If you've ever fallen down a rabbit hole on YouTube with amazing dashcam videos, you might have considered the benefits of buying one for your car. A dashis still something of a rarity in the United States, but major car electronics brands such as Kenwood and Pioneer have dipped their toes on the market.
The power of dashcam can also change stateside: My inbox is increasingly inflated by emails from drivers asking what exactly new cars
. So to help you buy one that is worthy of your car, here is a look at the best dashboard at every price level and with different features, along with the risks that can involve using a dashcam.
To cut through the sound and get you the most important thing at each dashcam's function level and price, I've tested most of the five models below and many more. All of these are readily available from Best Buy or Amazon at prices ranging from $ 45 all the way up to $ 500. And while I haven't recorded with all the models on the market (an impossibility considering the flood of often no name dash cameras out there), these are great examples of every level in the market.
By the way, if you are an old hand onor want to jump into the front-end recording, see our summary of .  Apeman
This strangely named image dashcam covers all the basics and is our choice for the best dashcam options under $ 50. The camera lens records 1080p video footage (which provides good video quality) and audio in a continuous loop recording on a 32 GB microSD card, which you deliver. The camera's ultra-wide-angle lens provides a fantastic field of view and automatically detects and saves images of car collisions. It uses the same motion detector that records technology when the car is parked to detect if someone backs in or tamper with your vehicle, and also records images of that incident.
The 3-inch LCD screen on the back is used to aim the camera's field of view, view camera material, and navigate fairly simple menus with buttons around the edge. This wide-angle lens camera can easily be mounted on your car window with the suction cup. Do not expect an HD video quality interface on the camera at this price, but you will hardly use the menus after the initial installation.
Here's something you haven't seen before: a dashcam for a brand name. Its design is also more comfortable and adheres to the car's windscreen as an OEM part rather than hanging down on an ugly bracket.
The camera lens does all the basics plus a couple of tricks: It has an odd frame rate of 27.5 frames per second when recording is set to make sure it never misses the state of an LED traffic light, which has a pronounced on / of flicker that other cameras can record as no signal at all. Built-in GPS tagging ensures that the images you record will have time and GPS location embedded.
If you are a Kenwood person, watch the recording with a Kenwood DRV-N520 camera (currently about $ 170 from Amazon), which is a dashcam that will only work when connected to a Kenwood dual-DIN aftermarket head unit .
Like Pioneer, this Kenwood dashcam comes from a major brand in automotive electronics. The 1080p full HD DRV-A301W camera does not fit into a car window as clean as Pioneer, but the camera has a larger 2.7-inch LCD rear screen, a Wi-Fi network connection for transferring images and images, internal supercapacitors instead for batteries and a smart magnetic release that makes it easier to hide or transport.
4K is becoming the new recording standard for the camcorders around us and this dashcam reflects that. Vantrue X4 has night vision and a real 4K sensor for full 4K recording of images up to 30 fps. There is excellent video quality in the images, and video quality can make a real difference when you review video later and try to get a face or registration plate. On the other hand, it gives larger bulk sizes. so you'll probably have a 256 GB memory card when recording, and this camera seems to be picky for any microSD card brand: Avoid popular SanDisk cards with this camera, Vantrue recommends.
The X4 camera uses exotic battery technology in the form of an internal supercapacitor instead of a built-in lithium-ion battery. Vantrue says it makes an internal power source more durable, especially in the rear heat that your car dash is exposed to.
This car camera has no screen; instead, you use Wi-Fi and its app on your smartphone as an interface. You can choose to add a wired rear cam, but instead of covering the inside of your vehicle, it looks towards the rear windscreen.
But the real innovation of the F800PRO is how it uses its front camera and accelerometers to give you lane departure and forward collision warnings, as well as warnings about upcoming traffic cameras for your car thanks to its cloud-connected database. It also has a GPS screen and a good GPS always comes in handy.
The model linked below contains a 32 GB SD card with the camera.
Thinkware M1 motorsport dashcam combines 1080p full HD front and rear facing cameras that record images simultaneously with a unique remote control button control panel. It differs from dash cameras designed for a car, as the camera's design is designed to make it a good dashcam for motorcycles and ATVs.
M1's electronic image quality stabilization is crucial for capturing useful video quality in such robust applications, which have an internal supercapacitor instead of a more temperature sensitive lithium ion battery.
These tips will apply to most dashcams, so keep them in mind:
- Get a large SD card. Some cameras have generous storage but do not get the largest memory card the camera supports. More camera storage means you are less likely to find that videos you really need a week ago have been overwritten.
- Get the cable. Nothing looks worse than a nasty power cord hanging down from your dashboard, and every car camera uses one. The Vantrue X4 offers a hardwire kit, and and tools to hide his cable. But any dashcam power cable can be "dressed up", just take the time to do it.
- Think about sound. Some states have bipartisan approval laws that can get you in trouble if you use your camera to record voices from temporary partners, Uber or Lyft customers (for Uber and Lyft drivers out there) or even noisy friends and family in your car who didn't know you were chewing on them.
- Know that dash cameras intersect both ways. If you encounter a car accident with another driver, a visible dashboard is a sign that you have pictures of it. The other person can tell their insurance company and their attorneys may want a copy of what you recorded on your camera. It may go badly if you were wrong, but do not come to destroy the evidence.
Originally published December 29.