Affordable Dash Cams – Best Value In Car Cameras
- 1 Affordable Dash Cams – Best Value In Car Cameras
- 1.1 RoadPixel P102 Review
- 1.2 Bottom Line.
- 1.3 HYT-GS8000L Review
- 1.4 Bottom Line.
- 1.5 KiwiBird Review
- 1.6 Bottom Line.
- 1.7 Monkon M04L Review.
- 1.8 Bottom Line.
- 1.9 What Aspects Of A Dashcam Make It Good Value?
- 1.10 Must Have Features.
- 1.11 The Nice To Have Features.
- 1.12 Extra Features Which Are An Added Bonus.
With the risk of being hit on today’s roads, especially now that “crash-for-cash” scams are on the increase, it is always a good idea to protect yourself from such scammers! Dash cams were quite pricey when they first came into the market and not everyone could afford them.
Times have moved on since then and they are now more affordable. This doesn’t mean buying a “cheap” dashcam that may or may not work leaving you with reliability issues. Even good quality, well built dashcams have gotten to be very affordable.
Granted, going for a lower priced model may not give you the “bells and whistles” you would likely get with some of the more premium models such as motion detection or wifi compatibility, for example.
The dashcams featured here are some of the best, “entry level” models currently on the market. They all have very good customer reviews on Amazon, a decent specification and are perfect, with regards to value for money, if you are looking for your first basic dash cam.
The investment here is low compared to what you would save on insurance excess and an increase in premium should you be unfortunate enough to get hit and lose your no claims bonus. After the initial investment in the cam and an SD card (most come with one included!), it will literally be free. Its powered by your cars’ battery and will record on a loop. You just have to remember to get into the habit of using it on every journey.
Want to save more money?
Check with your insurance company. More and more car insurers are starting to offer a discount on premiums on the basis of you using the dash cam on every journey! It will, quite literally, pay for itself in no time!
RoadPixel P102 Review
The top most affordable dash cam for this year has to be The RoadPixel P102 Vehicle Drive Recorder.
The RoadPixel P102 is the perfect device to safeguard you on the road. A great picture quality of 1920 x1080 pixels @ 30 frames per second makes this dashcam a very good buy for the affordable price!
While it doesn’t have some of the advanced features like motion detection or night vision, it does have a G-Sensor which is an integral feature in any dash cam protecting your footage at the time of impact. If you are In market for a basic, entry-level dashcam that isnt cheap, then this is the cam for you. While being very affordable, The RoadPixel P102 has good picture quality and is a very well built cam.
The RoadPixel P102 does also have a mic to capture all sounds incase of an incident and comes with a 4GB SD card so you are ready to start using it as soon as you receive it.
RoadPixel is a UK based company, situated in Welwyn Garden City. So technical or other queries will be answered very quickly.
The P102 by RoadPixel is a very good camera, the quality is great – making number plates clear and the image crisp. If you are looking for a good quality dash cam without all the bells and whistles, this is definitely the best option!
From HYT comes the GS8000L, another well-built, entry-level dashcam. While the price point says it is entry level, the quality output you can expect from the GS8000L is very good.
For a budget dash cam, you do actually get some good features. Firstly the recording is at 1920 x 1080 pixels at 24fps so it is still a very high quality 1080p video. It has a 140 degree wide angle lens to capture as much as possible and has a G-Sensor to lock the footage in the event of an incident.
The 2.7″ LCD screen is perfectly adequate for viewing what is currently recording and the image quality of the screen is actually pretty good itself. Clear enough for you to navigate the menu system which is very easy to follow and to video real-time recording!
The GS8000L also comes fully equipped with IR night vision! This is crucial for clarity in video quality when driving at night time, especially on dimly lit roads.
The suction cup for the GS8000L is also very good when compared to its peers. The camera will stay on the windscreen, whether you drive over a pot-hole or a speed bump!
For an entry level dash cam, the features offered in the GS8000L are great. Much like the RoadPixel P102, it is a great no-frills dash cam, however, unlike the P102, the GS8000L does have IR night vision. In my opinion, the video quality of the recording during the night time on the P102 is perfectly fine.
Slightly more features than the P102, the GS8000L is again a very good deal.
One of the more colourful dashcams around, its easy on the eye but don’t let its beauty throw you off, it is a very good device as well. With 1920 x 1080 high definition video resolution on a 2.7″ screen, the video quality of the KiwiBird is as good as it gets. Keeping your video files compressed using a H.264 MOV format, you can now store more on your 16 GB TF card (which comes with the Amazon purchase of this dash cam.
The KiwiBird has a wide angle lens of 148 degrees – which is wider than the typical industry standard of 140 degrees. Allowing you to capture more of your windscreen view, giving you that much more protection on the road.
It has an in-built HD screen for instant feedback when on the road and an easy to navigate menu system.
The KiwiBird also comes equipped with a 24 hour parking mode – car security surveillance, if you were to leave your car at an area known for crime. G-Sensor, to lock and protect any recording surrounding an incident. Night Vision for clear night time viewing and playback, this will prevent the glaring lights off the number plates should you need to use other driver’s number plates in evidence in court. The KiwiBird is the only dashcam I am aware of that comes with an 18 month warranty.
This is a very good dashcam, it is also aesthetically pleasing and very easy to use. With a few additional features than your complete basic dashcam; the KiwiBird is another good buy!
Monkon M04L Review.
From manufacturer, Monkon, comes the M04L dash cam. A stylish little unit but at the same time as being very functional.
Another dashcam with a wide angle 148 degree lens to capture that little extra whilst driving (or even while parked up!). The M04L will give you a very high resolution image at 1080p at a very smooth 30 frames per second. H.264 compression providing for small video files but keeping the quality high.
Another nifty little feature of the M04L is called the Car Plate Stamp. You enter your car registration number into the unit and it will stamp it on the video as it is your car that did the recording.
The 2.7″ screen is a good size and the navigation on the menu system on the camera is more than adequate to find your way around. It has LED night vision allowing you to recording clear video on darker roads and with only headlights – again showing the number plates quite clearly! This is a must as this is where a lot of accidents can occur!
The loop recording will keep the camera recording without any interaction from you, always overwriting the oldest data. The G-Sensor comes into play in the event of an incident and locks to protect that data in place.
We have two options here. One with a memory card and one without.
This is another good buy, it has all the basic features and a few extra ones such as the ID stamp and the LED night vision. Instructions could be clearer as they have clearly been translated into English. But for someone with some experience in anything tech should have no issues.
All in all, a decent buy.
What Aspects Of A Dashcam Make It Good Value?
When looking to invest in a dash cam, you want to get the best you can for the money you spend. There are features that are must-have, features which are nice-to-have, and features which you simply do not not need. In this article I list all of these and then go on to showcase the top 5 best value dash cams for 2015.
Must Have Features.
Good Day Time & Night Time Video Quality.
This is by far the most important par of any cam. If the quality of video is bad – then that pretty much defeats the purpose of having a cam in the first place. In my honest opinion, 720p quality is perfectly adequate for the purpose it serves. Most dash cams are at a 1080p resolution, better than what is required.
While the day time video quality may be great, if you do drive at night time; you will want the night quality to be good as well. Some dash cams have a far superior night time video recording quality than others. Good night time video quality will show cars and license plates clearly without any glare from head lights, traffic lights or street lights.
The second most important feature and, in all honesty, most dash cams today will have it. The loop recording will fill up your memory card with video footage data until its filled up. Once the camera has recorded to the end, it will start over and write over the oldest data first. This is great because it requires no interaction from you as a user to format the memory card everytime its filled up. The only time it does not overwrite the data is when the G-Sensor is activated.
The third must-have feature is the G-Sensor is a feature within your dashcam that measures the movement and g-force in your vehicle using 3 axis; horizontal, vertical and forwards/backwards. Sudden change in the movement of your vehicle can trigger the G-Sensor. If your vehicle was involved in an impact, the G-Sensor would be activated and it would lock and protect the footage captured surrounding the impact. This, in turn, keeps the locked footage safe from the loop recording overwriting it.
Changes in the road surface have been known to trigger the G-Sensor. This can be a real pain as you then have to unlock the footage to delete or or just delete it depending on the device type. The G-Sensor sensitivity can be altered so as to avoid potholes and speed bumps triggering it.
This feature is possibly the reason you have bought a dash cam in the first place. It is an integral feature in any dash cam. Luckily, most dash cams (even the basic models) have this feature as standard.
Date & Time Stamp.
This feature is a good feature to have, but I wouldn’t call it a deal breaker if a dashcam I was considering didn’t have it. The date and time stamp does exactly what it says, it marks your video footage with the date and time. If you were to have an accident, and the date and time was brought into question; it would be good to have this feature to save on time in disputing.
This feature is another one which is nice to have, but not necessarily needed. It stamps your video footage with any data you like, your ID, driving license number, or your car registration. This would prove in court you are who you say you are – not that I see much requirement for that.
This is another good feature. If you were in an accident, you could un-mount the dash cam and take it outside with you to photograph the damage on your car, the other persons car or anything else you would think can be used as evidence. A nice little feature, but is it essential? No.
Extra Features Which Are An Added Bonus.
Many dash cams come with a parking mode, which acts as a CCTV surveillance camera in your car while parked. If someone was to try and break into your car – the camera would capture it. My opinion on it is, if someone did break into your car – they would take the dash cam too! The other flaw is, seeing the dash cam in the car would invite (otherwise unwanted) thieves to break in.
Some dashcams have wifi connectivity to either stream video footage directly to a smart phone or for easy, wireless data transfer to a smart phone. My take on it is, if you are driving – why would you (or even arguably a passenger) need to watch the footage being recorded on a smart phone? With regards to data transfers, for the amount you would ever do it, it would be as easy to plug it into your PC and do it that way.
I was in two minds about putting this one here or the Nice To Have and decided here is best. It is a good feature as it captures the GPS location to where you are at a time of incident. Nine times out of ten, the location will not be the cause of dispute. Surrounding landmarks in the footage can be used to determine the location. The GPS feature adds bulk to the cam and I don’t see it being necessary at all.