The VicoVation OPIA2 is one of the most talked about dash cams of 2016 for a number of good reasons. The design of the OPIA2 is a familiar one as it resembles the older Marcus devices but the changes on the inside are what make the OPIA very appealing. It runs on the Ambarella A12 chipset which lets it record high bitrate 1440P video at 30 frames per second. In terms of video quality this device is easily among the best on the market right now and the fact that it's produced by one of the pioneers in the dash cam industry gives us added confidence in this product. Our friend Andrew at Car Cam Central also tested this model at over 70 degrees Celsius and saw no performance drop off which was very impressive. We also noted that the camera ran cooler than other comparable dash cams.
In terms of design, the OPIA 2 definitely isn't the prettiest dash cam out there but in our testing we found the unit to be fairly sleek once mounted in the car. A lot of consumers worry that the unit is bulky due to the shape but in reality it's actually quite compact and narrow. When fitted with the quick release mount and optional CPL filter, the OPIA 2 is actually quite difficult to spot in our test vehicle. One problem we found with the Marcus series dash cams was that the swivel ball was not all that secure and could easily be bumped out of place by something like a sun visor. With the OPIA 2, we're pleased to see that the design has been refined and that the swivel ball offers a much more secure fit. This mount type is not as discreet as the low-profile adhesive mounts we've seen on Korean dash cams but it offers significantly more adjustment if you have to mount the camera off to the side. This mount is also great for recording police interactions as long as you leave a bit of slack in the power cable.
The video quality of the OPIA 2 is simply amazing in both day and night situations. The Ambarella A12 processor allows the OPIA 2 to record at just under 25 Mbps so the videos retain much more quality compared to other dash cams which typically record between 10 to 15 Mbps. Even on a pitch black road with weak illumination from our headlights the video sensor did incredibly well. We found that the swivel ball held the reasonably well and held the device securely even in a motorsports environment. We were a little worried about the 160° lens and whether the fisheye effect would compromise sharpness but the OPIA 2 manages to pick up license plates even from the edges of the video which is a testament to the lens quality. The wide angle did make further away license plates a bit harder to pick up but in terms of overall video quality, this has to be one of the best 1 channel dash cams on the market right now.
The OPIA2 has an optional GPS mouse antenna that adds location and speed tracking as well as lane departure warning and forward collision warning. If you hardwire the OPIA 2 you can also take advantage of what VicoVation calls "Smart Parking Surveillance 2.0". This lets you choose between motion detection or time lapse recording when the car is parked to protect you in the event of a hit and run. The motion detection initiates recording once movements are detected but it lacks the pre-buffered recording other parking mode dash cams such as the Thinkware lineup. This means that it will only start recording after motion or impact is detected which in some cases may be too late. One feature that would be nice to see on the OPIA 2 would be WiFi connectivity which VicoVation used to have on their WF1 dash cam. Because of this you have to change settings using the buttons and LCD screen. While we found that the 2" screen was a nice size and fairly clear but the buttons are not clearly laid out and not very responsive.
Verdict on the VicoVation OPIA2
Vicovation's OPIA2 is an excellent dash cam combining both great build quality and video quality. We like the high bitrate recording and versatile yet compact design. This dash cam will appeal to users who want a simple plug and play device as it offers uncompromised video quality and a fairly simple setup that will work in all climates. It's also nice that the OPIA2 has other features for those that want to hardwire their device for parking mode protection as it can take advantage of VicoVation's Parking Surveillance features. It's not the best parking mode device as it doesn't offer pre-buffered recording and the high bitrate will fill up a memory card very quickly if you park on a busy street.