A dashboard camera (or “dash cam”) is a small camera that is mounted on the dashboard of a vehicle and records video of the road while the vehicle is in motion. Dash cams are designed to provide a record of events that may occur while driving, such as accidents, traffic incidents, or road hazards. They are also often used for purposes such as monitoring driving habits, recording road trips, or capturing scenic drives. Dash cams and action cameras microphone attachments may come equipped with built-in microphones to record audio alongside the video footage, or they may have the option to attach an external microphone to improve the quality of the audio recording.
When choosing a dash cam, it’s important to consider factors such as the camera’s video quality, storage capacity, the field of view, and any additional features it may have. Some dashcams are equipped with features such as GPS tracking, Wi-Fi connectivity, or support for apps or cloud services. Techpotamus can help you to read reviews and compare prices to find the best dash cam for your needs and budget.
In our tests, the Nextbase 622GW dash cam delivered excellent results, proving itself to be the best on the market. It features improved video quality and stabilization, as well as what3words geolocation services to locate a vehicle within a 3-meter radius in the event of an accident. When we used the 4K/30p setting, the footage had a cinematic quality to it, with crisp definition and great detail even in poor lighting. This makes it easier to see important details like license plate numbers or small elements of an accident. Overall, the Nextbase 622GW is a top choice for a dash cam.
The Nextbase 622GW dash cam has a built-in polarizing filter that can be rotated to reduce glare from the windshield, as well as digital image stabilization to smooth out footage during bumpy rides. It can be controlled with voice commands through Alexa Skills, but you will need the accompanying smartphone app to do so. In our testing, the app was not the easiest to use and we had some difficulty transferring images and video clips over the dual 2.4GHz + 5GHz Wi-Fi. However, this dash cam is still a good choice due to its other features such as the polarizing filter and image stabilization.
Garmin Dash Cam Mini 2
The Garmin Mini 2 is a small and discreet dash cam that offers Full HD video with HDR, reliable voice control, a user-friendly smartphone app, and an easy-to-use magnetic mounting system. To install it, simply follow the same process as other Garmin Dash Cams using the Drive smartphone app (available for iOS and Android). The mounting system consists of a ball-and-socket joint for adjusting the camera angle and a coin-sized magnet that sticks to your windshield and holds the dash cam in place. We found the setup process to be quick and straightforward.
The Garmin Mini 2 dash cam has good video quality for its size, recording in Full HD at 30fps with HDR. The footage it produces is sharp enough to clearly see important details like license plate numbers, regardless of lighting and weather conditions. Its 140-degree lens has a decent field of view, providing a good view of the road ahead. There is a button for quickly saving a portion of video and the g-sensor can automatically detect a collision. The voice controls for functions like taking photos or turning audio recording on and off also work well.
The Nexar Pro is a dual-cam system designed for extended use, with the ability to record video both inside and outside a vehicle. It consists of two separate cameras connected by a cable and the setup process is fairly neat, although it does take up a significant amount of dashboard space. The Nexar app is essential for using the twin cameras and allows you to customize settings, generate incident reports, and back up recorded clips to the cloud (which is free with Nexar). Other useful features include alerts for break-ins and GPS data logging.
Although it doesn’t record in 4K, the Nexar Pro dash cam’s 1080p video is of good quality. The external camera performs well in a variety of lighting and weather conditions. While there are cheaper dash cams with fewer features available, the Nexar Pro offers excellent protection and value for those who prioritize the security of their vehicle.
The Vantrue E1 is a well-designed and compact dash cam that can record 2.5K video at 30fps or Full HD video at 60fps. It produces sharp and accurate footage both day and night, with good color quality and acceptable noise in low light. The optional polarizing filter can reduce dashboard reflections. The magnetic mount works well, but the lack of sideways adjustment may be limiting if you cannot position it centrally. If you can, the 160-degree angle provides a wide view of the road ahead. The 1.54-inch screen is small but useful for previewing footage during installation, while the smartphone app is more convenient for adjusting settings.
Although the Vantrue E1 does not offer any driver assistance features, it does have a number of other useful features such as GPS tracking, Wi-Fi connectivity, and a remote for wirelessly saving footage.
Thinkware’s X1000 dash cam is easy to use and comes with everything you need to record the front and rear of your vehicle. It has a large 3.5-inch touchscreen and an intuitive icon-based interface, making it simple to set up. It can also be used without a partner app. Both cameras offer a high 2560×1440 resolution and a wide 156-degree field of view. In our testing, the footage was consistently impressive, with a lot of detail and good dynamic range, even in low light conditions.
To access the full range of features, including parking surveillance, you will need to hardwire the Thinkware X1000 dash cam. While this process does require some care, it is not too difficult for a novice. The X1000 does not have Wi-Fi for cloud backups and the GPS feature requires an optional accessory, as does radar detection. However, if you want a reliable and easy-to-use dash cam, the X1000 is a good choice.
Although the Nextbase 622GW (ranked #1) is one of the most advanced dash cams available, the Nextbase 522GW is still the best all-around option. It has a clear 1440p resolution and a wide-angle lens, which provide great basic performance, and it also has a number of additional features. The 3-inch touchscreen is responsive and there is the option to use built-in Alexa functionality. With Alexa, you can play music, make calls, and listen to audiobooks through connected devices. However, the Dash Cam Skill, which allows you to command the camera to start and stop recording and to protect or send recordings to your phone, needs some improvement.
Although the built-in Alexa functionality is somewhat of a gimmick and we didn’t use it very often, the rest of the user experience with the Nextbase 522GW is very simple. You can easily share videos to a smart device via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, and the Emergency SOS system will alert the emergency services of your location and other details if you are unresponsive following an accident.
Garmin Dash Cam 67W
The Garmin 67W is a small and advanced dash cam that improves upon the already excellent 66W model with additional connected features. It is about the size of a matchbox and is one of the smallest dash cams we have tested, surpassed only by the even smaller Garmin Mini. Despite its tiny size, it is equipped with a high-quality sensor that can capture crisp 1440p footage and has a HDR (High Dynamic Range) function to improve image quality in challenging weather conditions. In our testing, the footage from the 67W looked great and the extra pixels allowed us to zoom in and see fine details, like license plate numbers or small elements that could be important evidence.
The Garmin 67W is easy to set up, simple to use, and has a clean smartphone app. It also has additional connected features, such as the ability to automatically upload saved clips to Garmin’s cloud when the camera detects a trusted Wi-Fi network. However, you will need to pay for a storage plan and, to fully utilize its connected features, such as the ability to remotely check on your parked car from anywhere, you will need to hardwire the camera into your vehicle’s power source.
Mio MiVue 818
The Mio MiVue 818 is a competitively priced dash cam with a distinctive design and a range of features. In testing, we found it easy to set up and use, with a 2.7-inch display that provides a good preview of footage. The Mio captures high-quality 2K video at a 140-degree angle and also offers Full HD video at 60fps. The sticky pad on the mounting bracket holds the camera securely in place, ensuring steady video. The MiVue 818 also performs well in challenging conditions, thanks to night vision enhancement.
By connecting to the Mio MiVue 818 through Wi-Fi, you can access additional features through the app, including GPS tools like “Find My Parked Car,” driver assistance systems, headlight reminders, and a parking mode. These features are often available at an additional cost with other dash cams, making the Mio MiVue 818 a particularly good value.
Viofo A129 Pro Duo
Although you may not be familiar with the brand Viofo, its 4K resolution Pro Duo dash cam represents a good value. The front camera is larger than many competitors, but it has a built-in GPS module, which is often an optional extra with other brands. The basic plastic casing of the Pro Duo hides some impressive technology, including supercapacitors that power the device and allow it to withstand a wide range of temperatures without compromising performance. In addition to this, the Pro Duo offers the option of high-quality 4K (3840 x 2160p) video recording, which produces footage with a lot of detail. There is also a Wide Dynamic Range mode for vibrant colors in any weather conditions.
While the Viofo Pro Duo allows for 4K video recording, it is only possible at 30fps, which may not be ideal if you want to slow down footage. However, dual recording with the front and rear cameras is only available in Full HD (1080p) and this is recorded at 60fps for smoother results. The Pro Duo is easy to set up and includes a smartphone app for reviewing and saving clips. Installing the dual cameras requires removing interior trim and carefully hiding the wires, which can be a challenging process. However, it is worth the effort to avoid a mess of power cables.
Garmin Dash Cam Tandem
Garmin’s Dash Cam Tandem is a compact dual-lens dash cam that allows you to view what is happening inside and outside of the car while you are driving. It is particularly useful for taxi drivers or others who want to monitor their passengers. The Dash Cam Tandem has a clip-in magnetic mount and can be easily installed below the rear-view mirror, and removed when not in use. It comes with two lengths of USB cable and a cigarette lighter USB socket with two ports for charging your phone. If you want to use the dash cam for incident recording, such as if your car is bumped in a parking lot, you will need to have it professionally installed so it is constantly recording.
To control the Garmin Dash Cam Tandem, you can use the Garmin Drive app (available on Android and iOS) to review video and audio footage from your drives without having to remove the microSD card from the camera. In our tests, we found the picture quality to be generally excellent, particularly from the front camera. While the rear camera may struggle in very low light, you can still see passengers clearly in black and white. The camera has a picture-in-picture option so you can view footage from both the front and rear cameras at the same time. The footage is displayed with a time stamp, the speed of the vehicle, and its location. The camera also offers voice control, allowing you to use hands-free commands such as “OK Garmin, take a picture” or “OK Garmin, save video.” Safety cam alert updates will also be added to the app soon.