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Top 5 Budget Dash Cameras – Great Cams that Don’t Break the Bank!

January 28, 2020


Hey it’s Andrew with Car Cam Central and we review dash cameras We’re back with our updated budget recommendations for 2017 As always we tested and researched many cameras and these *snap* are the best so far Full disclosure we paid for most of these
ourselves but we got two for free There’s a lot to cover so let’s get started [Intro Music] Starting with the Viofo A119 this is my top pick for value for $100 American It delivers the key features of a great dash
cam which are good design, reliability and video
quality First off the camera blends in with your windshield The all black wedged design is stealthy and looks nothing like a GoPro or a camera so it’s less tempting to steal Looking inside the A119 uses capacitors not lithium ion batteries Both store energy to safely shutdown your
videos when you turn off your vehicle Capacitors are more reliable and heat resistant so your camera is less likely to fail and
need replacing The only downside is the power lasts seconds, not minutes so you can’t record outside your vehicle but, this isn’t an action camera Moving to video quality, this camera has amazing clarity which means you can better capture details like license plates or faces The A119 records at Quad HD, 1440P The sharpness and clarity are the best I’ve
seen and only improve when you pay around double the price At night there’s less video noise and motion
blur so you can read more license plates on moving
vehicles Capturing these details are important for hit and run incidents or if the other driver lies to prove what
happened Going to the front the lens can move up and down as well as side
to side which helps drivers who need to mount it in
the corner of their windshield because of local
laws The A119 also has a GPS which is used to log your speed and position not give you directions on where to go It’s now integrated into an optional $10
mount which doubles as a quick release You can pull off the camera without unplugging the power cable Looking closer at the mount it uses an adhesive pad to attach to the windshield which is more sturdy and has less vibration compared to suction mounts which allow you to move cameras between vehicles More on suction cameras later Also like all dash cameras the A119 does two
things One, it turns on and automatically starts recording when it receives power Second, it overwrites the oldest files on
a loop so you never run out of space Most importantly the A119 has persistent audio and LCD error warnings which can tell you if the camera has problems
recording The A119 lacks an automatic parking mode which means it’s not an ideal camera to film while parked We’ll talk about a good choice later Still, the Viofo A119 sets the standard for a good dash cam and is my first choice if I had to make a blind recommendation Next up is the $50 A118C which I think is the best in its price range You can find cheaper cameras but the video quality is significantly worse and they break down more often The A118C includes a wire hider which makes the camera looked factory installed Looking inside it uses a capacitor and what the C in its name stands for If it’s just A118 that’s the version which uses a lithium-ion battery Looking at the video quality it records at a lower 1080P resolution and is noticeably less sharp especially with moving objects But overall you’ll be happy given its price At night the video quality has lower details and the reduced dynamic range means there are dark shadows in less lit areas where it can obscure pedestrians The video quality is actually quite good compared to even more expensive cameras it’s just the newer A119 is that much better The A118 also falls behind in error notifications as it’s limited to LCD warnings When your SD card fails you won’t even receive a warning that your camera isn’t working You can drive off unprotected and only realize there’s a problem when you get into an accident or get a ticket In December 2016 Viofo launched the A118C2 and A119S When this video was released I didn’t think they were worth buying Let me explain The A118C2 is an upgrade to the original A118 which has an improved lens with two grooves to hold an optional $15 circular polarizer which reduces reflections and glare from your windshield The video quality is noticeably better At night the new lens lets in more light which means you can capture more details like license plates As well the unit itself is better shielded
to prevent electronic interference with your GPS or radio However, the C2 pricing was too high to recommend as the A119 is much better and costs a little
more The new A119S uses a Sony Exmor instead of an Omnivision image sensor and costs $20 more From the video samples we’ve seen it doesn’t impress us but we’ll give you our full verdict when
it’s fully tested Keep in mind our recommendations may change depending on pricing Take a look at the description below for updates I want to bring up the $100 Rexing V1 as it’s frequently compared to the A119 The V1 is worse The Rexing has a larger body and LCD screen which is more noticeable The video quality much lower and is more like the $50 A118 as both use the same image processor and sensor It also uses lithium ion batteries and not the capacitor of the A118C Rexing has great customer service but I don’t think it’s worth $20 to $40
more and the loss of a capacitor Moving on as not everyone is a fan of wedge shaped cameras we have three other models you can consider with different functionality and style First up is the $70 Yi Dash Cam which is the cheapest WiFi camera we recommend The Yi has a more traditional camera-shaped
body and bright metallic paint which does make it more noticeable The Yi can rotate 360° to film police encounters interesting scenes or the faces of drivers This is an advantage over cameras like the
A119 which can only face the front The Yi uses lithium ion batteries which means it’s not a good choice for hot and humid environments but it’s not unreliable In fact the Yi has survived the summer without any heat related issues As well its lithium ion batteries store more
power so you can record for 10 minutes outside your
vehicle We reviewed the Chinese version which has a suction mount The international version uses an adhesive mount instead The video quality is quite good overall with a maximum resolution of 1296P The daytime quality is somewhat reduced as a result of the wide angle but I’m satisfied with its performance At night the Yi has great clarity and sharpness coming in just behind the Viofo A119 dash
cam Using a smartphone you can wirelessly connect to the Yi to transfer and view files This is pretty handy after an accident so you can discreetly look at your videos and back them up without letting the other
driver know The app was well designed and you’ll have no problems using it The combination of good video quality, WiFi and the added 360° coverage are hard to beat at this price range The Yi is a option for anyone living in mild
climates generally less than 25°C/77°F Next up we have the $100 Transcend 200 This camera is best for someone living in a very hot and humid environment and on a budget It has the functionality of the Yi but with capacitors, proven reliability under hot weather and a two year warranty It also has WiFi, but it’s not as good as
other cameras The app is rather lackluster with a clumsy
interface but you can view and download files The video quality is what most people will have issues over During the day the sharpness and overall clarity isn’t very good At night I would say it has the worst quality of all the cameras here but it’s still good enough to prove that you weren’t at fault I understand the Transcend 200 has limited
appeal for most users but it does have it’s place Make sure you get the model with the adhesive
mount as the suction mount kept falling off my windshield *dropping noise* I hoped its replacement would be the Aukey
DR01 It’s made by a great company, has better image quality, capacitors and a two-year warranty However, the mount doesn’t allow the camera to face the side windows which for me defeats the main reason for using a camera-like
body Moving forward we have the $100 Goluk T3 This is the camera for anyone looking for
a slim, stylish camera with a good parking mode We tested a number of cylindrical cameras, researched many more and the T3 emerged as our choice for most
drivers It’s dark obsidian color and chrome lens
looks great but it’s still fairly stealthy and will be a good fit for luxury vehicles You might notice there’s no LCD screen so you’ll need to use a smartphone and their
WiFi app to change settings and view videos Overall it’s easy to use and quite functional The T3 uses a wireless button to activate video protection This locks the current footage from being
overwritten which is helpful to save interesting or accident
footage The wireless design is quite useful compared to most cameras which require you to reach for a button The T3 uses a capacitor which is important for its parking mode This is a special motion detection or time lapse video recording setting to save space on your memory card while your car is parked This feature automatically activates when you haven’t moved for 3 minutes and I thought it was effective Testing for power efficiency the T3 used less energy than most single lens dash cameras which extends your recording time During parking mode your camera requires constant power even when your vehicle is off Typically you’ll go through your fuse box to your car’s battery This is too long to cover right now so we have resources in the description below Looking at the video quality the daytime footage was rather unimpressive and wasn’t as crisp and clear as I would
have liked At night it’s not that sharp but the dynamic range is fantastic and the low light performance is good for rural environments We chose the T3 over the similar DDPai Mini2 as Goluk has committed more to overseas market with an 18 month warranty, better customer support and Amazon fulfillment If you need a budget parking camera or a more stylish camera than the A119 you’ll want to get the Goluk T3 You may have noticed the G1W didn’t appear that’s because we removed it from our recommendations list Reliability has always been worse than the
A118 and now more fake units are appearing There are good retailers selling genuine G1Ws but I think the Yi and A118C are better units If you’re looking for premium cameras which have better reliability and performance we made a separate video on the three cameras we recommend As always buying a durable SD card is important as your card is damaged every time you write videos to your memory
card The 64GB Lexar 633X is our value pick and is widely available The Transcend Endurance is our top pick as it’s made from MLC NAND which lasts longer and is optimized for use in dash cameras To learn more see our video on SD cards here As well links to full reviews, updates to authorized retailers will be in the description below And with that, that’s the end of this video If you liked it please give it a thumbs up if you want more please subscribe Thanks for watching

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