Sarah Witman has been a science writer for more than eight years, covering a wide variety of topics from particle physics to satellite remote sensing. Since joining Wirecutter in 2017, she has reviewed trail cameras, portable power stations, rechargeable AA and AAA batteries, and more.
Rik Paul, who contributed reporting for this guide, has been testing and writing about automotive electronics and accessories for the past 25 years. To get the legal perspective on dash cams, he interviewed Ben Schwartz, a personal injury attorney and managing partner of Schwartz & Schwartz Attorneys at Law.
We then set up the dash cams in a car, evaluating how easy it was to attach the mounts to the windshield, connect the dash cams to their mounts, adjust the aim of the cameras, and then remove them. We tested the cameras in bright sunlight and at night, and on highways and suburban streets, racking up hours of driving time. To make sure we could accurately compare the dash cams with one another, we drove the same routes, which we chose for the amount of detail available for the cameras to capture.
The N4 has a front-facing camera with 4K resolution (the best possible resolution available in any dash cam being sold today), as well as interior and rear-facing cameras with 1080p resolution. In our testing, the primary camera recorded clear footage with true-to-life, appropriately saturated colors. It was able to pick up on license plate numbers and other important details even in dim or dark environments.
The Nextbase 622GW has a single, front-facing camera with 4K resolution (unlike with our top pick, its 1080p interior and rear cameras must be purchased separately). Both during the day and at night, it can capture crucial visual information such as street signs, license plate numbers, and even car makes and models in vivid detail. Although its 140-degree FOV is a bit narrower than that of the Vantrue N4, that amount is still within our ideal range for viewing as many objects as possible at the same time.
The Mini 2 has a single, front-facing camera that records at 1080p resolution, yet it delivers surprisingly good video quality compared with similar models. It has the same 140-degree FOV as the Nextbase 622GW, on the narrow side but still within our ideal range. Like all our other picks, it has a 24-hour parked-car monitoring mode to detect motion and impacts whether the car is running or not (and as with our other picks, you have to buy a separate external battery pack or hardwiring kit to use this feature).
The N1 Pro is dead simple to use. To the right of the screen, it has four well-marked control buttons: power on/off, up, down, and select. On the top of the unit is a single button that lets you easily save video clips and still photos while the camera is recording (otherwise, like most dash cams, it saves footage automatically when it detects a crash).
Viofo has released several models since our last round of testing, including the A139 Pro 3CH. It has a 4K front camera in addition to 1080p rear and interior cameras, and many of the same premium features found in our top and upgrade picks. We plan to test it as soon as we can.
The MyGekoGear Orbit 960 (from the company formerly known as Geko) has a 4K front-facing camera and some premium features such as GPS tracking and app connectivity. You can also buy a hardwiring kit separately to add 24-hour parked-car monitoring. In our testing, the Orbit 960 was easy to set up and use, and footage from both day and night was crisp and clear. However, at this writing it has just nine customer reviews on Amazon (and a rating of 3.8 out of five stars), which makes us hesitant to recommend it.
The Vantrue N2 Pro Dual used to be one of our picks, but its front and interior cameras have worse resolutions (1440p and 1080p, respectively) than those of our top pick and upgrade pick, and it offers no additional features.
The Vava VA-VD009 has a 1600p front camera and a 1080p interior camera, both of which produced clear and vivid footage in our tests. We also found this model easy to set up and use, and relatively unobtrusive on the windshield. But it costs just as much as other models with the same features and higher-resolution cameras.
The Viofo A129 Pro Duo has a 4K front camera and a 1080p rear camera. It offers a good mix of features (including GPS tracking, 24-hour parked-car monitoring, and app connectivity), but in our tests it was much more difficult to set up and use compared with less-expensive models offering the same capabilities.
Working with Rachel on our client project for cameras has been a breeze. I really appreciated the prompt answers and diligent follow-up. I will be recommending AVer's products to all of my clients going forward as a result of her fantastic service.
I love using AVer auto tracking cameras to track professors and archive their lectures with Zoom software. The cameras provide a set it and forget it functionality that allows us to put them in a lecture room and have them follow around our active presenters autonomously.
Whether you need a simple tool to control your PTZ or TR camera, or manage over a hundred on your network, AVer has great options. CaptureShare and PTZ Management for desktop and AVer PTZ Control Panel for iPad have you covered. For new voice tracking features, look to PTZ Link. Visit our support page for easy download of our desktop software.
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You could spend hundreds of dollars on a dash cam, or you can spend tens. This one falls near the middle, which means it's full of features but won't cost the equivalent of a car payment. Its ultra HD camera can capture images up to 2160p resolution, and the built-in Wi-Fi and GPS can track your route on the free Rove app or on Google Maps.
Before you take a photo, the iPhone camera automatically sets the focus and exposure, and face detection balances the exposure across many faces. If you want to manually adjust the focus and exposure, do the following:
The best dash cams can have anything from one, two or even three cameras. Single camera dash cams record the outside view from your windscreen, dual dash cams add an inside facing camera which is especially useful for ride-share drivers like taxis, while three-camera dash cams are more for professional drivers clocking up the miles, adding an additional viewpoint from the outside of the vehicle, being especially handy for trucks.
The overall experience installing, getting started and ease of use on the go varies wildly from dash cam to dash cam. For the most part, dash cams mount somewhere along a car's front windscreen or windshield. Of course, wherever you place your dash cam must not block your view of the road.
The advent of rear-facing cameras (or complete kits that contain both front and rear) require a little extra installation, as these often involve cables that run from front to back. Expect some fiddly work involving the car's headliner to get these fitted correctly.
Dash cams record smaller snippets of footage, usually in increments of one to two minutes at a time. The cameras continually record over the oldest clip in order to keep the memory card from filling up as well.
While older models typically required the user to manually save or tag the appropriate clip in the event of an accident, new G-Sensor-based incident detection technology has taken over, and now takes care of this automatically.
When it comes to dash cams, don't take everything at face value. 4K video recording might feel crucial, but the quality across cameras can vary wildly - even Full HD video in some of the best dash cams can give sharper detail than that of 4K in lesser-quality offerings. 4K can also fill up memory cards really quickly.
If you want to record inside and outside your vehicle at the same time, then a dual dash cam is for you and be advised that the spec can vary a lot between these two cameras. There's plenty more to consider; ease of installation, ease of use, companion apps and bonus features like what3words. You can learn more through our buying tips at the end of this guide.
A built-in polarizing filter on the front of the camera can be rotated to reduce glare from windscreens, while digital image stabilization is another first for the dash cam market and helps smooth out those bumps and shakes caused by potholes and poor road surfaces.
Aimed at those who spend extended periods behind the wheel, the Nexar Pro is a dual-cam solution that can record video both inside and outside a vehicle. Comprised of two separate camera units connected by a cable, we found the setup to be pretty neat, even if it took up a fair bit of screen real estate.
Both cameras offer a 2560x1440 resolution and a wide 156-degree field of view. We found that footage was dependably impressive, with plenty of detail and decent dynamic range, even in dim and dark conditions.
At face value, the Viofo A129 Pro Duo is an unattractive dash cam with a cheap-feeling build and rudimentary hardware, plus installation is a fiddly process. But if you want a dual-channel solution at a good price, it does plenty to impress. Utilising a Sony Exmor R sensor, the front camera captures crisp 4K footage (3840 x 2160p) up to 30fps.
In our tests, footage captured out of the front camera was perfectly good enough in most scenarios. That said, it falls some way behind some of the market leaders, which now offer impressive 4K capabilities, excellent low-light capture and Wide Dynamic Range technology for all driving conditions.
The interior and rear cameras capture 170-degrees of action, thanks to a wide field of view, while that interior camera also uses six LEDs to assist with its infrared capabilities. Even in the darkest driving conditions, we found it easy to make out what was going on inside the car. 59ce067264