This year, new dashcam models have flooded the Australian market. Some of them merely passable but many have great features to give you extra protection (and eyes!) on the road. With the plenitude of options, purchasing one has never been this confusing. So we took a look at the biggest players and the newcomers and narrowed them down to the best of the best.
What to look for in a dashcam?
Specs and features separate a great dashcam from just a good one. When shopping for dashcams, make sure to compare the following features across the different brands:
- Number of Channels – Dashcams are either single channel or dual channel. This refers to the number of video directions that the camera can record. Standard dashcams are single channel, recording only the front view of your vehicle. On the other hand, dual channel dashcams record the front and rear views while you are driving.
- Video Quality – Motion and clarity don’t always go hand in hand. Finding a dashcam with an excellent video quality can be a challenge. And relying on HD doesn’t always cut it. What you should look for in an HD cam is a good sensor to minimise the shakiness of the video.
- Built-in Display Screen – There are new dashcams released this year that have no external screens because of their WiFi connectivity, enabling you to view the videos on your mobile device instead. And frankly, this confounds us. Despite the easy connectivity, nothing beats being able to view the dashcam recordings on the device’s built-in display screen.
- Continuous Loop – This feature enables a dashcam to record over the oldest video file when the memory becomes full while recording. With a continuous looping feature, you don’t need to change memory cards over and over.
- External Memory Card – Just like with smartphones, it’s better to have a dashcam with a removable storage, whether it has an internal memory or not. This allows you to expand the storage capacity of the device as needed.
- Internal and External Battery Connectivity – An internal battery can only last up to an hour or two. Having the capability to connect your dashcam to the vehicle’s 12V socket helps maximize the device and leaves you with one less thing to worry about.
- GPS – The primary use of a dashcam is to provide evidence in the event of road collision or accident. A GPS-enabled dashcam adds value to the video evidence by providing your exact location and speed during the incident.
- Automatic Recording – There will be a number of times when you’ll forget to turn on the dashcam. This problem can be solved by an automatic recording feature, which will turn on the camera as soon as the car starts and turn it off when the engine stops.
- Impact Detection – This last feature is entirely optional but useful if you want to save energy from time to time. A dashcam with impact detection is only activated during collisions and automatically records the time and date of the incident.
The best dashcams of 2018
Based on these specs and features, below are Aussie Car Loan’s dashcam recommendations in 2018 for both single channel and dual channel classifications:
- DOD LS475W – This single channel dashcam by DOD comes equipped with a built-in GPS with a 10Hz-refresh rate that can determine your location way better than other dashcams can and is capable of protecting important videos from getting recorded over. It also supports an external memory of up to 128 GB — that’s up to 21 hours of video before the recording loops over.
In terms of video quality, the DOD LS475W can record smoother and clearer footages with minimal blur at 1080P in 60FPS. It uses the new SONY STARVIS sensor technology and has a 12800 ISO sensitivity, the best among all dashcams in the market. This means that it’s capable of producing crisp and clear videos even in low-light conditions.
- BlackSys CH-200 Dual 1080P – A dual channel flagship offering from BlackSys, the CH-200 is capable of recording excellent 1080P FULL HD videos on both front and rear cams (many are still offering 720P on the rear cam), with the help of Sony EXMOR CMOS sensors. This dashcam also has a GPS for vehicle speed and location recording. Despite its lower price, it carries a lot of features that other pricier dual channel dashcams don’t have including a high-quality Ambarella A12 chipset for the best high-definition video compression and processing.
The BlackSys CH-200 can also be set-up as a Parking Mode Dash Cam (CCTV Mode) and provide you extra safety with advanced features like Automatic Parking Mode, Built-in Voltage Cut-off, Tri-axial shock detection G-sensor, Motion Detection Recording, and Time-Lapse Recording. This dual channel dash cam also has Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems like Lane Departure Warning System and Forward Collision Warning System. BlackSys CH-200 supports up to 128GB Micro SD with free BlackSys 32GB card.
- Vicovation OPIA 2 is the best among all single channel dash cams currently in the market. It has a combination of performance, reliability, and dependability that only a pioneer in the dash cam industry can bring.
It captures detailed footages of everything on the road with the help of a 1440P 2K Dash Cam with the widest 160° angle view, powered by a 25 Mbps Ambarella A12 chipset. The videos are sharp and have very little distortion. Best yet, the OPIA 2 isn’t prone to malfunctions and can perform even under extreme temperatures. You can leave it in a hot car of up to 75°C or as low as freezing point and it will still operate at the highest level. It has an expandable memory of up to 128GB and capable of recording 11-12 hours of non-stop footage before automatic looping. Lower the video resolution at 1296P or 1080P and you can have longer recording time and still capture clear and crisp videos.
The Vicovation OPIA 2 also features Automatic Parking Mode, G-sensor for impact detection, Time-Lapse recording, and Emergency Record/SOS button for automatic protection of important files from looping. If you want a cheaper version of OPIA 2, then the older Vicovation OPIA 1 will do. Though the specs and features are naturally lower compared to the new model, you will still get better performance and quality over other single channel dash cams.
- DOD RC500S-2CH and DOD LS500W-2CH – If you want the best video quality on a dual channel dash cam, then look no further than these two DOD products. Both have the standard 1080P cameras (at 15 Mbps bit rate) with the newest Sony STARVIS sensor. Combined with a large f/1.6 lens aperture and up to 12800 ISO sensitivity, these dashcams produce the clearest and sharpest footages whether you are driving day or night.
The DOD LS500W-2CH and DOD LS500W-2CH also have a GPS that processes at 10Hz, the fastest among dual channel dash cams. Both are equipped with Parking Surveillance mode, G-sensor for impact detection, Emergency Record Button, 65° Heat Resistance through Supercapacitors, and up to 145° camera angle. The two dash cams support up to 128GB memory capacity.
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What separates these two heavy hitters is the presence of a built-in display screen, which is only available in DOD LS500W-2CH. If you want to easily set-up the dash cam and watch the recordings more conveniently, then this is the better choice. On the other hand, DOD LS500W-2CH has WiFi connectivity, which will allow you to view the files on your smartphone through the DOD App.
Dashcams are becoming a necessity for motorists in many places in Australia. They provide evidence during road accidents, which can help protect properties and personal finance. Needless to say, they are quite a worthy investment if you want to feel safer when hitting the road.