Dash cams are like seat belts. You could drive without wearing a seatbelt and never be involved in a car accident. But that one time you’re in a collision, you’ll wish you were wearing a seat belt. Dash cams are like that.
But a dash cam won’t prevent an accident or save your life. The purpose of a dash cam is to provide video evidence – a digital eyewitness – that the accident (hopefully) wasn’t your fault. Video evidence from dash cams is increasingly used in courts and during insurance claims to determine who pays and how much.
Like many other tech items in today’s world of online shopping, Amazon is flooded with cheap dash cameras that will do nothing to prove your innocence when you need it most. But choosing a good dash cam from the saturated field can seem daunting. Fortunately, I wrote this guide to help you find the best dash cam for your car.
Keep reading to see my review from testing each of these dash cams and see which one I use in my vehicle – plus the one I think I’ll buy next.
Best Dash Cam
Rexing V1P 4K
Rove R2-4K Dash Cam
Best for Car Rentals
Garmin Dash Cam Mini 2
Easiest to Install
Vantrue N2 Pro
How to Choose the Best Dash Cam
The dash cam market is one of the most overly saturated with cheap knockoffs. It’s easy to get lost in the sea of options after an Amazon search. Even sticking to trusted name brands can become overwhelming when they feature more than a dozen options.
So, how do you choose the best dash cam?
I break down the most essential features of dash cams and explain the different options and what they might mean to you. After reading through this short guide, you’ll be ready to pick the best dash cam to protect yourself.
The resolution of the front-facing and rear-facing cameras can be crucial when identifying hit-and-run vehicles. 1080p looks great for the television on your wall, but it’s not enough to capture crisp details when zooming into a video to read a license plate.
Here’s a handy breakdown of resolutions recommended for dash cams:
- 1080p – Decent video quality, but it will be challenging to read license plate numbers
- 1440p – Better quality, able to read license plates in most cases
- 2160p – More commonly called 4k resolution, this is the best quality, and license plates can easily be read in most cases
Field of View
Field of view is the range of the observable world from any standpoint. Typical human eyes have a field of view of about 135 degrees horizontally. So, what does this have to do with dash cams?
One metric to compare dash cams is the field of view. The wider the field of view – or larger the number – the more the camera can see around the front or rear of the car. Here’s a handy breakdown of the field of ranges and how it applies to dash cams:
- 140 degrees is the minimum field of view for a useful dash cam, providing about the same range as most people see
- 140-170 degrees will provide a range from about midway through the front fenders and forward, which means the camera will see any front bumper and front corner collisions
- 170-185 degrees offers the best range that can be seen across the car’s windshield from side to side, so if any crash happens forward of the front doors, you’ll likely capture it on video
Numbers of Channels
Most dash cams offer one, two, or three channels of recording. But more is not necessarily better. It entirely depends on the kind of protection you want. Here’s a handy breakdown of how the number of channels helps you:
- One-channel recording – Always a front-facing camera and the most essential camera for a dash cam system
- Dual-channel recording typically means front-facing and rear-facing cameras, but some systems feature front-facing and interior-facing cameras. Rear-facing cameras are the preferred second channel in a dash cam system because it protects you from collisions in parking lots that will be resolved by insurance companies instead of police officers. Interior-facing cameras are only best for rideshare drivers.
- Three-channel recording – These dash cam systems have a windshield-mounted unit that includes front-facing and interior-facing cameras and an additional rear-facing camera for maximum coverage. These are only best for rideshare drivers.
Parking mode is a common feature in dash cams, but it requires additional purchases and installation that might make it too expensive. And then there is the car battery issue.
Parking mode operates differently depending on the dash cam designer and user settings. One option is recording time-lapse videos while a car is turned off, capturing a single image every thirty seconds. Another option is to use built-in collision detection to start recording video.
But either option requires a hardwire kit. 12v accessory outlets don’t provide power when the car is turned off. The hardwire kit connects the dash cam to the car’s battery through the fuse panel, providing constant power. This allows the dash cam to continue operating after turning off the vehicle.
But this can also lead to a dead car battery. Gusty winds can trigger the G-sensor in a dash cam and begin recording video. You’ll find your car battery dead when you wake up the following day after an overnight storm. Prolonged use of a direct battery connection can also shorten the length of a car battery’s life – it might not die overnight, but it will after weeks or months of use.
Parking mode is a great feature for those hit-and-run moments that no one saw coming. However, there is a slight chance that video clips triggered by the parking mode will capture anything useful, like a license plate. Single-channel dash cams only provide a front-facing camera, so if you’re rear-ended overnight, you’ll have no usable video clips.
Parking mode is only worth the investment on dual or three-channel dash cams, and even then, it’s potluck if the video clips will do any good. But it’s never worth investing more money in a different dash cam solely for this feature.
Built-in GPS tracking is not a guarantee in dash cams. But if the feature isn’t built into the dash cam system, it’s almost always offered as an additional purchase. Typically around $30, the GPS modules provide date, time, and geolocation data embedded in the video clips.
But it’s also not very useful data.
The only time GPS tracking built into a dash cam is useful is if the dash cam has an SOS feature that automatically alerts the nearest emergency services to your location. But that feature is only possible if you connect your smartphone to the dash cam’s Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, which sometimes requires manually connection every time you start the vehicle.
GPS tracking and SOS are nice features, but it’s not a deal breaker if a dash cam doesn’t feature built-in GPS.
Some dash cams feature G-force sensors, often called G-sensors, that detects when something has jarred the car. When a collision is detected, the dash cam can automatically perform several features depending on the model.
Most commonly, collision detections automatically save the current video clip and prevent its accidental deletion. Sometimes, a dash cam will also save the previous video clip. Once these clips are automatically saved, you must manually delete the clip. This guarantees the video clips of the collision are saved until needed or no longer needed.
Collision detection can also trigger the cameras in parking mode or alert nearby emergency services.
This feature is a nice convenience, but it’s not a deal breaker for a dash cam without it. Without collision detection, a dash cam with high-quality cameras will still work just as good.
Today, even refrigerators and coffee makers feature smartphone connections and apps to control the appliances. It’s a nifty feature that not everyone needs or uses. But with dash cams, it’s the one feature that’s a deal breaker and worth the investment.
Without a smartphone app, the only way to view video clips from a dash cam is to connect the device to a computer or remove the memory card and connect to a computer. But suppose you’re involved in a collision on the highway. In that case, you might need that footage immediately to show the police officer.
With a smartphone app connected to the dash cam, you can quickly find the video clip, download it, and show the officer within minutes. This might make the difference between who gets the ticket.
There are various kinds of windshield mounts, and how dash cams are hung from these mounts. And the mount type can make a difference in how well the dash cam works for you. Here is a handy breakdown of the different kinds of mounts:
- Suction Cup – Suction cup mounts eventually fail, although it could be weeks or months until they do. Relying on vacuum pressure, the mounts are more quickly broken in hot weather and sunny days. When the suction cup fails, the expensive dash cam falls.
- Adhesive Mount – These mounts typically feature high-quality adhesive like what’s used on the rearview mirror. Once applied, they rarely fail until deliberately pulled. However, be careful installing these mounts yourself – you only get one chance to get it level.
- Magnetic Mount – Some dash cams feature a powerful magnet to connect the camera to the windshield mount. Magnetic mounts are useful because it’s easy to remove the dash cam when parked to prevent theft.
- RAM Ball Mount – These mounts feature a round plastic ball that must be pushed into a concave cup on the windshield mount. It’s easy enough to push the ball into the cup, but it can be difficult to remove and frequently pulls suction cup mounts off the windshield.
- Slide Mount – The slide mount is next to the easiest after the magnetic mount. The dash cam slides onto a notch in the windshield mount and pops into place. Typically, the slide mount features a locking mechanism to prevent accidentally sliding off the mount.
Memory Card Size
Bigger is not always better when it comes to memory cards. Most dash cams require a MicroSD memory card for storing the video. Video is recorded in clips ranging from 30 seconds to 5 minutes, and the length of the clip is usually adjustable in the dash cam’s settings.
Most dash cams use “loop recording.” Video clips are saved in sequential order. When the memory card is full, the device erases the oldest clips and overwrites them with the latest. This keeps the dash cam recording and saving the clips regardless of memory card capacity.
For this reason, the size of the memory card isn’t important. An 8GB memory card will simply be looped more often than a 512 GB. However, an issue might be saved clips. Most dash cams can manually save a clip from deletion – for example, a clip of a car accident you witnessed or your own traffic collision. If enough clips are saved to the memory card, it might be difficult to loop through and delete old clips.
Also, the memory card should have at least a Class 10 rating. This rating represents how fast the data transfers between the device and the memory card. Because it’s a constant video recording device, the memory card should have at least a Class 10 rating to guarantee all the video clips are correctly saved to the memory card.
I recommend a 64GB SanDisk Extreme Pro. However, check with the dash cam manufacturer because some dash cams require – or advise against – certain memory cards. The Anker SD Card Reader will let you plug the MicroSD card into a computer to download video clips.
5 Tips About Dash Cams
There is a lot to learn about dash cams before and after you make a purchase. But before you get too involved, here are some tips about dash cams that might help you make a decision:
- Invest the money in professional installation. Getting the dash cam professionally installed will guarantee it’s done correctly. It will also mean all cables are tucked behind the car’s liners, presenting a clean look in your vehicle.
- Get the hardwire kit. Although I don’t recommend using the parking mode available on many dash cams, the hardwire kit is convenient. When the dash cam is hardwired to the car’s battery, it frees the 12v accessory outlet so you can keep your smartphone charged.
- The front-facing camera is essential. Nothing is more important in a dash cam system than the front-facing camera. Disregarding all the features and accessories, you want a high-quality camera that will capture everything in front of your car.
- The rear-facing camera is important. Although not essential, the rear-facing camera could capture parking lot collisions that might make a difference to the insurance company.
- Get a dash cam that supports smartphones. When you need to view the video clip of a collision, the dash cam must have a smartphone app that allows you to quickly download the footage.
Best Dash Cam
Rexing V1P 4K
This is the best dash cam that is also affordable, giving drivers a double win. With dual-channel 2160p front-facing and 1080p rear-facing cameras, a distraction-free flush mount, collision detection that auto-saves video clips, and a smartphone app, you’ll be protected during your travels.
Rexing offers an extensive lineup of dashcams, but their best is the Rexing V1P 4K. With a 2160p front-facing camera and 1080p rear-facing, you’ll have crisp videos in case of collision. The 170-degree field of view is better than most dash cams. This provides great video coverage from a foot in front of the windshield and forward.
A G-sensor detects collisions and automatically saves the previous and current video clips. With a smartphone app connected via Wi-Fi, you can change the settings on the dash cam, view any clips saved on the memory card, and download clips for immediate viewing. The settings can also be changed on the device with integrated buttons, but the 3″ LCD screen does not support touch.
The Rexing V1P 4K does not feature GPS tracking, but you can get the additional GPS Logger. The module connects to a port on the side of the front-facing camera, requiring the pocket-sized module to be stored somewhere else in the car.
Additional features include a parking mode that records video while your vehicle is parked. But this feature requires the Rexing Hardwire Kit for power and can shorten the lifespan of your car’s battery. In some cases, parking modes can drain batteries entirely. Adding the Gooloo GP4000S to your car’s roadside emergency kit might be a great idea.
Unlike any other dash cams on this list, the Rexing dash cam mounts flush to the windshield, taking up less real estate with a low profile and providing a better distraction-free experience. The front-facing camera is adjustable with a knob on the side of the device to achieve the best viewing angle. The dash cam uses an adhesive mount, and the device securely slides onto the mount.
The Rexing V1P 4K requires a MicroSD card, which is not included. Rexing strongly advises users to format the memory card after inserting it into the dash cam. The format option is available in the camera’s menu. Skipping this step often leads to corrupted video clips.
GPS is an additional expense
GPS module is awkward to install
Smartphone app is slow on Wi-Fi connection
There is no option for turning off the LCD screen
Rove R2-4K Dash Cam
This dash cam has a single channel 2160p 4k camera and every feature in the industry, including GPS, Wi-Fi, a smartphone app, collision detection, and dual USB charger. It’s the perfect budget dash cam that provides great quality and ease of use.
The single-channel Rove R2-4K features a 2160p 4K front-facing camera that will capture crisp details. The f/1.8 lens provides better night vision performance in low-light conditions. The 150-degree field of view is limited but still good enough to catch anything from mid-fender forward.
This dash cam includes every feature currently available in the market. Built-in GPS tracking adds metadata to all video clips. Collision detection automatically saves the video clips and prevents accidental deletion. With the built-in Wi-Fi, connected smartphones with their app can change the dash cam settings, view saved video clips and download clips.
Another feature is parking mode, which records video while your vehicle is parked. But this feature requires the Rove Hardwire Kit for power and can shorten the lifespan of your car’s battery. In some cases, parking modes can drain batteries entirely. Adding the Gooloo GP4000S to your car’s roadside emergency kit might be a great idea.
The small dash cam features a 2.4-inch LCD and integrated menu buttons. The kit includes a suction cup or adhesive mount for the windshield, and then the dash cam slides onto the mount. The included 12V dual USB charger allows you to power the dash cam and charge your smartphone at the same time. The dash cam requires a MicroSD card, which is not included.
2160p front-facing camera
Narrow field of view
Best for Car Rentals
Garmin Dash Cam Mini 2
This dash cam is a good budget-friendly option. You’ll barely notice the key fob-sized device attached to your windshield. Voice control and a great smartphone app are helpful, but the lack of a rear touchscreen means it’s difficult to quickly control.
The Garmin Dash Cam Mini 2 is the smallest dash cam reviewed on this list, but that doesn’t mean it’s not just as good as its larger counterparts. The dash cam features 1080p resolution with a 140-degree field of view – good enough to see traffic from mid-fender forward. However, the low resolution might make reading a license plate number difficult if needed. The night vision provides decent quality in dark conditions, but quality significantly degrades when your car’s headlights are the only light source.
This miniature dash cam is packed with features, though. Voice control allows you to give spoken commands to save the most recent video clip, start or stop the recording, and access more features. This is particularly helpful, considering the dash cam does not have a rear touchscreen.
The camera’s settings can be controlled via a smartphone app connected by Wi-Fi. It’s not the best connection because it typically requires manually connecting your smartphone whenever you want to control the dash cam. With the app, you can change settings, view clips saved to the dash cam’s memory card, and download clips. Live View is an interesting feature – as long as your dash cam is connected to a nearby Wi-Fi, you can use the smartphone app to monitor the current view of the dash cam. This is helpful if your workplace has Wi-Fi in the parking lot, but it is doubtful it will work anywhere other than your home.
Additional features include a parking mode that records video while your vehicle is parked. But this feature requires the Parking Mode Cable for power and can shorten the lifespan of your car’s battery. In some cases, parking modes can drain batteries entirely. Adding the Gooloo GP4000S to your car’s roadside emergency kit might be a great idea.
Saved video clips are automatically uploaded to Garmin’s free cloud storage, guaranteeing that your footage will be available whenever needed. With the smartphone app, you can download the clips at any time.
The Garmin Dash Cam Mini 2 is about the size of a key fob. It requires the least windshield real estate of any dash cam on this list. The dash cam is installed with a suction cup mount to the windshield and then a powerful magnetic mount to the dash cam. The kit includes a dual USB 12V charger to power the dash cam and charge your smartphone simultaneously. The dash cam requires a MicroSD memory card, not included, ranging from 8GB to 512GB.
Single-channel recording with a front-facing camera only
Narrow field of view
No LCD touchscreen
Easiest to Install
This pocket-sized dash cam lacks an LCD screen, only features a single recording channel, and the camera’s low 1080p resolution might be a problem. But the camera has features like built-in memory storage, GPS tracking, and a smartphone app. It’s the easiest to install and good for renting a car.
The Nexar Beam is a single-channel dash cam with a 1080p front-facing camera and a narrow 135-degree field of view. The camera isn’t impressive, nor is the quality of the video, but the other features make up for this lack.
Collision detection automatically saves video clips to the built-in memory storage. The Nexar Beam has 32GB or 256GB of internal storage. You can add additional memory storage with a MicroSD card, which is not included.
The dash cam does not have an LCD screen and requires a smartphone to set up. The Wi-Fi connection is slow and requires a manual connection each time with most smartphones. Once connected, several features are available to users. Saved video clips are automatically uploaded to free cloud storage. Emergency services are automatically alerted in the case of a collision. Built-in GPS tracking saves the metadata to the video clips.
Because the dash cam lacks an LCD, users can use their smartphone for Live View. This displays the dash cam’s view but is also a drain on your smartphone’s battery that requires constant charging. This makes it a non-useful feature at best.
The pocket-sized dash cam uses a suction cup mount to the windshield, and the dash cam slides onto the mount. The small dash cam takes up very little real estate on the windshield, and the lack of an LCD screen provides a distraction-free experience.
Built-in memory storage
Narrow field of view
No LCD screen
Requires smartphone for setup
This is the most expensive dash cam reviewed in this list, but the extensive list of features might make it worth the investment. The dual dash cam features an impressive 2160p front-facing camera, a built-in polarizing filter, and GPS tracking.
The Nextbase 622GW is the latest in a long line of powerful dash cams. This dash cam kit includes a 2160p 4K front-facing camera and a 1080p rear-facing. That 4k resolution is good enough to read license plates in case of a hit-and-run. The field of vision of both cameras is only 140 degrees, good enough to see traffic a few feet from the camera. A built-in polarizing filter reduces glare from reflective surfaces like wet highways and windshields, providing much better quality. Night vision provides decent quality after dark, though it can be difficult, even with the high resolution, to read license plates.
This dash cam includes many features that make it a powerhouse for the price. Image stabilization reduces the typical tremble in videos captured on bumpy highways. The footage can be viewed at 120 frames per second when the resolution is reduced to 1080p during playback, allowing you to carefully examine collisions.
The Nextbase 622GW includes GPS tracking using What3Words. The proprietary geocoding system from a London-based company uses three words to identify any place on Earth to within 9.8 feet. The system has been adopted by most emergency services in the United Kingdom.
The front-facing dash cam includes a 3-inch touchscreen for changing settings, saving clips, and monitoring the recorded footage. With a smartphone app connected via Wi-Fi, users can watch clips saved to the dash cam’s memory card, download clips, and change settings. As long as a smartphone is connected to the dash cam, the device can send an SOS to local emergency services during a collision.
Additional features include a parking mode that records video while your vehicle is parked. But this feature requires the Nextbase Hardwire Kit for power and can shorten the lifespan of your car’s battery. In some cases, parking modes can drain batteries entirely. Adding the Gooloo GP4000S to your car’s roadside emergency kit might be a great idea.
The dash cam is mounted to the windshield with an adhesive mount, and then a magnetic mount attaches to the dash cam. The device is about the size of a smartphone, but the protruding front lens is quite large. The kit includes a 12V charger and an additional USB charging cable – you can power the dash cam and charge your smartphone with something like the Anker Dual USB 12V Charger.
The dash cam records video clips to a MicroSD card, not included, ranging from 8GB to 512 GB.
Narrow field of view
This mid-range priced dash cam is packed with features in a pocket-sized device that magnetically mounts to the windshield. The 1440p resolution is perfect, but the one-channel recording leaves the rear exposed. With many useful features, this is a great alternative for the best dash cam if you don’t mind spending more.
Adding to their lineup of powerful GPS navigation devices, the Garmin 67W is a high-quality dash cam. The single-channel system features a 1440p front-facing camera that records 60 frames per second, twice the frame rate of most other dash cams. The higher frame rate allows users to slow the playback and study a collision. With a 180-degree field of view, the camera captures everything across the windshield and forward.
Garmin included their voice control for a hands-free experience. Commands include starting or stopping a recording, saving a video clip, and capturing a still image. Connecting a smartphone to the dash cam via Wi-Fi adds more features, but that requires a manual connection each time on most smartphones. When connected, saved video clips are automatically uploaded to free cloud storage. The dash cam includes GPS tracking built in.
Additional features include a parking mode that records video while your vehicle is parked. But this feature requires the Garmin Parking Mode Cable for power and can shorten the lifespan of your car’s battery. In some cases, parking modes can drain batteries entirely. Adding the Gooloo GP4000S to your car’s roadside emergency kit might be a great idea.
With the Parking Mode Cable and the smartphone connected to Wi-Fi, users can enable Live View. This shows the current view of the dash cam while the car is parked. It can be a helpful camera at home, but it is doubtful it would be useful anywhere else.
Driver Alerts is an interesting feature of the Garmin 67W that sets it apart from other dash cams. Like driver assist alerts in modern vehicles, Driver Alerts sounds an alarm if the dash cam detects an imminent collision, lane departure, or violating local speed limits. Fortunately, the alert can be disabled in the settings.
The 2-inch touchscreen is the smallest of any dash cam reviewed on this list, but with the voice controls for many settings, it’s not a deal breaker.
The pocket-sized dash cam uses an adhesive windshield mount and a powerful magnetic mount to the device. The kit includes a dual USB car charger to power the dash cam and charge your smartphone simultaneously. Unlike most other dash cams, the MicroSD card is included.
Wi-Fi connection instead of Bluetooth
Small 2-inch touchscreen
This three-channel dash cam can provide a high-quality 2160p front-facing camera if the included interior camera is turned off and 1080p resolution on the rear-facing camera. Collision detection auto-saves clips, but that’s where the features end. No smartphone app or GPS tracking are definite detractors.
The Vantrue N4 is a three-camera system – a 2160p 4k front-facing camera, 1080p rear-facing, and 1080p interior-facing. However, the resolution has a caveat – you can’t use all three simultaneously for the best resolution. The dash cam only provides 2160p front-facing resolution when the interior-facing camera is turned off. When all three cameras are turned on, the resolution drops to 1440p on the front-facing camera. It’s not a deal breaker because this is still a great resolution for a dash cam.
The front-facing camera has a 155-degree field of view, and the rear-facing camera has a 160-degree field of view. The interior-facing camera in a tighter space has the best field of view at 165 degrees. It’s puzzling, though, why the same camera lens wasn’t used for all three cameras to provide consistent quality.
Features include collision detection that automatically saves the previous and current video clip, night vision for good quality after dark, and a parking mode that records video while your vehicle is parked. But this feature requires the Vantrue Hardwire Kit for power and can shorten the lifespan of your car’s battery. In some cases, parking modes can drain batteries entirely. Adding the Gooloo GP4000S to your car’s roadside emergency kit might be a great idea.
Additional features include optional GPS tracking with the GPS Receiver Module and auto-off LCD to prevent distracted driving. A 2.45-inch touchscreen lets users quickly change settings, save video clips, and play any clips saved to the memory card.
Sadly, the Vantrue N4 does not support Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, so no companion smartphone app exists. The only way to view and save video clips is to remove the memory card, insert it into a computer, and save it to the hard drive. This makes it difficult to show video clips to anyone at the scene of a collision.
The dash cam is installed with a suction cup mount to the windshield and a RAM ball mount connection to the dash cam that can be difficult to insert. The kit includes a 12V charger and USB-C data cable for connecting the dash cam to a computer. The dash cam is barrel-shaped and wide, requiring a bit of windshield real estate that other dash cams don’t take. Interestingly, Vantrue recommends their proprietary MicroSD card but doesn’t require it.
2160p front-facing camera when not using an interior camera
Narrow field of view
GPS tracking requires an additional module
No smartphone app
Ambiguously requires their proprietary MicroSD card
Suction cup and RAM ball mount
Vantrue N2 Pro
Designed with rideshare drivers in mind, this dual-channel dash cam features front-facing and interior-facing cameras – no rear-facing. It’s a simple, no-fuss single unit to install, perfect for someone who just wants video protection in case of collision. The lack of a smartphone app makes setting up and viewing saved clips difficult.
The dual-channel Vantrue N2 Pro is a decent dash cam for a mid-range price compared to others on this list. This dash cam features a 1440p front-facing camera and a 1080p interior-facing camera. A 170-degree field of view on the front-facing camera will capture almost everything in front of the windshield.
The “Super Night Vision” provides better quality after dark than most other dash cams, thanks to an f/1.8 lens. Collision detection automatically saves the video clip so it can’t be deleted later while looping through the memory card.
With the additional GPS Receiver Module, the Vantrue N2 Pro can track your location and save the metadata to video clips. Collision detection automatically saves video clips and prevents accidental deletion. And you can have distraction-free driving with the auto-off LCD screen.
Additional features include a parking mode that records video while your vehicle is parked. But this feature requires the Vantrue Hardwire Kit for power and can shorten the lifespan of your car’s battery. In some cases, parking modes can drain batteries entirely. Adding the Gooloo GP4000S to your car’s roadside emergency kit might be a great idea.
The Vantrue N2 Pro does not have Wi-Fi or Bluetooth support and no smartphone app. This makes viewing video clips frustrating – you either have to remove the memory card and insert it into a reader or remove the dash cam from the mount and connect to a computer with the included data cable. The dash cam requires a MicroSD card – Vantrue recommends their proprietary memory card but doesn’t require it.
The dash cam is installed with a suction cup to the windshield, and RAM ball mount to the device. It’s a self-contained, easy dashcam to install with only the power cable to route through the car. The kit includes a 12V charging cable.
1440p front-facing camera
No rear-facing camera
GPS tracking is an additional purchase
No Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or smartphone app
This dash cam has few features for the hefty price tag, but it’s also the only one reviewed that features 1440p front-facing and rear-facing cameras. Without a smartphone app, it’s a plug-and-play dash cam that’s easier to set up.
The moderately expensive dual-channel Thinkware X1000 puts more emphasis on quality video than features, which might be fine for casual drivers. The front-facing and rear-facing cameras feature 1440p resolution and night vision, providing decent quality after dark. The 156-degree field of view isn’t the greatest, but it’s also not the worst.
GPS is not built-in but can be added with the Thinkware GPS Antenna. The antenna plugs into the front-facing camera and uses an adhesive mount to fasten it to the windshield. It’s an awkward arrangement because the 10-inch cable requires the antenna to be mounted close to the camera.
The dash cam includes driver assistance alerts like imminent forward collision and lane departure when the GPS antenna is installed. The antenna also includes information about local speed limits, speed enforcement cameras, and red lights.
Another feature is parking mode, which records video while your vehicle is parked. But this feature requires the Thinkware Hardwire Kit for power and can shorten the lifespan of your car’s battery. In some cases, parking modes can drain batteries entirely. Adding the Gooloo GP4000S to your car’s roadside emergency kit might be a great idea.
The dash cam uses a suction cup mount to the windshield, then slides onto the mount. A 3.5″ touchscreen provides quick access to system settings and video playback. The dash cam requires a MicroSD card, which is not included. Without built-in Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, the only way to view the video clips is on the touchscreen or to remove the memory card and plug it into a computer.
GPS not included
No smartphone app
Expensive, considering the limited features
Frequently Asked Questions
Having a video clip recorded from a dash cam during a collision might be the difference in who gets the ticket and how the insurance companies settle the matter, potentially saving you thousands of dollars.
A dash cam with a hardwire kit installed can drain your car battery if you use the parking mode feature. The feature activates the camera when the sensor detects a collision, but sometimes, gusty winds can also trigger the camera.
A GoPro is not better than a dash cam for several reasons. A GoPro is not designed to automatically start and stop recording whenever the car is turned on or off. It’s not designed for continuous use. And a GoPro cannot work with additional cameras tethered, such as a rear-facing or interior-facing camera, which limits you to just a front-facing camera.
Dash cams are legal throughout the United States. However, some dash cams also feature radar detectors, only permitted in certain states.
Loop recording is a feature in most dash cams where the oldest video footage is automatically replaced by the newest footage. This happens when the memory card reaches full capacity.
Dash cams begin recording video when they receive power after the car is turned on. The video is saved to a memory card set to loop recording, replacing the oldest content with the newest.
A dash cam records as long as the car is turned on. With loop recording, a dash cam can record indefinitely as the oldest content is replaced with the newest when the memory card is full.
The angle of view, correctly called field of view, is the range of the observable world from a single standpoint. For dash cams, it is the range horizontally measured in degrees of how much the camera can see.
2160p or 4k dash cams offer superior video quality, making it easy to zoom into the video and capture license plate numbers in the case of a hit-and-run.
No, dash cams do not charge a subscription fee to use.
The front-facing dash cam is the most essential, but a rear-facing camera can also make a difference during a parking lot collision. The best option is a two-camera dash cam system.
A dash cam with GPS is not essential, but it could be useful if it can automatically alert emergency services in the event of a collision.
Dash cams use a 12v accessory outlet, so the camera only works when the car is turned on. However, a hardwire kit connects the dash cam directly to the car’s battery through the fuse panel and provides constant power. This option, though, can drain your car’s battery if not used correctly.
Dash cams keep unsaved video clips only until they need to be replaced by newer footage. However, if you save the video clip, the dash cam will keep the footage indefinitely.
Dash cams with companion smartphone apps allow users to quickly and easily download video footage within minutes.
Since most dash cams feature loop recording – the oldest content is replaced with the newest – the size of the memory card does not matter. With that said, the best size memory card for a dash cam is 64GB because it’s a good compromise between the cost of the memory card and capacity.