Top 3 Premium Dash Cameras for 2017

Top 3 Premium Dash Cameras for 2017

October 21, 2019 100 By Kailee Schamberger


Hey it’s Andrew with Car Cam Central We review dash cameras and we’re back with our top three premium recommendations
for 2017 Full disclosure we borrowed
the Street Guardian camera and the other two were provided
as review samples Our recommendations are based off the extensive research and tests we’ve done If you haven’t seen our top $100 budget
camera picks watch that video first It’ll give you context for what a $200 camera improves on and if that matters
for you So, let’s get started [Intro Music] The main reason for getting a premium camera is that you get both reliability and performance not just one or the other as with our budget
picks This, is especially important if you live in hot environments That’s why my #1 pick for any driver is the $250 Vicovation OPIA2 as it has the best combination of heat resistance, performance and functionality in a single lens dash camera The OPIA2 is the only premium camera with a capacitor that can rotate 360° This, is to capture anything like accidents, road rage or the faces of drivers on the side of your vehicle I’ve linked a few videos captured by drivers in the description that shows why this matters Most premium cameras that rotate like this Garmin 20 have lithium ion batteries we think at premium prices your camera should have a capacitor so you get a product that lasts Speaking of lasting longer the OPIA2 has one of the highest operating temperature limits at 65°C/167°F This means Vicovation has confidence it’ll work in much hotter conditions compared to the typical 60°C in most budget
cameras This requires better components and manufacturing We tested the OPIA2 in our hacked thermal
chamber at 75C for an hour It was fully functional and there was no shift in focus which happens in cheaper cameras We don’t suggest you run your camera anywhere close to these temperatures as it reduces the lifespan From our research good premium cameras last longer compared to budget cameras While companies like Viofo are no slouch good brands like Vicovation can invest more
time and resources into quality control and assembly to deliver cameras that on average have a longer lifespan The OPIA2 is more noticeable compared to wedge cameras but is still fairly stealthy due to its black
color It’s shape is obscured when using the quick release bracket which allows the installation of a 52mm circular polarizer This reduces glare from your windshield and is as cheap as $10 for the AmazonBasics
model You also get a suction and 3M tape mount This is especially helpful for professional
drivers You can use the tape mount in your main vehicle and the suction mount to move it around There is an optional GPS dongle but is expensive at $30-$40 plus it’s another object to install and cabling
to hide Most drivers can skip this accessory Looking at video quality so far I haven’t found a camera that is
better As a good comparison the OPIA2 improves on the Viofo A119 which is our top value pick and has amazing video quality Both share the same 1440P video resolution But the OPIA2 has improved dynamic range which means better clarity under heavy backlighting so you can see into the shadows It also has faster exposure corrections which means the video won’t suddenly white
out like other cameras At night the level of detail is the best I’ve
seen That’s the result of good engineering and it’s mounted further from your windshield which reduces glare Still I don’t want to mislead anyone At night you can’t capture license plates of rapidly moving vehicles No camera can do that right now the technology isn’t available yet It is a good choice for parked recording as it automatically turns on motion detection or time lapse if you haven’t moved for 5
minutes Unfortunately, it lacks buffered recording which saves a few seconds of video before motion was detected but from my tests the algorithm was fairly reliable in picking up pedestrians and closeby vehicles When I first reviewed this camera my only major problem was with error notifications but that has been fixed with a firmware update Now you’ll be notified with both an audio and on screen alert which is fantastic I want to be clear with the differences over
the A119 so you can decide if it’s worth the cost Here’s a summary screen that you can pause and shows the main reasons why the OPIA2 is my #1 overall pick for single lens cameras I hope you can make a more informed decision if you’re wondering if you should upgrade My second choice is the $200 Street Guardian SG9665GC This is your pick if you *need* a stealthier
camera or find value with its proven reliability and amazing support from the manufacturer The Street Guardian looks and works similarly to the $50 A118 but the hardware is much better for improved performance and heat resistance On the front it uses a f/2.0 glass lens and on the inside has an upgraded processor, sensor and PCB
board Street Guardian has added many useful accessories I haven’t found elsewhere which include vibration reducing foam pads and a card reader for your PC and Android
phone The camera was released in early 2015 and has been continually upgraded We’re holding the second version with the third revision now released which has electronic and lens upgrades, better video quality, and a free circular polarizer which is a nice $15 value Looking at the video quality, it’s good but no longer as great as before The SG9665GC uses an older sensor and processor At night the camera has good sharpness and dynamic range, it performs well under low light which is what this camera is known for The temperature limit at 70°C is lower than
the OPIA2 but the SG9665GC is a year older and has a longer history of proven reliability under very hot weather So far few problems have popped up There are two other drawbacks compared to
the OPIA2 First, there’s no automatic parking mode, you have to manually turn motion detection
on and off Number two and more critically, it has the same problems with error notifications as the A118 cameras If you don’t watch the LCD screen you may
miss that your camera has stopped working I spoke with the ceo and I’m hoping it’ll
get fixed I’ve watched Street Guardian prove their claims of making and supporting their products and customers over many years The SG9665GC is our first choice if you want a camera with proven reliability and great support from an excellent company Otherwise as much as I like the Street Guardian you should get the OPIA2 as I think it’s the better camera Moving on to premium 1-channel WiFi cameras we don’t have a recommendation Most of the cameras we found had a 2-channel
version which adds a rear camera that we felt was the better value This is a separate camera that attaches to
the main unit and provides a view out the rear windshield This can be useful after an accident to show how the other driver’s actions like
tailgating or road rage affected your control of the
vehicle We didn’t think the other WiFi 1-channel
models was worth the added cost or the reduced video
quality and heat resistance compared to the OPIA2 Still, we’ll list options in the description if that’s what you’re looking for Speaking of 2-channel systems our recommendation is the $400 Thinkware F770 for parked recording This replaces our older suggestion the Blackvue DR650GW-2CH Let’s start with design the F770 is one of the more discreet cameras compared to other dual channel cameras While it has a larger footprint it looks a lot like a toll transponder so it hides itself well You might have noticed it has no LCD screen so you’ll need an iOS or Android phone in order to fully change all of its settings It also allows you to transfer and view saved
videos I think both apps are good overall you should find it easy to use Like all dual channel cameras the F770 requires a cable in order to connect with the rear camera The installation was fairly easy it just takes some time to hide the cable for a clean appearance If you want to use its parking features you’ll need Thinkware’s hardwiring cable to connect the camera to your car’s battery We found the F770 uses less energy compared to most cameras by measuring the amperage and current using two multimeters and a 12V car battery Against the DR650 the F770 uses 23% less energy This means the Thinkware will have longer recording times before draining your
battery As well there’s other useful parking features The F770 raises the recorded brightness at
night as parking locations are often dark and halves the bitrate for increased recording
time This doesn’t lower the video quality much in urban locations It also gives you a vocal summary of any detected shocks or impacts after you turn on your vehicle so you can check for damage [F770] During parking mode event detection
recording, [F770] 4 occurred When you combine the discreteness, efficiency and other parking features the F770 is my choice for a great dual channel parking camera However, if you only want to record your drive the value may not be as good The main reason is the lower video quality While the F770 is better than other dual channel cameras like the Blackvue DR650GW it pales in comparison to single channel cameras like the Viofo A119 If we compare the front camera of the F770 against the Blackvue DR650 we find both cameras are roughly equal with the Thinkware improving on the dynamic
range The rear facing camera is a different story The F770 is way sharper and clearer compared to the Blackvue You can capture faces and license plates much
easier which can be helpful for any hit and run incidents Still, even with these improvements, good single channel cameras like the A119 will be much sharper and clearer under all
conditions Dual channel systems require more processing
power and right now there’s no cost effective
tech for manufacturers so video quality will end up suffering It’s especially bad from the cameras I’ve seen under $250 American Therefore some users who want the best video
quality felt using two separate cameras would be the better value and I can agree The only challenge is to power the rear camera which requires you to buy accessories like a 25’ cable extension, 12V socket splitter and a USB charger We’ll release a guide on that in the future Still there are some advantages to the using
F770 over two separate cameras that may tip the scales in its favor First off is the easier installation and maintenance Everything is included in the box and there’s only one unit to maintain You also get dual save technology When the F770’s G-sensor is triggered say from an accident it makes makes a simultaneous backup of the
video file on a separate, internal memory chip so you have two copies of anything important There are no budget cameras which have this
feature You also get WiFi as well as increased reliability over many budget cameras There’s no best solution so I hopefully have provided you with the
information to make an informed decision on what you think is worth the money and effort In the future we’ll be releasing more guides on parking mode and dual channel systems Make sure to subscribe if you’re interested We also have links to updates, full reviews and affiliate links to authorized retailers for the cameras we mentioned And with that, that’s the end of this guide Give it a thumbs up if you liked it and if
you don’t, you know what to do Until next time Thanks for watching