High-End Dash Cams vs. Budget Dash Cams — BlackboxMyCar
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High-End Dash Cams vs. Budget Dash Cams

Compare high-end dash cams with budget options to find the perfect fit for your needs. Understand the differences in resolution, features, and reliability to make an informed decision for safety and convenience on the road.

One of the biggest considerations when buying a dash cam – aside from the brand, video resolution, and channel configuration is the budget.

How much are you willing to spend for this device? Less than a hundred? 150? 300? 500? Really depends on how you see its importance! In this article, we will show you the main highlights of a high-end dash cam, and if it’s a worthwhile investment compared to budget dash cams.

Why should I buy a high-end dash cam?

There are a few reasons why the Thinkware, BlackVue, and VIOFO are more expensive than the low-cost dash cams available on Amazon, and these features make a huge difference not only in image quality, but also in performance and long-term reliability.

Designed Discreetly

Budget dash cams typically come with an LCD display screen. While the screen offers instant playback and settings configuration via buttons, having a screen does add to the size of the dash cam, which we do not recommend for security, and legality reasons.

On the other hand, the sleek design of premium dash cams allows you to hide the dash cam behind the rear-view mirror away from sight, making it harder for potential wrong-doers to spot. Premium dash cam manufacturers also utilize high-quality plastics that match the OEM parts and style, allowing the dash cams to blend in with the rest of the interior of your vehicle a stock in-cabin look.

Full HD, 2K and 4K Video Quality

The sharpness and clarity of the recorded video are referred to as video quality, which is a major consideration in footage. Remember, all dash cams record, but the video quality varies; higher quality provides you a better chance of recording important details like license plates.

While some may claim that daytime video quality is comparable among premium and budget cameras, 4K UHD does provide a greater distance of license plate readability, allowing you to zoom in on details without sacrificing clarity. Our best bet here? Dash cams with the all-new Sony STARVIS 2 technology.

At night, the disparities between cameras are even more visible. It can be more difficult to produce a dash cam with excellent nighttime video quality, and this is one area where premium cameras outperform their budget equivalents. If you would compare the Super Night Vision capability of an Amazon 4K dash cam vs. Thinkware U3000 with Super Night Vision 4.0, you would see the difference in an instant. While high quality image sensors help with night vision, Super Night Vision 4.0 and other features are mainly reliant on the CPU and software found within the unit.

And digging deeper in Amazon, we found that there are still dash cams available on the site that record 720p, usually below $50 – which means you get grainy, dark, and blurry footage. Some of them also advertise 4K video resolution, but the catch is, they’re fake 4K.

Parking Mode Recording for 24/7 Security

If your dash cam doesn’t have parking mode recording, you are MISSING a LOT. Parking mode means that recording is done even when your engine is off and your car is parked – which is a long duration on most days.

Fortunately, most dash cams nowadays, including the entry-level models, already include parking mode with impact detection. The dash cam will begin recording after a collision is detected, but the person who caused the hit may have already left by the time recording begins.

With premium dash cams, you get more than one parking mode – you also get time lapse, auto event detection, low bitrate recording, energy saving parking mode, and buffered recording. Buffered recording includes the few seconds before and after the impact with buffered footage, giving you a complete description of what really happened.

Some premium dash cams like Thinkware models are especially long-lasting in parking mode, with special power conserving software. Beyond that, the Thinkware U3000 has a built-in radar sensor to conserve much more power than previous models.

Trusted to Take Over Temperatures

Higher-end dash cams, which use supercapacitors instead of lithium ion batteries, can withstand extreme temperatures. More Amazon dash cams are battery-powered and hence prone to exploding under extreme heat, just like when using a smartphone as a dash cam.

In contrast to batteries, which can only endure a limited amount of heat, supercapacitor-based cameras can withstand temperatures ranging from 60 to 70 degrees Celsius (140 to 158 degrees Fahrenheit). More expensive dash cams, in addition to superior manufacture and stronger materials, also use AI Heat Monitoring, which also extends the life of your dash cam.

Super capacitors also help with the longevity of the unit, increasing the stability and decreasing the risk of internal damage when outside of temperature ranges.

Smartphone Compatibility

Premium dash cams include built-in Wi-Fi that can link to your smartphone via a mobile app, allowing you to playback footage, download them to your phone, share on your favourite social networks, update firmware, and modify camera settings. This capability comes in handy when you are unable to plug the SD card into your computer for in-depth review.

In the event of an accident, for example, you may be asked to share the tape with the authorities on the spot. In this scenario, you can use the mobile app to save a copy of the movie to your phone and then email it to yourself – a total time and energy saver!

Cloud Features for Connectivity

If you want the utmost peace of mind, a Cloud-ready premium dash cam may provide you with features like push notifications, emergency alerts, two-way voice calls, vehicle tracking, live playback, and Cloud backup, allowing you to remain on top of issues from your smartphone at any time and from any location.

While budget dash cams don’t have this, we have Thinkware Connected and BlackVue Cloud. These dash cams are highly recommended to monitor your vehicle, your driver, and your passengers especially for young drivers and fleet managers.

Built-in LTE

We mentioned that high-end dash cams are capable of providing Cloud services, which also requires an internet connection so you can enjoy all the features. Unfortunately, budget dash cams don’t have the cloud, and can’t also create their own internet connection.

In some cases, dash cams have to connect to the house Wi-Fi, but what if you’re away and you need internet? For BlackVue dash cams, if you don’t have an optional CM100G LTE external module, you can also – straightforward – get a dash cam that has internet built-in itself!

Say hello to our LTE dash cams, the DR770X-2CH LTE and the DR970X-2CH LTE. Through these premium dash cams, you get instant internet connection that makes Cloud access a breeze! All you need is an active SIM card with a data plan and you’re connected to your phone, dash cam, and other devices that need the internet. Also best for instant Cloud Connectivity!

Advanced Driver Assist Systems

Now, let’s go to safety. Budget dash cams don’t have enough features to keep you informed of what you should do for safe driving. Meanwhile, premium dash cams have Advanced Driver Assist Systems or ADAS, that from the name itself, assists the driver in the most intelligent ways possible.

Features like Forward Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning, Emergency Braking System, and Speed Limit Alerts are all under ADAS – and these features can actually save lives!

Maximum Storage and Memory Partitioning

We all know how important micro SD cards and storage are. No SD card? No video. One of the things that usually annoys us is when the “Memory Card Full” notification shows up on our screen, which is a usual scenario for budget dash cams with small storage capacities.

While budget dash cams normally support 16 GB to 128 GB max, premium dash cams can carry up to 256 GB and even 512 GB like the VIOFO A139 Pro.

With dash cams like Thinkware, you also get the Memory Partitioning feature. This refers to the allocation of the available storage space on the dash cam's memory card for functions like loop recording where the oldest files get overwritten when the storage is full. By partitioning the memory, a specific portion is dedicated to loop recording to ensure that the dash cam always has recent footage available.

High-end vs. Budget Dash Cams

So what are the differences between a high-end vs. budget dash cam? See our feature comparison infographic to understand the differences in features.

Recommended Dash Cams with Parking Mode

Thinkware U3000 4K UHD 2-CH Dash Cam

  • Resolution: Front 4K UHD @ 30FPS, Rear 2K QHD @ 30FPS
  • Video sensor: 8.24MP Sony STARVIS Sensor 2 IMX 678
  • GPS: Built-in
  • G-sensor: Built-in
  • Radar detector: Built-in
  • Night Vision: Super Night Vision 4.0
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi (Android and Apple compatible)
  • Viewing angle: Front 158°, Rear 128° Field of View
  • Maximum MicroSD card capacity: 256GB
  • Microphone: Built-in
  • Speaker: Built-in
  • Thinkware Cloud: Cloud-Ready
  • Parking Mode: Yes, with buffering and motion & impact detection, time-lapse, radar motion detection
  • Memory Partitioning: Yes
  • Lane departure warnings: Built-in
  • Forward collision warning: Built-in
  • Red light camera warning: Built-in

BlackVue DR970X-2CH LTE 4K UHD Cloud Dash Cam

  • Resolution: Front 4K UHD @ 30FPS, Rear 1080p Full HD @ 30FPS
  • Video sensor: Sony STARVIS 8MP CMOS sensor
  • GPS: Built-in
  • G-sensor: Built-in
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi (Android and Apple compatible)
  • LTE: Built-in
  • Viewing angle: Front 155°, Rear 139° Field of View
  • Maximum MicroSD card capacity: 256GB
  • Microphone: Built-in
  • Speaker: Built-in
  • BlackVue Cloud: Cloud-Ready via Built-in LTE
  • Parking Mode: Yes, with buffering and motion & impact detection
  • Power Cable: Hardwire Kit Included
BlackVue DR970X-2CH 4K UHD Cloud Dash Cam - Dash Cams - BlackVue DR970X-2CH 4K UHD Cloud Dash Cam - 2-Channel, 4K UHD @ 30 FPS, Adhesive Mount, App Compatible, Bluetooth, Cloud, Desktop Viewer, G-Sensor, GPS, Hardwire Install, Loop Recording, Mobile App, Mobile App Viewer, Night Vision, Parking Mode, Security, South Korea, Super Capacitor, Wi-Fi - BlackboxMyCar

VIOFO A139 Pro 4K UHD 3-CH Dash Cam

  • Resolution: Front 4K UHD @ 30FPS, Rear 1080p Full HD @ 30FPS, Interior 1080p Full HD @ 30FPS
  • Video sensor: Front - 8MP Sony STARVIS 2 sensor, Rear and Interior, 2MP Sony STARVIS IMX291
  • GPS: Built-in
  • G-sensor: Built-in
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi (Android and Apple compatible)
  • Viewing angle: Front 140°, Rear 170°, Interior 170° Field of View
  • Maximum MicroSD card capacity: 512GB
  • Microphone: Built-in
  • Speaker: Built-in
  • Parking Mode: Yes, with buffering and motion & impact detection and low bitrate
  • Voice Control: None
BlackVue Dash Cams BlackVue DR750-2CH LTE Cloud Dash Cam

Why We Recommend High End Dash Cams

A dash cam in your vehicle will help you in whatever situation you're in, and higher end dash cams will do the job seamlessly for you. So what are you waiting for? Explore our collection of dash cams today. If you have any further questions, comments or suggestions, then don't hesitate to reach out to our product experts today!

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