More than Carpool Karaoke, these new features persuade drivers to buy dash cams

Video shot/edited by Jennifer Hahn.

In the culture that’s passed since

Vava Dash Cam Magellan MiVue 480D Garmin Suggestion Cam 55 DDPai X2 Pro FOV 140 degrees Main: 140 degrees; Rear: 130 degrees 122 degrees Chief: 140 degrees; Rear: 120 degrees Recording resolution 720p-1080p Leading: 1296p WDR; Rear: 1080p 1080p-1440p Main: 720p-1440p WDR; Behind: 720p Night vision Yes Yes Yes Yes microSD card Yes, up to 128GB Yes, up to 128GB Yes, up to 64GB Yes, up to 128GB Built-in GPS Yes Yes Yes Yes G-sensor Yes Yes Yes Yes On-device show No Yes, 2.7-inch LCD Yes, 2-inch LCD No Parking mode Yes, with additional wire Yes, up to 30 minutes when not receiving power Yes, with additional guy Yes, with additional cable Mobile app Yes No Yes Yes Extra features 360-degree elbow-joint design, included Snapshot button, mobile app for sharing videos outstanding social media forward-collision and lane departure warnings, traffic camera and expedite warnings, driver fatigue alert voice commands, forward-collision and lane departure tips, traffic camera and speed warnings, Travelapse video recordings DDPai sexual network for video sharing, included Snapshot button Price $99 $299 $199 $299

Vava Split Cam

The Vava Dash Cam started as a Kickstarter campaign earlier this year when the discharge’s creators asked people what they wanted in the perfect bit cam. As of early late June, the project has collected over $425,000 from Kickstarter sponsors, proving if nothing else that consumers are intrigued by Vava’s high points.

We received a pre-production unit to try, and arguably the biggest draw of the Vava Bolt Cam is its swivel design. The hockey puck-like camera body attaches magnetically to the windshield mount, slack off on you face the camera in front of you, toward the street, or into your car where it can look for you and your passengers. Hand-in-hand with this is the device’s mobile app, which receives you share photos and video clips taken by the dash cam to social way.

In the box you get the camera module and suction-cup mount, a pre-installed 32GB microSD card for extenuatory photos and videos locally, a USB cable with built-in GPS chip, a 12v car charger that also plays as a 2,300 mAh power bank, and the snapshot button that you can stick anywhere in your car to swiftly take a photo with the dash cam. The Vava Dash Cam connects to your channel in the same way that most other dash cams do—connect the camera to the mount, assumed the mount to your windshield (preferably in the middle, behind your rear-view looking-glass), and connect it to the car charging port using the USB cable and the car charger.

Handling a tinge cam that doesn’t have a display on it is a little off-putting at first, but the non-stationary app provides a live feed if you really need it. In fact, you won’t really use the stay feed on the screen of any dash cam while you’re driving, and the onboard screens are mostly for changing environments using the on-camera controls. The Vava Dash Cam mobile app is where you do all those things, so there’s no call for for an onboard display.

The bound cam will automatically turn on when you turn on your car, but, unlike other run cams, the setup process is a little unclear. After you download the Vava transportable app and create an account, you’re neither prompted to do anything nor are you guided through environment up a new dash cam. The homepage of the app has a live-feed window as well as manual photo and video apprehend buttons. The way to connect the camera to your smartphone is by connecting to its unique Wi-Fi network functioning the information and password provided on the packaging, and then you press the live-feed purpose. After that, your smartphone should automatically connect to the Vava Toss Cam’s network whenever you get into your car, and you have to be connected to it to have access to all the motorized app’s features.

While you’re driving, the Vava Dash Cam records video cuffs in one-, three-, or five-minute intervals. You can pick your clip duration favourite in the video settings, and everything recorded shows up in the Media Gallery folder in the expressive app. That folder is nicely organized by manual snapshots (or those you grasp with the app or the snapshot button manually), travel recordings, and emergency recordings (which are automatically precluded when the camera detects sudden breaks). The contents of those folders are separated by date, which makes finding footage easy.

You’re supposed to be skilled to download specific clips and photos to your smartphone while linked to the dash cam’s network, but I was never able to do so. Each three-minute video longing be half-downloaded before the action failed and I was told to try again. You’ll have bettor luck connecting the microSD card to your computer and finding footage that way.

Each video attach and snapshot photo has a small arrow at the top-right corner of its thumbnail that you can tap to download it. One time the file is saved locally to the app, you can download it again to your smartphone, or you can instanter share it via Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Downloading clips to your smartphone is the most at ones fingertips way to get footage fast, but I was only able to do so after receiving an updated reading of the Vava Dash Cam.

The original pre-production unit had a bug that prevented me from downloading any cuffs to my smartphone. Thankfully, that was fixed in the new unit I received, which is one from the anything else batch of devices being sent to Kickstarter backers.

If you don’t want to trouble with OTA video downloads, you can always go the traditional route and remove the microSD reveal all from the camera to view footage on your PC. The card is also established conveniently into Emergency, GPS, Movie, Snapshot, and Thumb albums, with the Thumb album frugal one snapshot for each video clip taken. Each three-minute, 1080p clout takes up about 307MB on the microSD card, allowing you to save almost 104 clips on the 32GB card provided.

By default, the camera records in 1080p at 60 fps, but you can fluctuate the quality of the video in the mobile app. Both daytime and nighttime footage is somewhat clear, and you can even make out license plates in daytime footage. The 140-degree greensward of view is certainly enough to capture you and your passengers if you choose to kick out the camera toward the car, and the quality is perfectly fine for social-media video extracts. Thanks to its magnetic construction, swiveling the Vava Dash around 360 degrees is lenient, and the magnet is strong enough to keep the camera in place through a knobbly ride.

Each obliging trip you take is recorded in the travel log where you can see a GPS-assisted map of your itinerary. These maps are useful if you need to remember an unfamiliar route, but as you’ll see when we examine the DDPai X2 Pro and its similar feature, the log isn’t as useful as it could be. The Vava Dash Cam also incorporates a “driving journal” in which you can name and save a route found in the wanderings log and give it a cover photo. While the travel log is just a collection of mapped routes you’ve mean, the driving journal lets you put a more personalized, emotional feel to paramount trips you want to remember.

Thanks to the power bank in the included car charger, the Vava Bound Cam can record potentially valuable footage when you’re not around. The bank accumulates power when the car is on, so it can oust on the dash cam in an emergency if necessary. There’s a G-sensor in the camera, so if someone vandalizes or touches your car when it’s parked, the Vava Dash Cam will turn on using the power bank’s battery and history a 15-second video clip. That video will only be supportive if it manages to capture the perpetrator, but it’s better than nothing when you’re not round to protect your car or call authorities immediately. Vava estimates this Parking Status will be effective for up to 30 days when they power bank is fully priced, and it allowed my dash cam to record clips for hours in between my driving sittings. The G-sensor is helpful in case of an emergency when you’re not around, but extra, passively-recorded clasps could also let you see suspicious activity around your car when you’re not wide.

I personally think the “carpool karaoke” sharing aspect of the Vava Shatter Cam is frivolous, but I also don’t do a lot of daily driving—nor am I in the car with a group of friends varied than a couple times a month. However, this might be a spotlight that can get both parents and young drivers on board to the idea of entertaining a dash cam in the car. Above all, dash cams are protective tools—they won’t put a stop to you from getting into an accident, but they can protect you after the factually using the footage they capture. While that’s enough of a proper for me to install a dash cam in my car, it might not be for others. Dash cams are also avenues that you set and forget; unless you get into an accident or someone bumps your car, you may on no occasion touch the camera after installing it. The Vava Dash Cam is one of the only in-car cameras to volunteer a social aspect in addition to regular safety features, and that collective aspect will keep users interacting with the Vava Frustrate Cam and its app more than they would a regular dash cam.

Listing statue by Valentina Palladino

Garmin Dash Cam 55

Garmin is no stranger to dash cams, but the presence upped their game with the Dash Cam 55. It is, without a have misgivings about, the smallest dash cam I’ve ever used, measuring just 5.62 cm x 4.05 cm x 3.53 cm. Most run cams are built to sit behind your rear-view mirror so the don’t get in the way of your observe while driving. The Dash Cam 55 disappears behind my mirror so much so that I had to crane my neck underneath the mirror image to see it at all.

You have a few choices when buying the Dash Cam 55: you can choose video account up to 1080p or 1440p, whether you want a wide-angle lens camera, and if you stand in want voice-control options. My review unit shoots 1440p video and has expression controls. Garmin just came out with the Dash Cam 65 which has a super-wider 180-degree enthusiast of view, and that’s the only difference between it and the Dash Cam 55 (which has a 122-degree FOV).

Voice commands are a feature unique to the Dash Cam 55 that I didn’t conscious I wanted in a road monitor. They let you tell the dash cam to do certain obsessions like save a video or take a photo without pressing any buttons on the camera itself. While force you can say “Ok Garmin” to wake up the voice assistant, and then tell it to save a video, walk off a photo, record audio (if it’s not already), or a start Travelapse recording. Travelapse is Garmin’s way of discerning long stretches of driving footage shareable by condensing it down to well-founded the highlights, so you can start and end a Travelapse recording easily just by using the vote command.

The Dash Cam 55 has most of the standard features you’d expect in a $199 ardour cam. It has a 3.7MP camera and a 2-inch LCD display with an automatic shut off so it won’t divert you while you’re driving (if you can see it at all). It has audible alerts for lane-departure and forward-collision warnings, a GPS for stereotype videos with your location and speed, and a G-sensor that wish trigger the camera to automatically save a video if you get into an accident. Videos are screened on a loop so new footage will film over old footage when the microSD file card gets full. It supports up to a 64GB card but mine came with an 8GB take action included, and each one-minute video clip takes up about 84MB of room. The Dash Cam 55 also has a parking mode in which it’ll monitor relocation around your car even when it’s off, but that requires an additional telegraph that charges the device so it can last while your car is turned off.

The Sprint Cam 55 beeps when you approach a red light or speed traffic camera. This appear c rise standard on the device, but you’ll have to pay for a $25-per-year

Garmin’s Verb sortie cam app connected to the Dash Cam 55.
  • There are no real menus or categories. You have to analyse through footage on your own.
  • You can download videos and photos to your smartphone using the app.
  • Footage on the microSD plan is divided into event, saved video, unsaved video, Travelapse, and photo folders. This frames it really easy to find the kind of footage you’re looking for, and I appreciate that there’s a scram separation of videos you saved via voice command and video saved via the G-sensor. The Verve Cam 55’s video is crystal clear, and night vision details are backed by the camera’s 1440p output. Overall the colors in the video footage are numerous true to life than those in the Vava dash cam’s footage, which would rather a yellow-ish tint. However, Vava’s camera makes use of my car’s headlights multitudinous in nighttime footage than Garmin’s camera does, thus originating slightly brighter footage in the dark.

    Voice command was my favorite draw about the Dash Cam 55 because it made the device more interactive fairly than just a stationary camera that you set and forget about. One of the reasons why profuse people don’t invest in dash cams is that they don’t see an immediate use to them—they’re safety devices and not something like a smartphone or even an action cam that you may interact with on a circadian basis. Adding a hands-free interaction component to the Dash Cam 55 hand over me want to use it more often to save photos of a particularly pretty sunset against the limits in front of me, save videos of near-accidents, and save footage of coastal press along the beach.

    Magellan MiVue 480D

    Magellan’s newest throw cam is most similar to Cobra’s $199 dash cam we previously reviewed. The $299 MiVue 480D bonds a full-service front-facing dash cam with a connected rear camera that minds an eye on the road behind you. Like Cobra’s cam, the MiVue 480D takes a myriad time to set up in your vehicle than normal dash cams since you obtain to connect the rear dash cam to the front mechanisms. There are more wires and inspirational parts involved, but once set up the MiVue 480D is easy to use. It automatically rolls on and starts recording when the car starts, and it will show the rear camera’s last view in a smaller window on top of the main, front-facing video feed.

    The easier it is to shift the settings on a dash cam the better, and Magellan put four clear buttons on the side of the might camera to navigate the menu on the 2.7-inch LCD display. The top button accesses the menu, while the blemished button selects and the bottom two buttons scroll up and down. Thanks to the GPS in the power camera, I didn’t have to manually set the date and time, but I did go through the other customizable settings.

    The MiVue 480D is slightly different in that it has more warnings and alerts within reach than most dash cams. In addition to forward collision, transportation camera, and speeding warnings, it also has lane departure, driver enervate, and headline alerts. The first three alerts are popular features in most spring cams and they’re quite useful. For example, forward collision alerts sentinel the space in between your car and the car in front of you and will sound when you’re overturing the vehicle ahead too quickly, which could cause an accident. You can settle upon to turn any of these off completely, or receive a beep or voice alert when you should be produce more attention.

    Driving fatigue and headline alerts are particularly second to none in harmony: the former lets you set a timer that will sound when it’s delay to give the current driver a break, which is most useful during extensive trips, while the latter will sound when the sun goes down to predict you to turn on your headlights. Both of those are quite practical, but driver tire will likely only be useful for those who frequently spend myriad than three or four hours in the car at one time.

    Speeding and traffic camera alerts were the most salutary for me. I live in an area where speed limits change frequently depending on which for all practical purposes of a town-crossing road you may be on, so whenever I heard the chime of the dash cam, I knew I should dumb down. Traffic cameras are also plentiful in my area, but not at every intersection and I certainly haven’t memorized where they all are yet. That vivacious sounds when you’re approaching a filmed intersection and stops beeping when you’ve cleared the surveilled section, making it clear where you should be observing your surroundings and make tracks more than usual. For some reason, the device thought the roadways in my apartment complex had a traffic camera waiting to capture irresponsible drivers was one did not stay alive. Aside from that error, the MiVue 480D was fairly on target in alerting me to actual traffic cameras.

    I’ve only tested a couple chuck cams with included rear cameras, but I always enjoy bring into the world that extra eye watching the road behind me. In New York State where I charged, drivers don’t necessarily have to worry about what happens behind you while you’re persistence. Most of the time if you’re rear-ended, the driver behind you is at fault because it’s taken he or she did not leave enough of space in between their car and yours. The law may be on your side, but hold video evidence of such a situation can bring a lot of peace of mind. It could also settle in handy if any commotion or actions occur behind your car during a See trade stop, another type of accident, or any situation where you’re forced to get out of your conveyance.

    The MiVue 480D shoots super HD, 1296p video, with a 140-degree follower of view, with more than enough clarity to see signs and permit plates of nearby cars. The footage combined the best aspects of the Garmin Sprint Cam 55 and the DDPai X2 Pro—sharpness, little to no noise, and true colors—and videos with a lot of impulsive light didn’t appear as blown-out as they did on Garmin’s dash cam. Degree, I was surprised to see that the MiVue 480D didn’t light up the roads and handy sidewalks nearly as much as the Vava Dash Cam did in its nighttime footage. In varied videos, it didn’t even look like I had my lights on while determination at night (I always do), but the Vava Dash Cam clearly showed the light authority and used other light sources like lamp posts and alley signs to illuminate more of the field of view.

    The rear camera mementoes 1080p video and looks most like the footage from the Vava Style Cam, both in daytime and nighttime conditions. All video is recorded to the included 16GB microSD condolence card (the camera supports a card up to 128GB) and it’s organized similarly to the other pitch cams. Separate folders for Events (caused by impact or sudden put on), Parking (short videos taken after the car has been shut off), Head camera, and Rear camera populate the SD card, making it easy to come up with the type of video you’re looking for. Like other dash cam’s memory playing-card footage, the files themselves are named by date, which makes it kind of simple to find a particular video, but not totally easy. I set the MiVue 480D to data three-minute video clips, so if I was looking for a particular video, there were multiple clouts recorded on a specific day to sort through. Each video is stamped with the in good time dawdle and GPS coordinates of your location, which may not mean anything to you, but could be momentous for law enforcement or insurance companies if you hand over any footage to them. Each three-minute video also withs up about 335MB on the microSD card, but loop recording ensures you’ll each have the latest footage saved.

    DDPai X2 Pro

    DDPai isn’t as well-known as Garmin or Magellan, but it’s a characterize founded by Huawei back in 2013 that specializes in “social cameras.” Of the hardly half-dozen cameras DDPai makes, none of them are action cams or equable similar to Samsung’s Gear 360—they’re all dash cams that stitch to DDPai’s mobile app. In addition to viewing and saving footage to your smartphone, the DDPai app also lets you share out footage for other DDPai users to see. It appears to be a more contained macrocosm for remarkable dash cam videos, footage most of us only get a glimpse of when we see a indefinitely dash cam video on Reddit or other established social media situate.

    The $299 X2 Pro is DDPai’s most advanced dash cam because of its features and the classification of a rear-facing secondary camera. The main dash cam is a rounded, rectangular box with an adjustable lens on one side, a sticker adhesive to enlist it to your windshield on the top, and a mute button on the bottom. On one of its shortest sides is the microSD calling-card slot behind a silicone flap, and on the underside is an easily accessible tight-lipped button so you can quickly disable the device’s mic. Overall the design might be widespread, but it’s flat enough to disappear behind your rear view replication.

    The main camera can record 1080p video at 30fps or 1440p video at 25fps and it has a 140-degree competitors of view. The rear-facing camera only records 720p video at 30fps, but the belief is that the footage from behind your car while you’re driving doesn’t call for the level of detail and clarity that the forward-facing footage does. The two cameras bind in the same way that the Magellan MiVue 480D does, so it takes longer to establish than most dash cams. The footage is also like the MiVue 480D in that it’s totally good: daytime video at 1440p is crisp and bright with stout colors, even if it occasionally looks a bit overexposed. Nighttime footage has the unambiguousness of Magellan’s camera with the surrounding illumination of the Vava Dash Cam, making it one of the most skilfully of the bunch for driving in the dark.

    The X2 Pro has one major design flaw that I didn’t aware until a week into using it. Unlike other dash cams which use a suction mount to fix to your windshield, the X2 Pro uses a heavy-duty sticker. These aren’t unimagined with dash cams, but they’re mostly confined to the secondary rear-facing cameras. Both the X2 Pro’s greatest dash cam and the rear camera attach with stickers, and since the construct is smaller and lighter, the sticker has no problem supporting it. But the sticker clearly cannot defy up to the weight of the main camera or high summer temperatures. Every shilly-shally I entered my car, I found that the main camera had fallen from my windshield and I had to re-stick it rear to the adhesive. The main camera even fell to the floor of my car while I was shepherd a few times, which is both startling and annoying when it happens in the midriff of a crowded intersection.

    The X2 Pro doesn’t provide any voice feedback while you’re impelling. It only says “hello” when you turn on your car, “GPS connected” when it has your tracking down, and a little jingle when you turn off the car. If you like to be notified when you’re rush or when you’re approaching a camera-monitored intersection, the X2 Pro isn’t the dash cam for you. It also doesn’t be subjected to any voice commands like the Dash Cam 55 does, so it’s more customary in that it’s a small box that you don’t interact with as it monitors the road from your windshield.

    Since the X2 Pro doesn’t keep an on-device display, most interaction with the device happens as a consequence the DDPai mobile app. It’s laid out better than Garmin’s Virb app, but it’s certainly sighted at the Asian and European markets. The homepage has “trending,” “activity,” and “current” subpages that have promotional material from DDPai, the most habitual and newest videos shared from the app from users across the society, and a mix of English and Chinese characters in the headlines and descriptions of videos. The social feature of the X2 Pro’s is different than that of the Vava Dash Cam since DDPai basically bodied its own dash cam social network in the mobile app while Vava focuses on fetching it easy to share videos privately. Both can be useful, but they favor varied kinds of footage: with its Reddit-like feel, DDPai favors enticing, interesting, or perilous videos of the road ahead of you while Vava favors cherished movements with friends while driving, with the occasional spectacular view.

    You can ignore the social component entirely and just focus on the other compasses of the DDPai app: Camera, Albums, and Me. The Camera page shows a still copy of what the main dash cam is seeing in real-time, and you can tap on it to reveal the camera’s real feed. There’s also a “dashboard” beneath it that includes a real-time speedometer which inclination show your driving speed if you keep this page up while you’re en-route. You can toggle between the dashboard and your march list, or a list of your most recently saved photos and videos.

    Anything saved to the app looks in the Albums page as well, divided into image, video, and exigency folders. While this footage lives in the app (as well as in the microSD comedian), you can download any photo or video to your device. Most video clouts are around 10 seconds long, shorter than the one- to two-minute attaches saved to the microSD card, making it easier and faster for you to save them locally on your crest. My device came with a 32GB microSD card and those longer two-minute abbreviates took up about 157MB of space each on the card.

    The “Me” page in the DDPai app skins a lot of useful information. Judging on its name alone, you’d expect it to hold your account news and not much else. However, it’s home to the camera’s settings and logs of every urgency you’ve taken in addition to your account information. Your account is a bit ensnarling because you can use most of the DDPai app just by setting up your camera, but you deprivation to make a personal account with a user name and password if you crave to share video across DDPai’s social network. You can do that from the Me summon forth, and you can access messages and a leaderboard that’s attached to your personal account as profoundly.

    Before we dive into camera settings, one of the multitudinous interesting parts of the Me page is your “tracks” information, or the log of every impel the X2 Pro has recorded. You can find these by tapping on your driving score, or a hundred out of 100 the app assigns you depending on how well you drive. The score takes into account how profuse times you accelerate quickly, brake too hard, or turn suddenly—the fewer goad crimes you commit, the higher your score will be. You have an blanket driving score that’s based on the average of all the individual driving scores you acquire for each recorded drive.

    Tracks are sorted with your most fresh drive at the top of the page, featuring a map of your route (acquired by the dash cam’s built-in GPS), your compelling score for that trip, distance, duration, and average miles-per-hour bowl along. You can tap on a track to reveal a more detailed assessment of the trip with a stockier map and a scrollable menu with your broken-down driving score, sea-charts showing speed and elevation change over the course of the drive, and acceleration and decelerate performance. The best part is that you can tap the small play button in the corner of the map to see a insignificant dot follow your route exactly as you did. It’ll mimic the speed of your journey at every point, pausing for the red lights you stopped at and slowing down when you span, essentially showing you a replay of your trip.

    The Tracks detailed fractionation and the inclusion of a driving score will be useful tools for anyone who yens to be a better driver in general because it quantifies the mistakes you made and impediments you replay a trip to analyze how you drove at any point. For these features solo, the X2 Pro could be a great dash cam for parents to install in a shared vehicle so they can see how their new, teenage driver is bring off on the road when they’re not in the car to supervise.

    Similarly to the Vava Dash Cam, the X2 Pro in with a small, circular snapshot button that you can stick in your car to rapidly take a photo with the dash cam. It uses the same type of adhesive as the camera does, but since it’s so wee it’ll likely stick to you steering wheel, console, or dashboard with no unmanageable. The X2 Pro also has a parking mode that will monitor your car when you’re not urgency, but it requires an additional cable that’s not included with the dash cam. Ton dash cams that have a parking mode require additional mailgrams so it can receive power even when the car is off.
    Four dash cams enter, but which one wins our latest review round-up?

    Four dash cams pass into, but which one wins our latest review round-up?

    Slow but promising gain

    A lot of interesting new features are coming to dash cams, even if some are multifarious practical than others. The Carpool Karaoke effect is in full-swing as myriad companies integrate social components to their driving cameras. While the Vava Pinch Cam’s swivel design is convenient for filming yourself while driving, it desire be even more convenient to have a dual-main camera like the Vantrue N2 has. But you may not evermore want to record your driving habits, and that’s what Vava banks on: you’ll consciously select when to record those fun moments with friends and family in the car, and then reminisce over to turn the camera back toward the road ahead.

    That’s the fun side of panache cams, but at the end of the day, these devices are built for safety. They may not be glossy or experience a bunch of neat tricks to show off, but they can be more useful with the summing-up of practical features. Out of all the new dash cams I tested, Garmin’s Dash Cam 55 was my favorite mostly for its decision command feature—not only does it switch the dash cam from a set-and-forget design to an interactive device, but it also makes it incredibly easy and nearly instantaneous to do c include a photo or save a crucial video. It may not have the best app experience or any common component, but the Dash Cam 55 is definitely one of the most compelling to use out of the bunch.

    I foresee voice commands come to more dash cams in the future; machinations that have a good hands-free experience are ideal for drivers, so combining a hands-free component to a dash cam makes a lot of sense. Most dash cams nowadays sub rosa good video and have a solid set of features to help people post-driving, but the ones that give birth to clever in-car features are the most useful devices to get.

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