Cobra CDR 900 Review

A sporty design that's a bit more action cam than dashcam

Cobra's range topping CDR 900 is a very unique model in the dashcam marketplace as Cobra seems to have taken a dual-purpose Dashcam/Action Camera approach to designing it. The square dash cam has a 2" rear screen and a sporty look to it thanks to silver accents and a faux carbon fiber front trim. As with many action cams the lens also has an ultra wide 160 degree angle that causes a bit of a fisheye effect but also captures a lot within the frame of the video.

What's in the box?

As with all the Cobra drive HD devices, the CDR 900 is packaged very nicely and comes with a suction cup mount. The suction cup mount however doesn't seem as sturdy as the one we used on the CDR 840 although the proprietary sliding adapter makes the CDR 900 much easier to remove the device without affecting the mount angle. Interestingly enough the CDR 900 also comes with a lanyard adapter showing Cobra's dedication to their action camera customers. The device is powered by a 12 foot micro USB cable which is almost twice as long as the one found on the CDR840. 12 feet might be enough to tuck on  some cars in a hardwiring application and the 12v adapter supplied is a separated USB-to-cigarette lighter plug so it's easy to swap in a longer cable if needed. As a higher end device the CDR 900 does come with a Sandisk 8GB Micro SD card as opposed to the generic one found on the CDR 840, however 8GB is still only good for about 2 hours of Full HD footage and even less when you use this camera's maximum 1296P Super HD resolution.

Features

Being a high end device the CDR 900 has WiFI which can be paired with the Android or iOS Drive HD app which is easy to use and quick to connect. The actual native interface on the CDR 900 however looks dated and isn't that easy to use because there are only 2 buttons to navigate the menus. Interestingly enough the CDR 900 doesn't have an internal GPS perhaps due to packaging constraints but there is a plug for an external unit. The CDR900 also has a G-sensor and automatically partitions the memory card for normal mode and emergency mode, be careful however as the default setting is 50/50 so those with smaller cards might want to allow more room for normal recording. The maximum capacity card supported is 64GB which is above average and useful for Super HD recording. The CDR 900 doesn't have  a true parking mode which is a useful feature typically only found on Korean dashcams.

We strongly prefer the WiFi app to using the clumsy and dated 2 button interface of the CDR900

Video

Cobra's CDR 900 boasts an Ambarella A7LA Chipset and claims excellent image quality, night time performance , and dynamic range; this same sensor is used in the VicoVation Marcus 3 dash cam. In our findings the camera does provide pretty good dynamic range and it doesn't suffer from the glare that the CDR 840 did, however license plates aren't picked up quite as clearly perhaps due to the wide 160° angle. We also found that the suction cup mount needs to be very tightly secured otherwise it may cause some blurriness when going over bumpy roads. In our opinion the video quality is good but we're not sure it totally justifies the high price tag especially when you compare it to its Korean counterparts.

Verdict

Cobra may be marketing this device as a dual purpose camera however we find that it's a bit of a jack of all trades device and might not be the choice for someone looking for a dedicated dash cam. Further elaborating on that point, the design of the device is sporty but really sticks out at night due to the glossy finish and bright silver accents. With the excellent WiFi app the screen feels a little clumsy and redundant but we understand that there is certainly a demand for screen equipped devices. Those looking for a Cobra dashcam with a screen should consider the CDR 840 which has a better user interface but we're still partial to sleek devices that you can set and forget.

Video Samples: 

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