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Best Dash Cam Reviews 2014

Updated on October 31, 2014

What You Need to Know Before Buying a Dash Cam

Dashboard cameras, also known as dash cams, car cameras, car DVRs, accident recorders, are cameras mounted above your car's dashboard that record the view through the windshield as you drive. Dash cams have been widely used in Russia for years, where car accident occurrence is high and law enforcement believed to be incompetent and corrupt. But accidents can occur anywhere, and should you ever be in one the video footage from your dash cam may well be all you need to prove it wasn't your fault.

These are the best dashboard cameras available in 2014, from budget to high end. You'll also find an FAQ answering any technical questions you may have while deciding on a dash cam.

Who knows, you may even be lucky enough to capture a once-in-a-lifetime event like a meteor falling from the sky, like many Russians did in 2013!

What are the Benefits of a Personal Dash Cam?

The main reason why people buy personal dash cams is, of course, security. Dashboard cameras have been proven extremely useful in accidents, attempted car thefts, hit-and-runs, insurance fraud, and so forth.

A personal dash cam can also record scenic drives, or you can turn the camera around and record happy moments in the car with your family and friends. There's also always a chance that something interesting might happen that you would like to keep a reminder of: a meteor, rare animals grazing near the road, a celebrity crossing the street, or a scenic drive from a road trip to share.

How Much Do Dash Cams Cost?

While you can get yourself a dash cam for as little as $20, one that cheap probably won't be reliable or good quality. The most affordable car camera that I feel comfortable recommending is the DVR-027, which costs around $60.

High-end cameras will come with more features, such as GPS, HD, 1080p video, and wi-fi. For one with all this and a stealthy design you should be prepared to invest up to $400. There are, of course, intermediate options that are more affordable.

What Features Should I Look for in a Dash Cam?

  • Resolution

Resolution is measured in pixels: the more pixels on a screen, the sharper the picture. Dash cams with video graphics array have the lowest resolution, usually 640x480 pixels. This offers you just enough image quality to tell which car was where or to record the color of a traffic light when you crossed it. 720p cameras, which have a resolution of 1280x720 pixels (or HD, for high definition) offer a significant improvement and deliver pretty decent pictures at an affordable price. If you want top-quality recording, and especially if you plan on recording scenic routes or people in the car, go for 1080p cameras, which have a resolution of 1920x1080 pixels, and are also referred to as full HD.

  • Size and Discreetness

So as not to lure thieves, a dash cam shouldn't be too visible from outside the vehicle. Therefore, smaller cameras are better, and the preferred color is black. The best location to mount your dash cam is right behind the rearview mirror, where it is hardly discernible to the untrained eye.

  • Auto On/Off

An absolute must for a dashboard camera is that it turns off and on either when you power the ignition or, using motion sensors, when a body enters the car. You don't want to get into a situation in which you need the video footage only to find out that you forgot to turn the camera on.

  • Motion Detection/Parking Mode

In the event that someone damages your car while it's parked, a motion detector will pick up the action automatically.

  • Loop Recording

Another must for car cameras. Loop recording overwrites older footage when the storage is full, so recording never stops due to limited disk space. You can usually mark the footage that you want to keep so it doesn't get accidentally overwritten.

  • Night Vision

A nice treat, but not absolutely necessary as you will normally be having your headlights on when you drive at night. Consider night vision if you're concerned about your car being damaged or stolen at night or if you spend a lot of time driving in unlit areas.

  • Date and Time Stamp

Very helpful if you ever need to present your video footage as evidence in court. Don't forget to set the date and time when you install the camera!

  • Zoom

Not completely necessary. You would have to operate it manually while driving, which is dangerous and possibly illegal, depending on where you live.

  • LEDs

LED lights should be kept low-key for a car camera, especially if they're on the lens side. An LED that's too bright can create a reflection from the windshield, which would degrade video quality.

  • Power Adapter

Your dash cam's power adapter should be at least 11 feet (3.5m) long so you can install the power cord around the perimeter of the windshield instead of letting it dangle down.

  • Screen

While a screen helps to instantly view what you recorded, not all dash cams have one, and ones without screens are smaller. Cameras without a screen connect to your smartphone for viewing.

  • GPS

GPS is also optional. It allows you to record your exact position and calculate your speed, which can then be shown on the video along with the date and time stamp. A drawback is that the additional hardware obviously makes the camera bigger, which is the main reason why not all dash cams come with GPS.

  • Dual Lens/Multi-Channel

Dashboard cameras with two or more lenses are known as dual lens or multi-channel dash cams. Usually one lens faces forward out through the windshield and the other one faces back into the passenger room of the car. Unfortunately, multi-channel dash cams are still quite expensive, and most don't have very good video quality. This article focuses mostly on single-channel dash cams, but if you are looking for a dual-channel car camera I definitely recommend the BlackVue DR550GW-2CH.

Are Dashboard Cameras Legal?

The answer to this question depends, of course, on where you live, so any legal advice here would be limited. Austria, Switzerland, and Spain have outlawed dash cams outright, while Australia and Poland allow them but have laws explicitly pertaining to their regulation. If you have doubts about the legality of dash cams in your area, please consult with your local authorities.

That said, if it is legal where you live to take pictures and record videos in public (for example, with a mobile phone), then using a camera mounted in your car is probably also legal. Since you cannot record people's conversations, dash cams are arguably not an unreasonable invasion of privacy. That said, you should inform passengers that the dash cam will be recording anything they say, or turn off the audio all together.

How to Install a Dashboard Camera

Even though it's called a dash cam, it's not advisable to adhere your camera to the dashboard. Most dash cams stick to the windshield. Each camera and vehicle will have slightly different installation instructions. These are just the basic steps.

  • Dash cams are usually mounted with a suction cup high on the windshield, facing slightly down so that it can just see the tip of the hood to avoid washed out pictures when driving towards the sun.
  • After sticking the dash cam to the windshield, run the power cable along the headliner, hiding it under the rubber or upholstery, along the edge of the car's interior and the front door, and under the carpet on the floor of the car.
  • Depending on what dash cam and power adapter you have, you'll then either plug the adapter into the cigarette power socket or hardwire it into your car's fusebox. Again, follow the merchant's instructions.
  • Most dash cams use SD or MicroSD cards. For high definition video recording, class 10 cards are recommended. Except where noted otherwise, most cameras don't come with storage cards, so be sure to get one.

Best Dash Cams of 2014: Reviews

Whether you want the latest technology or you're on a budget and looking for a camera that delivers great value for little money, one of these dash cams is sure to satisfy your needs.

BlackVue Wi-Fi DR500GW-HD: Best Technology

BlackVue Wi-Fi DR500GW-HD 16GB Car Black Box/DVR Recorder
BlackVue Wi-Fi DR500GW-HD 16GB Car Black Box/DVR Recorder

The BlackVue DR500GW will cost you, but it's a cutting-edge dash cam with a great design. Small, round, and black, it fits neatly behind your rear-view mirror, making it barely visible from outside the vehicle.

The BlackVue doesn't have a screen, which allows it to be so small. It does, however, connect to your smartphone wirelessly or via a mini-USB. The cam's video footage can be viewed using an app for Android phones, iPhones, and tablets. It has great video quality day and night with a 1920x1080 resolution, 30 frames per second, and full HD. BlackVue is complete with GPS, wi-fi, voice command, a motion sensor, a date and time stamp, and auto power on/off triggered by the car's ignition or a motion sensor, and loop recording.

A dual-channel version of the DR500GW— called DR550GW-2CH—is also available. While even pricier, this camera has all the great features that the DR500GW has (including Wi-Fi), plus a smaller secondary camera that records through your rear-view window! The two cameras are connected by a long coaxial cable, so you only have to manage one unit.

 

OJOCAM Pro Mini 0801: A Reliable Mid-Price Camera with GPS

OJOCAM Pro Original Mini 0801 HD Dash Camera with latest firmware, G-sensor and GPS (google map integration), 1080P HD video, record car accident video evidence, record road trip videos and easily upload to YouTube -1.5" Lcd, 1080p real time
OJOCAM Pro Original Mini 0801 HD Dash Camera with latest firmware, G-sensor and GPS (google map integration), 1080P HD video, record car accident video evidence, record road trip videos and easily upload to YouTube -1.5" Lcd, 1080p real time

The Mini 0801 is one of the smallest and most inconspicuous dash cams around. Even better, it's available for a tiny price! For around $100, you get high quality 1080p video, a 1.5" screen for easy adjusting and video viewing, optional GPS and of course all the classical dash cam features such as auto on/off, loop recording, date and time stamp and motion detection.

This camera has a neat feature that most other dash cams don't. The power cable of the Mini 0801 goes into the camera socket instead of into the camera itself, so you can easily remove the dash cam from your car without having to unplug and replug any cables.

This is definitely one of the top sellers this year, and highly recommended if you're looking for a quality dash cam but can't spend too much money.

 

E-PRANCE G1W: Popular and Affordable

E-PRANCE New FHD 1080p 30fps G1w Car Camera Recorder with Novatek Nt96650 + 2.7 Inch Screen + 140 Degree Wide Angle Lens + Night Vision + G-sensor + H.264, Blue
E-PRANCE New FHD 1080p 30fps G1w Car Camera Recorder with Novatek Nt96650 + 2.7 Inch Screen + 140 Degree Wide Angle Lens + Night Vision + G-sensor + H.264, Blue

The G1W by E-PRANCE is easily one of the best selling dashboard cameras in the sub-$100 range. Often available for $60 or less, it delivers good quality 1080p video. It comes complete a big 2.7" screen for ease of operation.

Features include loop recording, date and time stamp, HDMI and mini-USB interfaces, motion detection, and auto on/off (triggered by car ignition or motion sensor). It doesn't have GPS though. If you need a low-price camera with GPS, go with the Mini 0801 instead.

The E-PRANCE has its downsides. It feels a bit cheap to the touch. Obviously, its low price is a result of being made low-quality raw materials. Also, video footage recorded by the G1W often looks rather shaky. This is fine if you need your camera purely for safety reasons in case of an accident, but in case you are planning to film scenic drives you will want to consider a more expensive model.

 

Abeo HDVR-150: The "Invisible" Dash Cam

Abeo HDVR-150 Car DVR Accident Camera Video Recorder Rear View Mirror type
Abeo HDVR-150 Car DVR Accident Camera Video Recorder Rear View Mirror type

I really love this camera's extraordinary design, which allows it to blend in perfectly with your car's interior. You clip the camera to your rear-view mirror, which makes it practically invisible. Easy to install and use, the HDVR-150 has loads of great reviews from buyers on Amazon, most of whom gave it five stars.

The HDVR-150 records good-quality 720p HD video (1280x720) at 30 frames per second (FPS) or 1080p (1920x1080) at 15 FPS. It supports auto on/off, loop recording, motion sensor, date and time stamp, and comes with a 2.4" screen that can be turned off. It comes with a free 4GB SD card, but you should upgrade to a 32GB card for maximum video duration. It's downside: no GPS.

 

FineVu CR-500HD: High End Dash Camera, Pricey But Worth It

Finevu NEW CR-500HD 16gb Full Hd Record Car Vehicle Black Box Recorder Camera Racing 1920x1080p@30fps w/SONY CMOS Sensor
Finevu NEW CR-500HD 16gb Full Hd Record Car Vehicle Black Box Recorder Camera Racing 1920x1080p@30fps w/SONY CMOS Sensor

Released in 2012, the FineVu CR-500HD is still one of the best dashboard cameras that money can buy. It has a reputation for reliability, and produces videos of excellent quality, day or night. It's one of the smallest and most inconspicuous dash cams available.

The FineVu supports resolutions up to 1080p Full HD (1920x1080 pixels at 30fps). It can supports SD cards up to 32GB, motion sensor, auto on/off, parking mode, loop recording, date and time stamp, and the ability to take still shots. It doesn't have a screen, which preserves its small size, but connects to Windows PCs and Android smartphones for playback.

The small size comes at the cost of not having in-built GPS like the BlackVue does, however an external GPS unit can be bought separately.

 

Dash Cams: Side-by-Side Comparison

Below is a side-by-side comparison of the dash cams reviewed here. Please note that pricing is based on the current Amazon price, and may be subject to change.

 
BlackVue DR500GW
OJOCAM Pro Mini 0801
E-PRANCE G1W
Abeo HDVR-150
FineVu CR-500HD
Price
$200-300
$95
$40-80
$90
$250
Resolution
1920x1080 pixels
1920x1080 pixels
1920x1080 or 1280x720 pixels
1920x1080 or 1280x720 pixels
1920x1080 pixels
Frames Per Second
30
30
30 or 60 (on lower resolution)
15 or 30 (on lower resolution)
30
Dimensions
7 x 4 x 3.5 inches
6.8 x 5.4 x 3.5 inches
n/a
14.4 x 5.3 x 2.5 inches
7.5 x 4 x 5 inches
Screen?
No
Yes: 1.5 inches
Yes: 2.7 inches
Yes: 2.4 inches
No
Wi-Fi?
Yes
No
No
No
No
GPS?
Yes
Yes
No
No
No
Motion Sensor?
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Date and Time Stamp?
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Auto On/Off?
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Loop Recording?
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes

What Else Would You Like To Know About Dash Cams?

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    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      very nice post!!!!

      www.autobahnindustries.com

    • raeby profile image

      raeby 4 years ago

      Great lens! Very informative!

    • profile image

      ZAEntertainment 4 years ago

      Very good lense! COme to my lenses to watch full movies!!!

    • samanthaperry profile image

      samanthaperry 4 years ago

      very nice Review Lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Great lens

    • RedHairedRockHead profile image

      RedHairedRockHead 4 years ago

      Wow, I had wondered how so many people just happened to have video cameras when the meteor hit - they had dash cams! I want one.

    • sebtanic profile image
      Author

      sebtanic 4 years ago

      @RedHairedRockHead: Cool, you are in the right place then :) What kind of cam are you looking for?

    • mcspocky lm profile image

      mcspocky lm 4 years ago

      I would love to have one of these...

    • makorip lm profile image

      makorip lm 4 years ago

      Great job on covering dash cams

    • profile image

      ajmac 4 years ago

      Nice lens.Thanks

    • Hairdresser007 profile image

      James Jordan 4 years ago from Burbank, CA

      Great lens gave me all the detail I wanted now will you come install it?

    • wjlambert lm profile image

      wjlambert lm 4 years ago

      This is one of the more informative reviews of Dash Cams that I have seen. I love to read about Tech stuff and seeing the review of the HDVR-150 is cool too. How's your experience been in using a Dash Cam, have you caught any meteors on camera?

    • sebtanic profile image
      Author

      sebtanic 4 years ago

      @wjlambert lm: I'm still waiting for my first meteor strike... or better yet, an alien landing. That would make me really famous on Youtube! However when you get a new dash cam, it's fun to watch your road videos on a big screen when you come home, even if nothing extraordinary happened. It's just so relaxing to watch yourself driving through a green landscape...

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      What is the gamma setting for these dashcams?

    • donjohnsonis lm profile image

      donjohnsonis lm 4 years ago

      Great lens, I was in South Korea recently and they are very popular there also. Very informative.

    • ValerieJoy profile image

      Valerie Smith 4 years ago from New Zealand

      I have never heard of dashboard cameras but they are certainly a good idea. I agree about having the smallest camera possible as otherwise they would be an attraction to those who break into cars. Great information, thank you.

    • yarfodg profile image

      yarfodg 4 years ago

      Very thorough reviews... Thanks for sharing!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Which cameras can handle the scorching heat inside a closed/parked car, in the summer, in Tampa, FL? I had two F500LHD cameras which both "melted" down when it got hot early this summer.

    • sebtanic profile image
      Author

      sebtanic 4 years ago

      @anonymous: The BlackVue has the greatest heat resistance of all the cameras featered here, with an operating temperature from -20°C to +70°C (-4°F to 158°F). You may want to give it a try.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Hi, Thanks for the fine review but what I am looking for is a camera with a long record time if I take a trip for example and drive for 6 hours straight.

      Are there any that will allow that length of time without recording over the previous recording, does any dash cam have the capacity in sd cards or other media even an external hard drive to allow basically unlimited recordings..

      Again I thank you.

      Sincerely,

      Ken

    • sebtanic profile image
      Author

      sebtanic 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Hi Ken, the recording capacity depends on the video resolution and the size of the memory card. I.e. if you want to record a long trip, you can either go for a lower resolution and frame rate, or if you want top quality, get a couple of 32GB SD cards and exchange them after a couple of hours just before they are full.

      The exact recording time depends on the codec and bit rate of each camera, but one 32GB card (the current maximum that dash cams will allow) is enough for several hours of 1080p footage.

      I don't know of any cameras that can record to an external hard disk.

      Kind regards!

    • bt55 profile image

      bt55 4 years ago

      It is also important to consider whether it is considered illegal to place anything in front of a driver which may restrict his or her vision. In some jurisdictions, you can get a ticket for even having anything hanging from a rear view mirror. I am an auto broker and have heard many such stories from clients.

    • sebtanic profile image
      Author

      sebtanic 4 years ago

      @bt55: Dashboard cameras are affixed statically to the wind screen. Thus, they do not dangle around, as objects do that some people will hang on their mirror. This is indeed dangerous, as the moving object inside the car can cause the driver not to notice a movement outside the car.

      A dash cam, however, doesn't move at all. Much like a GPS navigation system, but even less intrusive to the driver's field of view, because it is usually placed right behind the rear-view mirror.

    • blestman lm profile image

      blestman lm 4 years ago

      Solid review lens. Thank you. Since the dashboard camera is in your car it probably means that you can take pictures in the same places where you can roll down your window and point and shoot.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      For a first time dashcam buyer this blog is very informative to read.

      Thanks,

      Oscar

    • profile image

      anonymous 3 years ago

      the mio 388 dash cam has speed camra alert,why don't you test it .they have been making gps for years.

    • profile image

      anonymous 3 years ago

      I am thinking about this model,(HD1080P Dual Lens Dashboard Dash Car Separate Rear Camera Vehicle DVR NEW F90)' however I would like your opinion. Does it do everything the other models listed do or am I missing something?

      | Add to Watch list

    • profile image

      anonymous 3 years ago

      @anonymous: LUKAS LK-7900. Pricey, but a favorite of my friends out here in Vegas. Gets kinda hot here in the summer. Safe up to 180F but even here the car temp hits a max of 150 or just above

    • sebtanic profile image
      Author

      sebtanic 3 years ago

      @anonymous: Sorry, I'm not sure which model you are referring to.

    • sebtanic profile image
      Author

      sebtanic 3 years ago

      @anonymous: Thanks, I might have a look at the Mio 388 one of these days.

    • profile image

      Doc_Holliday 3 years ago

      My dash cam has been invaluable in providing evidence against bad guys. Wouldn't want to drive without it.

    • Snakesmum profile image

      Jean DAndrea 3 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Have been thinking about getting a dash cam recently, so this lens was very interesting and enlightening. Thanks.

    • profile image

      John651 3 years ago

      Do any dash cams have the option to automatically upload the video to a cloud? That way the boyscouts wont be able to destroy the evidence.

    • sebtanic profile image
      Author

      sebtanic 3 years ago

      @John651: I don't think this option is available on any dash cams yet. The camera would have to be connected to the internet at all times while driving, with sufficient bandwidth to upload a video stream... I think we might see this in a couple of years maybe, but technology is just not there yet. I'll keep you posted though ;)

    • profile image

      jetpub 2 years ago

      Concerning the the wi-fi dashcams, is it possible to record the images to a wi-fi SSD hard-drive (hiden and permanently connected), thus allowing much more storage than the 32Go SD card ?

    • sebtanic profile image
      Author

      sebtanic 2 years ago

      @jetpub: No, that's not possible. Wi-Fi streaming is not reliable enough for that.

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