With each passing year, dash cam manufacturers are looking at new ways to address customer feedback. As a result, they’re now producing new products that specialize in & target specific needs and wants. With so many options it’s hard to decide which camera is the best choice for you. We hope to make the process of finding the best dash cam a little bit easier with this article. We’ll start off with our three best value picks for 2018.
Best-Value Single Channel Dash Cam
Budget single channel dash cams are the go-to choice for many first time dash cam buyers. In just the last few years, it's possible to find great video and build quality for well under $120 if you're considering a non-parking mode device. Systems in this price range typically don't offer WiFi or parking mode functions but as far as protecting you in the event of an accident, they can be just as good as dash cams costing two or three times as much.
Our budget single channel dash cam pick is the VIOFO A119 V2, which offers stellar 2K HD video and a sleek, low profile design. There's also an option for recording in Full HD @ 60 FPS which is ideal for high speed environments such as the highway. The capacitor-based power supply and adhesive mounting bracket also make it a good choice for hotter environments, and a factory CPL filter is available to help reduce glare.
VIOFO has really pushed the boundaries of what was available at an entry level price point by offering 2K recording, GPS functionality, and a flip-down LCD screen in such a compact package. If you're on a budget but don't want to compromise quality, the VIOFO A119 V2 is the camera for you.
Best-Value Parking Mode Dash Cam
There are certain situations where a parking mode dash cam setup can be more important than a driving-mode-only dash cam. If you are to get into an accident while driving, you might have eyewitness accounts or insurance details as evidence as to what happened. On the other hand, if your vehicle is parked and gets hit, you only have proof if the other person is honest. After seeing countless customer hit and run videos, we think it's important to protect yourself with a dash cam in these scenarios.
Our pick for best-value parking mode dash cam this year is the Thinkware FA200. This dash cam is simple, straight forward, and of the quality that we’ve come to expect from Thinkware. The FA200 comes in two versions, one being the single channel mode, with only a single front facing camera, and the other is a dual camera setup with both front and rear facing units. The FA200 comes with Full HD recording in the front and 720p HD recording in the rear, WiFi connectivity for incident viewing through your smartphone, and thermal protection for high heat environments.
There are also a number of other fantastic parking mode features built into this dash cam which have trickled down from the flagship F800 PRO model. Notable features include: built-in voltage detection & timer cutoff, memory card partitioning, parking mode event & motion announcements, and very low power consumption to extend parking recording time. There that many higher end dash cams that offer all of these features.
Please note that the Thinkware FA200 is only currently available with the IR rear camera.
Best-Value Full-Featured Dash Cam
Sometimes it can feel as if like a struggle finding a good deal on a well rounded camera. Options often feel too sparse or far more advanced than what you'd ever use. In between the basic and flagship models, we have a section called full-featured dash cams that meet this exact demand.
Our pick for best-value full-featured dash cam goes to the Blackvue DR590W-2CH which offers Full HD 1080p front and rear video, G-Sensor parking mode, and a user friendly WiFi app. This is one of the most reliable yet affordable cameras, and one that we often use in our own vehicles. More discounted and lower-end models tend to have far worse video quality when it comes to recording incidents, and that is something we try very hard to avoid.
The Blackvue DR590W-2CH is not necessarily a flagship device, as it lacks some of the top-of-the-line features found on more expensive dual channel systems, such as cloud connectivity. However, we've personally found that this can be a bit of a boon, as the system is not loaded down with super advanced widgets that our customers might not need or want. Either way, this is a fantastic well rounded camera that will serve you well on the road.
Alternatively, if you’re looking for a single channel dash cam of the same caliber, make sure to check out the Blackvue DR590W-1CH.
Best of the Best 2018
If you simply want the best dash cam regardless of price point, these are the dash cams you should consider. To make it onto our best of the best lists, these models need to score well in video quality, user friendliness, and long term reliability. Here are our picks:
Best Dual Channel Flagship Dash Cam
If you are looking for the very best flagship dash cam, look no further than the Thinkware F800 PRO. It is the latest and greatest from Thinkware and builds on the F800 platform. Available with an optional rear camera, the F800 PRO offers a fully featured and expertly refined setup. The night time video quality is exceptional, utilizing Sony STARVIS sensors (front + rear) and the Ambarella A12 chipset and is among the best of the dual camera systems.
The F800 PRO is also one our favourite cameras to use in parking mode. It has the lowest energy consumption out of any Full HD + Full HD parking mode setup. It has an advanced priority system for the memory partition settings which dedicates almost half the memory card for parking mode recordings. It also has an incredibly discreet design so you can feel confident in leaving it in your vehicle overnight. With the PRO model there are some further refinements like the all black body, 128GB card support, and Thinkware's cloud feature system, Thinkware Cloud. Thinkware Cloud will add some additional options such as driving impact notifications, a vehicle locator, and phone alerts should a vehicle leave a specified zone (geo fencing).
We also loved the fact that this device is compatible with Macs and iPhones due to the use of exFAT SD card formatting and .MP4 file formats.
The Thinkware F800 PRO is an absolutely brilliant camera that punches far above its weight in regards to its price point. It has become a fan favourite around the BlackboxMyCar office, is absolutely deserving of the title of flagship, and is a camera that everyone should consider using.
Best 4K Dash Cam
For the tech lover and person that wants their dash cam to have all of the latest features, the most high end camera that money can buy is the BlackVue DR900S-2CH. The DR900S-2CH manages to pack nearly all of the state of the art dash cam technologies into a sleek and compact design for low profile monitoring of your surroundings.
The DR900S-2CH is able to record in 4K UHD @ 30fps and Full HD @ 60fps from its front camera, and Full HD @ 30 from the rear unit. The camera also comes with the Sony STARVIS CMOS sensor in both cameras, which allow for extremely crisp recording in low light conditions. As with all other BlackVue cameras, the 900S-2CH also comes with the BlackVue Over the Cloud system, built in WiFi & GPS, event partitioning on the memory card, and thermal protection from high heat environments.
The BlackVue DR900S-2CH is the undisputed king of the 4K dash cam world right now. While it might be a little bit overkill for some of our customers, if you’re the type of person that needs to have top of the line tech, then this camera might just be for you.
Keep in mind that if you're only in the market for a single camera setup, the BlackVue DR900S-1CH is also available.
Best Rideshare Dash Cam
For our customers that want a dash cam in their ride-share or limo service vehicle, good interior recording is key. In our opinion, the best dash cam for this is the Thinkware FA200 IR Dual Channel. The front camera unit offers Full 1080p HD recording, and the back unit records in 720p HD IR. The IR (Infrared) feature results in extremely crisp footage even when taken in super low light conditions.
The front and rear cameras both feature the top of the line Sony STARVIS CMOS sensor for further improving low light (and daytime) video quality. The overall design of this camera is attractive, sleek and compact, and is a breeze to install. Also, like other Thinkware dash cams the FA200 IRC comes with the full Thinkware parking mode suite when hardwired or paired with a battery pack. This includes motion detection, time lapse recording, and impact detection.
The FA200 IR Dual Channel also comes with a few additional high end features, which includes a WiFi mobile viewer, allowing you to watch and download recordings to your smart phone or device, and an anti-file corruption system to help keep your recordings safe and secure, no matter what.
The Thinkware FA200 IR Dual Channel is an amazing new dual camera option for Uber drivers, rideshare operators, or limo service vehicles. It’s also a great option for our customers that are worried about break-ins. The low profile internal cameras will catch any incident that occurs inside your vehicle whether you’re there or not.
After thoroughly testing all of the devices in our product range, these 6 models stood out to us as the best in their respective categories. Each manufacturer brings a little something different to the table so it's always important to consider what your personal needs might be. If you have specific requirements and want a personalized recommendation, feel free to contact our experienced sales team at firstname.lastname@example.org!