While dashcams may not enhance your car’s pogi factor like what a new set of rims or bodykit would do, they’re now quite essential as having a spare tire in your trunk. Meteorites falling down from the sky may not be an everyday occurrence and you may not have the opportunity to capture them on video like the Russians all the time, but consider all the things that would go unrecorded if you didn’t have a dashcam.
For practical reasons, a dashcam may help settle traffic arguments if you are involved in minor fender benders. No more confusion on what really transpired. No more you said, they said. Having it all on camera enables disputes to be settled faster. That thought alone is probably enough for the dashcam to pay for itself. Your insurance agent will love you for it.
Perhaps you’d like to be on a crusade to catch erring drivers wherever they may be. Scroll through Topgear and you’ll see a lot of well-meaning citizens expose the underbelly of Philippine motoring via dashcams: drivers who counterflow, beat the red lights, block pedestrian crossings, drive erratically, etc. You’ll be doing society a favor by helping the authorities rid the streets of rule-breaking motorists from the comfort of your vehicle.
Now that there’s a new law prohibiting the use of mobile phones unless it is mounted on a hands-free car kit, it might be difficult to capture anything on the road with your mobile phone without breaking the law. Unless of course you have a dashcam that records your entire drive. You can take screenshots of everything you might have missed such as a funny license plate or bumper sticker, a fancy supercar or those wacky billboards. No more rubbernecking.
In some dashcam models, they can even record when your precious car is parked so you’ll know what is happening the entire time you are away. Sudden motion will usually trigger the camera to start recording so it might be able to help you solve the mystery of that scratch on your front bumper. It’s also like having someone watch your car while you’re away.
So the question is, which dashcam do you get? We’ve broken them down in three categories to help you find one that suits your budget and tech level.
Primeguard G1W Dash Cam
The Primeguard G1W is ideal for those looking for a no-frills dashcam with a basic feature set. Build quality is a step up from the unbranded sub-P2,000 dashcams but it’s nowhere close to the more upscale models in this list. Getting around the onscreen menu for the settings can get confusing because of unintuitive button navigation but once it’s properly set up, the G1W is easy to use. It shoots clear full HD video with ample light allowing you to notice details such as license plate numbers. The video can get a little grainy in low light conditions but it’s expected at this price point. Starting the ignition powers the camera which can be set to record automatically when it detects movement. The unit can also capture audio but the sound quality is rather disappointing.
Click here for the G1W sample video.
This entry-level camera features a six-element lens and 3-megapixel sensor that captures full HD video. When set to 720p video quality, it can record high-speed video at 60 frames per second. Optional accessories include a GPS module and an anti-glare lens filter that reduces windshield reflections. Standard features include movement sensor, auto recording, and 2.7-inch screen. When used with a 32GB microsd card, the camera can record up to five hours of video.
Click here for the X-cam A7 sample video.
Yi Dash Camera
Manufactured and designed by phone maker Xiaomi, the Yi Dash Camera has a minimalist design that belies its advanced features. The Yi can record full HD video at 60 frames per second. The lens has a 165-degree viewing angle for monitoring up to three lanes. Low light capture is also superb because of the wide f1.8 aperture and high-sensitivity image sensor. What makes the Yi rock at this price point are audible lane departure and forward collision alerts. The dashcam videos can be viewed wirelessly via WiFi using a dedicated app which also lets you access the settings.
Click here for the Yi sample video.
Asus Reco Classic
Known for its PC hardware, laptops, and mobile phones, Asus tries its hand at making its own dashcam. The Reco has a rather unconventional shape but the vertical orientation is small enough to be unobtrusive when installed behind the rearview mirror. The camera connects to a GPS module that can sync with the dashcam footage when viewed on a computer, displaying your journey on the map along with stats like average speed. The Reco can record five-minute 30fps clips at 1080p resolution. At speeds above 60kph, the lane departure warning and forward collision monitoring system can activate automatically. Day and night video quality is on par with dashcams having a f2.0 lens aperture.
Click here for the Reco Classic sample video.
Transcend DrivePro 520
Memory maker Transcend has an impressive line-up of dashcams and the DrivePro 520 is the flagship model. Compared to other cameras, the 520 has added heft because of an extra feature: a rotating secondary lens for recording of the car interior and rear view. The secondary lens rotates 180 degrees and saves you the hassle of installing a secondary mini-camera on the rear windshield like other models. The camera’s main lens records 1080p video while the rotating lens records 720p. A built-in GPS sensor logs the vehicle location which can be processed by the DrivePro Toolbox software.
Click here for the DrivePro 520 sample video.
Transcend Body 10
Designed as a first-person body camera, the camera is also ideal for motorcycle riders. A strong rotatable clip allows the camera to be mounted on sleeves, collars, pockets, and jackets. The Body 10 is extremely simple to operate; pressing the power button starts the recording function and the snapshot button can take still photos. The unit is solidly-built and it is designed to be water and shock resistant. The infrared LEDs activate automatically for low-light recording. When fully charged, the Body 10 can record up to 3.5 hours of footage.
Click here for the Body 10 sample video.