DOD RC500S - In Depth Review
Not too long ago we posted a quick overview of the DOD RC500S where we talked about how we were impressed with many aspects of the dash cam. In this full review we will be taking a more in-depth look at this dash cam and see where it excels and it falls short.
The DOD RC500S is an easy-to-use dual channel dash cam with excellent video quality. It focuses on image quality over other dash cam features such as cloud, buffered parking-mode recording and advanced driving safety assistance features. The RC500S is primarily designed for customers who want the best image quality and care less about some other features. In the past there were some issues with the firmware but DOD has stepped up to fix these issues, and we’re confident enough to carry their flagship dash cam.
The RC500S internals are quite impressive. It has full HD front and rear cameras with 1080p 30fps recording capabilities. While a lot of cameras in the market can also capture at 1080P and 30fps, the RC500S’ significant advantage is in its high bitrate. Bitrate is the amount of information that can be captured by the camera at any given time. Most high-end dash cams records at around 10 MBPS as that’s needed for optimal image quality. However, even at 10 MBPS, it can be difficult at times to see licence plates when speed of travel is factored in. The RC500S, however, can capture at a high 15MBPS which directly translates to more details being captured for both its front and rear cameras, resulting in exceptional video quality.
Although high bitrate is an important factor, it doesn’t mean anything without integration of clear optics.The RC500S features a 6-element glass lens in front of the sensor allowing for the best optical clarity. Behind the glass sits an F1.6 aperture ring granting the most amount of light to hit the Sony Starvis sensor behind. DOD has genuinely looked at the market and utilized the best hardware possible when making the RC500S, as the specifications shows it’s not just another dash cam.
Unlike some of its main competitors, DOD opted to go with USB type connectors for all of the connections. While these connectors are durable, they are relatively bulky. It adds length to the ends of the unit thus making running of cables a bit more difficult. . For the rear camera the connector feeds out of the camera and up towards the headliner. If the area between the headline is tight, this connecting cable may be difficult to run with the thicker USB cables.
Similar to some other products the DOD will require the use of the Power Magic Pro or a Multi-Safer to activate the built-in parking mode. Power draw on the RC500S is high as it draws approximately 7.5Watts of power. This means when paired with a Cellink Battery pack the dashcam will not last as long as its main competitors. While the RC500S does have a dedicated parking mode, it does not have buffered recording. This means if an incident were to occur it will only record at the time of the event, and not be able to provide the 5-10 seconds that lead up the event, which is something that is quite important and is offered by our other popular dash cams. This might cause some issues as video will literally begin only when something is detected, and oftentimes may result in omission of important footage.
Using the unit in the day reveals that the RC500S is able to capture details in dark and bright areas thanks to its high dynamic range. On the bottom right-hand side, the RC500S shows the current ISO settings that’s constantly adjusting to what’s needed to capture the most amount details at any given time.
It’s without doubt the RC500S stands out as a competitive dual channel dash cam, but the lack of buffered recording during parking mode can be troubling for some. For those who are looking for a simple to use dash cam that can record high-quality video while driving and do not need the assurance of parking mode the RC500S is easily the one to recommend. While lacking in full on features like ADAS or cloud services the RC500S can undoubtedly hold its own thanks to the excellent image quality.
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