving last Sunday or for providing evidence in a car crash. Newer dash cameras also integrate with smart assistants, such as Alexa, or support voice commands that let you ask the device to save a clip while holding the hands of the steering wheel.
Some line cameras can notify you of upcoming speed traps and traffic cameras, preventing you from getting an unnecessary ticket. Others may notify you of lanes and shutdowns, helping you to be a safer driver. They are also a great tool to have in your teen’s car to ensure they drive safely and pay attention to the road.
Another great feature that some cameras have is the Emergency SOS, which can alert rescue services on your behalf if you are unable to do so in a car accident. Finally, some line cameras come with a second camera that can be used as a backup camera or to record the inside of your vehicle. This can be a great way to keep track of your kids or catch a car thief.
Disadvantages of Dash Cams
Depending on the features you want – and even taking into account professional installation – dash cameras can be expensive. Like, over $ 500 expensive. Alternatively, super cheap alternatives are almost always problematic because they are unreliable or lack important features.
No matter what you end up spending on your dash camera (and it’s worth noting that good devices cost at least $ 200), there’s always the risk that they’ll be stolen because they’s out there and easy to spot. And if a burglar decides to break into your car for that, they can root and look for other goods. This is a remarkable risk, especially considering that a stretch camera is not something most people like requires having.
Some models may record sound or include a secondary camera to monitor the car’s interior. Because the cameras are mounted inside your vehicle, this means that they can record calls and actions for you and your passengers. It also means that it can record you as texts while driving or doing other things you should not do. While well-intentioned, this brushes up on privacy issues, especially if the dash camera you choose stores data via the cloud rather than on an internal SD card. You are also responsible for notifying your passengers of these features and asking for their consent.
Even if they are not something you have to have, the advantages of stretch cameras far outweigh their few disadvantages, so we highly recommend that you have one if it is within your budget. Despite the high purchase price, the long-term ability to record incidents and get advanced warning about things like speed traps makes a stretch camera an invaluable asset to have on the road. They are also great to have if you live in a busy or dangerous area.
The best Dash Cams you can buy today
If you decide to run for a stretch camera, we have a couple of excellent choices for you. Each option is full of all the features you would expect and more (like smart assistant integration).
Next base 522GW
Nextbase 522GW ($ 259.99) can capture events in HD 1440p at 30 frames per second. It has a 140 degree field of view and a built-in G-sensor to detect (and initiate video recording of) accidents. You can view images on the 3-inch screen and the built-in SOS function can alert the rescue service if you are in an accident.
Garmin Dash Cam 66W
The Garmin Dash Cam 66W has a compact wired design and an impressive 180 degree field of view. It can capture sharp 1440p HDR video even in low light. You can view photos on the device’s 2-inch LCD screen, and you can sync and play back photos on your smartphone with the iOS or Android Garmin app. With voice controls, you can start, stop, and save clips, and it provides driver alerts for better awareness.
Garmin Dash Cam 66W
Garmin Dash Cam Mini
If you have a budget, the Garmin Dash Cam Mini is a decent option supported by a popular well-known brand. Its small size not only lowers the price but makes it more discreet. Despite this, it can still shoot in 1080p, but you can only view photos or check settings on the iOS or Android app, as this device does not have a built-in screen.
Garmin Dash Cam Mini