In these periods, there is a lot of talk about dash cams: small devices for video recording that can be installed inside a car to capture everything that happens around it.
If you are also interested in the subject, you would like to buy a dashcam, but you don’t know how to choose the one that best suits you, know that you are in the right place.
In this guide, I will show you everything you need to know about dash cameras and their regulation in the world. Finally, I will suggest you the best dash cam for your needs, listing some products of this type that might be right for you.
Buyer Guide to Choose Dash Cams
A dashcam is a particular video camera, often of very compact dimensions, which can be installed inside a car, truck, or any vehicle. Its intended use is to record everything that happens around the car continuously.
Some kits are also offered with two or more cameras, to have an overview both in front and behind or to have a side view, if needed. We will see later that, compared to a traditional video camera or an action camera (with which they share many features).
On a dashcam, there may be specific recording features that make it preferable, in case you want a small video camera to be installed on the windshield or other internal parts of a car.
But what is a dash cam for? This is a device that can have various utilities. In addition to the pure task of recording videos, then capturing your deeds while driving or what happens during a trip with friends, a dash cam can be useful in the event of an accident to prove who is right or injustice.
However, consider that this is not always true in Italy, given that the probative use of the dashcam recording can be at the discretion of the Authority that evaluates the case.
How to Choose a Dash Cam?
Now that we have passed the necessary preliminary phase of this buying guide let’s move on to the real choice of your next dashcam. What do you need to know to buy a dashcam without risking being disappointed?
There are only a few things you need to know before making the purchase, so make yourself comfortable, and let’s find out together!
The resolution is one of the features that you will always find in the description of the specifications of a dashcam, and the number of pixels in each frame of the recording.
In short, the higher it is, the more defined the recording will be, although, in reality, there may be other variables that affect the quality of the image, such as the quality of the sensor and the lens.
The most common resolution is Full HD, which provides 1920 × 1080 pixels (1920 on the long side, 1080 on the short side), and I advise you not to drop below this value. The cheap models could support HD, equal to 1280 × 720 pixels.
There are also several models with support for resolutions higher than Full HD, such as models with 2K ( Quad HD ) recording capacity, equal to 2560 × 1440 pixels, and models with support for 4K resolution ( Ultra HD ), equal to 3840 × 2160 pixels.
There are also models that support intermediate resolutions between 2K and 4K, such as those that reach 2.7K resolution. But be careful: higher resolution, as I said, does not always translate into a higher definition or higher image quality.
Always check the quality of the integrated sensor and lens, perhaps by consulting online the reviews of the most reliable sites or those of users who have already purchased the model of your interest.
Field of Vision
The field of vision establishes the width of the frame, therefore the portion of the environment that the lens can frame in a single frame. It is a fundamental component in a dashcam, given that it determines how much is taken inside an accident.
In this regard, dash cameras are often supplied with an ultra-wide-angle lens, therefore with a very wide field of view, equal to about 180 °. A similar extension produces the typical fish-eye effect, with distortion, especially at the edges but, considering the advantages that this particular type of lens has, I would say that it is an acceptable compromise.
Power Supply and Storage
Unlike action cameras, some dashcam models are sold without batteries or a battery slot. After all, dash cameras are designed for continuous video recording, so it wouldn’t make sense to power them with a battery that, willingly or unwillingly, is destined to run out.
Dash cams are often sold with an external power supply that must be connected to the cigarette lighter socket. However, some models also make use of an integrated battery that allows you to use the dash cam even outside the car, or when the car is not powered. Available.
Always for the same speech of the continuous recording, the dash cameras continuously write on the storage unit present. It is often not integrated into the camera, but the storage capacity is guaranteed by a microSD, which must be purchased separately.
With frame rate is indicated the number of frames that a dash cam can record in a second: often, the value supported by the traditional models is 30fps, but some models can go even further, such as to 60fps.
In reality, on a dashcam, there are not many advantages to having a high number of frames (unlike action cameras), since they only serve to improve the fluidity of the images or to create slow-motion effects.
On the other hand, a high number of frames per second has a significant impact on the “weight” of the recording on the storage unit. It, therefore, requires not only a high speed by the medium but also a higher capacity if you do not want to risk losing recordings recorded in the not so distant past.
On a dashcam, it is not said that there is a display, a component that can be useful, but that is not essential. Once the first configuration has been made, it may be convenient to view the recording in real-time, but it is certainly not a necessary condition.
The integrated display can help you a lot during positioning if you want to get the perfect shot, but usually, you can also do this by pairing a smartphone.
Support and Accessories
In the vast majority of cases, dash cameras are supplied with the support that allows them to be installed inside the car interior. Usually, the supports are of two types: adhesives, more stable, and less invasive.
But at the same time difficult to remove without leaving residues of some kind; suction cup, much easier to remove when not needed, but also more invasive and less stable. Over time, they could detach in an undesired way, risking making you lose some recordings.
The more advanced dashcam models may have some features that can be useful, such as support for connectivity technologies with the smartphone or external devices, to transfer recordings easily to other devices. The most popular are Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
The GPS module can be very useful, which allows you to play various information on video, such as places, cruising speed, and much more. Some models also support the hands – free functionality and also the possibility of recording for free on the Internet, using cloud technologies.
Among the most interesting features of the dash cameras, we also have the security systems and ADAS ( Advanced Driver Assistance Systems ) technologies, which allow you to protect the driver and passengers by detecting any accident risks in advance.
Among these, the LDWS ( Lane Departure Warning System ) is often present, a system that allows you to identify when you inadvertently leave the lane.