The New 2K QHD Triple-Channel Dash Cam from VIOFO
VIOFO A139 3CH In-Depth Review
The VIOFO A139 3-CH is VIOFO’s first triple channel dash cam, offering three cameras to record the front, interior and rear, and standard features like parking mode. The dash cam is built for rideshare and taxi drivers and is perfect for anyone who wants to keep an eye on the passengers in the rear.
A game-changer for rideshare and taxi drivers
VIOFO has been a favourite dash cam brand for years now among North American drivers who appreciate their cameras’ video quality, reliability, and affordability.
The VIOFO A139 3-CH is the first 3-channel dash cam in the VIOFO product range. It brings some highly-anticipated features to allow drivers to record the road ahead in 2K QHD and the rear and in-cabin in Full HD. The front camera lens cam be rotated up to 300° to give you an optimal viewing angle in a wide range of mounting positions and vehicles.
- 2K QHD + 1080p Full HD + 1080p Full HD
- 140° wide-angle lens
- 300° rotatable lens
- 5MP Sony STARVIS image sensor
- Super Night Vision
- Infrared Night Vision
- Parking mode recording
- Built-in dual-band WiFi
- VIOFO App Viewer
- GPS built-in mount
✓ Triple-channel (front, rear and interior) coverage
✓ 2K QHD front camera
✓ Option to record 2K QHD at 60FPS
✓ Built-in dual-band WiFi
✓ Discrete design
✓ H.265 available
❌ Not 4K UHD
❌ No buffered parking recording
Discover all the specs and features of the VIOFO A139 3CH
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The first thing you will notice is unlike the Zenfox T3 or the Vantrue N4, the VIOFO A139 3-CH comes with three separate cameras. The interior camera is not built into the front/main camera, giving you more freedom when mounting the cameras on your windshield to get the optimal coverage in all directions.
Next is the design of the front/main camera. VIOFO has gone with a completely different design shape compared to their usual wedge-shaped design. It reminds us of the Thinkware Q800PRO and the IROAD X10. Because of this new design, the A139 is not compatible with the old VIOFO CPL filter - instead VIOFO has made a new CPL filter specifically for the A139.
While VIOFO has kept the same 5-button design on the dashcam’s face, you will notice that the A139 does not come with a screen. If you’re familiar with VIOFO dash cams, you will know that the built-in LCD screen is a feature you find in all VIOFO dash cams, from the A119 to the A129 Pro. Many people prefer using the built-in screen’s convenience when setting up their dash cam or playing back videos. Without the built-in screen, you will now need to rely on the VIOFO mobile app.
Another thing that current VIOFO owners will notice is the slimmer design of the coaxial cable. The coaxial cable of previous VIOFO models is thicker compared to other dash cam brands, making installation trickier in many vehicles. We should expect an easier and more discrete installation with a much-slimmer coaxial cable and miniature connectors of the interior and rear cameras.
Finally, you will also notice that the charging port is now USB-C. Compared with the traditional micro USB connector, USB-C is more forgiving because it is reversible, making installation much more manageable.
Image Quality & Recording Capabilities
The VIOFO A139 3-CH front camera sports the same 5MP Sony STARVIS image sensor (IMX335) as the A129 Plus, giving you excellent 2K QHD images in all light situations at a 140° field of view. However, because of the new design, the front camera is now rotatable up to 300°, giving you the flexibility to mount it in a wide range of vehicles without compromising the field of view.
The rear camera also comes with a Sony STARVIS image sensor (IMX291/2MP), giving you almost identical 1080p Full HD quality as the A129 Pro and A129 Plus rear cameras.
The interior camera records in-cabin activity in 1080p Full HD. While it uses the same Sony STARVIS 2MP IMX291 image sensor as the other VIOFO IR model, the A129 Duo IR, just the fact that you’re getting six instead of 4 infrared LEDs suggests that we should see improvements in night visibility.
The A139 3-CH offers a few different resolution settings to choose from:
2K QHD @30FPS
1080p Full HD @30FPS
1080p Full HD @30FPS
2-Channel (Front + Rear)
2K QHD @30/60FPS
1080p Full HD @30FPS
2-Channel (Front + Interior)
2K QHD @30/60FPS
1080p Full HD @30FPS
Bitrate Settings & File Sizes
Just like the A129 Pro and A129 Plus, you get to choose from 4 bitrate settings on the VIOFO A139 3-CH.
Note that while higher bitrates may improve the recorded video’s quality, it will also increase your footage files’ size. Using a lower bitrate will save storage space, allowing you to hold more footage on the microSD card. Also, note that the option to record in H.265 is available on the A139. Like the A129 Plus, this feature is hidden and to enable it, you will need to stop recording and then hold the MIC button to make the switch.
In terms of how much 3-channel footage can your microSD card hold:
3-CH at Low Bitrate
3-CH at Normal Bitrate
3-CH at High Bitrate
3-CH at Max. Bitrate
Using the new VIOFO 3-Wire Hardwiring Kit, the VIOFO A139 3-CH offers three options under parking mode. In Auto Event Detection, the dash cam will automatically start recording once an event is detected, saving the footage to the "Parking" folder on the microSD
In Time Lapse mode, the dash cam will continuously take snapshots at the lower frame rates (1/2/3/5/10/15 FPS). The files will be saved onto the microSD card to be played back as a continuous video. Alternatively, the Low Bitrate mode keeps recording continuously in mini file sizes.
Regardless of which parking mode you select, the dash cam will save your footage onto the microSD card with the newest files overwriting the oldest so that you always have fresh footage.
Is It Heat Resistant?
One of the concerns we see in the Zenfox T3 is overheating issues, which is not difficult to comprehend because when you put a 5MP image sensor in the same casing with a 2MP image sensor and LCD screen, it’s bound to give off some heat.
Perhaps this is one reason why VIOFO has decided to keep all cameras separated and forego the LCD screen. Although we have yet to test the VIOFO A139 3-CH in a Beat the Heat experiment, we can see that VIOFO has incorporated quite a bit of ventilation on the casing itself, especially when compared to the Zenfox as well as older VIOFO models. Throughout our product testing, we did not notice any overheating issues.
Voice Notifications & Audio Quality
The VIOFO A139 3-CH has voice prompts, which means you can get an audible confirmation of setting changes such as turning on/off audio recording. It will also give you voice notifications should there be any problems with the camera, for example, memory card failure. This is definitely more intuitive than the beeping alerts on previous VIOFO models. Do keep in mind that voice prompts are disabled when GPS is connected.
Audio in the recordings also seems to be louder, which many rideshare and taxi drivers will find useful in capturing in-cabin sounds for all-round protection. For those who want to disable audio recording, you can easily do so using the microphone button on the front unit, just like how you would on other VIOFO models.
Installing the Cameras
Installation of the VIOFO A139 3-CH front camera is the same as that of other VIOFO dash cams: simply slide the camera into the GPS-enabled mount and attach it to your front windshield. While the front camera lens is rotatable up to 300°, we do not recommend overdoing it because the warranty does not cover damages caused by over-rotation.
Rear Camera & Interior Camera
Likewise, the VIOFO A139 3-CH rear camera installation is similar to the other VIOFO models: just mount the rear camera on your back windshield and connect it to the front camera with the coaxial cable. The longer/6m coaxial cable is ultra-thin, and it tucks away very easily, nothing like the thick cables you typically get with previous VIOFO dash cams.
The interior camera will connect to the front camera using the shorter/1m coaxial cable. Like the rear camera cable, it sports an ultra-slim design that features mini connectors. It plugs straight into the front camera instead of the L-shape design that previous VIOFO models use - this allows for an easier, more discrete installation.
The LEDs on the interior cameras operate in the following way: ON means the infrared lights are always on (video will be in black and white). AUTO means the dash cam will turn on/off the infrared lights according to the surrounding light conditions. OFF means the infrared lights are disabled. A short press of the Power button on the front camera’s face will allow you to change between settings quickly.
Setting up the Dash Cam using the VIOFO App
Note: The A139 does not offer any Cloud capabilities.
Because the VIOFO A139 3-CH doesn't come with a built-in screen, all settings changes are performed from the VIOFO App. For those currently using a VIOFO dash cam, it is the same app that is used for the A129 Plus/Pro.
With built-in dual-band WiFI connectivity, you can use the app to get real-time setup and display options with all three cameras and playback and upload videos.
Once you’ve downloaded the VIOFO app on your iOS/Android device, simply press the WiFi button on the face of the dash cam to turn on the WiFi feature. When connecting from your device, look for the WiFi name “VIOFO_A139_XXXX” - the default password is 123456789. Once you see a flashing blue LED on the dash cam, open the app on your phone to start the connection.
- Select “Connect your camera”
- Follow the steps provided within the app
Once your phone is connected with the dash cam, the LED light will turn into a solid blue.
Can I Use the Same Cameras/Cables If I'm Upgrading?
Unfortunately, if you are thinking of upgrading to the VIOFO A139 3-CH from the A129 Plus or other VIOFO dual-channel systems, you will need to replace all the existing VIOFO cameras and cables.
New Power Cable
The VIOFO A139 3-CH uses a USB-C power cable with a smaller, reversible connector, which is entirely different from the power cable used by other VIOFO models.
If you are planning on hardwiring the dash cam, you will also need to grab a new hardwiring kit as the old hardwiring cable won't fit into the power port on the A139 3CH.
New Coaxial Cables
The A139 3CH uses an ultra-slim coaxial connecting cable with miniature connectors for the interior and rear cameras. Again, these are also entirely different from the coaxial cables used by other VIOFO dual-channel models.
New connection ports
The connection ports on the A139 3CH front camera’s face will be different from those found on other VIOFO dash cams because of the new coaxial cable and connectors. In other words, the A139 3CH front camera will only work with the A139 rear and interior cameras, and vice versa.
Customer Questions & Recommendations
Does the A139 3CH come with a suction cup mount?
Our Final Verdict
A simple, flexible solution that covers all your needs.
The VIOFO A139 3-CH is more expensive than the other VIOFO models, including their 4K UHD dash cam. But for drivers looking for an internal camera it is a simple solution that covers all their needs. And while it is more expensive than the Zenfox T3 or the Vantrue N4, it is also more flexible and offers more features.
Designed with professionals such as taxi drivers and rideshare drivers in mind, the VIOFO A139 features 3 cameras to capture what's happening both outside and inside your vehicle. The front camera's image quality isn't as sharp as the VIOFO A129 Pro 4K UHD - and it's expected - the VIOFO A139 is a 2K QHD camera, like the A129 Plus.
Unlike other 3-Channel systems on the market, as well as other VIOFO models, the VIOFO A139 3-CH does not come with a built-in LCD screen. But it does come with built-in WIFI and a free mobile app that is quite intuitive and pleasant to use.