Viofo A119V3 – The Best Budget Dash Cam in 2019

Viofo A119V3 – The Best Budget Dash Cam in 2019

October 23, 2019 100 By Kailee Schamberger


Hey it’s Andrew with Car Cam Central I’m reviewing Viofo’s new $110 A119V3
dash cam and comparing it against the older A119V2 our top pick since 2017 After much research and testing the new A119V3 is now my top budget pick for its amazing video quality and improved
parking mode The older A119V2 is still a great value pick
today if you need to save money To show how we arrived at these two picks I’ll cover similar cameras like the 4K dash
cams from Aukey, Rexing and ROVE and why they weren’t chosen even though they are all good cameras Let’s get into it [Intro Music] Viofo has released 6 different hardware versions of the A119-series cameras All of them share the same wedge shaped body which attracts little attention when installed due to its matte black color and unusual shape In 2016 we praised the original A119 for its unique combination of performance, features and reliability at $100 After a lot of research to find a replacement I’m shocked it’s still great today Here’s why The A119 records at a higher 1440P resolution which is a noticeable jump in clarity over
the lower resolution 1080P dash cams I’ve seen It uses capacitors not lithium ion batteries for better reliability especially in hot weather It has good error notifications which makes
it easy to notice if your camera has problems recording There’s worldwide availability with good
customer support in the United States and Canada Finally it has useful parked recording modes to capture vandalism or hit and run accidents Many competing cameras come close but lack one or more features we think are
important In May 2017 Viofo updated the A119’s body and accessories adding V2 to the name Most importantly they replaced the GPS mount which caused random shutdowns as the pins would not connect with the body correctly You can pause here to read the rest of the
changes As of 2019 only the V2 revision is being sold so the names A119 and A119V2 refer to the same camera The V3 was launched in May 2019 with a new lens, image sensor and processor It’s the first big upgrade to the A119’s
video hardware This results in significantly clearer videos
at night You can see far more in the darker parts off to the side Daylight quality is about the same but the
V3 has better white balance meaning colors are truer
to life It also has a bigger 1600P resolution but it’s not useful Details later The V3 also has a new set of features You can enable the H265 video codec which reduces file sizes by 20% without reducing quality but many devices can’t play it Parked recording is also way better on the
V3 It has lower energy usage added recording modes and significantly more reliable versus the
older model Looking at the original camera its swivelling
lens is quite useful in centering the view for
corner installs You should only do this if you have windshield obstruction laws that prevent you from putting the camera in the middle On the V3 it has a fixed lens with a larger F1.6 aperture which lets in more light for better nighttime videos The V3 is packaged in a much nicer and sturdier
box over the V2 It offers more protection and a premium feel Inside, the accessories haven’t changed
much except the newer model uses a generic adhesive You might have also seen Viofo’s A119S and discontinued A119 Pro The only difference from the original are the image sensors They aren’t worth buying unless they are on serious discount less than $70USD as they don’t match the V2 or V3 in video
quality So you might be thinking that I’m a little too excited about the A119 must be a paid review It’s not and here’s the disclosure In late 2016 I got the original A119 for free Starting 2017, I bought all other cameras
at full retail value to reduce bias including the 5 other Viofo cameras I own I like the A119 because after testing and
researching many cameras, it still stands out Back to the review let’s look at the video quality and talk about why it should matter to you In this split screen comparison the V2 is on top and on the bottom is the
ROAV A1 one of our cheap picks with a lower 1080P
resolution Comparing videos it’s clear to me there’s a significant
difference in clarity and sharpness The A119 picks up license plates and faces from further away These details are vital if you get into a hit and run accident or experience vandalism You’ll have a better chance to capture the
evidence you need for police to prosecute or for insurance to get your money back In general there’s a noticeable drop in quality with all 1080P cameras we tested even with the newest Sony Starvis image sensors like the Viofo A119S At night there’s another jump in quality over cheaper cameras You can see there’s a big decrease in the overall sharpness and clarity License plates are hard to read Let’s look at the new A119V3 and see how it performs At night there’s a jump in quality over the
older model Dynamic range has been increased This means you can see the less lit areas
on the side and the differences are quite apparent when exposure is increased This helps capture people and animals on the
side of the road in case they do something dumb To avoid setting false expectations all dash cams made so far will record blurry license plates when there’s a difference in speed at night Still the V3 has the best night video footage I’ve seen in a dash cam so far Looking at daylight footage I didn’t notice a big change in quality versus the older A119 That’s not surprising as its much harder
to improve on You won’t see a noticeable difference until you get a true 4K camera like the Blackvue
DR900S and that’s not without tradeoffs with worse night quality The V3’s new 1600P recording option increases the height but not width This isn’t useful for most drivers You’ll capture more of the sky and dashboard not the road When comparing footage I accounted for the reduced 140 degree field
of view of the V3 over the wider 160 degrees of the older A119 That means on the V3 license plates are larger
at the same distance but you also see less of the road I think both angles are fine So keep in mind this video was made in August
2019 our recommendations can change Be sure to see the description below this video for updates from changing prices as well as new products As well as a summary of our other picks and
resources Alright, back to the V3, through a special
action you can activate the H.265 video codec which shrinks the file size by 20% without reducing quality The downside is that it requires much more
processing power older devices can’t play it As well you can have problems with insurance
or police agencies if they require the original file and can’t
run it I’d recommend most people stick with the original H.264 codec Looking at recording time you may wish to get a larger 64GB card due to the higher bitrate the default medium setting is good enough Also as all memory cards slowly wear down when saving videos you want to buy an endurance card which lasts longer than the standard consumer
card Samsung’s Pro Endurance is the best right
now but as a budget option Sandisk’s new Ultra
A1 or Samsung’s EVO Plus are OK but not great We have a full review explaining more There’s also the optional $10 circular polarizer
to consider It filters incoming light and reduces glare from sunlight reflecting off your dashboard or streetlight at night If you have the money it’s worth getting The optional $10 GPS mount doesn’t tell
you where to go but instead logs your speed and position which can be visualized in a player like dash
cam viewer If you put in a timezone it’ll sync your time and date with the atomic
clock You can also quickly detach the camera without removing any cables Overall though the GPS mount isn’t worth the money for
most people Let’s talk about parked recording which is
used to capture vandalism and hit and runs while your vehicle is parked On the V3 you can choose from three recording
modes time lapse, low-bitrate and motion detection These can automatically activate when your vehicle has turned off All of them reduce file size and energy usage On the older A119 it’s more complicated and I would avoid buying that model if you need parked recording To get it to work the A119 must be constantly powered One way is by connecting the camera to your car’s battery through the fusebox using a hardwiring kit Viofo’s $15 HK3 kit works well and protects your battery with a voltage cutoff
switch I’d keep it no lower than 12.2V to avoid
damaging your battery I would strongly avoid the original 2-wire
kit as the 11.8V cutoff will damage your battery
over time The HK3’s installation process goes beyond what we can cover in this video You’ll need familiarity with your vehicle’s
electrical systems or professional help will be required We have more information in our written review as well as a full article on parking mode Moving on let’s talk about the daily experience using
the camera The original and v3 are both easy to use and they share the same user interface What I love is the customization The A119 is one of the few cameras giving you total control over the camera For example what GPS info is shown boot delay and what sound it makes Both A119 models from ignition to recording
start in 12 seconds which is fast enough for most people It also loop records and auto starts when power is received If there are problems starting the A119 does a good job informing you with a persistent audio alert and a warning message letting you know the
problem I wish the message would stay permanently
displayed but pressing the record button brings it back Most cameras do a poor job like Aukey’s
DR02D which has a quickly disappearing message with no audio alerts making it hard to tell
there’s a problem While it seems I’ve been only praising Viofo there are places the A119 falls behind For one there’s no WIFI which is used to transfer
files and change settings through your smartphone Two as a tradeoff for a stealthier appearance it lacks 360° rotation unless you buy the optional $10 suction mount That’s useful if you need to record police
encounters, road rage incidents or passengers You can also bring it on vacation A bigger issue is Viofo’s customer service They have one office in China so they rely on their retailers like OCD Tronic for Canada and the United States OCD is great and they’re the sole distributor
for the new V3 on Amazon so you won’t have 5+ companies
confusing the market Viofo used to be bad at communicating with
customers In 2017 when GPS mounts started failing they didn’t tell enough customers there
was a fix which made people bad Most of the A119’s negative reviews are from issues with the original mount Ever since the V2 has been fantastically reliable and I’m hoping the V3 will be as good In 2019 Viofo’s customer service has gotten
faster and more responsive They’ve updated their service page too One viewer told me they did a warranty replacement without needing a camera shipped back Keep in mind that’s not guaranteed but it’s
great for customers in parts of Asia and Europe without a good dealer network So lets talk about competitors After doing a lot of research I found three popular cameras from Aukey,
ROVE and Rexing with similar hardware as the A119 While they say they record in 4K resolution that’s a half truth The sensors have half the pixels needed as they use sensors from the A119V2 or Pro which record in 1440P Instead software boosts the size, like stretching a low quality video on your
monitor but unlike CSI, details don’t magically improve Still, the video quality is about the same
as the A119 just not better There’s some good reasons to get these like their longer warranty and brand value But to me the A119 is the better value and hopefully I’ve given you the tools to make a better decision on what to buy If you are choosing Viofo go with the V3 as it has better video quality The V2 is still great today if you need to save money OR for a corner installation
(Whoops forgot a word) In the description we’ll link out to resources
like our article where we’ll have competitor breakdowns and our thoughts on setting up the camera We’ll also link trusted retailers, other
reviews and more Our summary video of the best cheap and budget cameras will be our next review and then we’ll get to non review topics Be sure to hit that bell button to be notified Our facebook is where we post updates and behind the scenes info Thanks for watching and see you soon Safe driving