- Consumer Electronics & Personal Gadgets
Product Review: Transcend DrivePro 200 Car Video Recorder
What do you hate most while driving?
Driving can be a great experience, however if you're living in a high-population density metropolis like Philippines' Manila, it can quickly turn into one of your worst nightmares. Arrogant drivers, corrupt traffic enforcers, jaywalking pedestrians, getting flagged down because of a supposed "violation"...the list goes on. These are the reasons why a recording device like a dash cam is a godsend; it gives you solid evidence to defend yourself with if the situation calls for it. The question is: what model should you buy?
This was the same question I asked myself while I was thinking of the perfect dash cam to give my boyfriend as a birthday present. His driving profile makes him the perfect candidate to receive a dash cam: he always drives me home late into the night after our dates, he serves as his siblings' "chauffeur" (always fetching them after school), and he lives in one of the largest cities in the metro. Giving him a dash cam as a birthday present will not only express how much I love and care for him, but will also make him feel safe whenever and wherever he goes.
So while I was browsing major motoring websites and reading dash cam reviews, I stumbled upon this one: the Transcend DrivePro 200. And after reading what it can offer, it certainly won me over.
What is a Dash Cam?
Before we get to the details, what's a dash cam in the first place? Wikipedia gives us this basic definition:
A dash cam or dashboard camera is an on-board camera that continuously records the view through a vehicle's windscreen. It may be attached to the interior windscreen or to the top of the dashboard, by suction cup or adhesive-tape mount. Dash cams may provide video evidence in the event of an accident.
Dash cams usually start recording the moment you start your vehicle, and come with a feature that protects your current recording in the event of a collision by preventing the said recording to be deleted or overwritten. It can also be used as evidence in case you get apprehended by a corrupt traffic enforcer over a supposed "violation", an unfortunate phenomenon which is common in Manila.
Most basic dash cams record views at a minimum of 120-degree angles. Of course, there are models out there that have far wider views, although they come at slightly higher prices. They are powered with either a power adapter plugged into your car's cigarette charger, or a power cable that's wired directly to your car's battery. Some models come with a free SD card as well which you can insert into your camera so you can start recording right away.
Recordings can be saved to your computer through the use of a USB cable or via WiFi (usually available in advanced models), which means you can also use your tablet or your smartphone to watch your videos.
Transcend DrivePro 200 Car Video Recorder
67mm × 72mm × 34.3mm (2.64 x 2.83 x 1.35 inches)
89 grams (3.13 ounces)
Resolution & Frame Rate
Full HD (1920x1080) 30fps / HD (1280x720) 30fps
Lens / Viewing Angle
ƒ/2.0, 160° wide angle
Low-light sensitivity CMOS, 3 mega-pixel
H.264 (MOV: up to 1920x1080 30fps)
Memory Card Support
MLC-based microSD card, 8GB/16GB/32GB (Class 10 or above)
Input: DC 12V~24V; Output: DC 5V 1A
Display Type and Size
2.4 inches color LCD
Motion G-sensor that detects impact and automatically protects current recording
7 Glass lenses for ultra sharp pictures
Clear night recordings that capture important details such as license plates
From the above specs, Transcend's a small dash cam that offers all the basics. However, it ups the ante with a viewing angle of 160 degrees. What this means is that it'll not only record what's directly in front of your vehicle, but also what's on the side of it like the sidewalks, where the (jaywalking) pedestrians usually come from. This gives you a wider perspective during playback, and a bigger advantage during traffic disputes.
Video recordings will remain sharp and clear thanks to its seven lenses, and the filter lens behind them will ensure that no fogging will occur due to heat inside your car. These will also ensure crystal clear videos no matter the time of day or night, the latter being critical as this is when most accidents happen.
Another pleasant addition is the free DrivePro app (available for both Android and iOS devices) that lets you dowload, stream and share your videos to any device.
Powerful Night Vision
All these amazing features, but the one that really takes the cake for me is Transcend dash cam's ability to capture crisp images during nighttime, when most accidents usually take place. Even under low light, thanks to its lenses, the camera still manages to get the most important of details. Glare is noticeably minimal too under bright light conditions, which still allows you to see what you need.
Watch the video by Transcend below to see the camera in action:
During my research, if there's one thing I found lacking in the Transcend DrivePro 200, it's that it's missing the ability to source the dash cam's power directly from the car battery. According to the user manual, the camera's powered through the car's cigarette charger, which for me is a bit of a hassle especially if you are fond of using that port to charge other things such as your smartphones.
Other dash cam models offer the option to buy an optional cable accessory to wire the camera directly to the car battery, and upon checking, Transcend doesn't seem to offer any add-ons that are similar.
Is It Worth Buying?
Despite the lack of options when it comes to powering up the device, the DrivePro 200 still manages to offer exactly what drivers need: a no-frills, sharp and portable dash cam to serve as a valuable eyewitness on the road. It's a reliable and award-winning device that is sure to stand the test of time and give you your much-needed peace of mind.
Because of its great functionalities, DP200 has received these awards from the following bodies and organizations:
- Auto Express Product Awards 2015 winner, "Best Dash Cam" - Auto Express, United Kingdom
- Auto Express 2015 winner, "Best Buy" - Auto Express, United Kingdom
- "Best Buy Award" - in4.pl, Poland
- Taiwan Excellence 2015 - Taiwan
Oh, and did I forget to mention that it comes with a two-year warranty?
Transcend has a strong contender in the dash cam arena with the DrivePro 200. Great things really come in small packages as this gadget showed with its ability to capture crystal-clear videos no matter what time you are on the road. If you're looking for something that will help you feel safe and secure (and probably give you an advantage when you're filing police reports or insurance claims), why not give this nifty camera a try?
Prices start at $119.01 over at Amazon.