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A buyer’s guide to dash cams

Like most new tech, there’s a bewildering range of options to choose from – so here’s a simple guide to the most common and most useful features.

A buyer’s guide to dash cams

September, 2018

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Multi-camera systems

Multi-camera systems

Most dash cams have a single camera mounted on the dashboard or behind the rear-view mirror. But what if someone shunts you from behind? That’s when a dual camera system comes in handy. They’re a little more expensive, but provide twice the coverage. And for taxi or minibus drivers who may want to record images of their vehicle’s interior, multi-camera systems have become very popular.

Parking mode

Parking mode

Parking mode keeps watch even when your ignition is switched off and your vehicle is locked. So it’s great for capturing footage of vandalism, car park hit-and-runs, and accidental damage caused by an out-of-control shopping trolley. To save energy, you can disable parking mode if your car is safely parked in the garage. But if it’s going to be running for long periods while your car is parked on the street or in a car park, it will need hardwiring to the main car battery or connecting to its own power pack.

Picture quality

Picture quality

Picture quality depends on image resolution and the number of frames per second. Most dash cams on the market today feature full HD 1080 resolution and shoot 30 frames per second (FPS) – which meets the needs of most drivers. But some high-end models shoot at 60FPS, which gives a sharper resolution at higher speeds – ideal for capturing details of a fast-moving motorway incident.

Mounting

Mounting

There are two main ways to mount a dash cam – a suction cup allows you to easily switch your dash cam between cars, but can become detached if you’re involved in an accident. So an adhesive mount is generally a sturdier and more practical solution. An adhesive mount takes up less space than a bulky suction cup, which means it’s not as visible from outside the vehicle, and it’s less likely to be knocked off by road vibration or a collision.

Connectivity

Connectivity

A dash cam doesn’t actually need wireless connectivity to function properly – images are recorded onto a memory card and can be downloaded onto a laptop or PC via a USB cable. But the latest models often feature Wi-Fi capability, so you can download memory files without a physical connection. And some models feature GPS capability to track speed and location – which may provide valuable evidence in helping you to avoid liability in the event of an accident.

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