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Best Dash Cam: Car Dashboard Camera

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Accidents can happen quickly, and you don’t want to make the situation worse by getting in trouble for something that wasn’t your fault. That’s where a dash cam can help. It records what happens while you’re driving, so if something bad happens, you’ll have proof that it wasn’t your fault. Plus, it might even make your insurance cost less.

No matter how much money you have to spend, what you need, or how much you know about this stuff, there’s a good choice for you in this guide. If you have a lot of money to spend, we recommend the Nextbase 622GW. But if you’re on a budget, the Garmin Dash Cam Mini 2 is a great choice.

The Best Dash Cam

Vantrue N4

Cameras: Front, Cabin, Rear

Resolution (front, cabin, rear): 1440p, 1440p, 1080p

Field of View (front, cabin, rear): 155, 165, 160 degrees (diagonal)

Crash Detection Video Protection: Yes

The Vantrue N4 is an excellent deal, with a dashcam, cabin-facing camera, and rearview camera. It mounts to the windshield via a suction mount, and its cameras may be adjusted for best coverage. When all three cameras are in action, the front dash cam records at 2560 by 2160 pixels but reduces to 2560 by 1440. The interior and rear cameras feature 1920 x 1080 resolutions. The cameras have large fields of view with little distortion, and the cabin camera has infrared lighting for low-light circumstances.

The N4’s integrated screen includes a picture-in-picture mode that displays feeds from all three cameras at the same time, as well as settings and recording modes. It has low-frame-rate and low-bit-rate recording settings, however we discovered they can drain the car battery. The device also has collision and motion detection, which automatically saves pertinent footage. A 128 GB micro SD card can store around 6.7 hours of film.

We chose the Vantrue N4 as our Best Overall dash cam mostly for its value. It’s a formidable contender at a low price, with three cameras and a plethora of capabilities, and it finished only marginally below our top pick in image quality. Video quality was excellent in all lighting conditions, with a wide dynamic range and minimal noise reduction.

Viofo A229 Pro

Cameras: Front, Rear

Resolution (front, rear): 4k, 2k

Field of View (front, rear): 140, 160 degrees

The Viofo A229 Pro captures clear, detailed 4K video during the day and, more importantly, at night. Though no dash cam is flawless, the A229 Pro provides the best possibility of reading another car’s license plate in a wide range of conditions.

This dash cam uses a supercapacitor, which should be more reliable in high temperatures than lithium-ion batteries present in many dash cameras. It also has 24-hour parking tracking, voice control, and a 2.4-inch screen (for easy access to settings and recording). It’s simple to install and use, with a feature-rich software that includes a GPS map and the ability to cut clips before saving or sharing them.

The A229 Pro is available in one, two, and three-channel configurations. You can also add the interior or rear camera to the 1-channel variant at a later point.

Cobra SC 400D

Cameras: Front, Rear

Resolution (front, rear): 4k, 2k

Field of View (front, rear): 140, 160 degrees

In terms of pure visual performance, the Cobra SC 400D was the finest dash cam we examined due to its 4K resolution. We agreed that its video footage also looked the finest. We found the touchscreen to be simple and responsive, and the Cobra uses its own DriveSmarter app to deliver police alerts and other driving information. If we had one little complaint, it would be that the mount only rotates forward and backward, not side to side. However, the lens’s wide angle makes this unnecessary. The Cobra attaches to the windshield using a huge sticky pad for the mount and a powerful magnet for the camera itself.

Of course, the quality and sheer number of functions add up in price, but if you’re serious about getting a dash cam, we recommend this one.

Garmin Dash Cam Mini 2

Garmin Dash Cam Mini 2

Cameras: Front

Resolution (only front): 1080p

Field of View (front): 140degrees

The Garmin Mini 2 is small enough to fit behind your car’s rearview mirror. Despite its small, it captures Full HD at 30fps with HDR. In our testing, it provided footage crisp enough to pick out essential features like as registration plates, regardless of ambient light and weather conditions. In our tests, we also found that installation was quick and uncomplicated. The plastic arm takes up little windscreen area, and the ball-and-socket joint allows for easy repositioning.

The interface is similarly simple: while there is no display, shortcut buttons allow you to save clips and deactivate the microphone with a single touch. We discovered that the Garmin Drive smartphone app (for iOS and Android) allows you to simply adjust settings, examine recordings, and verify the camera’s perspective. 

While voice controls and a g-sensor for collision detection are available, we believe GPS is the only significant missing functionality. Unless you require the ultimate dash cam with driver aid features, the Garmin Dash Cam Mini 2 will leave you wanting very little. Set-and-forget technology is defined as being simple, subtle, and trustworthy.

Miofive S1

Cameras: Front

Resolution (only front): 2160p

Field of View (front): 140degrees

The Miofive S1 is a low-cost dash cam with features and performance that exceed expectations. Despite its inexpensive price, this dash cam meets all of our specifications, including 4K resolution, excellent low-light performance, GPS tracking, a supercapacitor, and 24-hour parked-car monitoring.

However, it does not have the ability to install an interior or rear-facing camera, so you cannot record what is going on inside the vehicle or behind you. However, for people on a budget, this is an excellent camera.

How to choose the best dash cam for you

The best dash cams can come with one, two, or even three cameras. Single-camera dash cams record what’s happening outside your car through the windshield. Dual dash cams, on the other hand, add an additional camera facing the interior of the car, which is particularly useful for ride-share drivers like taxi drivers. Three-camera dash cams are more suited for professional drivers who cover a lot of miles and provide an extra perspective from outside the vehicle, which can be especially helpful for trucks.

When choosing a dash cam, video resolution is an important factor. Most dash cams in 2023 can record in Full HD, which is generally sufficient for recognizing important details in a video clip. Higher-resolution 4K dash cams are sharper but tend to be more expensive. They capture video at a higher quality, making it easier to identify crucial details like license plates. This added resolution typically offers more safety assurance.

Video frame rates are also significant. Many dash cams can record at 30 frames per second (fps), which is adequate for reviewing footage at normal speed. However, the best models can record at a smoother 60fps. This allows you to slow down the footage later, making it easier to spot details when viewing at half-speed. While it’s becoming more common to find dash cams that can record Full HD video at 60fps, 4K 60fps recording is generally reserved for professional dash cams. Some models, like the Nextbase 622GW, even feature digital image stabilization to reduce shakiness in footage on rough roads.

There are various features to consider when selecting a dash cam, including a touchscreen display, a companion app, GPS for location data, parking surveillance, voice control, built-in navigation, and what3words geolocation data, among others.

If you drive an older car without an infotainment system, a dash cam with built-in navigation (sat nav) can be beneficial. However, if your car already has navigation, it may not be necessary. GPS location data is handy for recording incidents, and some dash cams even include what3words geolocation data, offering an extremely precise way to pinpoint your vehicle’s location, which can be incredibly useful in emergencies.

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