The 5 Best Dashboard Cameras For 2014

Are you planning to join the growing number of people who install a dashboard camera in their car for that extra bit of evidence in case of an accident, road rage, or meteors falling from the sky? Then you may be wondering which one of the dozens of different models is the best choice for you!

It’s easy to be overwhelmed at first, therefore we have selected the five very best dashboard cameras that you can possibly get in early 2014. We will be looking at dash cams from every price range, starting as low as $50 for a simple-yet effective G1W and moving up the price scale to almost 10 times as much for a top-quality, feature-packed dual-channel camera, the BlackVue DR550GW.

Note that the cameras featured in this article are not necessarily the newest cameras around. We have evaluated technical specifications as well as customer satisfaction for each camera during the course of 2013. Rest assured that the five winners presented here have been field tested by thousands of customers and received excellent feedback all around.

So What Sets A Dash Cam Apart From Other Cameras?

In case you are wondering why you can’t just use a regular video camera, or even your phone’s cam, it’s because a dashboard camera should have all of the following features:

  • Connect to your car’s cigarette lighter with a long power cable (at least 12ft) that you can run around the windshield, tucking it away neatly so it is hidden from sight.
  • Auto on/off: Dashboard cameras start recording when you start the car’s engine, and stop when you park. That way, you don’t have to worry about forgetting to turn your camera on or off.
  • Loop recording: Enables the camera to overwrite the oldest bit of footage when the memory card is full, so you never run out of disk space.
  • Impact detection / G-sensor: A G-sensor makes sure that if an impact is detected, the video footage immediately preceding and following the impact won’t be overwritten by the loop recording feature, so you don’t accidentally lose critical evidence.
  • Time and date stamp on video (and speed if we have GPS): useful should you ever need your video footage as evidence in court.
  • Resolution: 1080p (1920×1080 pixels) is pretty much standard in 2014. While there are still a couple of 720p (1280×720 pixels) dash cams available, most new cameras support 1080p resolution.
  • Interfaces: Dash cams generally come with HDMI, USB, and A/V interfaces.

Note that the cameras presented here come with all of the features listed above.

  • Storage: Most dashboard cameras support SD cards up to 32GB in size, with the notable exception of the Lukas LK-7900, which supports 128GB of storage capacity.

Having had a look at the basic features a dash cam should have, let’s now check out our top camera choices for this year:

The Top 5 Dash Cams In 2014

G1W – Decent Video Footage For Tight Budgets

At around $50, this dash cam is an excellent choice if you can’t spend a lot of money and just need a security camera, without being too concerned about video quality. The G1W has decent video at day, but night video quality isn’t the best. Also, video footage from this camera can often be rather shaky.

Nevertheless, at this price the G1W makes for a decent security camera that will reliably capture what goes on in front of your car.

The G1W comes with an integrated 2.7″ screen, which is great for adjusting the field of view and playing back video on the spot. The viewing angle is 120 degrees.

Mini 0801 Ambarella – Top Value For Money

The Mini 0801 is a small and stylish dashboard camera released in early 2013 that quickly became a best seller. It is available for less than $100 if you go for the basic version without GPS and internal memory. Video quality is great during the daytime, and average at night.

The Mini 0801 has a nice inconspicuous design and features a 1.5″ screen for ease of operation. The angle of view is 135 degrees. A GPS logger and 8MB of internal memory are available optionally for around $10 extra each.

A nice feature of this camera is that the electrical contacts for the power supply are built directly into the camera mount, so if you want to remove the camera from your car you can do so without having to unplug the power cable.

DOD LS 300W – Excellent Video Quality

Another top seller, the DOD LS300W has excellent video quality day and night. Night vision is augmented by the WDR (Wide Dynamic Range) feature. This, combined with a large aperture of F/1.6 and a high bit rate of about 15 Mbps, makes for one of the highest quality dashboard cameras available to date.

The size of the camera is about the same as the G1W, but at 140 degrees the angle of view is larger. Boot up time is fast and a relatively large 2.7″ screen is included for easy video viewing right in your car. The LS300W doesn’t have GPS, but there is a newer version called LS330W which comes with an external GPS unit.

Lukas LK-7900 – Huge Recording Capacity And Great Heat Resistance

The Lukas LK-7900 is remarkable in two ways: One, it is the first camera to support 128GB SDXC memory cards, allowing for a whopping 28 hours of video footage. Two, this camera can withstand extremely high temperatures of up to 90 degrees Celsius (194 Fahrenheit), which is a great feature to have if you live in a hot climate, where lesser cameras might melt when leave your car parked in the sun for too long.

Due to the lower bit rate, the LK-7900′s video quality is not quite as good as the DOD LS300W’s, but still very good at day and above average at night. The LK-7900 is small and round, making it hardly visible when affixed behind your rear view mirror. A GPS logger is included.

Optionally, you can acquire a so-called circular polarizing lens (CPL) separately for this camera. A CPL filter reduces reflections on the windshield when driving around in sunny weather (this is a problem that all dash cams have). Remember to remove it at night though, otherwise your video will be too dark.

BlackVue DR550GW-2CH – Full Featured Dual Channel Dash Cam

The BlackVue DR550GW-2CH dual channel cam tops off our list of the best dashboard cameras for 2014. At $450, this is the costliest and also by far the most luxurious of the five cameras presented here.

First of all, dual channel means it records out your front and rear windows. While the main camera unit is mounted on your windshield as usual, a smaller camera looks out through your rear window and records whatever is going on behind you. The two are connected by a long coaxial cable.

While the front camera records great quality 1080p video, the rear camera records at reduced resolution of 720p, which is naturally not as detailed as 1080p but the rear footage is still quite alright.

This camera doesn’t have a screen, but it is one of very few dash cams that support Wi-Fi. This means you can connect it wirelessly to your smart phone or laptop. Moreover, this camera comes with an in-built GPS logger. It also has a voice menu feature, which allows you to easily operate it while driving.

Top 4 Tips For Selecting The Best Dashboard Cameras

This day and age we have all sorts of drivers on the road trying to get to places as fast as possible. They consist of young, old, insured, and uninsured people. It’s now more important than ever to protect yourself from bad drivers as well as scam artists. We’ve all heard the horror stories about the people who back their cars in to another car and then claim they were rear ended.

A great way to protect yourself is by installing a dashboard camera. These have become common accessories now with the everyday driver. Fortunately, the cost of these cameras has dropped where they are affordable for most everyone now. Below I have listed a few tips for selecting the best dashboard cameras.

Loop Recording

The last thing you want to do is spend your time going through and deleting videos where nothing important happened. Therefore, it’s best to choose a camera that comes with a feature where once the memory is full it will start back at the beginning and record over old videos.

Optional Hardwire

The best dashboard cameras allow for hard wiring to the vehicle’s battery. This prevents the need to plug it in each time you go for a drive. It also allows the camera to start recording when the car’s cranked. I particularly like this because it’s just my luck that an accident would happen the day I forgot to plug the camera in.

Motion Detection

Public parking is treacherous to a person’s car. I’ve been on both sides of the fence here. I’ve had my car sideswiped while parked and I’ve accidentally backed in to a parked car. A good dashboard camera will have a parked mode where it’ll start recording when it detects motion regardless of your car running or not. If someone backs in to your car in a parking lot, the camera will record their license plate if they take off from the accident.

Quality Video

No matter which camera you get, make sure that it records HD quality video. This is the only way to know that you will consistently see license plates or street signs in the recordings. Also, if you find yourself needing to use the recorded video as evidence you won’t have a questionable image.

When selecting the best dashboard camera these are a few important features to look for. Features that I have listed above are what make them easy enough for everyday use without taking away from your normal driving activity. You’ll be able to find a camera with everything listed here without breaking the bank. Your safety is certainly worth a product that will do well when it’s needed.

Three Advantages Of Having Mini Dash Cams Installed In Your Vehicles

With the ever-increasing amount of people on the road these days, more and more accidents occur. If you wind up involved in an accident, having an in-car camera installed will protect you from wrongful blame when you’re not at fault. However, that’s not the only reason for putting a dashboard camera in your car. There are several other advantages of having mini dash cams installed in our vehicles. Below I have listed a few of those advantages.

Insurance Premiums

Installing a dashboard cam can prevent your insurance premiums from rising. Drivers have started using the video from these cameras as an independent witness to prove who is at fault after accidents. You will now have rock solid evidence of any collision or other incident should you need it. Right now there are no insurance companies that offer discounts on premiums for adults that install dash cams. However, there is one company that discounts premiums for young new drivers that have them. This brings me to the next advantage on our list.

Teen Safe Driver Program

A company known as American Family Insurance has started a Teen Safe Driver Program where they give new teenage drivers a free mini dash cam for one year. Included in the program is driver coaching and education for helping them be better drivers. The camera that the company provides records inside and outside of the vehicle when it detects swerving and sudden speed decreases or increases. The recordings are then sent to the driving coaches through Wi-Fi where they can grade the teen drivers on a weekly report card. Parents can review the report each week by logging in and checking the videos and grades. By participating, teens get a ten percent discount on their premiums. Therefore, not only are these cameras allowing lower premiums for teen drivers but they also help parents keep an eye on their children’s driving. All the while, making our teens better drivers and making the roads safer to drive.

Crash for Cash

This is similar to the reasoning behind the insurance premiums. A dash cam protects you against scammers that intentionally have car accidents to extort money from their victims. It has become such an epidemic that it now has its own nickname. This dangerous stunt has become known as, the “crash for cash” scam.

You can find thousands of dashboard cam clips on YouTube. The reason is incidents are commonly caught on tape. They’re usually caused by a person doing something that is less than ethical. For example, one of the most popular dash cam videos shows a guy that runs in to the road and starts acting like he was hit by a car. The funny thing about it though, is that the car had already come to a complete stop before the guy ever came in to the road. Who knows what would’ve happened if there hadn’t been video evidence to prove that the guy was faking? Considering the cost at risk of not having one versus the cost of the cam itself, the advantages of having mini dash cams installed are obvious.

What to Consider When Buying Car Stereo Systems

Choosing Car Stereo Systems

This is something you need to spend some time on. There is a lot to take into account when shopping for a car audio system and the most expensive may not necessarily be the best.

Here are some of the things you might like to consider:

Car Stereo Systems Clarity

Music quality is paramount when buying a car sound system. It is something that you will use every time you ride in your car, so clarity is vital. You want to buy a system that will give you the best clarity and quality of music in your particular vehicle.

Car Sound Systems Cost

Cost is one thing; value for money is something entirely different. You may buy an expensive system that does not perform as well in your car as a less expensive system might. You will not be getting value for money and you will regret your decision. You need to buy a system that you have confidence in. If the more expensive system has the better quality sound, then you can have confidence in your purchase.

Car Stereo Size

Before you go shopping for your system, take a look at the size of your car and assess the space that you want to devote to installing a sound system. It is not true that “bigger is better”, especially in the car audio market. Look for a system that will comfortably fit into your car.

Something else to think about is the weight of the components. Subwoofers and bass speakers can weigh a lot and may be too heavy for the mounts that your car provides for the speakers.

If you are considering installing amplifiers and CD changers, look at the space your car has to accommodate these pieces of equipment.

Car Audio Systems Reliability

The Car Audio market has a long history and many brands have built up great reputations. These are the reliable old timers. There are many newer brands on the market; some are good and others not so good. It is a good idea to check out the reputation of the brand you are considering and finding out if there is anything that you need to know about it before buying the car stereo systems.

Display and controls

Bigger displays are well worth considering as you are able to see more information. The smaller, single line displays need more attention and scrolling to get to the information. It is far better to be able to glance at the display and see all you need to see than taking your eyes off the road for long periods of time.

The bigger displays also have far better graphics and if you buy a unit with touch screen, the buttons and icons are bigger and clearer on the larger screen. This makes it far easier to make selections and to access the controls of the car sound system.

In some model, you will be able to match the colour of the sound systems light display to the colour of the lights on your car’s dash display.

Car Stereo Systems Type

Buying a car sound system is something that is not easy to reverse, so it is wise to put a lot of thought into your decision. Take all the factors into account and then remember that there are many types and brands on the market. Once you have considered all the options, you should choose something that you will be happy with.

There are hundreds of car stereo system manufacturers. Some of the better known brands are Pioneer, Kenwood, Sony, JVC and Alpine. You should be cautious if you are thinking of going with a lesser known brand.

5 Things You Need To Know About Amplifiers

Amplifiers are great as they help you in increasing the volume of your sound. If you are curious to know about these units, here are a few things that you need to know:

How the Units Amplify Sound

The best way of understanding how they work is by thinking of them as servo-controlled “valves” that control the stored energy from the wall outlet and release it in measured amounts into your loudspeakers.

Classes of Amplifiers

There are many classes of amps that vary depend on their make and distortion levels. Some of the most common classes are:

Class A: here current flows constantly through the output transistors even if there’s no incoming audio signal. Due to this the output transistors are always on. The cool thing with a class A amp is that it has the lowest distortion. Its main flaw is that it’s inefficient.

Class B: they make use of output transistors that switch on and off. If there’s no signal, no current flows through the output transistors. While they are more efficient than class A amplifiers, they tend to have non-linear distortions.

In addition to class A and B, there are also class A/B and class D amplifiers.

The Names of the Amps Don’t Represent Performance Ratings

The names are used in differentiating the different types of amplifier circuits; therefore, if you find an amp written “D” this doesn’t mean that it’s a class D. In most of the cases, it means that the unit has a “digital” design.

What Is the Difference between Digital and Analogue Amplifiers?

There are a number of differences. An analog amp regulates transistors in order to release power from the power supply of the amp to the loudspeakers in such a way that it exactly mimics the incoming waveform. Digital amps on the other hand use a circuit that switches at high-frequency in order to modulate the output devices.

What Should You Consider When Buying An Amplifier?

For you to buy the right unit you need to consider a number of things. One of the factors that you should consider is the class of the amp. As rule of thumb you should buy a unit that is efficient and at the same time has less sound distortion.

You should also consider the price. It’s good to go for the best unit that your money can afford. You should avoid cheap amplifiers as they tend to break down fast. They also don’t give you the sound quality that you deserve.

We have many types of amplifiers such as Yaqin amplifier, We also have mingda amplifiers and many others.

Why Should You Emphasize on Using a Full HD Dashcam?

Are you the one who has a great fondness for driving? Have you ever come across any situation in which the driver of a car has banged the car in front of him and fled from the spot? With the ever rising increase in the number of vehicles on the road, accidents are bound to take place and they occur due to the display of a negligent attitude by the car driver. It has been noticed a large number of times if someone meets with an accident caused by the rash driving of someone else, the main culprit will put all the blame on the one whose car been hit by the actual person who’s at fault.

He may even try to extract money from him stating that it was another person’s fault as he applied the brakes all of a sudden and that his car literally banged the car of the person who seems innocent in this scenario. This can happen with anyone driving on the road and even you too. In order to capture the real moments of accidents taking place with a stranger driving on the same road you’re, it would be a wise decision to get a dash camera mounted on your car’s windscreen.

Let’s take an example, shall we?

You have always been a good driver until this point of time and there’s no record of over speeding or jumping the red lights against you. You, in fact, are against driving on the road while talking on your mobile phone. There’s a person who’s hit the rear end of your car as he was coming at a speed and he lost control somehow or could not make use of the brakes when they were required to be used. As a result, you car has been badly damaged and you ask the person at fault to pay for the damages. How would you feel on finding out that the person who’s really caused the accident is blaming you for what just happened? You would definitely wish you had a full HD dash camera fixed on the windscreen of your car.

What if you end up paying up money to him for the minor or major damage his car has suffered? In order to prevent yourself from coming into contact with such an unwanted situation, you should strongly lay an emphasis on getting a dash cam in your car so that it can record everything happening with you on the road. Dashboard cameras are those cameras which are mounted to the front of the vehicle and sometimes at the rear also. They can be fixed on your car dashboard or the windshield. When you start driving, it will constantly record everything that takes place while you’re driving.

There are some great benefits of having a dash cam mounted on the dashboard or the windscreen of your vehicle. They are listed below.

1. An HD dash camera protects your insurance

2. Can be fixed and removed in no time

3. Promotes one to drive in a proper manner

4. Records everything that occurs while driving

5. Acts as a full-time witness

6. Acts as a piece of evidence in case of an accident

Sean Washinski is an expert in the automotive industry and has extensive knowledge about dashboard cameras and other cameras.