With more and more people seeing the value of dash cams through social media outlets such as Facebook or Youtube, a lot of new customers are coming in to the market and aren't sure what to pick. Here are a few of our top choices in several different price ranges as a supplement to our popular recommended dash cams page.
A lot of first time buyers are weary of investing too much money in a dash cam and are just looking to get a short term feel of the functions. This isn't necessarily our philosophy here at BlackboxMyCar as we prefer dash cams that are "set it and forget it" investments that pay off in the long run. These affordable dash cams offer great video performance but lack the high end features such as WiFi, GPS, or Parking Mode.
Our top picks for this category are the two models from Skyview, the G1 and G6. In our experience these have better build quality than the popular G1W and are well worth the small premium in price. The G1 has a perfect 140 degree lens that's better at picking up license plates than the G6's ultra-wide 170 degree lens which will capture more. The G6 uses a more discreet adhesive mount and has a smaller 1.5" screen while the G1 uses an easily removable suction cup mount and a large 2.4" screen. The G1 is bulkier but perhaps more user friendly thanks to the bigger screen and large buttons, although both dashcams are fairly intuitive for a first time user.
The mid-tier price range introduces our customers to parking mode, well known camera sensors, and sleek designs with better build quality/materials. Those shopping in this price range should follow our numerous hardwiring tutorials to take advantage of parking mode and the cleanest installation possible. It's important to invest in a hardwiring kit so that the dash cam can draw power directly from the fuse box freeing up a 12V outlet in the vehicle and protect the vehicle's battery voltage.
The first camera we'll introduce is the mini 0806 which has a sleek design and a mount that swivels so that the user can mount it upside down. Unlike our other 2 recommendations it even has a small LCD screen to view videos and ensure the dash cam is recording. It uses a Omnivision Sensor and Ambarella Processor to output a maximum 1296P Super HD quality so the video quality is quite impressive. If you prefer 1080P, the mini 0806 can record up to 45 FPS at 1080P which is a much faster frame rate than most dash cams which top out at 30 FPS. The unit itself does not feel as well built as the Blackvue or FineVu products and the parking mode is not as well designed either, but overall it offers great bang for the buck.
Compared to the mini 0806, the Blackvue DR3500-FHD has a lower profile design thanks to the lack of a screen. That small size makes it very easy to mount behind a mirror while still remaining fairly inconspicuous. The parking mode of the Blackvue dashcams are better designed than that of the Chinese dashcams such as the mini 0806 as they are a lot more sensitive and easily triggered so you don't miss any footage. Our only gripe for the DR3500 is its narrower viewing angle of only 120 degrees compared to many dash cams with ~135 degree viewing angles, although if you watch our sample video you may find that 120 degrees is actually adequate.
Last but not least, the FineVu CR500HD combines the refined parking mode of the Blackvue dash cams with the high end sensor and wider angle of the mini 0806. It uses a Sony EXMOR CMOS sensor which delivers excellent low light video quality and has a 135 degree viewing angle which captures a wide range without adding distortion. Furthermore it is the only recommendation on this list which can be opted with a CPL filter which reduces glare and improves colour. The build quality and design feel very high end and it uses a very versatile adhesive mount. The shape is fairly discreet and we especially like the buttons on the rear which allow you to change modes and take pictures while driving.
$250 and Up
By investing in higher end dashcams customers can consider opting for 2-channel systems which protect the front and rear of the vehicle, as well as dashcams that offer WiFi connectivity. 2-Channel dashcams are a better option than opting for two single channel dashcams as only one hardwiring kit/power source and one memory card is required (more on single-channel vs. two-channel here). WiFi allows the user to link their smartphone to the dashcam through an app and use the phone as a screen. The smartphone can then be used to playback and stream videos, change settings, and in certain cases even work as a rearview camera display.
We were the first to introduce the eCELL Focus 2-Channel dashcam to the North American market and there are a few reasons why we chose it to be on this best buy list. The eCELL Focus doesn't have the best video quality at just 720P front and rear but the form factor is incredibly discreet with a 3-piece design that utilizes two tiny cameras and an easy to hide recording unit. It offers great bang for the buck by offering WiFi, hardwiring kit, a well designed parking mode, and two-channel protection. It won't be the best at picking up license plates or low light resolution but it's one of the most affordable 2-channel dashcams on the market and is definitely worth some serious consideration.
For those looking for better video quality in a 2-channel package, FineVu's CR2000G adds to the strengths of the CR500HD by adding a 3.5" touchscreen display and a 1080P rear camera. The 2.4MP Sony EXMOR CMOS Sensor is paired nicely with 136° lens (front and rear) to deliver excellent video performance in all lighting situations. It's not as sleek as other dashcams due to the large screen and cube design on the rear unit but when mounted it's not too bulky and the front unit has a high end feel thanks to a brushed metal body. It also has an internal GPS to display speed and location data. It also supports dual memory cards up to 128GB each which is a huge advantage over the CR500HD which only supports a single 32GB card. We highly recommend opting for the hardwiring kit to take advantage of the excellent parking mode as well as the CPL filter to improve front video quality.
To wrap up this list, we can't not mention our best selling 2-channel dashcam, the Blackvue DR650GW-2CH. It's super sleek thanks to a matte black body and provides excellent front and rear protection. The WiFi works great and it supports a single memory card up to 128GB. If we did have one gripe with this popular dashcam it'd be that the rear channel is only 720P, although that helps to keep file sizes down for more footage on the memory card. Blackvue's viewer is the only one to offer both PC and Mac support and can be used to configure the WiFi and view location data recorded by the dash cam. For a reliable dash cam that you can set and forget, the DR650GW is definitely a best buy!
This is a non-exhaustive list of dashcam recommendations, individual user needs/priorities differ and so would our recommendations. For a personalized recommendation, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with what you want to get out of your dashcam and we will get back to you shortly!