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VIOFO A129 Pro 4K Dash Cam Review

VIOFO A129 Pro 4K Dash Cam

The A129 Pro Duo is VIOFO’s latest flagship dash cam. It is a 2-channel system boasting all the features of its predecessors the A129 and the A119, but with a True 4K UHD recording resolution in its front-facing camera. The A129 Pro is currently the highest resolution 2-channel dash cam in the VIOFO lineup.

Key Features

  • 4K UHD Resolution
  • Full HD Rear Camera
  • 130° Wide-Angle all-glass Lens (front)
  • 140° Wide-Angle all-glass Lens (rear)
  • 8.29MP Sony Exmor R Starvis IMX317 (front)
  • 2.13MP Sony Exmor R Starvis IMX291 (rear)
  • 4 Bitrate Options
  • H.265 High Efficiency Video Coding
  • Dual-Band WiFi 2.4GHz & 5GHz
  • Super Night Vision
  • GPS Built-in Mount
  • Advanced Parking Mode with Pre-Buffer Recording
  • 2” HD LCD Screen

Pros

  4K UHD front recording
Dual-band WiFi support
4 bitrate options
H.265 High Efficiency Video Coding

Cons

Bulkier, indiscreet design due to built-in screen
Large 4K footage files requires larger capacity memory card
Weak parking mode capabilities when compared to other 4K dash cams on market
No Cloud connectivity

Key Features

  • 4K Ultra HD
  • 2K QHD Optional Rear Camera
  • 150° Wide-Angle Lens
  • 8.42MP Sony Exmor R Starvis IMX3343 (front)
  • 5.14MP Sony Exmor R Starvis IMX335 (rear)
  • Energy Saving Mode 2.0
  • Super Night Vision 2.0
  • Live View (Driving/Parking)
  • Geo Fencing
  • Locate Vehicle
  • Driving/Parking Impact Notification
  • Road Alert Systems
  • Safety Camera Alert
  • Built-in WiFi

Pros

  4K UHD front recording</span
  2K QHD rear recording
  Real-time vehicle tracking via Cloud
  Geo-fencing and alerts
  Driving & Parking Impact Notification
 Unobtrusive, modern design

Cons

Large 4K footage files requires larger capacity memory card


In-Depth Video Review

Watch this review in video:


Design

On the surface, the A129 Pro looks identical to the A129. However, the A129 Pro front camera is noticeably heavier than the A129 and that’s because of a built-in cooling system. The A129 Pro is bigger than the A119 by a few millimeters. But just like the two older models, the A129 Pro comes with a 2” HD LCD screen.


Front Camera Video Quality

The front camera is excellent. The lens has an 8.29MP Sony Exmor R Starvis image sensor to deliver crystal clear 4K UHD video quality at 30FPS. Ultra high definition is 4x more vivid than 1080p Full HD and the video recording quality is definitely a much-welcomed upgrade.

Advanced video enhancement technologies including Wide Dynamic Range (WDR) and Super Night Vision, cover a good span between day and night, bright and dark environments to ensure videos are of pristine-quality during the day, and crisp and clear with good definition and minimal noise and blurring at night.

The A129 Pro does have a smaller viewing field at 130-degrees. This is actually 10-degrees less than that of the A129 or the A119. In other words, you are losing about 5-degrees on each side, but in return you get 4x the video quality, so it’s really not a bad trade-off.

Resolution-wise, if you are using just the front camera, your options are 4K at 30FPS or 2K at 60FPS. You can also scale it down to 1080 Full HD at 60 or 120FPS. But if you running the front and rear camera simultaneously, video recording in the front camera is limited to 30FPS.

Another upgrade we see in the A129 Pro is the additional bitrate options. With the A129 and A119, you were limited to just high or low bitrate. But with the A129 Pro, you can choose from 4: Low, Medium, High and Maximum.

Here’s a comparison table for a 1-min video in 4K at 30FPS:

Overall Bitrate

Video File Size

Low

15.3 Mb/s

109MB

Medium

30.3 Mb/s

216MB

High

42.4 Mb/s

303MB

Maximum

60.3 Mb/s

431MB


Rear Camera Video Quality

The A129 Pro uses the same rear camera as the A129. The rear camera is equipped with a 2.13MP Sony Exmor R Starvis IMX291 image sensor to deliver Full HD recording at 30FPS.

If you are looking for an IR camera for the A129 Pro, do note that VIOFO has not released any A129 Pro Duo IR camera. However, the A129 IR camera is compatible with the A129 Pro. In other words, if you have the A129 IR camera, you can simply plug it into the A129 Pro with the existing IR camera cable.


Parking Surveillance

While VIOFO was able to deliver a true 4K UHD dash cam that rivals that of the premium name-brands, such as the Thinkware U1000, it lacks the advanced parking capabilities. Parking mode is definitely one of the weaker areas of the VIOFO A129 Pro. There are 3 options under parking mode: Auto Event Detection with Buffered Parking Recording, Time Lapse Recording and Low Bitrate Recording.

With buffered parking recording, the camera will automatically record a video sequence (from 15 seconds before the event to 30 seconds after the event) if the motion detectors are triggered. If no further motion or impact was detected for 60 seconds, the camera will stop recording and returns to a standby mode until the next time motion or impact is detected.

With the new advancements in parking mode features in the market, what the A129 Pro offers is relatively elementary, especially when the Thinkware U1000 offers the option of ultra -high frequency radar motion detection with the optional add-on RADAR module.


Reliability

4K dash cams are more susceptible to overheating in hot weather, especially when used for parking mode inside a roasting car at mid summer. As we mentioned earlier, the A129 Pro has a built-in cooling system. The A129 Pro has an operating temperature of -10-degrees to 65-degrees Celsius, so it is built to withstand the hot southern summer days.

And like other premium dash cams on the market, the A129 Pro uses supercapacitors instead of lithium batteries. Unlike batteries, supercapacitors won’t expand or explode under high heat, making the A129 Pro a reliable dash cam under high heat. Another benefit of using a supercapacitor is, in the event of a sudden loss of power, such as a collision, the supercapacitor will provide enough power so that the recorded file may be saved on the memory card before the camera powers down.”


GPS Built-in Mount

The A129 Pro available on BlackboxMyCar comes with the external GPS module. With the GPS, you can record your speed and route data in your video footage files. The GPS will also synchronize the A129 Pro’s clock with the GPS time so that your video files can be correctly time-stamped.


Connecting to the Dash Cam

Just like the A129, the A129 Pro is a dual-band WiFi dash cam and with the additional 5GHz frequency, you can get faster data rates at shorter distances, making it perfect if you need to download multiple footage files when you’re home.

It has been reported that the 5GHz WiFi on the A129 Pro is significantly faster than that on the A129. The A129 Pro’s typical transfer rates were about 8-10 Mb/s while the A129 often only manages 1-2 Mb/s, depending on the device it’s talking to.

To connect to dash cam, you will need the VIOFO mobile viewer app, which is available free on the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store. Using the mobile viewer app, you can get real-time video preview, download and travel data right on your smartphone. Alternatively, you can use the 2” HD LCD screen for easy setup and video playback. This LCD screen is the same as the one on the A129 or A119.

The A129 Pro does not offer any Cloud capabilities.


Saving Video Footage

4K video files are known to be larger in size and as a solution, the A129 Pro comes with the H.265 High Efficiency Video Coding technology. This is the same encoding technology found in the BlackVue DR900S 4K dash cam. With the H.265, 4K videos can be compressed to the size of a Full HD video file.

However, the downside of H.265 is difficulties on playback since many devices will struggle with high bitrate 4K encoded in H.265. The standard H.264 video compression is available and is still the default compression method on the A129 Pro.

Note that the A129 GB does not come with any stock microSD card, so you will need to pick one up at checkout. But because of the larger file size, you may want to consider getting a higher capacity memory card. For instance, say you are going to be using the highest front and rear recording settings, a 128GB car will only supply about 3.5 hours of footage. The A129 Pro supports up to 256GB.


Recommendations

If you are upgrading to the A129 Pro from the A129, please note that:

  1. The A129 Pro Rear Camera is the same rear camera as the A129, which means if you already have the A129 Rear Camera installed in your vehicle you can simply plug it into the new A129 Pro Front Camera if you wish to leave your current rear camera setup intact.
  2. If you are looking for a temporary mount for the A129 Pro, please note that the A129 Suction Cup Mount will not fit the A129 Pro. VIOFO has not yet released any temporary mount solutions for the A129 Pro.

Also because the A129 GB does not come with any stock microSD card, so you will need to pick one up at checkout. The A129 Pro supports up to 256GB and we recommend getting the largest capacity memory card because 4K video files are known to be larger in size.


Who Should Choose the VIOFO A129 Pro

The VIOFO A129 Pro will make a lot of sense for a lot of different types of drivers.

For those who demand the best recording quality: We're talking about 4K Ultra HD. While the rear camera is only giving you 1080p Full HD, the front camera delivers a solid 4K Ultra HD recording quality. With impressive night vision and exposure correction features, the drive ahead of you will be captured in crystal-clear, movie-like quality.

For those who prefer a built-in viewing screen: If you do not have a smartphone or prefer not to use a mobile viewer app, having a screen onboard will provide you with an easy way to setup your dash cam as well as let you see the footage you’ve captured. However, do keep in mind that the LCD screen adds size to the dash cam, and ultimately, makes the entire setup bulkier. If discreteness is important to you, we recommend getting a screen-less dash cam.

For those who want dual-band WiFi support: At this time, the VIOFO A129 Pro and the BlackVue DR900S are the only two 4K UHD dash cams that offer dual-band WiFi support. If 4K recording capabilities plus dual-band WiFi is important to you and you are looking for a lower-cost alternative to the BlackVue DR900S, then the VIOFO A129 Pro would be a good option.


Final Verdict

The A129 Pro is a great 4K dash cam, delivering pristine video quality. The A129 Pro is more than just an improved A129.

Although the A129 Pro lacks the advanced parking mode features and cloud capabilities that the Thinkware U1000 and BlackVue DR900S offer, it has exceeded our expectations on many levels. The A129 Pro is an ideal dash cam system for those who would like to experience 4K UHD recording but prefer to have the convenient control of a screen and does not require advanced parking surveillance


Experience the 4K Madness

VIOFO A129 Pro Duo In-Depth Review

VIOFO A129 Pro Duo 4K Sample Footage

VIOFO A129 Pro Duo Review

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