Our 2018 Dash Cam Recommendations & Top Picks
It’s a new year, which means time to update our Dash Cam Recommendations for 2018.
There are some really good Dash Cams on the market this year and the differences between them are becoming marginal. It is becoming increasingly difficult to make a standout recommendation. In this year’s Dash Cam guide we will try differentiate the models based on what features our customers might be after.
2018 welcomes a new addition to the Dash Cams Australia product range. We are excited to be working exclusively alongside Dash Cam manufacturer BlackSys to bring Australian drivers a very well priced 2-channel Dash Cam option – the BlackSys CH-200.
So which Dash Cams should you be looking at in 2018?
SINGLE CHANNEL (FRONT RECORDING) DASH CAMS
Yet again, for another year our No. 1 top pick for front recording, single-channel Dash Cams is the premium Vicovation OPIA range. You can’t go wrong. The Vicovation OPIA Dash Cam range is in a league of its own in terms of reliability, performance and dependability. There are now 2 models to choose from, the OPIA 1 & OPIA 2.
Vicovation are a veteran manufacturer of high quality Dash Cams and were one of the original pioneers of the Dash Cam industry. They don’t manufacture numerous other non-related electrical goods so they can focus solely on producing premium Dash Cams, and they have done it with the OPIA range.
The OPIA 2 is still the highest spec, single-channel Dash Cam from Vicovation, boasting the highest recording resolution in a Dash Cam at 1440P 2K. When reviewing footage, blurry/pixelated number plates or poor clarity of small details is greatly reduced. The brain of the unit is the powerful Ambarella A12 chipset, which allows recording at a high 25Mbps bit rate for capturing finer details. These premium features allow for sharp and detailed footage with little distortion. The angle of view is ultra wide at 160° so you cover everything on the road.
The OPIA 2 is also one of the highest temperature resistant Dash Cams around with an operational temperature resistance of 75°C so sitting permanently in a hot car is not an issue. The OPIA 2 isn’t prone to freezing up, restarting, or malfunctioning in hot weather like other Dash Cams do. Maximum storage capacity is 128GB, which will record around 11 hours of footage before looping over old files. You also have the flexibility of recording at lower 1296P and 1080P (with 60FPS) resolutions to extend the recording time.
The OPIA 2 is still the most popular Dash Cam choice of the major fleet companies we supply. It has been tried and tested in all kinds of fleet vehicles that can be out on the road for 10-12 hours per day under continuous recording conditions. Very reliable.
The OPIA 1 Dash Cam is the newer younger brother 2018 model. It records at a lower resolution, 1080P FULL HD, but is on steroids. In characteristic Vicovation ingenuity, Vicovation have cleverly boosted the 1080P resolution by using an ultra large lens aperture, f/1.4, and the new Sony STARVIS Sensor. These two modifications greatly enhance and improve 1080P FULL HD brightness, clarity, sharpness and detail. Vicovation also included a 1080P 60 FPS recording option in the OPIA 1 to increase smoothness and fluidity of the videos – great for improved license plate recognition.
Vicovation have re-introduced Wi-Fi connectivity into the OPIA 1 Dash Cam. Their much earlier models incorporated Wi-Fi, however it disappeared for a while from their range. It is back now so you can connect the OPIA 1 to your smartphone via the OPIAVIEWER APP and change settings or watch videos directly on your smartphone. If you are not interested in using the Wi-Fi connectivity, no stress because the OPIA 1 Dash Cam has a screen on it. Changing settings and reviewing footage is a button push away. The Vicovation OPIA 1 caters for all users.
As standard, the OPIA 1 & 2 Dash Cams contain an G-sensor for impact detection, Automatic Parking Surveillance Mode with Time-Lapse option, a one-touch Emergency Record/SOS button that locks and protects your important files from loop recording and a custom text feature which allows you to label your footage with a name or license plate number. These Dash Cams can be rotated 360 degrees in the included adhesive and suction mounts so you have the ability to record footage at the front side windows. This comes in handy if having an altercation or conversation out your window.
The OPIA 1 & 2 Dash Cams come with an automatically activated Parking Mode feature with Motion Detection or Time Lapse recording (unlocked via the Power Plus hardwire kit). This means that when hardwired with the Power Plus Hardwire Kit, the Dash Cams automatically detect when you have parked and when you start driving again. It automatically records any motion while parked and automatically switches back to normal driving recording when you restart the car and drive off. There is no need to manually turn on parking mode and remember to turn it off. If you want GPS to track and imprint the vehicle speed and location on the footage, you’ll need the additional external Vicovation GPS module (optional extra).
So OPIA 1 or OPIA 2?
Good question and difficult to answer. Both are dependable.
If you want to go for the highest specs, proven reliability and a longer track record, look at the OPIA 2 Dash Cam.
If you like high quality products that just work, and don’t want/need all the top shelf inclusions, look at the OPIA 1 Dash Cam. The lower price point definitely does not compromise on performance. Vicovation have introduced the lower price point OPIA 1 while including features to maintain the reliability and unmatched performance of the OPIA name. Both Dash Cams do the job confidently; the OPIA 2 just has that slight edge.
To give other brands and models well deserved credit, our No. 2 top pick for a high performance, front recording Dash Cam with BUILT-IN GPS is the new DOD LS475W. This is different to the Vicovation models, which have an optional external GPS module. The DOD LS475W is a great Dash Cam model from the reputable and innovative DOD brand.
What we like:
- Incorporates the latest Sony STARVIS sensor that is specifically designed with ultra high light sensitivity and low light enhancement for dusk/night time driving conditions. Daytime clarity is crisp and sharp.
- Ability to record at 1080P with 60FPS (frames per second). This means the moving footage is smoother and cleaner than at 30FPS. Motion blur is reduced so passing/moving number plates can be easier to identify.
- Large 128GB storage capacity. Until now, DOD Dash Cams have supported a maximum 64GB Micro SD card which allows a max recording time of around 12 hours. With the large 128GB support, users can now achieve up to 21 hours of footage before loop recording.
- High 20Mbps BIT RATE to produce crisper and more detailed footage with less distortion.
The DOD LS475W contains all the high quality and high spec features you expect from DOD Dash Cams.
Reliability is great having a high temperature resistance of 65°C and a robust construction. The LS475W boasts a large lens aperture at f/1.6 that soaks up more light producing crisp and clear footage. The ISO sensitivity is at an impressive and market leading 12800 that is ultra sensitive under low light conditions. We like that the GPS is built-in and has a super fast 10Hz refresh rate to pin speed and location far more accurately than most Dash Cams on the market. This fast refresh rate is especially important if using the Heads Up Display feature which turns the screen into a digital speedometer with compass direction while driving.
Parking Surveillance Mode automatically activates and deactivates between driving and parking mode so you don’t have to remember to turn it on and off when leave and re-enter your car (unlocked via a hardwire kit). The DOD LS475W has a bright, red coloured one-touch Emergency/SOS button that locks and protects important video file from loop recording. You can also imprint custom text on the footage like driver name, vehicle model, and license plate number for easy identification.
The DOD LS475W Dash Cam is the upgraded model from the popular DOD LS470W Dash Cam.
The DOD LS475W is larger than the Vicovation OPIA Dash Cams but can also be rotated to face and record out the vehicles side windows.
2-CHANNEL (FRONT & REAR RECORDING) DASH CAMS
This is the most difficult recommendation to make. Most 2-channel Dash Cams on the market now contain the latest Sony STARVIS sensor so differences in video quality is becoming increasingly marginal. However some brands incorporate other features that complement this new sensor to enhance video quality even further. One brand that does this effectively is DOD.
Both of these 2-channel Dash Cam models, hands down, currently have the best video quality on the 2-channel market. They provide Australian drivers with the best video evidence on the road.
Both models are dual 1080P, which is pretty standard nowadays for dual cameras. Both models have the latest Sony STARVIS sensor, which again is pretty standard now. But don’t be fooled. Just because a Dash Cam has the Sony STARVIS sensor and is dual 1080P it doesn’t mean video quality is the best. There are numerous other factors that contribute to great video quality. Unlike most of its 2-channel competitors, DOD have incorporated LARGE f/1.6 LENS APERTURES and ULTRA HIGH ISO SENSITIVITY, up to 12800, to produce some of the clearest/sharpest day and low light footage. The front and rear cameras record at a HIGH 15Mbps BIT RATE so video detail is the sharpest around. It is hard to find specs like this even listed on competitor brand spec sheets.
Both models contain an built-in, ultra fast 10Hz GPS processor (updates GPS data 10 times per second), which is the fastest speed on the market. This GPS feature tracks vehicle speed and location more accurately and imprints this data on the video files. A G-sensor for Impact Detection while driving and to record knocks and bumps in Parking Mode comes standard. Integrated is a tactile, one-touch Emergency Record/Hazard button, which quickly and easily locks and protects the video file from loop recording. Should you want to keep something on the SD card for review later, this feature is essential.
Both Dash Cam models have a Parking Surveillance Mode function to record detailed footage while parked (parking mode operation requires a hardwire kit). Parking Mode files are recorded when the cameras are triggered by motion or impact.
Parking Mode on the DOD duals is not pre-buffered. This means that when the cameras are triggered in parking mode, they start recording a 1 minute video file after the trigger is made. There is no recorded footage before the motion trigger.
If you want the absolute best video quality currently on the market, and the best chance at picking up difficult details like license plates, then these are the Dash Cams for you. The more affordable price point, superior video quality and included extras that come with the DOD 2-channel Dash Cams make them a very attractive choice compared to the higher priced 2-channel models on the market.
So which one? DOD RC500S-2CH or LS500W-2CH?
Both these models have the same fantastic video quality.
The main deciding factor is whether you want a screen or not. If you are not the most tech-savvy customer, we recommend you opt for the DOD LS500W-2CH Dash Cam. It has a screen on the front camera so you can change all settings must faster and easier. You can also playback videos on the Dash Cam itself.
The RC500S-2CH does not have a screen so the different shape does make it slightly smaller, more compact and more discreet. Wi-Fi connectivity and the DOD App allows the user to connect the RC500S-2CH to their smartphone and control the Dash Cam, change settings and review footage.
Check out the DOD RC500S-2CH / LS500W-2CH video quality in the comparison below
Increase the resolution to 1080P via the cog wheel on the bottom right of the clip
The BlackVue DR750S-2CH Dash Cam was not included in our 2017 Dash Cam Recommendations as it was only released late last year. This premium model definitely deserves a mention. If you liked the DR650S-2CH you will love the DR750S-2CH.
The new BlackVue DR750S-2CH Dash Cam is re-invented successor to the BlackVue DR650S-2CH model. The DR750S-2CH is a higher performing Dash Cam that has been refined and improved to showcase the best features BlackVue currently has to offer. The elegance and functionality you expect from BlackVue has been maintained, like inbuilt Wi-Fi, inbuilt GPS and cloud compatibility. The DR750S-2CH also comes with a 2-year manufacturer warranty.
The most notable improvements and enhancements of the DR750S-2CH include:
- Dual 1080P – BlackVue has traditionally recorded in the rear at 720P HD resolution. Rear camera video quality of the DR750S-2CH has vastly improved.
- Dual Sony Starvis sensors. Both front and rear cameras of the DR750S-2CH now incorporate the new Sony Starvis sensor for exceptional video quality, especially under low light conditions. BlackVue have added an Enhanced Night Vision option, which can further boost brightness under low light conditions.
- 60FPS option on the front camera. In “Sports Mode” recording, the front camera can record at 60FPS for smoother video quality. Motion blur is reduced to enable you to pick up details like license plates on moving vehicles easier.
- Wider angle of view. Both DR750S-2CH cameras now have a wider 139° angle of view to pick up more of your surroundings.
- Higher operational temperature resistance at 70°C to reduce heat related issues.
- Faster processor. This impacts almost everything, including faster booting, rebooting, shut down, WiFi downloads and firmware updates.
- Event File Overwrite Protection. Important files can now be locked and protected from loop recording.
So DOD 2-Channel Dash Cams or the BlackVue DR750S-2CH?
The DOD 2-channel Dash Cams have better video quality and license plate recognition than the BlackVue. The BlackVue DR750S-2CH is currently the only 2-channel Dash Cam with a 60FPS option which assists capturing license plates on fast moving vehicles. However, the standard 30FPS on the DOD still has the edge under most driving conditions.
We like that the BlackVue DR750S-2CH has pre-buffered parking mode whereas the DOD duals currently do not. The DR750S-2CH records a parking mode file starting 5 seconds before the motion trigger so you do capture more of the lead up to the trigger. DOD duals record after the motion trigger, no pre-recordings at this point.
However, the nighttime video quality and clarity of the DOD duals is better than BlackVue, so you will actually see more detail and action in the parking mode files. It’s a toss up between pre-buffered parking mode files, or better night-time clarity?
Unfortunately we can’t have everything.
We find the BlackVue App and BlackVue software player more refined and have improved functionality.
The BlackVue DR750S-2CH also has an “Over The Cloud” feature. Once connected to an internet source (BYO data), the DR750S-2CH can send the user live footage and receive alerts remotely or “back to base”. This feature however is not used by the majority of average drivers, it is more appealing to fleet users.
We could nit pick at each model, however the differences really are becoming minor and probably don’t make a huge difference in the end for most users.
TOP VALUE PICK 2-CHANNEL MODEL….
Don’t want to spend $500-$600+ on a 2-channel Dash Cam? The $399.00 BlackSys CH-200 is our top value pick 2-channel Dash Cam. The BlackSys CH-200 is a welcome 2018 addition to the Dash Cams Australia 2-channel line up. It delivers the best balance of performance, sophisticated features and reliability at an affordable price point.
The BlackSys CH-200 is a dual 1080P FULL HD Dash Cam with high quality Sony EXMOR CMOS sensors for great video quality. It doesn’t have a screen so is operated via Wi-Fi to a smartphone. It also comes with GPS included to record vehicle speed and location. The BlackSys CH-200 is a proper Parking Mode Dash Cam with some of the most advanced parking mode features around to give you confidence while you are away from your vehicle. It comes with an included 32GB Micro SD card and an optional dedicated BlackSys hardwire cable (for parking mode recording) also at an affordable price.
With the combination of the intelligent Ambarella A12 chipset, dual 1080P FULL HD, quality Sony EXMOR sensors and supercapacitors – the BlackSys CH-200 delivers outstanding performance, useful features and value for money.
The BlackSys CH-200 offers the absolute best bang for your buck.
Read our full write up of the BlackSys CH-200 by clicking here
ENTRY LEVEL SINGLE CHANNEL RECOMMENDATION
We understand some buyers don’t want the highest spec Dash Cam. They simply want reliability, effortless recording and quality footage, that is it!
For buyers looking for a more affordable front recording option, our current recommendation is the entry-level DOD IS420W. Don’t be concerned by the words entry-level as this Dash Cam doesn’t compromise on quality or features.
The DOD IS420W Dash Cam is the smallest, thinnest and most compact Dash Cam in the DOD range. It incorporates 1080P Full HD recording resolution, a quality Sony EXMOR sensor, advanced WDR Technology and a large f/1.8 lens aperture. These features produce some of the clearest and sharpest footage under night time/low light conditions for this price range.
The DOD IS420W Dash Cam comes with an external GPS module included in the box. This high speed 5Hz GPS processor refreshes data 5 times per second to pin speed and location more accurately and imprints this data on the footage. The Heads Up Display (HUD) feature allows the screen to be used as a Speedometer with Over-Speed alerts. Built-in G-sensor for impact detection, high heat resistance and 140° Wide Angle of View all come as standard. Integrated is a handy one touch Emergency/SOS button, which quickly and easily locks and protects important video file from loop recording. Should you want to keep something on the SD card for review later, this feature is essential.
It also comes with an included 16GB Micro SD card to get you going straight out of the box.
The DOD IS420W is a small, but seriously feature packed Dash Cam that delivers quality and performance in a nice, neat, affordable package.
There you have our top picks for 2018. Please check in regularly on our website or facebook page to keep up to date with any new models or updates on Dash Cams under testing.
If you have any further enquiries or would like more assistance please do not hesitate to contact us on (03) 9338 8772 or email@example.com. We are more than happy to answer any questions or assist you with a Dash Cam recommendation.