I’ve been after a dashcam for a while, partly because I love gadgets but mostly because the standard of driving seems to be getting worse, or maybe I’ve just started to notice it a bit more since I attended a speed awareness course last year…
But seriously, I’m pretty sure everyone will agree that it is getting worse (I’m talking about the UK here, specifically north of the M25. Our cockney and European friends have perhaps a lesser regard for other road users in my experience), tailgating, lack of indication, crossing solid white lines, getting cut up, aggressive drivers, its all pretty much a daily occurrence on the roads. I don’t even drive that much compared to some, on average I do about 15,000 miles annually.
There are also a lot of scams going around nowadays too (insurance fraud and flash for cash etc) and with car insurance generally quite steep anyway, I don’t want this going up. Plus things like having to remember number plates of any offending vehicles will be taken care for me. Anyway, for peace of mind this seemed like the way to go.
I assume everyone reading this saw the dashcam clip from the recent awful Taiwanese plane crash too:
My requirements list was as follows:
- Automatic record so I can install it and leave it until needed
- Loop recording so it would overwrite old footage
- Not too expensive – I don’t want my car broken into and it getting nicked
- Inconspicuous, ideally all black
- Small display screen for easy positioning
- High quality, at least 1080p
- Ability to wire it into the car and hide all the wires
- GPS for speed and location
- Removable media
- Shock sensor
- Audio recording
- Good night time video quality
- Ability to remove it from the car easily without needing to unplug cables.
The 0806 is packed full of features and boasts 30fps at 2560×1080. I added in a 32GB Class 10 Micro SD (which should be good for 3.5 hours of footage,) the GPS mount, the UV CPL Polarised lens filter and the permanent wire kit (Update, I took this off after it fell off quite a few times), all delivered the next day for less than £140, not bad.
The impressive technical specs of the Mini 0806 are as follows:
- Released: December 2014
- Chipset: A7LA50+OV4689
- Sensor Resolution: 4Mega pixels
- Video Settings:
- 2560*1080px 30fps
- 2304*1296px 30fps
- 1920*1080px 45fps
- HDR 1920*1080px 30
- 1920*1080px 30fps
- 1280*720px 60fps
- 1280*720px 30fps
- Image Boost: HDR
- Lens: 135degree, F2.0
- LCD Screen: 1.5″
- Storage Capacity: 256GB
- Power Socket: microUSB
- GPS Route Logger: YES
- Video Out: HDMI, AV
- G-Sensor Protecting: YES
- Motion Detection: YES
- Parking Guard: constant
- Reserve Mounting: YES
- CPL: YES
- Other Functions: LDWS, FCWS
- Battery: Li-Polymer 3.7V 200mAh
There are quite a few things I liked about it.
- The mounting bracket contains the GPS unit and the MicroUSB cable connects to this. The camera then slips in and out of this bracket, meaning no fiddly cables to unplug and potentially damage to remove the camera.
- Double Micro SD card slots.
- Pretty small in size.
- Very high quality.
- Very stable mounting bracket.
- Easy to use.
- Indicator LED’s.
- Audio and video playback form the unit itself.
- You can set the shock sensor limit and any clips that include shocks about this set limit will be come locked so they won’t automatically be recorded over, handy.
Things I don’t like:
- I haven’t really had it long enough TBH, although the GPS doesn’t seem to work right away from my initial tests, it normally shows my speed after about a minute.
- I perhaps would have liked a carry case for when I remove it from the car to stop it getting damaged.
- It maybe would have been nice if the mounting bracket had the Micro USB port on the rear also so that I could mount it slightly higher without the Micro USB plug catching on the top of the windscreen surround. I think I’m being a bit picky here.
The PDF user guide can be found here: Mini 0806 Manual V2
I’ve currently got it mounted just to the left of my rear view mirror at the top of the windscreen (but just low enough so that the wipers clean the screen there). I’m yet to fit it permanently (a job for this weekend), I wanted to make sure it was all working first.
I guess I would expect the cars of tomorrow to have these built in at the factory, with front and rear cameras and possibly a black box also to measure pedal pressure etc.
Also, I hadn’t paid particularly close attention to the instructions and obviously it needs to be mounted correctly, there is a white dot on the filter to indicate the top, a white dot that I completely ignored!
I’m very happy with the camera, time will tell how reliable it is of course and fingers crossed that I’m not involved in any accidents that require it.