The Ultimate Guide to Dashcams: Enhancing Safety and Security on the Road

The Ultimate Guide to Dashcams: Enhancing Safety and Security on the Road

Title: The Ultimate Guide to Dashcams: Enhancing Safety and Security on the Road

In an era where road safety is paramount, the advent of dashcams has revolutionized the way we perceive and approach driving. A dashcam, short for dashboard camera, is a small, compact device mounted on a vehicle’s dashboard or windshield, continuously recording the road ahead and, in some cases, the interior of the car. These devices have become an essential tool for drivers worldwide, offering a multitude of benefits that encompass safety, security, and peace of mind.

Importance of Dashcams

1. Safety Enhancement

Dashcams serve as an invaluable eyewitness in the event of an accident. The recorded footage provides clear evidence of what transpired, aiding insurance claims and legal proceedings. Moreover, these devices encourage responsible driving behaviour, as individuals are aware that their actions behind the wheel are being recorded.

2. Accident Documentation

In cases of hit-and-runs or vandalism, dashcam footage can provide crucial information such as license plate numbers or identifying features, assisting law enforcement agencies in apprehending the culprits.

3. Preventing Fraudulent Claims

Insurance fraud is a prevalent issue globally. Dashcams act as a deterrent against false claims by capturing accurate accounts of incidents, protecting drivers from unwarranted accusations.

Types of Dashcams

1. Single-lens Dashcams

These cameras have a single lens and offer a forward-facing view. They are compact and easy to install, ideal for basic recording purposes.

2. Dual-lens Dashcams

Equipped with both front and rear-facing lenses, these dashcams provide comprehensive coverage, recording both the road ahead and the interior or rear of the vehicle.

3. Features and Specifications

Modern dashcams come with various features such as GPS tracking, night vision, motion sensors, and loop recording, ensuring continuous footage without running out of storage space.

YouTube player

How to Choose the Right Dashcam

Take our Quiz

1. Quality of Video

Resolution matters when it comes to dashcams. Opt for at least 1080p HD resolution for clear and detailed footage.

2. Field of View (FOV)

A wider FOV ensures a broader perspective of the road. Look for dashcams with wide-angle lenses for better coverage.

3. Reliability and Durability

Ensure the dashcam is reliable and can withstand varying weather conditions. Look for features like heat resistance and a sturdy build for longevity.

4. User-Friendly Interface

An intuitive interface and easy installation process are essential for hassle-free usage.

Installing and Using Dashcams

Installing a dashcam is relatively simple. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions or seek professional assistance for a seamless setup. Once installed, ensure regular maintenance, including keeping the lens clean and checking the storage capacity.

Conclusion

Dashcams have evolved from being optional gadgets to essential safety equipment for vehicles. Their multifaceted advantages encompassing safety, security, and legal protection make them a worthwhile investment for any driver. Before purchasing a dashcam, consider the specific features that align with your needs, ensuring a safer and more secure driving experience on the road. Stay vigilant, drive responsibly, and let your dashcam be your silent but vigilant co-pilot.

In this digital age, where road safety is of paramount importance, dashcams stand as a silent witness, ensuring our journeys are not just safer but also more secure. Embrace the power of technology and drive with confidence, knowing that your trusty dashcam has your back, capturing every moment on the road.

Toyota BZ4X Dash Cam Install

Toyota BZ4X Dash Cam Install

Toyota BZ4X Dash Cam Install

A client of ours from Surrey contacted us to do 2 brand new Toyota BZ4X for dash cam install. Being this vehicle was brand new, we had to rely on our experience. In short, we had no wiring information available. So, we had to take out our multimeter and test for constant power and ignition. Figure out how to disassemble the vehicle, and hide the wiring.

toyota electric vehicle

Electric SUV

The Toyota bZ4X is an all-electric SUV that boasts a striking and futuristic design. With clean lines and bold curves, the bZ4X achieves a perfect balance between modern aesthetics and functional utility. It features a large front grille, slim LED headlights, and expressive taillights, all contributing to its distinctive and captivating appearance.

Toyota Dash Cam

Firstly, the customer needed to pick a dash camera, they wanted great video quality, front and rear coverage and an LCD screen. So, we showed them the new VIofo A229 Dual Dash cam. It comes equipped with

  • 2K resolution front and rear
  • 2.4″ LCD screen
  • Wide angle viewing
  • Wi-Fi capability to download videos
  • Parking Mode

shop dash cams viofo mounted on windshield

Vehicle Wiring

So, we start out by taking apart the drivers side of the dash, to gain access to wiring. We use our multimeter to test all wiring, and find the perfect wires to connect to. Strip the wires back, solder all connections, electrical tape, and tie strap in place. Furthermore, we put the dash back together and put all screws and bolts back in place for Toyota dash cam install.

toyota dash cam install

Toyota Rear Dash Cam

For, the Toyota rear dash cam we ran the wiring from front of the vehicle to the back. Tucking the wiring in so it was out of sight. Once at the back we had to fish the wire through the factory grommet. This, allows the wiring to not be affected by the hatch opening and closing. In addition, we hide the excess wiring in the hatch, making sure it is tie strapped in place. Lastly, after mounting the camera on the rear hatch, we can reassemble and tuck any remaining wires in.

toyota rear dash cam

Front Toyota Car Camera

Above all, we need to mount the front camera to the windshield. Our client wanted the dash camera mounted up high on passenger side. That way they can not see it while driving. We did just that. If you are looking for a dash cam in a Toyota BZ4X. We have done many and Safe Drive Solutions can take care of your professional installation.

YouTube player

What is a Dash Cam?

What is a Dash Cam?

What is a Dash Cam?

So, what exactly is a dash cam? Dash cameras have become increasingly popular in recent years, and for good reason. These small devices, which are mounted on the dashboard or windshield of a car, can provide video evidence. In the event of an accident have some peace of mind. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at dash cameras and why you might want to consider using one.

Why use a Dash Camera?

There are several reasons why you might want to use a dash camera. Here are a few:

  1. Evidence in case of an accident: If you’re involved in a car accident, a dash camera can provide valuable evidence of what happened. The video footage can show who was at fault, which can be useful if you need to file an insurance claim or go to court.
  2. Protection against insurance fraud: Unfortunately, there are people who stage accidents in order to file fraudulent insurance claims. A dash camera can help protect you from this type of fraud by providing video evidence of what really happened.
  3. Improved driving habits: Knowing that you’re being recorded can help you be a better driver. You may follow traffic laws and drive more defensively if you know that your actions are being captured on video. A lot of parents will buy this for their teenagers car for this exact reason.
  4. Capturing memorable moments: Dash cameras can also be used to capture fun or interesting moments on the road. You may capture a beautiful sunset or a rare sighting of a wild animal that you can share with others.

 

What to look for in a Dash Cam

If you’re thinking about getting a dash camera, here are a few things to look for:

  1. Video quality: Look for a camera that records high-quality video, ideally at least 1080p. This will ensure that you can see important details like license plate numbers and road signs.
  2. Wide-angle lens: A camera with a wide-angle lens will capture more of the road ahead, which can be useful in the event of an accident.
  3. Automatic recording: Make sure the camera starts recording automatically when you turn on the car. You don’t want to have to remember to turn the camera on every time you get in the car.
  4. Loop recording: Look for a camera that has loop recording, which means it will automatically overwrite old footage when the memory card is full. This ensures that you always have the most recent footage available.
  5. GPS: Some cameras have GPS capabilities, which can be useful for recording your location and speed. This information can be helpful in the event of an accident or to show where you were driving during a memorable moment.

Thinkware-Dashcam-F790-bundle

 

 

Conclusion

So, what is a Dash Cam? I hope we answered that for you here. Whether you’re looking for evidence in case of an accident or just want to capture some interesting moments on the road, a dash camera can provide peace of mind and help you be a better driver. When shopping for a dash camera, look for one with high-quality video, a wide-angle lens, automatic recording, loop recording, and GPS capabilities.

Wi-Fi Dash Camera

Wi-Fi Dash Camera

Wi-Fi Dash Camera

So what is a Wi-Fi Dash Camera? A lot of people get confused with this. We associate Wi-Fi Dash Cams with typical home security cameras. So, they automatically think that when you get into your car your phone needs to be hooked up to Wi-Fi for the dash camera to record. This is not true. There is also this perception that I do not park anywhere near my house. So, I wont be able to connect to my house Wi-Fi so there is no way my dashcam is going to record. I don’t see how this dash camera is going to protect me.

fx2 mobile viewer

SD Card Storage

All these dash cameras have a micro SD card. At least all the ones we carry. The little micro SD card goes right into the unit and everything records to that micro SD card. Now the only thing the Wi-Fi feature allows you to do, is when your in your vehicle typically with the ignition turned on. You can pair your phone to the dash camera. Now why would you want to pair your phone? The main reason why is so you can download a video from the micro SD card or change settings.

viofo a229 dash cam sd cards

LCD Screen Dash Camera

Now, if you end up with a dash camera with LCD screen. You can always just change the settings or review video footage right through the LCD screen without needing to connect to Wi-Fi.

viofo a229 pro 4k dash camera

Benefits

You do not have to have a Wi-Fi dash camera, but some people find it easier to download the video to their phone right away. This makes it easy to submit to insurance companies, show police at the scene of an accident. It is more about convenience. If you are not comfortable with this technology, you can always just take the SD card out and watch it on your desktop computer.

Wi-Fi Options

The Wi-Fi Dash cams are available in 2 options 2.4GHz or 5GHZ. Therefore, what is the big difference? Above all, 5GHz Wi-FI will download 3 to 4 times faster than 2GHz models. So, if you are trying to download a 1 minute video it will take approx 15 seconds with 5GHz and 1 minute with 2GHz models.

5 ghz wi-fi

Viofo A139 Pro Review

Viofo A139 Pro Review

Viofo A139 Pro Full Review

Here is our full review on the Viofo A139 Pro Dash Cam.

Dash Cam Options

There are 4 different ways you can get the Viofo A139 Pro dash cam.

Sony STARVIS 2 Technology

Being the first to deploy the newest Sony STARVIS 2 tech, A139 Pro is powerful enough to outbeat most 4K dashcam competitors with immensely upgraded image clarity and accuracy in license capturing. Sony latest technology STARVIS 2 IMX 678 image sensor, type 1/1.8’’, offers a wider dynamic range in a single exposure than the STARVIS pixel of the same size, bringing much less noise and motion blur during day & night recording.

A little bit of history on Viofo Dash Cams. The Viofo A129 Pro uses a Sony EXMOR sensor up front and a Sony STARVIS rear camera. While, the Viofo A229 uses a Sony STARVIS image sensor front and back. Last but not least the A139 Pro uses a 4K Sony STARVIS 2 image sensor and a rear STARVIS.

Sony Starvis 1 vs STARVIS 2 comparison

Dash Cam Resolution

Here are the options for various configurations of the Viofo A139 Pro

1 Channel / Front Camera

  • 4K 2160P / 1600P 30fps
  • 2K 1440P 30 / 60fps

2 Channel / Front + Rear / Front and Interior

  • 4K 2160P / 1600P 30fps +1080P 30fps
  • 2K 1440P 30 / 60fps +1080P 30fps

3 Channel / Front + Rear + Interior

  • 4K 2160P 24fps +1080P 24fps + 1080P 24fps
  • 4K 1600P 30fps +1080P 30fps + 1080P 30fps
  • 2K 1440P 30fps +1080P 30fps + 1080p 30 fps

Dash Cam Layout of Viofo A139 Pro

viofo a139 pro dash cam layout

Bitrate

You can set the bitrate for video. High bitrate improve the quality or smoothness of the video especially when recording fast motion or high contrast scenes. Using high bitrate mode may decrease the amount of recording time available on your memory card. Using a low bitrate will save space and record for longer time. Therefore, you can change the bitrate from low, normal, high or maximum on the A139 Pro dash camera. I typically run it on high or maximum frequently. I would recommend the same to everyone else for best quality.

Viewing Angle

The A139 Pro has a front viewing angle of 140 degrees, a rear viewing angle of 170 degrees and an interior viewing angle of 170 degrees. Depending on the configuration will depend on what viewing angles you have available.

Licence Plate Identification

When driving with traffic, I do find it to be the best out of any other dash camera that I have tested on the market. Furthermore, for picking up licence plates during the day or at night which you can see in our example video below. However, picking up licence plates to oncoming traffic still suffers motion blur on the license plate quite frequently. This is still the hardest obstacle for the dash cam technology available. Hopefully we will see some upgrades to firmware of the unit to dial it in over the next little while.

I also seen when driving through a tunnel when raining there are a lot of different contrast levels. There are far too many reflections for it to consistently pick up license plates. Certainly, you will not be driving through tunnels in a rainstorm everyday. But these are some of the challenges that still exist. However, from what i have seen in terms of performance. This is by far the best dash camera for picking up license plates.

YouTube player

High Dynamic Range

The Viofo A139 pro has high dynamic range. HIGH DYNAMIC RANGE also known as HDR enables the camera to deliver video with near-perfect exposure in varying lighting situations. It can enhance video quality, especially when it comes to the issue of the front license plate being overexposed at night.

high dynamic range on or off comparison

G-sensor

The G-sensor measures shock forces and locks the video recorded at the time. The settings from “low to high” determine the amount of force needed. Depending on your settings you can set the dash cam up to lock the video file recordings. There are different settings for parking mode, and while you are driving.

Wi-Fi

So, the Viofo A139 Pro has the option of 2.4GHz or 5GHz Wi-Fi. They also have an Android and IOS app so you can connect to the phone, download videos and change settings. Furthermore, if you use the 5GHz setting it will allow you to download videos 3-4 times faster then the 2.4GHz setting.

viofo 5 ghz wi-fi via smartphone app

SD Card Capacity

The Viofo dash camera supports up to 512gb micro SD card as long as it is high endurance or a Viofo SD card.

viofo micro sd cards

GPS Antenna

The Viofo A139 Pro has the GPS antenna built into the dock that the dash camera slides into. This will give you information such as GPS speed and location which will be embedded into the video. If you do not want that information showing up on your video, you can also turn it off.

Parking Mode

  • Auto Event Detection-Automatically record when detecting moving objects or impact while car is parked
  • Time Lapse- Video is recorded at a low frame per second from 1, 2, 3,5, or 10
  • Low bitrate recording – You can lower resolution to save space while recording

Parking Mode Cable / Low Battery Protection

In order to use Parking mode you must hook up constant power, ignition and ground. You must also use the selector switch on the cable to select you low battery cutoff. Therefore, you have the options of 11.8,12,12.2, or 12.4 volts. What this means for you is if the car battery drops below that set voltage, the dash camera will shut off to protect the battery of your car.

viofo parking mode cable hardwire

Loop Recording

Above all, the Viofo A139 Pro offers the options of 1,2,3,5, or 10 minute video loop recordings.

YouTube player

File List Organization

Viofo organizes their files into 3 folders.

  • All – All video files
  • Locked Files – Impacts, or manual recording / emergency recording button recordings
  • Parking Files – Incidents that happen while parked

Cable Sizes

Part of our Viofo A139 Pro review is how big the cables are in size. What I really love about the A139 Pro is it uses a very small cable for rear camera. When comparing the cable size from an A129 Pro to the A139 Pro. The cable size is 5mm in thickness while the A139 Pro uses a 2.8mm. This makes it easier for technicians during installation or do it yourselfers.

Viofo cable size

YouTube player

Pro’s and Con’s

Pro’s

  • High Dynamic Range
  • Support up to 512 GB SD card
  • Night Vision
  • Sony STARVIS 2 image sensor
  • Best Dash Cam I have tested for license plates
  • Small rear camera cable

Con’s

  • 1080P rear camera
  • File organization
  • No app controlled low battery protection
  • No LCD screen

Comparison Video

YouTube player

Viofo A139 Pro Review Final Thoughts

Overall, this is a new very exciting product with a lot of firsts in terms of the new Sony STARVIS 2 image sensor. There will be other brand new dash cameras coming out with some of the same tech over the next year it is exciting to see how well this unit works. I know personally I use this unit in my car as of late. If you have any questions please email us info@safedrivesolutions.com

 

 

 

Best 4k Dash Cam

Best 4k Dash Cam

Best 4K Dash Cam

Which is the best 4K Dash Cam for you? Viofo A139 Pro vs Thinkware U1000 vs Viofo A129 Pro.  We’re gonna compare these 3 units as well as have comparison video of driving through a tunnel, driving at night, and driving through the day. Also how well all of these units do at picking up license plates.

YouTube player

Dash Cam Resolution

  • Viofo A139 Pro has a front Sony STARVIS 2 4K image sensor and a rear Sony STARVIS 1080p image sensor
  • Thinkware U1000 uses a front 4K Sony STARVIS image sensor and a rear 1440P Sony STARVIS image sensor
  • Viofo A129 Pro uses a front 4K Sony EXMOR image sensor and a rear 1080p Sony STARVIS image sensor

Therefore, you can also change all 3 of these units front camera from 4K resolution 30 frames per second to 2K 1440p resolution at 60 frames per second. As a result, means it will take up to 60 pictures per second.

viofo a139 pro 3 channel dash cam

 

Viewing Angle

  • Viofo A139 Pro has a front 140 degree wide viewing angle and a rear 170 degree viewing angle
  • Thinkware U1000 has 150 degree wide viewing angle and rear 156 degree wide viewing angle
  • Viofo A129 Pro has a 130 degree front viewing angle and rear 140 degree viewing angle making it have the least coverage

High Dynamic Range

The VIofo A129 and Thinkware U1000 do not have high dynamic range. However, they do have WDR(Wide Dynamic Range). Wide Dynamic Range processes images to ensure clear recordings in bright and dark light. This allows the dash camera to combine multiple images at different levels of brightness to create one superior image.

The Viofo A139 Pro has High Dynamic Range (HDR). Furthermore, this is the second 4K camera that I have seen on the market that actually has high dynamic range in a 4K resolution. The HDR enables the camera to deliver video with near perfect exposure in varying lighting situations. It can enhance video quality especially when it comes to the issue of front license plate being overexposed at night. Making this units one of the best 4K dash cam available.

high dynamic range example

Wi-Fi capability

So, all three of these cameras support 2GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi. If you change these dash cameras to 5GHz Wi-Fi it will actually download videos 3-4 times faster than 2GHz. All of these units also support android and IOS apps. So that you can pair your phone and download videos directly to your phone.

5 ghz wi-fi

SD Card Capacity

  • The Viofo A129 Pro and Viofo A139 Pro support up to a 256GB micro SD card
  • The Thinkware U1000 supports up to a 128GB micro SD card

If you are looking to upgrade your micro SD card I do recommend checking out our YouTube video or reading our Blog.

GPS Antenna

So, for all three units the GPS antenna is built directly into the unit. For VIOFO it will actually supply you speed and location data of where the video was recorded. Thinkware you will get the capability of red light and speed camera notifications as well as speed and GPS location. You can also choose to turn off the GPS speed, for Thinkware and VIOFO in case you have a heavy foot.

Parking Mode

Both the Viofo A139 Pro and the Viofo A129 Pro have three parking mode option. Above all, we see no difference in parking mode options between the 2 units.

They both offer Auto Event Detection, which automatically records when detecting motion or impact. Time Lapse mode means the video is recording at a low frame per second. Particularly, it will record in 1,2,3,5, or 10 frames per second. Lastly, it offers low bitrate recording which will lower the resolution to save space on SD card.

viofo a139 parking mode

The Thinkware U1000 has four available parking modes. They have

  1. Motion Detection, which means anytime somebody walks by, or drives by it will actually wake up and record.
  2. Time Lapse, which means it will record at 2 frames per second
  3. Energy Saving Mode, this draws really low current and will last for a very long time in parking mode. So how this works is if you get hit while parked 1 second after impact, it will wake up and start recording and save it into a separate video file.
  4. Energy Saving Mode with Radar Module, the radar module is an extra part. What it does is it detects movement coming towards the vehicle, and as it detects the movement coming towards the vehicle, it will wake up and start recording. If there is no impact to the vehicle it will actually delete the recording and go right back to sleep.

Parking Mode Cable and Low Battery Protection

The VIOFO parking mode cable is 2 different part numbers. Furthermore, the HK3 is needed for the Viofo A129 Pro and the HK3-C is needed for the Viofo A139 Pro. Nevertheless, there is not much difference in terms of connections as you still need to hook up power, ground and ignition. Secondly, there is also a selector switch for low battery protection which is 11.8 volts, 12 volts, 12.2 volts, or 12.4 volts. This protects your battery from dying as a result of dash cam.

parking mode cable hardwire

Thinkware you need to also hook up constant power, ground, and ignition. However, you can select low battery protection digitally through the Wi-Fi app.

Loop Recording

Viofo has flexible options of 1,2,3,5, or 10 minute video recordings. While the Thinkware has options of 1 minute video recordings. With Thinkware if there is any impacts while driving or parked it will do a separate 20 second video.

LCD Screen

Out of all three of these units the only one who has an LCD screen is the Viofo A129 Pro. The LCD screen allows you to easily go through the menus of dash camera and change settings. So if your not tech savvy and don’t like smart phones then this is a good choice for you.

 

Cable Sizes

The A139 Pro has the smallest cable to go from the front to the back of the vehicle. So, if you are looking to run a wire from the front of your vehicle to the back the A139 Pro is half the size of other cables at just 2.8mm.

a139 pro cable size

Pro’s and Con’s

Viofo A139 Pro

Pro’s

  • High Dynamic Range
  • Supports up to a 256 GB micro SD card
  • Night Vision
  • New Sony STARVIS 2 image sensor
  • Best Dash Cam I have tested for picking up license plates
  • Small rear camera cable

Con’s

  • 1080p rear camera
  • File Organization could be better
  • Some phones you may need to turn off cellular data to pair via Wi-Fi app

Thinkware U1000

Pro’s

  • 2K rear camera
  • Energy Saving Mode
  • Red light and speed camera notifications

Con’s

  • No High Dynamic Range
  • Max 128GB micro SD card
  • Talks too much

Viofo A129 Pro

Pro’s

  • LCD screen
  • Supports up to 256 GB micro SD card
  • Smallest size of all 3 dash cams

Con’s

  • No High Dynamic Range
  • 1080p rear camera
  • Front camera not Sony STARVIS
  • File organization could be better
  • Some phones you may need to turn off cellular data to pair via Wi-Fi app

Best 4K Dash Cam

In short, all 3 of these dash cams round off some of the best 4k dash cam available on the market. However, if I was picking a unit strictly on video quality the Viofo A139 Pro is by far the best I have tested.

Select your currency