If you’ve been in an accident that turned into a complicated mess with your or another driver’s insurance company, it might make you curious about looking into dash cams as a way to secure proper evidence. Being able to see the cause of the accident can clear up any doubts about your innocence in an accident. It can bring great peace of mind to have a recording of whatever happens on the road. If you’re looking into getting a dash cam, a free app for your phone might seem like the best option at first. Many are free and they use a device you already have on you at all times.
Unfortunately, you’ll most likely realize that those free or incredibly cheap apps can do more harm than good to your perception about the potential of an actual dash cam. We’ll break down reasons why you should avoid these cheap imitations of a true dash cam, and just get the real thing.
Non-Dedicated Storage for Video in Dash Cam Apps
Your phone is used to store everything from precious video and photographic memories to your precious apps. When you start using it as a dash cam, you’re losing out on gigabytes of limited storage space to be used for dash video storage.
Not only are you giving up storage space, but the constant writing and rewriting of video data on your phone can damage the memory of your device over time. Dedicated dash cams use memory cards that can easily be replaced as they deteriorate. Your phone’s internal storage is much more difficult to replace if you don’t have a capable microSD slot for removable storage.
When dash cam storage memory fails, all you need to do is purchase an affordable replacement and put it back into your camera. Failed storage space on a phone could mean you’re out a phone and must buy a whole new device.
Dash Cam Apps Must be Manually Setup Each Time You Drive
When using a phone as your dash camera, you’re signing your smartphone up to be on camera duty 100 percent of the time you’re in your vehicle. This can be challenging to stick with, especially since nearly all of the footage captured will be overwritten without ever being watched.
Since recording your dash while driving is a safety measure for potential accidents, you’ll be manually setting up your phone as a camera each and every time you drive, just as a precaution. This requires diligence, as you’d feel awful if the one time you decided not to turn on your app for a short trip to the store was the moment you got into an accident and really needed that footage.
A dedicated dash cam, on the other hand, is always plugged in, always pointing at the right position, and is always recording from the moment you start your vehicle. Aside from initially assembling the device and occasional maintenance, you can set it and forget it. That kind of convenience is ideal for a security device like a dash camera.
Your Smartphone Lacks the Key Features Dash Cams Provide
Smartphone cameras have come a long way over the years. Many include 4K video recording and awesome photo features like Portrait mode on iPhones. Those features are perfect for general use but lack important technology that dash cams possess.
Many smartphone-based dash cam apps record at a lower quality and lower frame rate in order to capture more video content. Physical dash cams tend to give you at least 1080p for maximum quality, as well as 60fps to capture every important frame of an accident. Dash cams also include a standard wide-angle lens, which extends the viewable area of the recording. This is vital to help the camera capture as much important visual information of the road in front of you as possible. Very few phones utilize wide angle lenses, so you’re unable to get that benefit.
The multipurpose functionality of a phone can also get in the way of being a functional dash cam. When recording video for long periods of time, phones have a tendency to overheat, especially when connected for charging. This can endanger the phone’s longevity and more importantly, cause it to lock up and freeze. This can stop it from recording for a period of time and become a distraction for the driver. Not only that, but it can reduce the life of your expensive device.
Dash cams are built to last a long time while turned on and recording high-quality video. High-end dash cams are also less than half the price of a standard smartphone or iPhone, so even when they do eventually wear out over years of use, you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to replace them.
As you can see, there are a multitude of benefits when taking the initiative to purchase an entry-level dash cam rather than fuss with a phone app. Those apps can be more of a pain than they’re worth and could put a bad taste in your mouth about dash cams as a whole. Make sure your experience is positive and actually helpful with a legitimate dashboard camera for your vehicle.