A dashboard camera, otherwise known as a dashcam is a small camera that is attached to your car dashboard, windscreen or rearview mirror and records the road ahead. There are many different types of dashcams that have different functions as well as video recording, such as GPS and speed sensors. This list from Auto Express compiles some of their favourite models that are currently available.
Price: Around £250 Rating: 5.0
All-new for this year, the 612GW is Nextbase’s first 4K cam. The crisp footage puts most rivals to shame. We still like the polarised lens that adds a level of depth and detail in sunlight – it highlights colours better, for one. Reading licence plates from distance was easy, plus the camera’s night vision was good. While the BlackVue’s recordings were clearer, the Nextbase has a far more attractive price. The interface is intuitive and the app easy to use.
Price: Around £400 Rating: 4.5
The BlackVue DR900S-1CH records the highest-quality footage here. It edged the 612GW on reading plates from far away, while in low light the 162-degree lens picked out hazards better. The BlackVue also features an industry first by being able to upload footage to remote cloud servers. The sleek design means settings have to be changed via the BlackVue app. But the price is a chink in this cam’s armour.
Price: Around £140 Rating: 4.0
Philips’ ADR820 is cheaper than many rivals, but video quality is still great. The 1296p Super HD footage from the 140-degree lens picked out similar detail to our 1440p cams. Also, the F1.8 aperture was good in low light and the CMOS sensor adjusted exposure well as light changed.
The 2.7-inch LCD screen was easy to use, although the interfaces on the Nextbase and Garmin were better and they used higher-quality materials. Still, this is a great budget buy.
Price: Around 160 Euros (£141) Rating: 3.5
A contender in last year’s test that still impresses. You have to order the recSMART from France, but it captures great footage, with colours highlighted particularly well. It also starred in low light conditions, with the 1440p recording picking up pedestrians and cyclists quickly. There’s no screen so users have to download the RoadEyes phone app. But the software wasn’t as slick as rivals’; we had to exit it occasionally on our Android mobile as it didn’t connect with the cam.
Garmin 55 dash cam
Price: Around £150 Rating: 3.5
Like the RoadEyes, Garmin’s dash cam scored well on video quality. The 1440p recording captured lots of detail, even if the BlackVue and Nextbase were better able to pick out plates from distance or spot pedestrians sooner. We like Garmin’s sleek design, the camera feels solid and sturdy and even looks good. Less appealing are the driving assistance systems built in – they often chime in when going over bumps, and we ended up turning them off.
Price: £79 Rating: 3.5
The F70 is a very sleek camera that’s easy to install. There’s no screen to review footage, but the Thinkware PC or Mac Viewer lets users do so via a computer. The Thinkware comes with a relatively wide 140-degree lens compared with similarly priced cams. With 1080p definition at 30 frames per second, the quality of footage was good.
It captured plenty of detail, and Thinkware’s Wide Dynamic Range feature helped adjust the exposure to suit different light levels, reducing glare from the sun. It also added a good level of depth to the footage that helped us better pick out details. Unlike the Mio, the F70 has a parking mode. We found the Thinkware’s 3M sticky-tape mount impressive, too.
Price: £129 Rating: 3.0
A decent debut from Halfords. The HDC400 is the range-topping device from the UK retail giant and comes with clear footage that picked out a good amount of detail. The 180-degree lens was the widest we tested, although the 1440p footage wasn’t as crisp as that of rivals. Images of reg plates were sharp from close-up, but at longer distances they turned blurry. The same was true of street signs and details like pedestrians in shadowy areas or in low light conditions. Still, the design feels solid and the Halfords MyHDC app is easy to use.
Mio MiVue C330
Price: Around £70 Rating: 3.0
Mio’s MiVue C330 is cheaper, but it still impressed us. It was close to the F70 for the quality of its footage, even if it has a narrower lens and lost out a little on the level of detail captured. But there wasn’t much separating these two cameras. We liked the depth of footage, with colours well captured and number plates easy to read.
However, the camera was slightly more affected by light exposure, with the recording suffering more from glare or quick changes to light levels, such as when going through a tunnel. Still, the Mio comes with a screen to review footage; while driving, this doubles as a clock and speedometer. The screen and side buttons also made it easier to adjust settings.
RoadHawk Vision Super HD
Price: Around £150 Rating: 3.0
Want a sleek dash cam? The RoadHawk Vision is worth a look as it takes up barely any room on the windscreen. The app works well, but rivals here have a better interface. And while RoadHawk’s 1296p Super HD footage was clear, competitors captured distant number plates more clearly. We felt low-light footage could have been better; glare from oncoming traffic and street lamps affected the camera more than with other devices.
Fitting a dashcam to your Motability Scheme car
If you are a Motability Scheme customer and are considering fitting a dashcam to your Scheme car, here’s what you need to know:
- The dashcam must be plug in type and not hard wired into the vehicle
- It must be attached in such a way as to not cause damage to the vehicle (eg fixed by suckers and not permanently attached to the dashboard)
- Any associated costs must be covered by you (including the purchase of the dashcam and any fitting/removal costs)
- Your dealer may also be able to help advise you on purchasing and installing a dashcam