Making the decision to buy a dash cam is a step closer towards ensuring a greater level of safety for yourself on the road. However, it can often be overwhelming given the sheer number of dash cam brands available at BlackboxMyCar, and a constant stream of new models emerging each year. There is certainly an abundance of detailed resources available, each aiming to steer you towards a different product, yet concise and impartial content can be hard to find. Here are the essential product features that you should prioritize when selecting your new dash cam.
- Video Quality
First and foremost, don’t forget that a dash cam is a camera, so its video capabilities are definitely its most crucial feature. Installing a dash cam which produces terrible quality images is just as useless as not owning one at all! Furthermore, your camera’s video quality is the fundamental component from which all other product elements can be built. Just as there is no point in buying the latest new car if you can’t drive, there is no point in having advanced sensors and other extensive features if the camera itself is of low calibre. A top-of-the-range dash cam like the new BlackVue 4K DR900S or the Thinkware F800 Pro will provide excellent video quality that users expect. The 4K resolution in the former model offers the ultimate resolution meaning excellent day as well as night time recording, allowing licence plates to be easily recognizable with minimum motion blur.
- Video Storage
The second most important feature is ensuring that all your high definition dash cam footage is being stored properly. Imagine finding yourself in an unfavorable situation on the road and counting on your dash cam recording as video testimony, only to find that it has not been successfully stored. This can happen for a variety of different reasons, the most common of which we encounter relating to the type of memory card being used.
Many customers will choose to purchase cheaper non-Class 10 SD cards rather than those that come dealer recommended, yet these are often far less compatible with the dash cams themselves. In order to optimize video storage and recording from dash cams, it is important to select a high endurance memory card that’s able to keep up with the constant reading and writing from the dashcam. A high endurance Class 10 speed memory card will allow the dash cam to continuously record footage for months before failures were to occur.
It is equally important to remember: the larger the memory card, the more it can store. Given the high resolution of most dash cameras today, 16GB memory cards will usually not hold more than 1-2 hours of footage. Choosing a memory card of 32GB or more will increase the length of footage you are able to store before your SD card is full.
This will allow you to drive for long periods of time without needing to worry about overwriting. Also, should an accident occur with looped recording, a large memory card will allow you to drive around while still recording footage post accident, safe in the knowledge that vital footage is not being recorded over.
- Ease of Use
As our hashtag suggests, dash cams should act as a Silent Witness on Board. Perhaps one of the most important things to consider when selecting your product is just how simple it is to set up and get going. Ideally, once it’s installed you should be able to forget about your dash cam and drive with the peace of mind that should an incident occur, footage will be recorded. It is important to ensure that your dash cam has the following features:
1. Autostart and record when the vehicle is turned on.
2. Auto loop recording so you never run out of storage space.
3. Stays securely attached where you install it so you don’t have to adjust it often, thereby distracting your attention from the road.
- Heat Tolerance
As is the case with most electronics, overheating is one of the most common killers of cheaper dash cams. If your car sits out in the sun all day, it stands to reason that the dash cam you select should be capable of withstanding increased temperatures. It is no secret that cell phones are at the highest risk of overheating, so you should avoid phone-app based cameras. Moreover, lower budget dash cams can also overheat and breakdown sooner than you would expect. With this in mind, it is important to invest in a more resistant camera from the get-go, to avoid possible malfunctions later down the line. Models such as the DR750S from BlackVue is able to withstand as high as 70 degrees C or 158 degrees F.
This feature can be categorized as both a fundamental component as well as a purely cosmetic/superficial addition. However, it makes features like video storage and ease of use even more relevant, so we’re listing it as essential feature #5. G-Sensors typically make your dash cam more intelligent and therefore reliable to capture incidents. This type of sensor allows a camera to instantly recognize shock due to the G-force of a collision, while some dash cams can even automatically save the important sections of video into a separate, protected folder on the device. This gives you peace of mind and makes key moments easier to find when reviewing your footage at a later stage.
To conclude, BlackboxMyCar offers many of the highest-rated products in the industry, which include all of the features listed here today. Be sure to check out some of our best-selling cameras to see which products are most loved by other customers. Finally, if you want to learn more about the numerous other dash cam features which our products offer, take a look at our in-depth Dash Cam Buyer’s Guide for more information.