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Dash Cam 101: Choosing and setting up a dash camera.

Maybe it's because you recently had a car accident, or perhaps you often find yourself traveling neighbourhoods which aren't exactly safe. Whatever the reason is, you've finally decided to hook your ride up with a Dash Camera.

Well, Good on you.

Setting one up and, more important, choosing a product, may not be as simple as you think. You can’t just drop by your nearest electronics store or have a quick look online and expect to find the perfect unit for you. You need to know what you’re looking for, and you need to know how to use it. Otherwise, you’re spending your hard-earned cash on features you may not need or you may end up with a product that isn’t up to your specification or liking.

With that in mind, here’s a quick and easy-to-digest guide to buying and setting up a dashboard camera.

1) Again, know what you’re looking for. There’s a wide variety of products available in the market. Some are superior to others but come with higher price tags. These come equipped with more features compared to your usual run-of-the-mill dash cam, such as GPS tracking, WiFi connectivity, and even G sensors which will save footage after sudden braking or impact to prevent data from being lost. Some also come with built-in microphones or speakers.

A decent unit will probably cost you around R800 – R1500 while premium models with ultra-wide angle displays, better recording quality and display resolutions, compatibility with higher capacity SD cards, motion detection, and even the availability of a rear camera can cost up to well past R3000. The priciest we’ve seen tops well over R5000.

And speaking of SD cards, as we said, not all dashcams will support 64GB or 128GB ones. Cheaper ones will usually support up 16GB or 32GB of storage, so don’t splurge on a high capacity SD card before buying a unit.

2) Be familiar with recording settings. Different models offer different recording settings and levels of quality. If your only reason for purchasing a dash cam is a little extra surety on the road, you can lay off 1080p 1920×1080 full HD recording and opt for something less, such as 720p which should still be clear enough for you to read license plates and road signs.

You can also set your product to record in loops of different length. If your unit features a date stamp in recording, do turn this setting on as it will come in handy in case of an accident. And if you’d like to have night recordings come out brighter, you can increase your dash cam’s exposure settings. The drawback here is that it will sacrifice quality and increase noise.

Also, we’d recommend turning your unit’s microphone off if you have passengers, or at the very least inform them. You know, so you don’t come off as some creep.

3) Make sure it’s set up properly. Usually dash cams will come with either adhesive or suction mounts. We know it’s tempting to opt for the adhesive and simply attach the unit to your dashboard to avoid that pesky power cord hanging about but setting it up on your windshield is ideal as this offers a much better viewing angle.

If you find that the dash cam’s cable is too much of a distraction, you may want to make the effort to hide it by running it across the ceiling, the passenger side of the cabin, and underneath your floor mat. You can use thin electrical tape, cable clips, or you can even tuck it in between the headliner.

A few more things: NEVER place the dashcam where it might obstruct airbag deployment, do not use an adhesive mount on tinted glass as this may lead to damage, and know your unit’s recommended operating temperature. Also, make sure to check if the time and date is correct after setting up.

What we can recommend:

Astrum Dual DVR Dash Cam. CD200 https://www.astrumworld.com/sa/en/smart-gadgets/1395-cd200.html

The unit ships without the suction cup attachment, which do have its advantages like hiding the unit a bit more and not in your point of view the whole time. There have been cases where in the event of braking hard or during an accident the suction cup mounted units came lose.

The CD200 comes with the adhesive strip mount. This does give you more of a secure fitment and allows the dash camera to stay in place at all time while giving the unit the necessary support to take some bumps. The most relevant advantage of this is being able to hide the unit and move it closer to the windscreen of the car.

The CD200 power connection enables you to hide the cables and do a neat and tidy fitment of the unit which opens the DC jacks of your vehicle for your cell phone charger or GPS. The video and sound are great quality, but personally I found muting the sound recording works better when there are passengers driving with you in the vehicle, or when one is stuck in Johannesburg traffic and dodging taxis on William Nicol drive.

The Astrum CD200 has all the features that you would expect from a unit well over R4000.00. With Loop recording, Infrared LEDs for night time recording, built in Wi-Fi and GPS module. The 270-degree rotatable dual cameras for 2 viewpoints recording at once enables the camera to record front and rear video with a 2” LCD display and 170-degree wide angle recording.

Features:

  • Mobile APP
  • Motion recording
  • Car parking monitoring
  • On device dual cameras for front and in-car recording
  • 128GB TF Support
  • 264 recording
  • Car battery connect adapter
  • G-sensor
  • GPS Module

Specifications:

  • Modes: DSC, Camcorder and Playback
  • Refresh Rate: 50Hz / 60Hz
  • DC Port: Use with DC jack

Retails From R2299.00

http://www.loot.co.za/product/astrum-cd200-full-hd-car-dvr-dual-camera-with-wifi-bla/bgjc-5551-g670

https://www.takealot.com/all?sort=Default%20Descending&rows=10&start=0&qsearch=dash%20camera&backend=arj-fbye-zz-fla-fcenax&filter=Available:true&filter=Brand:Astrum

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