Testing Advanced DrivercamBy: Benros Emata, Published on Jun 07, 2013
Most dash or driver cams have few features - they record audio and video to an SD card which you pull out and manually review. That is certainly the case with the top selling CarCam on Amazon which we recently tested.
We wanted to compare to a higher end drivercam to see what a 'premium' offering delivers. We selected the BlackVue [link no longer available]DR500GW-HD [link no longer available], and bought it from Amazon. Here's an image from our physical review inside:
This device has a broad array of features including WiFi support, a mobile app, GPS mapping, vehicle speed tracking and impact detection.
Our key findings of the test are:
- The WiFi + mobile app makes it dramatically easier to check video. Instead of removing it and connecting it to a laptop both live and recorded video can be easily pulled from one's smartphone inside the car.
- Low light video quality was much better than the basic Carcam and delivered a good overview of the scene.
- Capturing fine details like facial features and license plates were difficult with the Blackvue. While the Blackvue has a very wide FoV (notably wider than the Carcam), this reduces pixel density. Essentially one trades off some fine details for more peripheral coverage area.
- Some modest compression and exposure issues occurred.
- Setup of the WiFi / app was problematic and took two units and many tries to get everything working.
- The device itself was far smaller and more aesthetically pleasing than the basic CarCam.
The BlackVue is 6x / $250 more than the ~$50 Carcam but for those that want a quality product, the BlackVue is far more attractive.
Image Compared to the Basic CarCam
Parking Garage, Outdoor Day
Image quality was similar during the detail but the wider FoV of the BlackVue reduced fine details on subjects.
Parking Garage, Outdoor Night
However, at night, the BlackVue was clearly much better than the CarCam, which was fairly terrible.
While the BlackVue was not a great low light camera, it did provide enough details of the subject to provide verification of a known subject.
Parking Garage - Day and Night
This daytime clip shows the camera in action:
And here's night-time:
Highway - Day and Night
These highway clips show the camera in a faster motion / wider scene:
And at night:
This screencast examines the physical setup and install in a car:
See this video for configuration options and recommendations:
Advanced Features - GPS / Speed / Etc.
Lastly, but not least, here is how to use the advanced features of the camera: