VIOFO has recently confirmed a couple of new “features” that could potentially be make-or-break game-changing deals for those in the market for a new dash cam.
VIOFO's Memory Partitioning and Buffered Parking Recording...Gone!
How VIOFO's latest features impact you.
Memory Partitioning and Loop Recording in Parking Mode
For those familiar with dash cams, parking mode is the dash cam’s ability to record incidents that happened when your vehicle’s parked and/or when you’re away from it. Parking mode comes in handy in a variety of situations, including:
- Someone dings your car with their car door
- Your vehicle is involved in a hit and run while parked
- Someone vandalizes or attempt to steal your vehicle or your cargo
In fact, theft (as well as vandalism and other non-collision incidents) is the main reason why many of our customers turn to a dash cam in the first place.
If all files are saved onto the microSD card, how do you know which file is parking footage and which is normal driving footage?
This is where memory partitioning comes into play.
Typically, the dash cam labels and stores each type of footage into their different folders. For example, during regular recording, the files are marked as normal types. When an impact occurs, the file becomes an event file. When motion is detected during parking mode, the file becomes a motion file. This reduces the risk of overwriting old content - files can only be overwritten by the same file type.
In addition to safeguarding the most important footage, memory partitioning allows you to get by with a smaller microSD card, as opposed to a large microSD card without memory partitioning. There's nothing worse than seeing damage on your car only to find out that by the time you check the card, the camera had overwritten the clip.
Thinkware, BlackVue and IROAD all come with memory partitioning. Unfortunately, VIOFO no longer supports it. They used to, but if you have recently updated your VIOFO dash cam firmware, you would notice that all footage files are now dumped into one video folder with files overwriting each one.
How does that impact me?
While your VIOFO video files are still labelled differently (ie. continuous as continuous, impact as impact, etc.), impact/incident files are no longer protected from being overwritten. This means, if you are using a smaller microSD card and driving a lot, the risk of you overwriting your incident files is higher. It does puzzle us why VIOFO would revert back to doing things this way.
So, how can you make sure your incident files are saved? Well, one way is to manually download and save all your files as soon as you know there has been an incident. If you’re on the road, you will need to tap into the dash cam with the VIOFO mobile app and download the file to your phone. If you have access to a laptop, then you can always plug the microSD card into your device and transfer all the files.
Yes, this is plausible only if you have access to a laptop right there and then, or if you can spare the time to connect to your dash cam via WiFi and have a data plan that supports large file downloads.
The other way is to use the largest microSD card your VIOFO dash cam will take and hope that by the time you get home, your footage file is still there. A 256GB microSD card will give you about 7.5 hours of recording for the A129 Pro Duo or the A129 Plus Duo (front and rear) at the max. quality setting - or you can always use the H.265 codec and get an extra hour of recording on the same camera and settings.
Of course, you can get way more hours of coverage if you are using the A129 Duo Full HD and record at the lowest quality setting. But compromising quality for quantity - that kind of defeats the purpose of getting a better dash cam, don’t you think?
Any way to keep the memory partitioning function?
If you absolutely do not want to lose the memory partitioning function, then the only thing you can do is avoid any firmware upgrades, especially if you are using an older VIOFO dash cam and have not yet upgraded your dash cam firmware.
If you choose this route, here's the firmware versions you need to avoid:
- A129 Pro: A129 Pro V2.1
- A129 Duo: A129 Duo V2.1
From what we’ve seen, VIOFO is pushing this new change via the new firmware. New dash cams (purchased prior to November 2020) will come with the new firmware already installed so unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do anymore, and this also applies to those who have already upgraded firmware.
There is, though, a downside to not upgrading firmware ever. Firmware is how a manufacturer distributes camera fixes and new features. So, by not upgrade the firmware, you will miss out on any fixes that VIOFO is pushing to resolve older issues as well as the exciting new features. Ironic, isn’t it. So, if this applies to you, you’ve got some tough decisions to make!
And what happened to buffered parking recording?
We’re glad you asked! We have yet to receive official confirmation from VIOFO, but we noticed that buffered parking recording is no longer available, especially in VIOFO’s latest offering, the A129 Plus and A129 Plus Duo.
What is buffered parking?
Buffered parking is the dash cam’s ability to record without writing to the memory card. This allows the dash cam to save your footage as a cache. This cache is then written onto the memory card in the event an incident is detected - the cache will then act as the pre-event footage to give you comprehensive coverage of the incident.
Does that mean I can still get buffered parking recording from the eMMC version of the A129 Plus on Amazon?
eMMC simply means the dash cam comes with built-in storage, all 16GB of it, and according to VIOFO, the built-in storage is mainly for backup incident storage. So, logically, you would think that cache would be supported and thus buffered parking recording.
Unfortunately, that’s not the case. It doesn’t matter if you are using the eMMC version from Amazon or the non-eMMC version from BlackboxMyCar, you just won’t get buffered parking recording from the VIOFO A129 Plus and Plus Duo.
There’s speculation that VIOFO might remove buffered parking recording from all VIOFO models in the near future. Many have reported issues and many have confirmed it missing from their VIOFO dash cams.
Again, we have every reason to believe that VIOFO is pushing this change via firmware updates - so it goes back to our point earlier - to upgrade firmware or not, it’s certainly is tough decision to make!
What other options do I have?
While the VIOFO is a budget-friendly brand, a dash cam is still considered an investment for many drivers. And by budget-friendly, we really meant “friendl-ier” as you’re still looking at a $200+ price tag.
So, is it worth spending $200+ on a 2K non-Cloud dash cam that doesn’t support memory partitioning nor buffered parking recording? And don’t forget you will also need to factor in the extra costs for a larger microSD card. When all’s said and done, you are looking at a $266.99 investment.
In other words, there is no shortage of options if these new VIOFO features are just not cutting it anymore. Talk to one of our Sales Specialists today and let’s find you a dash cam that better fit your needs.