Fraud Blocker Is the HD Mirror Cam a Good Dash Cam Choice? — BlackboxMyCar Canada
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Is the HD Mirror Cam a Good Dash Cam Choice?

For drivers who are looking for dash cams below the hundred-dollar price tag, one of the most popular choices is the HD Mirror cam. Unlike traditional dash cams mounted behind the rearview mirror or on the dashboard, the Mirror HD cam has caught the eye of many users with its capability not just to record your front view like a dash cam, but also to replace your car’s existing rearview mirror.

It’s similar to a unit we have sold before, the Vantrue Mirror Cam 3. But comparatively, the Mirror HD cam caught the interest of a lot of users, especially when “As seen on TV”, its marketing trademark, announced that the Mirror HD can be installed in seconds, fits rear view mirrors of all sizes, ready for instant recording in any car, vehicle or SUV.

For its price point of $59.99, the Mirror HD cam could be a steal. The question is, how does its quality stack up against most dash cams? Does it offer basic dash camera functionalities like motion detection, night vision, loop recording and wide angle recording? In this article, we will test and review the performance and features of the HD Mirror Cam to see if it’s truly worth the gamble.

Things we discovered about the HD Mirror Cam

As readers have probably guessed, the quality of the HD mirror cam is very much reflected by its price at $59.99. Having the HD Mirror Cam strapped on top of the existing rearview mirror, the unit vibrated quite a bit while we were driving around in our vehicle. As a result, the video quality that we captured through the HD mirror cam came out quite unclear and fuzzy. Overall, the build quality of the HD mirror dash cam felt cheap and fragile. Plus, compared to our car’s existing rearview mirror, the screen of the HD mirror cam seemed dark, so it’s unsafe, especially when driving at night.

The LED screen on the camera itself is also too small and has poor resolution, making it quite difficult to see out of. The only redeeming factor was that it was quite straightforward to set up, as one has to simply plug the HD mirror cam into the car charger slot (ignition start). This installation method through the cigarette lighter adapter is one of the many ways with which you can install your dash cam, and is quite standard in most traditional dash cam setups.

While dash cams nowadays like VIOFO, BlackVue, or Thinkware have dedicated mobile apps where you can check your footage or configure settings, the HD Mirror Cam seems to be very old-school and basic, with no mobile application nor a dedicated PC viewer.

Therefore, the only way to view your footage is to stop driving, turn off your car, take off the Mirror Camera’s SD card, and plug it into your computer. Compared to most traditional dashboard cameras where there is either an LCD screen, a smartphone application, or a dedicated Mac or PC Viewer, the HD Mirror Cam is something that doesn’t prioritize user convenience. What if you urgently need to show dash cam footage to a traffic enforcer, a cop, or insurance? How in the world will you instantly get a PC to view your files?

Still, on the upside, the file format is a standard video file type, making it viewable without any issues. However, there’s still a downside. We discovered that the videos recorded by the HD Mirror Cam are titled as “1”, “2”, etc., making it difficult and time-consuming when trying to look for a video clip on your memory card, as they are not separated by date and time like most other dash cams.

Beyond that, the user interface on the unit itself is difficult to navigate through. It’s complicated to operate, easy to disable recording accidentally, and overall a frustrating experience with very poor user-friendliness. The wide-angle lens was not able to capture the footage clearly either.

Additionally, the dash camera is supposed to automatically switch recording modes based on brightness/darkness but, in reality, the feature had to be manually toggled at night time for the "night vision" as opposing car headlights would cause it to go back into daytime recording mode. For a dashboard camera, we did not feel assured that this camera would be able to record sufficient footage in the vent of an accident.

The Video Quality is… Bad.

Because of its low price point, the video quality of 720p makes the dash cam terrible for recording high-definition footage, especially when compared to other dash cams like the VIOFO A119 Mini 2.

License plate legibility, along with capturing other details, is anything but possible. Even under the most optimal situations, video quality is blurry and leaves much to be desired. For best-quality videos with a proper microSD card, we recommend trying the VIOFO A119 Mini 2 instead. Installation is just as easy, as you would just need to install your dash cam through your car charger slot.

Night vision recording further diminishes these capabilities and, due to poor contrasting, would often only have pitch-black footage when the dash cam is trying to adjust to the headlights of other vehicles.

Short battery life, prone to overheating.

Surprisingly, the HD Mirror Cam camera does have a parking-mode recording. However, it is not buffered and it is inaccurate. As the dash cam is battery-operated through a rechargeable battery, parking-mode is only available for about 30 minutes before the power is drained within your vehicle. Yes, it is not powered by a supercapacitor, so it is likely prone to overheating issues especially when you live in warmer regions. Learn more about supercapacitors and lithium ion batteries here.

We did notice that half the time, that parking mode would not be enabled and the dash cam would just record continuously while nothing was happening. Further, although the LED screen does showcase a battery bar, the display is inaccurate as the percentage would fluctuate greatly despite minimal charging or usage. Lastly, the maximum storage capacity of the Mirror HD Cam is only 32 GB, which is not recommended for long-term storage.

Overall, if you are looking for a dash cam that will protect you in your vehicle, we do not recommend purchasing the Official HD Mirror Cam.


The Best Alternative to Mirror HD Cam: the VIOFO A119 Mini 2

The VIOFO A119 Mini 2 is the best budget-friendly dash cam in the market today. While it’s priced slightly higher than the HD Mirror Cam at $119.99, you’ll get all the safety, video quality, and security features you need in a dash cam.

First, the Sony STARVIS 2 technology. While the HD Mirror Cam provides blurry and dark footage, the A119 Mini 2’s new image sensor captures the sharpest details in low-light settings, while also producing more vibrant-coloured images, and even lower parking mode consumption – almost comparable to 4K dash cams.

On top of that, the VIOFO A119 Mini 2 is also the first VIOFO to have Super Night Vision 2.0. We learned that, unlike other VIOFO dash cams, the A119 Mini 2 has the highest sensitivity and lowest noise captures in nighttime driving, which also works best with the Mini 2’s High Dynamic Range (HDR) feature. And if you’re often driving on highways, the A119 Mini 2 gives you the option to capture smoother and fluid videos through its 2K @ 60 frames per second frame rate.

Standard in VIOFO dash cams, the VIOFO A119 Mini 2 dash cam also offers 3 different parking recording modes: Auto-Event Detection with buffered recording, Low Bitrate Recording and Time-Lapse Recording. Regardless of the parking mode you are using, you will need the HK4 hardwiring cable to activate this feature. Even if you use the A119 Mini 2 for a long time, your ride is guaranteed safe, especially since it’s built with supercapacitors, and not batteries like the Mirror HD Cam.

While the Mirror Cam had no other way to view footage, the A119 Mini 2 is compatible with the VIOFO app that is available on iOS and Android devices. It also has dual-band 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi that provides 4 times faster file transfer than 2.4GHz Wi-Fi, enabling ultra-rapid file transfer, smooth video viewing, and dash cam settings adjustment. In fact, you can download a 1-minute 2K video in just 10 seconds, with a download speed up to 11Mbps.

Beyond these features, the A119 Mini 2 also has a built-in GPS, Voice Notifications, and Voice Control features. Unlike the Mirror Cam’s 32 GB micro SD, the A119 Mini 2 is able to support micro SD cards up to 512 GB, providing long-term reliability and performance.

Specifications VIOFO A119 Mini 2 Mirror HD Cam

Video Resolution

2K QHD @ 60 FPS

720P @ 30 FPS

Image Sensor

5MP Sony STARVIS 2 IMX 675

-

Field of View (F|R|I)

140°

120°

GPS

Built-in

None

Parking Mode

Yes, with Buffered Recording

None

G-Sensor

Yes

None

Operating Temperature

-20℃ ~ 65℃ (-4℉ ~ 149℉).

-10°C - 60°C (14°F - 140°F)

Max SD Card

512 GB

32 GB

LCD Screen

1.5-inch

2.5-inch

Wi-Fi

Yes

None

Mobile App

Yes

None

Battery

Supercapacitor

Lithium Ion Battery

Country of Origin

China

USA

Manufacturer Warranty

1-Year Manufacturer Warranty

1-Year Manufacturer Warranty

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