These days, getting a dash cam has become one of the top accessory-buying priorities among vehicle owners. With all the benefits you get from equipping your car with a dash cam, peace of mind and security foremost among them, it’s not surprising to see more car owners getting one for themselves.
Before you go and buy the first video camera you see, however, it’s important to know what to look for when buying a dash cam. There are certain factors that a good dash cam must have, and you have to check that the one you’re eyeing ticks all the boxes.
To help you on your search for the perfect equipment for your car, here are the most important things to consider when buying a dash cam.
Reliability is one of the key things you need from your dash cam, so look for a reputable brand. With so many dash cams available, it can be difficult to find real user feedback for each of them. Although it’s tempting to risk reliability for a cheaper price tag, doing so could potentially land you in hot water. Avoid brands whose products are often reported to fail in one instance or another.
Excellent video quality is the most important factor to consider when choosing a dash cam. Before you even check out the dash cam’s added features, make sure that it captures sharp photos and clear videos first. Get a dash cam that shoots HD video (nothing less than 720p, although 1080p is more advisable) and make sure it shoots great night videos as well. Sometimes, manufacturer videos were shot to show unnaturally good videos, so it’s best to look at user videos when making your decision. Check the angle of view as well. Don’t get anything less than 140° as you’ll miss out on a lot if you choose a dash cam with a narrow angle of view. Choosing one with a large aperture (f/2.0 or less) also allows for better night videos.
In most cases, having a discreet dash cam is preferable. You don’t want to be distracted by a large dash cam while driving. In fact this is one of the main reasons why people buy a separate video camera that was built exactly for this purpose. In terms of color, go with black. The most discreet dash cams don’t have an LCD display though, so if you want one for ease of use, you’ll have to compromise a bit.
Find the right balance between budget and quality. Extremely cheap dash cams will likely be poor quality, while super expensive ones probably have tons of features that you don’t really need. Moreover, price really isn’t an indicator of quality, so carefully check the dash cam’s features and read reviews online if possible to better assess its value.
The most premium dash cams today are often overloaded with features such as: GPS, motion detection, G-force sensors, loop recording, automatic power, adjustable mounts, photo function, LCD display, and so on. While these are all nice to have, you don’t necessarily need all of them. Some of the really useful features to look for are:
- G-force sensors and loop recording so your dash cam automatically overwrites old videos but keeps the ones that show footage of when your vehicle experienced high impact collisions, and
- Motion detection for parking mode.
When buying a dash cam, it’s always important to look at each individual factors above and compare them across different models before making a decision. A dash cam can be a useful addition to your car, so take the time to choose one that ticks all the boxes.