What’s a dash cam? What’s the best dash cam and how do you what’s right for you? These are all questions that we asked when during a quick trip to Russia where they have been enforced over the last few years due to widespread insurance fraud. Obviously a silly question, but I did ask what it was and was surprised by the answer. Once we returned to the UK we started to explore dashboard cameras only to find out that if you use a dashboard camera in the UK, you’re insurance can be cut by up to 20%.
If you’re going to buy the best dash cam in the UK, firstly you need to make sure that you do your own research. We have provided you with out top recommendations, but it's important that you do as much research as possible to ensure that you're buying the right model for your needs. Secondly we would advise that you buy a car video camera that gives you both front and rear monitoring at the same time meaning that you're safeguarded against vehicles in front and behind of you and therefore fully protected.
What’s A Dashboard Camera
A dashboard camera is a small camera that sits on your dashboard and looks out and what’s ahead through your windscreen and records your journey as you drive. If you get into an accident, the camera is recording meaning that it’s now very easy to work out what actually happened and more importantly who’s fault it really is and stops any of this “crashing for cash” that you may have heard about that is going on all across the UK right now. What’s brilliant about these dash cam’s is that they have moved on from the past when you needed a separate sat and dash cam to the point where you can now buy combined sat nav’s and dashcam’s meaning that you’re save to drive and will no where you’re going.
How We Chose The Best In Car Camera
This is where the research really started, however we’re lucky, firstly we own a car hire company in the UK and thus are continually rent out both sat nav’s and dash cam’s and secondly we run this website with over 10,000 registered users meaning that our first point of call would be our clients. Our second was to get out into the market and check out the current, latest and most importantly the new dash board video camera models that were only just about to come out across the market in the UK. Whilst evaluating each dash cam, we started building out a list of key points that we would want to see in the best dash cam for the UK market and using customer reviews on websites such as Amazon.co.uk which gave a good idea of how they actually performed during everyday life.
One Point To Watch Out For
The price is very important, however watch out that it’s not too cheap. As always across this website we have shied away from products that come with unbelievable low price tags and manufactures that we could not find out online. What usually happens when you buy this type of unit is they don’t perform as well as you expect lacking the resolution, video and build quality that you would expect. More importantly, the minute they go wrong, you often find it very difficult to claim on that warranty that you thought you had that covered the dash cam. For this reason we would recommend that you stick to recognized such as Garmin, Magellan, Polaroid, and Cobra.
What Makes The Best Dash Cam in The UK
- Price - Price is very important, however during our research users are happy to spend around £150 on a dash cam, however nearly half would pay more if the sat nav was combined with the dash cam. We have therefore ruled out many of the more expensive models.
- Video Resolution – You need to make sure that you buy a 2560×1080 on a 21:9 ratio which will ensure that your camera catches more of the real estate in front of your car. Even at this resolution it’s probably not possible to capture the plate number of the car in-front of you unless you’re at standstill, however the units that we tested that could were just so expensive it’s really not worth it.
- Field of View (FOV) – You need to look at models that have a FOV between 120° to 170° which ensures that you cover everything in front of you, whilst at the same time not risking distortionation and lost of detail.
- Mount – There are two key ways to mount your dash cam to the windshield, suction and adhesive. Whilst neither are perfect and you might need to buy an accessory, we would recommend that you look out for suction models as these offer better flexibility.
- GPS – We think that a built in GPS and camera is a fantastic invention that you need to think about when you’re buying a dash camera, however the problem with having a gps in-built into your camera is that it records your speed meaning that if you’re slightly over the speed limit yourself, you could be in trouble.
- Date/Time Stamp – This is something you need to make sure that your dash cam comes with as it’s very useful to be able to prove the time and date if you’re involved in an accident.
- Software Looping – This means that when the memory card fills up it starts to erase the oldest files to save new data into it’s place.
- Accelerometer – This is an internal device that monitors your cars velocity threshold meaning the minute there is a major spike in either acceleration or deceleration a trigger is activated thus protecting that footage.
- Battery Type – Look out for cameras that use a capacitor which will means that the unit only works when the car is switched on. Lithium based batteries are fantastic, however they are always on which can cause problems especially in the summer when your car can heat up to well over 50 degrees.
- Cable Length – At least 48 inches long meaning that you can snake the cable from the car through it’s structure and therefore hide any cables from hanging around your windscreen
- RearView Dash Cams – These are dash cams that record both your front and back facing real estate meaning that you’re covered from both sides of your car meaning that you’re completely covered. A great thing to have.
- Extra Features to include built in sat nav, lane-departure warnings and Wi-Fi functionality
Personally our car has an in built sat nav unit and therefore the best dash cam for my use is one that solely record the views in front and behind of my car, however if you’re in the market for a new sat nav, then you really think about combining your sat nav with your dash cam. For this reason we have a joint favourite best dash cam, the Garmin DriveAssist if you want a joint sat nav/dashcam and the Nextbase Dual Lens Dash Camera which offers front and back video recording giving you total security.
Nextbase Front and Back Dual Lens Dash Camera
If you have a built-it sat nav in your car, then you’re not going to want to have a separate sat nav unit that you never use and thus if you still want to use a dash-cam to ensure that you’re protected whilst you drive, the best dash cam for you has to be the Next Base DUO TwinCam Dash Cam with it superb front and back recording facility meaning that you’re totally covered around your car.
The Nextbase is a fantastic dashcam and offers amazing performance, value for money and has scored top marks from both users who have bought the unit and professionals who have reviewed it. The model comes complete and include accessories such as an HDMI cable for direct TV playback, 48 Inch power cord allowing you to hide wires in your windscreen frame, a suction mount for easy attachment to your windscreen and a CD ROM that contains both the playback software and instruction manual.
The Nextbase is very easy to use and whilst this model does contain instructions, you we did not need to read them as setting up both the cameras and software is very easy. The model comes well packaged and complete meaning that once it’s arrived you simply need to attach the mount to your windscreen using the lockable suction pad which does a very good job to keep it in place and switch it on. The menus are well thought out and very easy to use and get going quickly.
Videos are record both front and back with 140 degree wide angle lens that come with a 50meter zoom that have been designed to capture what’s in front of you and behind you without capturing the interior of your car. The camera collects images at a 1080P (30FPS) resolution that is not the best on the market, but does offer sharp playback with lots of detail both in direct sunlight and low light. The exposure control is very good and reacts well to any changes in lighting conditions. Images are recorded onto a Micro SDcard that is not provided meaning that you will need to buy one separately. If you don’t have one, I would recommend that you looked a 32GB Card such as this, which will allow upto 7 hours of looped recording stored on the card at anyone time.
The SDcard allow video clips to be stored on the Dash Cam in 5 minute sections which reduces the chances of corrupted video files into many short video files rather than one single long recording. The camera has a built in GPS meaning that both your location and speed can be stamped onto the video if needed. We would recommend that you choose the date, however not to include your speed as if you’re even a fraction over the speed limit, you could be in lots of trouble. Playing back your video is easy using the software provided on the CD (or by downloading it from the Nextbase website) and allows you to see both forwards and backwards of your car at anyone time.
Overall, we love the Next Base DUO TwinCam Dash Cam and the high quality recording that it provides. Over one thousand people on Amazon.co.uk have also agreed that the NextBase is the best dashcam on the market and they cannot all be wrong. If you’re in the market for a Dash Cam, you cannot go wrong buying this model
Garmin DriveAssist 50LMT-D Satellite Navigation System with Built-In Dash Cam
The Garmin DriveAssist 50LMT-D is Garmin’s all new 2016 satellite navigation system that comes with a built in dash cam and a range of new and improved features to help keep your driving safe. We have only been testing this Garmin dash cam over the last few weeks, however it’s a great product and we love the fact that the built in dash cam is making our driving even safer.
The DriveAssist 50LMT comes with a 5 Inch, Pinch and Zoom display that has been heavily improved over the last few years meaning that not only is it now even easier to see your direction, but the screen also works well at night. At the front the five inch screen show’s your direction, whilst the back a 1080, 480 x 272 pixels offering 150 degrees of viewing which whilst not offering the clarity of the Nextbase below, does offer suberb viewing of any problems that you face. If you’re in a collision, the incident detection G-Sensor automatically saves all files whilst the GPS records where and when the crash occurred.
The added benefit of the screen is that you can easily play back the video footage on the Sat Nav screen or play it make on your computer. Whilst it’s an added extra, it’s also possible to add a Garmin BC30 BackUp camera which whilst will need to be bought separately, does offer the flexibility to now record video from the front and back of your car.
Extra benefits include the camera assisted drive awareness feature and alerts which encourage you to drive more safely. These include, GO alerts to let you know that traffic has moved on, forward collision warning and even lane departure warnings if you drift out of your lane.
Overall, we love the Garmin DriveAssist. If you want to buy a dash cam that also includes a sat nav then take a look at the garmin Drive Assist and you will not be disappointed. Yes it comes with it’s fault, we wish the video quality was slightly better meaning that it worked better at night (you really cannot tell the car in front on you at night if there are no lights) and wish the mount was slightly better, however we loved this model and in it’s present form it makes for a great dash cam/sat nav combo.
Other Models We Liked
The Black View is probably a better model than either the NextBase or the Garmin above, however it’s also twice the price and we struggle to see any form of value for money. Video recording are fantastic and crystal clear in both day and night from is camera that records images in a resolution of 2560×1080 on a 21:9 framework and it comes with a supplied 64GB SDcard. We also loved the size given that it’s much smaller than either of the two models above, but the price is just not attractive enough to make any of the above worth it.
The Spy Tec Mini 0806 is a fantastic dashboard camera that offers fantastic performance, but we don’t like it because it comes with a range of extras that only increase the price but don’t really offer any performance. Extra’s include GPS and dual Micro SD cards that you really don’t need and whilst again it records images in 2560×1080 on a 21:9 framework, we could not justify the price tag.
The Cobra CDR-855BT is a brand new 2016 model that comes with a 2inch LCD screen and is part of the new bread of ultra compact designs with an extra wide angle lens meaning that it offer viewing angles of up to 160 degrees and a range of features from G-Shock sensors to lane departure warning and looping display, however it does not offer front and back cover which we do think is something that you need to buy in a DashCam Only device.