With more cars crowding the roads than ever before, dash cams are becoming a must-have item in cars. You could be working as a rideshare driver. You could be managing a fleet. You could want that extra security blanket for your daily driving routine. Maybe you just want to capture funny vanity plates or start your own Russian dashcam-like YouTube channel for others’ amusement. We're not here to judge.
Whatever your reasoning, dash cams are incredibly useful, and having one may save you some money and headaches later down the road. Thanks to the advent of cheaper camera technology and their popularity, the market is abundant with dash camera systems for all uses and budgets, making it easy to add one to your car.
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What to Look for in a Dash Cameras
Camera Quality: Most if not all dash cameras record at least 1080p definition video. These days, however, the majority of the top-selling units record 4K video up front and 1080p out back, and they’re not particularly expensive either. Still, some cheaper no-name units may just record 1080p. If you’re an enterprise and need the cheapest thing possible, that may be a fit for you. Otherwise, just aim for the 4K video dashcams. Typically, the more expensive 4K dashcams have better and larger camera sensors, which result in a better quality video while the cheaper 4K units can sometimes “simulate” or upscale its imaging to provide a 4K-like picture in terms of pixel dimensions but may lack the actual definition quality. Thus, it’s important to consult the comments in customer feedback.
Number of Cameras: Basic dash cams feature front-facing recorders while two-camera systems with a rear-facing unit could be had for not much more money. Some rear-facing cameras are meant to record the passenger cabin for rideshare drivers, while others record the rear of the vehicle. Some dash cams feature all three views, but those tend to be the most expensive.
Feature Set: Because of the saturated and competitive dash cam market, pretty much all the top-selling dash cams come with built-in Wi-Fi for smartphone connectivity, GPS for collision location and speed detection, gyroscopic sensors that can detect vehicle impacts and crashes, continuous “loop” video recording, supercapacitor (basically a fancier, more compact battery), intelligent parking sensing and monitoring, and expandable storage. Stick to the popular units and you’ll get all these neat features.
GPS: Not all dashcam units come with integrated GPS. But as mentioned above, most of the top-selling ones do, and GPS is important to have and is one of the pluses of having a dash cam. In the event of an incident, dashcams with GPS will record the specific location of the incident if equipped with accident detection. It can also record speed in the event you get wrongfully ticketed for speeding.
Expandable Storage: Pretty much all dash cams utilize microSD expandable storage on top of a small integrated memory unit. Depending on which dash cam your purchase, it’s important to consult the owner’s manual for recommended microSD specifications and cards for best results. Otherwise, recording 4K video may be inhibited due to inadequate microSD read and write speeds. In most cases, an extra microSD card is not included.
Below are several great dash cam options to consider, whether you're looking for an immaculate 4K video or just a solid value option. But do note that the list of solid options doesn’t end here.
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