Apeman C550 – A Surprisingly Effective Budget Dash Cam
When it comes to dash cams, there are plenty of brands to choose from. Some of them are more well-known than others. One of the lesser known brands is Apeman. They may not be well-known, but they have a range of budget and mid-range dash cams in their arsenal and some of them are fantastic.
The one that we have chosen to review is the Apeman C550. This is one of the more budget end models that Apeman offers, so we thought that we would start with this model so that there is something for everyone. If you are considering a dash cam for your car but don’t want to spend a small fortune, then take a look at our honest review below to see if it is a fit for you.
- 1080P Full HD Recording
- 30 Frames Per Second
- 170 Degree Wide Angle Lens
- Dual Lens
- Motion Detection
- Loop Recording
- GPS Monitoring System
- Superior Night Vision
- Very inexpensive for a dash cam with dual capabilities.
- Easy to operate.
- The night vision is actually quite good for an inexpensive model.
- Not bulky and doesn’t obstruct view from the windscreen.
- The dual camera doesn’t provide the best recording quality as it only records at 480P.
- The LCD screen is a little small at only 2 inches so might not be the best for those with vision problems.
The shape and style of this dash cam from Apeman is a little different to the standard slim design that you will find with most models. Whilst it doesn’t exactly cause any problems with obstructing your view from the windscreen, it does feel a little bulky and uncomfortable in the hand. If you want to use the dash cam buttons to configure the device then your best bet is to take it out of the mount as it can feel a little clumsy due to the thickness of the cam itself.
It features a very simple user interface. On the front of the device, you will find buttons that will allow you to enter the dash cam menu to configure the settings or play back your footage. The buttons themselves are big enough to be seen clearly and easy to use. They don’t seem to stick and are quite responsive, which is perfect for use whilst driving.
The only design flaw that stands out is the screen itself. At only 2 inches, it can make it quite difficult to see, particularly in lower light. It can make accessing the menu difficult without physically holding the device in your hands. The problem with this is that you aren’t really able to operate the camera whilst driving. If you are pulled over, then you shouldn’t have any problems.
The Recording Quality
The recording quality for a device in this price range is actually really impressive. With lower budget models, the quality of recording tends to be compromised a little. This is not the case with the Apeman C550. The front facing camera offers 1080P full HD recording with a 170 degree wide angle, full 6G lens. The quality of the video captured is high definition and not compromised in the slightest.
Unfortunately, the rear camera is not so good. As with most dual cameras, the rear camera offers lesser quality recording, in this case the Apeman C550 records in 480P. The problem that we found with this is that it can make seeing the finer details quite a challenge. Given that this is a lower end budget model; this is something that should be expected.
The G Sensor Effectiveness
The built in G sensor of the Apeman C550 automatically locks the recording if an accident occurs. It does this by detecting sudden braking. There are a few good things about this, the most important being that your crash footage is fully protected and won’t be erased. When testing the G sensor, we were pleased to find out that it is actually quite sensitive. It certainly isn’t as effective as some of the more expensive models but it does the job.
The Extra Features
For such a low end device we were really surprised by the number of extra features that come with the Apeman C550. First of all, there is the motion detection feature. This will start the camera recording as soon as any movement around the car is detected or when the engine is started. The loop recording feature is another added bonus because it automatically rewrites the oldest file to save you from manually having to do so and potentially missing the opportunity to capture important footage.
The WDR feature is perfect for driving in adverse conditions as it improves the colour resolution, sharpens the image and makes things generally easier to see, whether the light is very bright or you are driving in darker conditions. Finally, there is the parking monitoring function which will automatically record for thirty seconds after a shock or vibration is detected.
All of these extra features are great and definitely not what you would usually find with a lower end dash cam, so Apeman have really outdone themselves here.
Overall, we were really impressed by this little budget dash cam. We have to say that we were a little sceptical about its abilities when we first took a look at it, but it really does have its benefits. Yes, the design is a little bulky, but this doesn’t take away from its effectiveness. The only real downside to this particular dash cam is the lower quality of the rear camera, but given that this price would usually only allow you to buy a single lens device we really can’t complain. If you are new to dash cams then this is a great piece of starter kit that doesn’t cost a small fortune.