How to choose the best in-car camera for your needs
High-tech accessories invade our daily lives. And if these have a place of honor in our home, we must not forget that more and more products are for motorists. In addition to connected car radios, voice-assisted starting, or even dashboards intended as an onboard computer, there is a convenient accessory: the dashcam or in-car cam.
The concept of the dashcam is simple: it is a small camera installed on the dashboards or the rearview mirror. But with the hundreds of models out there, finding the best one is quite a complex task.
This guide will allow you to quickly and easily find the model that will best meet your expectations and needs.
Dashcam: why is it essential?
The dashcam is an onboard camera inside a car. Its principle? Continuously record the driver's route. But what are the uses of the in-car camera? Here are the excellent reasons why you should buy one:
1- To reduce the risk of accident
It is scientifically proven: motorists who have installed an onboard camera in their vehicle drive better. So they pay much more attention and make fewer careless mistakes. Result: they avoid risky driving, and the accident rate is less.
2- To protect your rights
Accidents can occur in a fraction of seconds. And in a panic, our brain will not always be able to reproduce the facts point by point. The onboard camera or in-car camera has recorded the entire trip, and it can show the progress of the accident and prove, if necessary, its non-liability.
3- To monitor your vehicle in case of absence
Even when you are not around, the dashcam will be and your eyes and ears. You can view the recorded videos at any time to find out what happened while you were away.
How to choose the best in-car camera for your needs
Faced with all the advantages brought by the dashcam, you have decided to buy one. Except that you will quickly find yourself faced with a choice of size. Which dashcam will suit your vehicle best?
Here are all the buying criteria you need to focus on before checking out:
The images obtained on your dashcam must be crisp and clear to allow you to effectively distinguish license plates, brands, and models of cars, but also faces. The dashcam must have, at least, a resolution of 720p HD.
Another choice is to have a storage capacity of at least 64 GB. The higher the resolution of the camera, the more you will need more storage capacity. One hour of recording in 720p resolution equals 1 or 2 GB of storage. One hour of recording in 1080p resolution requires minimum storage of 6 GB.
The ability of the camera to see in the dark and continue to recording quality video even at night is a must. You never know when an unwanted accident could happen. Headlights, city lights, and street lights can illuminate, but these lights will not always be present.
Automatic activation / deactivation
Some in-car cameras or in-car cameras turn on automatically as soon as the engine is running and will turn off automatically when the engine stops. It is an important feature, as many drivers have had an accident the same day they forgot to turn on their camera.
Avoid cameras that can obstruct line of sight while driving your vehicle. In general, small cameras provide a more relaxed and safe use.
When your dashcam's memory is complete, two things can happen: the camera stops recording or performs a reverse loop to register on the oldest sequence. Models with loop recording are more efficient.
Build quality for durability
The camera will expose the high heat that can come behind the windshield directly in the sun. The support and the attachment system must be solid to withstand many manipulations if only to store the device when returning to the parking lot. There are also some fixed models. In any case, do not hesitate to take a recognized brand and pay the price for quality equipment.
The GPS chip: essential localization
With the date and time and the speed at the time of the impact, the information of the GPS coordinates makes it possible to automatically locate the place of a disaster what offers a complete context to detail the images. Some models, such as the Nextbase 522 GW or the 322 GW, also provide an integrated automatic emergency call service.
Enhanced active safety
The presence of a camera continuously filming the road allows certain manufacturers to add active safety functions. For example, the camera sends an alert if there is a risk of collision.
The focal length: wide-angle for a widened vision
The angle of view is an important criterion, around 160 °. Some manufacturers provide an internal view in the cockpit with a second camera at the back of the case. It makes it possible to supplement the information at the time of an accident to show, for example, that the driver was well focused on driving.
Finally, it is sometimes possible to connect several cameras to the same system to have a simultaneous view of the vehicle's rear, for example. It can also be helpful for devices offering a monitoring function in parking mode: a vandal can be filmed from several angles and more easily identified.
The shock detector and backup trigger
In the event of an impact, the in-car camera automatically detects it thanks to its integrated accelerometer. It triggers the saving of the last minutes of images before and during the accident. It is advisable to avoid models that do not offer shock detectors.
The keys to choosing a good dashcam
Points to watch out for
- Full HD image resolution and 30 fps
- Lens focal length around 160 °
- Quality of construction of the camera and its mounting system
- Shock detector
- GPS positioning