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Best Dashcam Reviews

Dashcams are a must-have while driving because they offer so much protection. I feel pretty naked without one, even more unprotected than without a radar detector. For that reason, I’ve spent a lot of time testing out the very best dash cameras on the market. What is the best dashcam and why do you need one?

Testing the Best Dash cameras

Why Do You Need A Dash Camera?

Dash cams provide several important benefits:

  • Proving you weren’t at fault in an accident
  • Protecting you from false accusations
  • Capturing important video in a hit and run while parked
  • Recording in case someone keys your car
  • Capturing beautiful scenery and memorable events on the road
  • Recording your radar detector saves

Your dashcam serves as a silent witness, always recording just in case one day you need the video.

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What Makes Dash Cameras Unique?

Dashcams are different than action cameras like GoPros. I love GoPros and use them for many of my normal YouTube videos, but specialized dashcams do a few key things that GoPros can’t. For these reasons, dashcams are preferred as permanent set-it-and-forget-it cameras. Here’s how they work:

  • Automatically powers on and starts recording when you start your car
  • Automatically stops recording and powers off when you park
  • Optional ability to record while your car is parked and shut off before draining your car battery
  • When your memory card gets full, it overwrites old footage so you can record continuously
  • Detect any events such as accidents and protects that clip from being overwritten
  • Can notify you if anything happened to your car while parked
  • Records everything ahead and can also record behind with the optional rear camera
  • Advanced ones automatically upload important footage to the cloud and remotely monitor your car from your phone like a security camera

Best Dash Camera of 2021?

There’s literally thousands of different dashcams at difference price points, with different features, and different levels of video quality. Which one should you get?

Testing Multiple Dashcams

Testing Multiple Dashcams

Here’s my top 5 picks including both basic and inexpensive dash cams as well as higher end and more feature-packed dash cams.


Best Budget Front only Dashcam: Viofo A119 v3 ($119)

Viofo A119 v3 dashcam

The best dashcam you’ll find in the ~$100 price range is the Viofo A119 v3. It offers outstanding video quality for its price point, recording at just over Quad HD (2x the resolution of 1080p at 2560×1600) using a new 5MP Sony Starvis sensor. In fact it has some of the best video quality you’ll find at this price point. It also adds some features only previously seen on higher end dashcams.

Pros

  • Great video quality
  • Records at Quad HD+
  • Great low light sensitivity
  • LCD display on the rear
  • Buffered parking mode recording
  • Capacitor for extreme temperatures
  • Compact and stealthy form-factor
  • Supports up to 256gb cards

Cons

  • No WiFi
  • No rear camera
  • No cloud support
  • No low power parked recording option
  • No spoken event notifications

Daytime video quality is great and it does a very nice job capturing license plates. Low light sensitivity has been increased significantly compared to previous models and so now it also does a great job of recording even in difficult dark situations.

The A119’s wedge-shaped design means it sits flush against your windshield. The lens tilts up and down to ensure you can point it forward. The 2″ LCD on the back makes it easy to change settings, view recorded footage, and aim the dashcam’s lens. Video quality is very good with the A119 v3. If anything interesting happens on the road, a quick tap of the red emergency record button on the back will mark this clip and protect it from being overwritten once your card fills up.

If you get it with the optional $10 GPS mount (recommended), the dashcam can log your speed and location and display that on screen. It also helps the camera automatically sync the time and date with GPS satellites. The GPS mount also adds an additional power connector more conveniently at the top of your dashcam’s mount instead of just the one built into the side of your dashcam, giving you a more streamlined install. With the power cable plugged into the mount, it’ easier to mount and unmount your camera.

The new 3rd generation version of the A119 adds buffered parked recording capabilities, something only previously seen on higher end dashcams. When you wire in the optional new hardwire cable into the GPS module, the dashcam can also record while you’re parked, using your car’s battery for power. It can use motion detection to capture when something happens, plus it can specifically record impacts to capture a hit-and-run. The A119 v3 adds buffered impact detection so it can record continuously, capturing everything before, during, and after the impact. (Previous versions would only record and save the video after the impact so you’d miss the event itself. This new 3rd gen model with buffered recording will save the video 15 sec before and 30 sec after the impact, ensuring you capture the entire event.)

The A119 v3 has completely new internals compared to the various A119 v2 models. This essentially takes all the best features from the A119 v2, A119S, and A119 Pro, packs them all into one camera, adds even more functionality, and gives us one of the best budget dashcams available on the market. It’s the dashcam that I run in my wife’s car. Here’s my complete review of the A119 v3:

Purchase the Viofo A119 v3

Purchase an inexpensive MicroSD Card: 64gb, 128gb, 256gb

Purchase the Viofo hardwire cable


Best Bang for the Buck Front / Back Dashcam: Viofo A129 Plus Duo ($179)

If you love the idea of the A119 v3, but you also want a second camera to record behind you, pick up the Viofo A129 Plus Duo.

Viofo A129 Plus Duo

This is essentially the A119 v3 in an upgraded case, plus it adds a second 1080p rear-facing camera, as well as adds WiFi to connect to your phone to give you additional functionality.

Pros

  • Great video quality
  • Records at Quad HD+ (1440p/1600p) up front
  • Records at Full HD (1080p) behind
  • Great low light sensitivity
  • LCD display on the rear
  • Buffered parking mode recording
  • Updated case design over A119 series
  • Capacitor for extreme temperatures
  • Compact and stealthy form-factor
  • Supports up to 256gb cards
  • WiFi to transfer video clips to your phone

Cons

  • No cloud support
  • WiFi app isn’t that great
  • Front-rear cable is thick
  • No low power parked recording option
  • No spoken event notifications

With great video quality, low light sensitivity, driving, and buffered parking mode recording, this dashcam gives you excellent front and rear recording at under $200.

Purchase the Viofo A129 Plus Duo

Purchase an inexpensive MicroSD Card: 64gb, 128gb, 256gb

Purchase the Viofo hardwire cable


Best Affordable 4K Dashcam: Viofo A129 Pro ($199 Front) or ($249 Front & Back)

Viofo A129 Pro Duo

If you’re looking for a 2 channel system to record both the front and rear of your vehicle, my go-to recommendation is the Viofo A129 Pro Duo. This is the same thing as the A129 Plus, but the front camera now records at a full 4K for noticeably better capabilities to capture critical details like faces and license plates.

Pros

  • 4K recording ahead
  • 1080p recording behind
  • Excellent video quality
  • Good low light sensitivity
  • LCD screen on front camera
  • WiFi for easier file transfer
  • Buffered parked recording
  • Compact wedge-shaped design
  • Optional GPS integrated into mount
  • Portable with optional suction cup
  • Supports up to 256gb cards
  • Front only version for $50 less
  • Cheaper 1440p A129 Plus Duo available

Cons

  • No cloud support
  • WiFi app isn’t that great
  • Front-rear cable is thick
  • No low power parked recording option
  • No parked event notifications

Buy the Viofo A129 Pro (front only): $199

Buy the Viofo A129 Pro Duo (front and back): $249

Buy an inexpensive MicroSD Card: 64gb, 128gb, 256gb

Purchase the Viofo hardwire cable


Best Premium 4K Dashcam: Thinkware U1000 ($399 Front) or ($499 Front & Back)

Thinkware U1000 dashcam

If you’re wanting to step up to a premium 4K dashcam, I’d recommend the Thinkware U1000. It records in 4K ahead, offers integrated GPS and WiFi, adds cloud support for remote notifications to your phone, upgrades the parking recording capabilities, and the rear camera records at 2K instead of 1080p for even higher quality recording in both directions.

Pros

  • 4K Front Recording
  • 2K Rear Recording
  • Cloud integration
  • Redlight cam & speedcamera alerts
  • Integrated GPS
  • WiFi
  • Buffered parked recording
  • Optional radar module available
  • Low power / long term parking mode

Cons

  • Cloud functionality isn’t that great
  • Chatty voice notifications
  • No interior recording option
  • Larger than A129

You can think of the U1000 as a more upscale version of the A129 Pro. It skips the LCD on the front camera, but it adds cloud functionality to send event notifications to your phone (ie. accident detected, here’s where your car is, etc.), the rear cam’s video quality is even better (1440p instead of 1080p), and the parking functionality is more capable.

Thinkware dashcams feature an energy saving parking mode to give you long term parked recording. Pair it with the Cellink Neo battery pack and when you switch from regular to energy saving mode, you jump from ~1 day of buffered parked recording to ~6 days of non-buffered parked recording. Pair it with the optional radar module as well, and now you can get ~6 days of buffered parked recording. This is the best way to get long term parking recording that captures both before and after any impacts in case of any hit and runs. (Note: The radar module tracks objects ahead of your vehicle, but not behind.)

I love the U1000 + radar module during the pandemic. It gives me long term buffered parking recording for vehicles parked out on the street, especially if you’re working from home and not driving as often.

So if you’d like a 4K dashcam with excellent video quality, enhanced parking mode functionality like available long term parked recording, plus some bonuses like cloud notifications and redlight camera alerts, pick up the Thinkware U1000. It is the best front and rear dash cam.

Purchase the Thinkware U1000 (front only)

Purchase the Thinkware U1000 (front and rear)

Purchase the Radar Module

Purchase the Cellink Neo battery pack

Purchase an inexpensive MicroSD Card: 64gb, 128gb, 256gb


Best 4K Cloud Dashcam: Blackvue DR900X-1CH ($349 Front) or DR900X-2CH ($459 Front & Back)

Blackvue DR900X-2CH

Finally, let’s look at the Blackvue DR900X-2CH. Blackvue makes the very best cloud connected dashcams which connect out to the internet and give you extra features like realtime notifications to your phone in case something happens to your vehicle, it can upload important videos to the cloud, and you can livestream from anywhere and see exactly what’s going on with your vehicle for extra peace of mind.

Pros

  • 4K Front Recording
  • 1080p Rear Recording
  • Best cloud functionality
  • Available LTE module
  • Buffered parked recording
  • Integrated GPS
  • WiFi
  • Best parked impact voice notifications
  • Thinner cables are easier to route
  • IR model for interior recording

Cons

  • Video quality lower than competition
  • No low power parked recording option
  • Reduced low light sensitivity
  • Rear cam must be purchased initially
  • Cable connectors are more fragile

I like the DR900X-2CH as a driving and parking security camera. Yes other cameras can record while driving and parked too, but the DR900X does a few key things better.

When connected to the cloud either via a WiFi hotspot (in your car or at home) or by plugging in the optional CM100 LTE module and popping in a SIM card, the DR900X can send notifications through the cloud. In case someone hits your car while parked, you’ll get a notification to your phone, you’ll be able to watch the video, and that video will automatically be backed up to the cloud which is especially nice to ensure you have the evidence in case your dashcam gets stolen.

In case someone hits your car while parked, the dashcam will tell you when you get back inside. Thinkware can do this too, but it’s super chatty with a bunch of unnecessary notifications. Disable those voice notifications and you lose the impact detected voice alerts too. Blackvue does the best job of letting you know when something important happened to your vehicle.

Video quality is pretty good, but it is a little worse than the A129 Pro and U1000, despite them all recording in 4K. However, if you’d like a 4K dashcam with the best cloud support and voice notifications, the Blackvue DR900X is the way to go.

It’s available as both the front only DR900X-1CH or the front and rear DR900X-2CH. As a bonus, if you want interior recording, you can get the DR900X-2CH IR which swaps the standard rear cam for an infrared-capable interior camera.

Purchase the Blackvue DR900S-1CH

Purchase the Blackvue DR900X-2CH

Purchase the Blackvue DR900X-2CH IR

Purchase the CM100 LTE Module

Purchase the Blackvue B-124X dedicated battery pack

Buy an inexpensive MicroSD Card: 64gb, 128gb, 256gb

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