Best dash cam features to know before you buy

when it comes to dash cams you’re probably in one of two camps camp a that’s weird why would you want to record everything like that or can’t be they’re so cool why don’t car makers build them in standard if you’re in camp a quite skeptical still let me show you why there are fewer people in that camp every day before i then show you four interesting dash cams that i think have got some of the most important new features to help you decide to buy the best one should i convince you to do so first of all a quick refresher what a dash cam is in case you really don’t know i bet you actually do because you’ve seen the output of dash cams they capture amazing things that perhaps nobody else would have videoed had a dash cam not been running on a nearby car they also captured tons of accident footage.

you may say okay that’s just like period interest except when you’re in the accident and you’d like to be able to prove what really happened so it’s not their word against yours especially if it’s a view to the rear of the car and you get rear-ended there are also times when dash cams are handy when an interaction with some authority doesn’t go the way it should and you’d like to be able to show that and not just say that and dash cams can be really useful when nobody’s around when your car is not running when it’s parked most of them have a mode where they will wake up from sleep and start to record if your car is bumped or even if motion detection tells them someone’s casing your car that can be pretty handy stuff to have as long as they don’t steal the dash cam dash cams do all of this by recording to an internal sd card and once they fill that up with these clips they then start to overwrite.

the oldest one first so you’ve always got a pretty large wealth of clips going back in time to pull from and i guess the last basic feature before i show you some new g whiz stuff is that many of these cameras have a rear view cam some of them will look into the cabin the so-called uber view right and many of them also offer these add-on rear cameras that wire on a long cable back to your back window or back light and look out at the world from the rear of your car again handy if you get rear-ended a notoriously irritating and sometimes tricky thing to prove who did what so now let’s take a look at four dash cams that i think have some of the most interesting fresh features and important considerations when you’re out to buy one which i bet you’re getting closer to doing now now let me show you the garmin mini 2 which has one of my absolute favorite features in all of dash camry it’s mini i love small dash cams all other things being equal because up here at the top of your windshield is a pretty crowded neighborhood these days obviously you’ve got a sun visor then you’ve got a mirror obviously and then you’ve got a bunch of sensors up here these days the good thing about this is it doesn’t add much clutter the downside of a tiny dash cam is what do you have to give up to get it this small for example on this one which by the way is a quality brand name model you still don’t get 4k resolution today a lot of folks want 4k because it allows them to zoom in when they look at a clip later and maybe read a license plate that you couldn’t read in 1080 resolution secondly there’s obviously no screen on this one if you want a screen on your dash cam you want a bigger dash cam so this one uses entirely a wi-fi connection to your phone let’s talk about the tyranny of the power cable look at the dash cam now look at its power cable.

the power cable is actually bulkier than the camera now obviously it’s not all going to sit here it’s going to be strung around the car so take care to run this carefully up over your headline headliner trim down your a-pillar garnish snake it along a crevice in your dashboard and then you’ll plug it into a usb adapter like this to get the power if any of this makes you blanch go to a 12-volt an auto stereo store and just tell them you need help installing your dash cam they might look at you saying really but just have them do it because they can do a really clean job if this doesn’t seem familiar to you and it’s worth it in the long run don’t clutter up your car now before i show you the next camera the nexar beam gps let me show you how i’m going to mount it up here because you want to think about mounts if you have multiple cars that you’re going to use your camera in many of them use a permanent adhesive patch and that’s great they tend to stick like mad and never let go but this one’s interesting because it has one of those little sticky gummy suction cups on the back that you often see with phone mounts for example and that makes it a whole lot easier to move between cars it’s not really using an adhesive per se and this one’s also interesting because as you can see.

i think right through there the gps sensor is part of the mount and it becomes active with the camera once you attach this to the windshield and then plug the whole apparatus into the camera which hangs here below let me show you so i’ll attach my mount like so and then i’m going to rotate it like any typical suction cup for gps or what have you and then i attach my little mini built-in cable here and then the whole apparatus gets put in like this and like that okay i think we’re in good shape now something along those lines all this is a little bit of inside baseball but i’m pointing it out so you think about the mount that each camera uses and give it a quick glance and say is it highly transportable are features built into the mount or can i look at this sort of thing as a permanent one-time stick-on most give you a choice of either or another thing to think about here is because this is small again no screen on the back this does have a wi-fi connection to your phone and your phone’s usually with you in the car right so whenever these two are in proximity they are going to meet and connect and that’s going to create a de facto connection to the cloud so this is going to operate like a cloud connected camera constantly backing up clips to your cloud account which by the way is free from nexar now that kind of cloud connectivity necessarily means you cannot log into this camera remotely.

when you and your phone or somewhere else to see what’s happening in your car because the connection is from your phone which isn’t in the car as cams move more toward using your phone as their interface and cloud connection check a camera’s specs before you buy it to make sure it’s compatible with your phone that’s not always the case for example this camera didn’t work with my phone oh by the way if you’re looking for new trends in dash cams i guess i have to say ai is it this one uses ai so it claims to identify important clips and automatically put the save tag on them so they don’t ever get overwritten without you having to push any button or say anything now the vandru n4 is interesting because it’s one of those cameras that doesn’t rely on your phone as its interface it has a ton of interface built in buttons all around the thing a nice size screen on the back lots of i o ports over here on one side so this is a great camera for those who don’t want to fiddle with another device to control this device.

it’s also big on multi-channel recording doing three views at once all recording at the same time the forward camera you see here there’s a built-in always connected cabin camera over on this end with four little infrared emitters to illuminate the cabin for the camera anyway and then you’ve also got packed with it this rear camera and a long cable that lets you stick this in your back window as we’ve seen on some other cameras and therefore have that rolling at the same time it’ll capture all three of those at 1080p or a little better or if you just want to grab two it has combinations where one is 4k and the other one is 1080 hd but this one really says i do a lot of channels at once it’s also powered by a super capacitor which is a different way of storing power than using a traditional battery main advantage there it’s really good and more durable in very hot punishing climates now that’s for sleep operation like when the car is parked for typical driving and charging of that super cap it of course still relies on one of those long power cords we talked about and while just about every dash cam these days has a g-force sensor that will make it wake up when the car is parked and start recording like if someone bumps it or tries to break into it this one also has a motion sensor at the same time looking for motion visually as opposed to just waiting for bumps or impacts either of those can wake it up to start recording so ideally it might catch the person who’s thinking about breaking into your car before the impact of them actually doing it this is the next base 622 gw this one to me is an example of a premium camera pretty much at the top of the market it’s the most expensive camera i’m showing you today a little over three hundred dollars is the list price you’ll do better street price but still this is not some hundred dollar camera.

you can tell by the quality of it the weight when it’s off the mount it’s got a nice aluminum shell here it just feels like quality look here at the nose there’s this knurled ring that lets you turn that filter on the front as a polarizer to take out some of the glare that you typically find when you aim a camera through windshield glass nice touch it’s got a nice screen on the back as well 4k image stabilization which is another way to make sure that you get the resolution you need to see fine details 4k is part of that but having a stable image is also a key part of that because if something’s shaking and vibrating every frame that can make it hard to read even if it’s 4k other interesting features include support for what three words a sort of lesser known gps location system now on this cam smart algorithms are used to process out fog that’s a neat trick because it’s actually capturing more than you can see in a sense that can be useful given the fact that fog often causes incidents on the road that you would want to have a recording of and it also connects through your phone.

like so many do but using that connection once its g-sensors detect a major accident it can automatically reach out to first responders and relay any information about maybe your blood type or any allergies to drugs you may have or medical conditions that are part of its sos report if you choose to put that into the app and have it share that information there’s a lot going on in here beyond just capturing the view of the road oh by the way it captures more than just this view a whole slew of accessories allow you to attach other cameras to look out behind you for example into the cabin out to the road behind you from the front of the cabin or out to the road behind you from the back of the cabin it all depends on where you wish to put other cameras around the car and what you want them to record but you’ve got a ton of flexibility for that second view that this will record simultaneously so i hope you’ve got a little better understanding of dash cams and maybe now a little better comprehension of what makes a good one depending on what you’re interested in by the way if it all sounds like a lot of doom and gloom collection also know that today’s dash cams are so good they actually capture great scenic footage of really great drives you’ve taken that’s a whole other side benefit that you can use a lot of the time let’s face it most of us aren’t in accidents very often so i hope i can tell you this once you have a dash cam on your car it’s kind of like buying a pickup truck you’ll wonder how you ever lived without one

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