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Rating dash cams (december)
The popularity rating of dash cams is based on comprehensive statistics on the interest shown by the Internet audience
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Dash Cams: specifications, types
— DVR. Classic DVRs are recording devices designed to capture traffic conditions, and sometimes also the interior of a car. The main purpose of the materials from the registrar is to provide an evidence base in the event of an accident or emergency. Note that most of these devices are designed for installation in a car, but there are also models for motorcyclists — with a mount on a helmet or steering wheel(see "Installation") and increased resistance to dust and moisture.
— Regular video recorder. DVRs (see above), originally designed for a specific car model or models. Note that the possibilities for installing such a device can be quite extensive — see "Regular registrar for". Anyway, the installation of such a device in a “native” car is extremely simple, in a “non-native” one it is extremely difficult, and often impossible at all.
— Combo device. Combined instruments that combine the functions of a dash cam and a radar detector capable of detecting police speed gauges. For more information about the radar detector, see "Functions", here we note that one combined device is usually smaller, easier to install, and often cheaper than two separate specialized devices.
Staff registrar for
Car models for which the standard DVR is intended (see "Type").
Regular devices can be made both for a specific car model, and for several models of the same or even different manufacturers. However, compatibility with a specific car still does not hurt to check before buying, since the same model may have several versions that differ in design features.
Today, regular registrars can be found on the market, in particular, for cars of the following brands (in alphabetical order): Audi, BMW, Chevrolet, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Jeep, KIA, Land Rover, Lexus, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Porsche, Seat, Skoda, Subaru, Toyota, Volkswagen, Volvo.
The operating system (OS) under which the registrar operates.
Note that not every firmware is an operating system. A full-fledged OS has two key features: firstly, an extensive set of additional features (often very far from the original purpose of the registrar), and secondly, the ability to further expand this set by installing additional applications. In fact, the presence of an "OS" turns the recorder from a simple car video camera into a multifunctional device — to the point that some of these models can be removed from the mounts and used as tablets.
As for specific operating systems, almost all devices with this type of firmware use one or another version of Android, a free “OS” from Google, which, thanks to open source code, can be optimized without much difficulty even for such specific equipment as DVRs. Note that models with Android necessarily have touch screens and wireless modules for accessing the Internet — Wi-Fi, sometimes also 3G / 4G modems (see "Functions"). The Android brand store offers a very extensive set of applications, many of them run without problems even on registrars; and for models with specific hardware characteristics, specialized software may be produced.
It is also worth mentioning that this OS is presented on the market in different versions (the oldest of the current ones is 4.4). However, in this case, this point mainly affects compatibility with individual applications....It makes no sense to describe the rest of the functional differences between the versions in detail: the Android editions used in DVRs are often so heavily modified that the difference between the Android versions is practically lost against the background of these modifications.
Installation methods, nominally provided for by the design and configuration of the registrar.
— On the windshield. Fastening from the inside to the upper part of the windshield using a suction cup or a sticker (see "Mounting to the glass"). The most popular way to install DVRs in cars: the location gives a good overview, and the mount itself can be made universal, suitable for almost any windshield. However, there are also regular registrars (see "Type") with this installation method — they are designed for glass geometry in certain car models.
— On the rearview mirror. Installation directly on a standard rear-view mirror (in the cabin) or even instead of it. At the same time, such recorders themselves have a reflective surface that replaces a removed or closed mirror. Part of this surface is usually occupied by the screen, but this does not create inconvenience — especially since some models even provide the connection of a rear-view camera, which is even more convenient than a conventional mirror.
— On the helmet. Mounting on a motorcycle or other similar helmet — most often with the help of a characteristic platform, curved to fit the shape of the helmet shell. These recorders are thought to be primarily intended for motorcyclists, but other helmet-wearing users, such as professional race car drivers, skiers/snowboarders and other extre...me sports enthusiasts, may find them useful as well. A device with such a mount can be a good alternative to an action camera, especially since the lens constantly follows the user's head. On the other hand, action cameras are usually better protected from dirt, moisture and other adverse factors.
— On the steering wheel (moto). Mounting on the handlebars of a motorcycle, bicycle or other similar vehicle (such as a snowmobile). Such a mount is usually based on a clamp ring that is put on the steering wheel tube and tightly fixed on it. Often such a device is supplied in one kit with a helmet mount (see above).
Note that the above list is not exhaustive — modern DVRs may provide other ways of fastening, for example, on a sun visor or on clothes / equipment using a special clip.
Glass mount provided in the model with the corresponding type of installation (see above).
Note that in many models, not the recorder itself is attached to the glass, but the bracket, on which, in turn, the device is installed. To learn how to fix the recorder on the bracket, see "Mounting the recorder". And the options for attaching to glass can be as follows:
— Sucker. The traditional suction cup, which works due to the reduced pressure between the mount and the glass — as a result, the force of the pressure of the outside air and holds the structure in place. One of the main advantages of this option is “reusability”: the suction cup can be repeatedly stuck and detached at the request of the user, and after removal it leaves practically no traces. However this type of fastening is considered somewhat less reliable than stickers; however, the suction cups used in video recorders are usually of a special design that provides sufficient reliability for practical use. Therefore, this type of mount is extremely popular in modern registrars.
— Sticker. A plate with a layer of special glue, due to which the entire structure is held on the glass. Such mounts are considered more reliable than suction cups, they are less prone to wear and do not lose effectiveness even with minor damage such as cracks and chips. On the other hand, the sticker is usually installed "once and for all..." and does not provide the ability to quickly remove the bracket. And although dismantling by itself is possible, however, it will not work to reuse the sticker, and the glass will most likely have to be cleaned from traces of glue. So installing a recorder with such a mount requires special care and attention.
Note that some models of DVRs are supplied immediately with both types of mounts described above in the kit. This allows the user to choose the option of their choice — including changing the suction cup to a sticker, if the need arises.
A method of fixing the recorder on a device that plays the role of a mount — a windshield bracket, a helmet-mounted platform, a handlebar clamp, or another similar structure.
— Latch. One of the most popular options nowadays. The latch, along with the magnet (see below), refers to quick-release mounts that allow you to quickly and easily remove the device and return it to its place. Such an opportunity can be useful, for example, if the car is left overnight in an unguarded place, where an unremoved registrar can become a bait for thieves; in addition, the device sometimes has to be removed entirely to view and copy the footage. Specifically, latches are considered more reliable than magnets, they can be used even with the most massive devices, and besides, they are cheaper to manufacture.
— Magnet. Another type of quick-release mount: a powerful permanent magnet that is strong enough to hold the recorder in place. Such a latch is easier to use than a latch: for installation, it is enough to “stick” the device to the mount, and to remove it, pull hard. Another advantage is that the latch can be broken with a badly applied force, while there is practically nothing to break in magnets. On the other hand, this type of fastening is less reliable: in the event of a shock or a powerful jerk, the force of attraction may not be enough. Therefore, although...magnets are widespread, they are still inferior in popularity to latches.
— Magnet / latch. An option that assumes the presence of both types of fasteners in the kit — both a magnet and a latch. This allows you to choose the option of your choice depending on the situation. For example, for a quiet movement around the city and frequent stops during which you have to remove the registrar, a magnet is better suited, and a more reliable latch is useful on a long journey, especially if the roads are of poor quality. At the same time, such versatility is not required so often, and therefore this variant has not received distribution.
— Screw. Fixation with a screw, which is screwed into the socket on the recorder body. Connecting and disconnecting such a mount takes noticeably more time than in the case of a latch or magnet, however, the reliability of this type of latches is very high — even a strong jerk is more likely to rip off the suction cup or sticker on which the entire structure is held than damage the screw mount.
— Fixed. A variant found exclusively in decal-mounted windshield recorders (see "Mounting to Glass"). The platform with a sticker in such models is rigidly fixed on the case; and in some models, the role of such a platform is played by the upper side of the case, specially made flat. The advantages of fixed mounts are simplicity, compactness and high reliability. On the other hand, this method of installation assumes that the recorder is constantly on the glass and does not allow you to quickly remove it and put it back: detaching the sticker is a rather difficult task, and it cannot be reused.
Power through mount
This feature means that the power to the DVR (usually from the cigarette lighter) is supplied directly through the mount on which it is installed, and not through a separate cable. The mount itself is usually made quick-release.
Actually, the power cable in such models is also available — however, it is connected to the mount, and not to the registrar itself. Thanks to this, such a wire can be easily fixed in a strictly defined position; however, even without special fixation, he does not particularly move from his place. This feature provides a number of advantages over the more traditional connection format. Firstly, the wire does not hang around the cabin and does not create inconvenience. Secondly, it does not need to be searched for and reconnected every time when installing the recorder — just install the device on the mount. The latter is especially convenient if the recorder needs to be removed and put back often — for example, if the car has to be regularly left in an unguarded parking lot, where there is a risk of theft from the passenger compartment.
The cable is usually connected to the mount using a connector with the ability to quickly connect and disconnect — in case the wire needs to be removed from the passenger compartment without removing the mount. At the same time, many models use a standard connector like miniUSB or microUSB, which allows you to use a third-party power cable if necessary (for examp...le, if the standard cable is lost or damaged). However, for a full guarantee, such details do not hurt to clarify separately.
The sensor is a key element of any digital camera; it is from it and from signal processing technologies that the quality of the resulting image primarily depends. In this case, the type refers rather to the brand or brand of the matrix; it is usually indicated if the recorder is equipped with a high-quality sensor that is noticeably superior to most solutions on the market.
One of the most popular such options is Sony. The specific characteristics of the matrices ( IMX179, IMX222, IMX291, IMX307, IMX317, IMX322, IMX323, IMX326, IMX335, IMX415) may vary, but anyway, such a sensor is a sign of a high-end DVR.
In addition, there are models equipped with matrices from other manufacturers — Aptina, OmniVision, Samsung(GalaxyCore), Sandvik. Such solutions are generally considered to be simpler and more democratic than Sony — both in terms of price and functionality. Nevertheless, Samsung has a lot of developments in...the field of electronics, and even such relatively “simple” sensors are usually more advanced and of higher quality than “know-names”.
Another manufacturer that produces fairly high-quality matrices is Panasonic. Such sensors are not as widespread as those described above, but they are still found in video recorders, including pretty advanced.
Video chip / processor
Model of the video chip or processor used in the DVR
The term "video chip" is used mainly for devices with classic capabilities, "processor" — for advanced models with an abundance of non-standard functions. However, anyway, we are talking about the same component — the main computing unit, the characteristics of which directly affect the capabilities of the recorder as a whole. Knowing the model of the video chip / processor, you can find detailed data on it and evaluate how satisfied you are with a device based on such electronics. Of the most advanced modern chips, one can name, in particular, Ambarella A7L, Ambarella A12, Novatek NTK96655, Novatek NTK96660 and HiSilicon Hi3516.
VGA shooting (480p)
The maximum resolution and frame rate of video recorded by the recorder in the VGA standard (480p).
The 480p standard covers several resolutions with 480 vertical pixels; among DVRs there are options 640x480, 720x480 and 848x480. In general, all these resolutions are considered rather low; they are used as regular ones only in low-cost registrars. However, the ability to shoot at 480p can be provided in a more advanced device — for example, to save space on the drive.
As for the frame rate, the higher it is, the smoother and less blurry the video will be, the better the details on moving objects will be visible, and also the more space the footage will take up. Specifically, for the human eye, a speed of 24 to 60 fps is considered quite sufficient, however, among the registrars there are models that can shoot video at 120 or even 240 frames per second in 480p resolution. This shooting speed will be useful for slow-motion or frame-by-frame viewing of footage: it allows you to very clearly capture even fast-moving objects, which is important when analyzing ambiguous situations.
Filming HD (720)
The maximum resolution and frame rate of video recorded by the recorder in the HD (720p) standard.
The classic resolution for this standard is 1280x720, but there are other options in DVRs — in particular, 1280x960 (4:3 aspect ratio). Anyway, HD is not outstanding, but quite a decent indicator that allows you to get a video with good detail (for example, it is usually quite possible to make out numbers on cars in close proximity to a car on it).
As for the frame rate, the higher it is, the smoother and less blurry the video will be, the better the details on moving objects will be visible, and also the more space the footage will take up. It is worth noting here that in some inexpensive models, shooting in HD at very low speeds — 15 – 20 fps is used to reduce the cost. Such a shooting speed allows you to watch video more or less normally, but for a normal display of moving objects, a higher frame rate is still desirable — at least 25 frames / sec. It is also worth saying that, in general, for a comfortable perception by a person, a speed of 24 to 60 frames per second is considered quite sufficient, however, among the registrars there are models that can shoot HD at 120 fps. The meaning of this speed is to ensure that individual details on moving objects are as clearly visible as possible in slow motion or frame-by-frame viewing.
Filming Full HD (1080)
The maximum resolution and frame rate of video taken by the recorder in the Full HD (1080p) standard.
Many people associate the term Full HD with a resolution of 1920x1080 — and indeed, this resolution is very popular, including among DVRs. However, this standard also covers other options — in particular, 1440x1080 (4:3 aspect ratio) and 1920x540 (halved vertical size). In general, support for this resolution is a good indicator for a modern registrar, indicating that the device belongs to at least an average level.
As for the frame rate, the higher it is, the smoother and less blurry the video will be, the better the details on moving objects will be visible, and also the more space the footage will take up. It is worth noting here that in low-cost Full HD recorders, shooting can be carried out at very low speeds — 15 fps or even 10 fps. Such a shooting speed allows you to watch video more or less normally, but for a normal display of moving objects, a higher frame rate is still desirable — at least 25 frames / sec.
Filming Super HD
The maximum resolution and frame rate of video taken by the recorder in the Super HD standard.
Super HD is a rather specific standard that exceeds Full HD in resolution, but falls short of Quad HD. The traditional frame size for this format is 2304x1296, but there are models with a lower horizontal resolution — 1728x1296. Anyway, Super HD is quite popular among DVRs: it provides good detail and does not require particularly powerful hardware.
As for the frame rate, the higher it is, the smoother and less blurry the video will be, the better the details on moving objects will be visible, and also the more space the footage will take up. However, in Super HD models this figure usually ranges from 25 to 30 fps, and this difference is hardly fundamental.
Filming Quad HD
The maximum resolution and frame rate of video recorded by the recorder in the Quad HD standard.
In terms of detail, the Quad HD standard sits between Super HD and Ultra HD. It does not have a specific standard resolution, but most often in video recorders there is shooting with a frame size of 2560x1440. However, even such models are relatively few; and more specific values like 2688x1440 are used even less often. There are also quite unusual options — for example, a square frame 1440x1440.
As for the frame rate, the higher it is, the smoother and less blurry the video will be, the better the details on moving objects will be visible, and also the more space the footage will take up. However, in the case of Quad HD, a frequency of 24 fps or 30 fps is usually used, and the difference between these speeds is generally unimportant.
Ultra HD (4K) shooting
The maximum resolution and frame rate of video recorded by the recorder in the Ultra HD 4K standard.
The UHD 4K standard mainly includes video formats with a frame size of about 4K pixels horizontally — in particular, 3840x2160. However, in DVRs, this category includes some other resolutions with a frame size of 2160 vertical pixels — in particular, 2888x2160 (4:3 aspect ratio). For DVRs, this is a very advanced standard that provides the highest detail, but requires large matrices and powerful computing. As a result, its support is typical only for some top-level models.
As for the frame rate, the higher it is, the smoother and less blurry the video will be, the better the details on moving objects will be visible, and also the more space the footage will take up. However, when shooting in UHD, this figure rarely exceeds 24 fps due to the mentioned demands on the hardware “hardware”.
Field of view
The viewing angle provided by the main camera of the DVR. Usually, it is indicated along the diagonal of the frame, less often — horizontally, because of this, models with the same numbers in the characteristics may differ somewhat in the actual field of view. So if you have doubts about this, when choosing, it's ok to find and watch video samples from different models.
Other things being equal, a wider viewing angle allows you to cover more space, but individual details in the frame are smaller. In addition, wide-angle lenses give geometric distortions of the image (however, DEWARP can be provided to eliminate them, see "Functions"). As for specific numbers, viewing angles up to 120° inclusive are considered relatively small for modern registrars, values of 121 – 140 ° can be called average, 141 – 160 ° are above average, and the most wide-angle models are able to cover a space of more than 160 °.
— G-sensor(video saving). A sensor that monitors shocks and vibrations acting on the DVR. The main purpose of this sensor is to ensure the safety of video materials in the event of an accident: in the event of a strong impact, characteristic of a collision or fall, the recorder with a G-sensor automatically saves the previously recorded video to a non-volatile memory protected from overwriting. Thus, materials about an emergency are not only guaranteed to be saved, but with a high probability remain intact even if the recorder itself is damaged. In addition, the G-sensor is used in parking mode — see "Functions" for details.
— Swivel lens. The ability to rotate the lens of the registrar horizontally or vertically, and in some cases — on both planes. This feature allows you to adjust the camera's field of view.
— Sound recording. Ability to record sound with a video recorder. First of all, we are talking about recording conversations in the cabin, which can become an additional argument in disputable situations — for example, they will allow you to determine whether the driver was talking on a mobile phone at the time of an accident, whether he noticed the situation on the road, how he assessed it, etc.
— Live broadcast. Allows you to remotely connect to the DVR and monitor what is happening from the ca...mera in real time. It is very important if there is an additional camera in the cabin, when you can track the situation, for example, in taxi services, courier delivery, etc. This function will also become important and useful when a car is stolen, when you can not only see the hijacker from the video from the camera, but also track the route of his movement.
— HDR(high dynamic range). A function that increases the dynamic range of the recorder. Dynamic range is the maximum difference between the brightest and darkest area achievable within a single frame. Initially, this range for digital matrices is small, so an image with large brightness differences (for example, a road against a sunset sky) turns out to be either strongly overexposed in bright areas or very dim in dark areas. HDR addresses this shortcoming and also improves the overall colour quality. This is implemented as follows: the camera takes several frames with different settings and from them forms the finished image. At the same time, this technology is simpler and cheaper to implement than WDR, which is similar in purpose (see below). The main disadvantage of HDR is that this type of shooting increases the blurring of fast moving objects in the frame somewhat.
— WDR (Wide Dynamic Range). A function similar in purpose to HDR described above: it is used to improve the quality of a “picture” that has strong differences in brightness. The key difference between these technologies is that WDR works at the hardware level — due to high-end matrices. This allows you to achieve the required dynamic range within a single frame and do without gluing several frames — as a result, WDR, unlike HDR, does not give a blurring effect and does not worsen the detail of moving objects in the frame. The downside of this quality is the high price.
— Polarizing filter. The presence of a polarizing filter in the main camera of the DVR. Such a filter reduces the brightness of glare arising from strong light on glass, water and other similar surfaces. This greatly improves image quality, especially when shooting in sunny weather.
— DEWARP. A technology used to correct the "picture" obtained using a wide-angle lens. Such lenses are often used in DVRs; one of their drawbacks is their propensity for the fish-eye effect, the characteristic distortion when straight lines in the frame turn into rounded ones. The DEWARP function eliminates this shortcoming — it "bends back" curved lines, correcting the geometry of objects in the frame. Note that such a correction does not always work 100% accurately, however, the picture processed by DEWARP is anyway more reliable than without this technology.
— Video speed. The ability to display data on the current speed of the car on the video being shot — usually in the form of numbers in one of the corners of the frame. Usually, the device receives information about the speed from the built-in GPS sensor (see below). This feature can be especially useful when analyzing ambiguous situations — for example, as additional evidence that the driver did not violate the speed limit.
— GPS module. Built-in GPS satellite navigation module, which allows you to determine the current coordinates of the device. The specific uses of this information may vary, depending on the rest of the registrar's functionality. So, it is the data from GPS that are used to display the speed on the video (see above), as well as for the operation of the GPS informer and GPS navigator described below. There are other options, sometimes quite original — for example, if you have a 3G / 4G modem, a beacon mode can be provided ( GPS tracker — see below).
— GPS informer. A function that provides the driver with various useful information related to the current location. In accordance with the name, the location itself is determined using GPS. One of the most popular ways to use the informant is to warn of approaching traffi...c cameras, fixed posts and speed control systems that are not detected by a traditional radar detector. In addition, other similar functions may be provided — for example, a message about a site with an increased accident rate or a separate large hole on the road. For the operation of the GPS-informer, a database of relevant objects is entered into the device's memory; when buying, it's ok to clarify what exactly this database contains, how fresh it is, and whether it allows the possibility of updating and manually adding points.
— GPS navigator. The ability to operate the device in the mode of a full-fledged GPS-navigator. To do this, in addition to the actual GPS module, the design provides for built-in maps, as well as a large enough display to display them. This allows you to do without buying and using a separate navigator, but this function is not very popular in modern DVRs. Firstly, it significantly affects the cost of the device; secondly, a regular smartphone or tablet with GPS is often enough to navigate public roads; thirdly, registrars most often have rather modest navigation capabilities and are often inferior even to smartphones / tablets, not to mention specialized devices.
— GPS tracker. Another feature found in recorders with a GPS module (see above). The GPS tracker allows the device to work in the beacon mode, constantly transmitting data about the location of the car to one or another addressee — for example, taxi service dispatchers, a cargo transportation customer, etc. Such beacons are also sold as separate devices, but it is easier (and sometimes cheaper) to buy and install a recorder with this function. Anyway, it should be taken into account that a 3G / 4G modem is usually used for data transfer (see below) — so to use the tracker you will have to buy a SIM card and regularly pay for mobile communications.
— GLONASS. Support for the GLONASS navigation system, the russian analogue of the GPS described above. Most often, this function is provided in addition to the GPS module: the simultaneous use of two systems improves the speed and accuracy of positioning, and also provides an additional guarantee in case of failures in one of them.
— Galileo. European satellite navigation system, created as an alternative to the American GPS. Note that it is under the control of civilian departments, not the military. With a full fleet of 24 active satellites, the system gives an accuracy of up to 1 m in public mode and up to 20 cm with the GHA service. Working in conjunction with GPS, the Galileo system provides a more accurate position measurement, especially in densely populated areas.
— LDWS (lane control). A system that controls the presence of a car within the lane: it monitors the position of the car on the road and, if it deviates from the current lane, it gives a warning signal, attracting the attention of the driver. This signal can literally save the life of road users if the driver is distracted or falls asleep at the wheel. DVRs with LDWS will be especially useful for those who have to drive a lot of time without a break. However with poor-quality road markings or its absence, this function becomes useless.
— FCWS(distance control). A system that monitors the distance to the vehicle in front and gives a signal if this distance is critically reduced and a collision is possible. Usually, FCWS turns on starting from a certain speed (for example, from 40 km/h and above), and its sensitivity can be changed to adjust to the traffic density. Collision warning is usually displayed and accompanied by an audible signal.
— LLWS(headlight reminder). A sensor that monitors the level of ambient light; when the light is low, the LLWS reminds the driver to turn on the headlights. Such a reminder may be useful not only at night, but also during the day — for example, in cloudy weather or when entering a tunnel.
— Radar detector. A sensor that reacts to the radiation of a police radar and warns the driver that the speed of movement can be recorded by the device. DVRs with this function belong to a separate category — combo devices (see "Type"). Recall that radar detectors are also available as separate devices, but the combo device takes up less space during installation. On the other hand, the “anti-radar” functionality in combined DVRs is generally somewhat more modest than in separately made radar detectors. Yes, and combo devices are quite expensive (although, most often, they are cheaper than a pair of a separate registrar and a radar detector with similar capabilities). Separately, we emphasize that the presence of this function does not relieve the obligation to adhere to the speed prescribed by the rules of the road.
— Signature recognition. The function of the radar detector described above, which improves recognition accuracy and reduces the likelihood of false positives. To do this, samples (signatures) of radiation from the most popular radar models are entered into the device’s memory, and when a signal is detected, the device compares it with the data in memory. Thus, it is possible to determine quite accurately whether the received signal is radar radiation (and which one), or whether it is just extraneous interference. The disadvantages of detectors with signature recognition are a rather high cost, a slightly increased response time, and the inability to “recognize” radars that are not stored in memory (however, some models allow updating the signature database).
— Parking mode. A special mode that allows you to record on video emergency incidents while the car is parked; a G-sensor is used for operation (see "Shooting functions"). In parking mode, the recorder is in "sleep" mode, and if the G-sensor detects an impact, a full-fledged recording is turned on. In this case, the video from the buffer is “glued” to the beginning of the recording, which allows you to capture not only the moment of the incident itself, but also a few seconds before it.
— Motion sensor. Recorder function based on motion detection in the camera lens. Thus, if the registrar "understands" that there is movement in the frame, automatic shooting is carried out. This allows you to configure the DVR to turn on automatically when you start moving, as well as record possible accidents, thefts, car thefts from parking lots that fell into the field of view of your device.
— Antison. A feature that reduces the risk of falling asleep while driving. When the "Antison" mode is on, the recorder, usually, periodically reproduces a special sound signal; in some models, this sound stops itself, in others, the driver must manually turn off the signal, confirming that he is not sleeping. However, note that even the most advanced Antison system does not give a full guarantee against falling asleep at the wheel. Therefore, the most correct variant of behavior in case of severe fatigue is to stop and rest; this function should be used only in extreme cases.
— Voice control. The ability to control the DVR using voice commands. The specific list of such commands (and supported languages) may vary depending on the model. However, anyway, this function contributes to traffic safety: it allows you to keep your hands on the steering wheel and not be distracted from the road when driving the DVR.
— Gesture control. The ability to control the device using gestures. Note that the possibilities of such control in video recorders are very limited: usually, a sensor is used for this, which reacts to the movement of the user's hand in front of the device and is capable of performing only one specific action. Nevertheless, even this possibility provides additional convenience and safety (compared to pressing buttons and, moreover, working with the menu): the movement of the hand takes a fraction of a second, while the driver is practically not distracted from the road. As for the specific functions implemented through gesture control, they may include protecting the recorded video from being overwritten, saving a photo, turning off the sound signal from the radar detector (see above), etc. In some models, this function is hardcoded in the settings and is not reconfigurable, in others it is possible to choose one of several options.
— Wi-Fi module. Wi-Fi technology is known primarily as a way to access the Internet wirelessly, but it can also be used to communicate directly with another device. The ways of using this technology in registrars can be different, depending on the functionality. For example, some models are able to update marks on maps for the GPS navigator and the GPS informer database through such a connection (see above); others allow you to upload the captured video directly to the Internet (for example, to YouTube); and the most advanced devices with this feature have touch screens and, when removed from the mount, can even be used as full-fledged tablets, with the ability to browse the web and install various applications. There are also quite specific features — for example, broadcasting the video being filmed or filmed to a smartphone or tablet, distributing mobile Internet to other devices (if there is a 3G / 4G module), etc. Note that the number of public Wi-Fi access points is constantly increasing, they are available at most large gas stations and are often provided in certain areas of large cities (parks, historical and business districts, etc.). So accessing the World Wide Web from the registrar without removing it from the car can be much easier than it looks at first glance.
— 3G/4G modem. 3G or 4G mobile communication module. Designed mainly for data transfer — in other words, for using the mobile Internet; Voice calls for DVRs are considered redundant and generally not supported. The speed of communication in modern mobile networks is often comparable to connecting via Wi-Fi; so the options for using 3G / 4G connections can be quite diverse, depending on the specific model. However, three functions are most common: downloading information about traffic jams and other relevant data (updates for the GPS informer, weather forecast, etc.); work as a GPS tracker (if this function is available, see above); as well as the Wi-Fi access point mode, with the distribution of mobile Internet to other devices (if you have your own Wi-Fi module, of course). If we compare 3G / 4G and Wi-Fi, then mobile communications are almost everywhere, but you have to pay for using it.
— Bluetooth. The presence of a built-in Bluetooth module in the registrar. This technology is used for direct wireless connection with other devices; its application may be different, depending on the functionality of a particular registrar. One of the most popular options is to broadcast sound to a Bluetooth radio or to the driver’s headset: these can be various notifications from a navigator, radar detector, etc., signals from the Antison system (see above), and in some models — even music from the built-in player. Another popular application format is the exchange of files with a smartphone, laptop or other similar device (primarily copying footage). In addition, other, more specific ways of using Bluetooth may be envisaged. And here it is worth noting that most registrars with this function work on Android (see the relevant paragraph), so the set of options in them is very extensive — in fact, it is limited to the range of compatible applications.
— Speaker. Own speaker installed in the body of the DVR. Through such a speaker, for example, sound can be played when viewing the captured video, voice prompts from a GPS navigator / informer, radar detector signals (see above), etc. However it is worth considering that the sound power can be quite low, and in a noisy environment, listening to the speaker may be difficult.
For interior photography
The presence in the design of the device of an additional camera designed for filming in the car and directed, respectively, in the opposite direction from the main one. The characteristics of such a camera are usually somewhat more modest than the main one, but usually it quite allows you to determine what happened in the cabin at one time or another — this can be a good help in resolving conflict situations.
One or more remote cameras in the standard equipment of the registrar, used for video recording of the traffic situation behind the car. In the vast majority of cases, the remote camera is attached to the DVR in one copy. It covers the rear "stern" of the car and is simultaneously used as an assistant when reversing parking — the picture from the camera can be displayed on the DVR screen in real time. There can be several remote cameras, which provides a wider coverage of the DVR's field of view.
The maximum video resolution supported by the optional DVR camera. Depending on the design and configuration, we can talk about both a remote camera and a camera for filming the interior (see above for both); this nuance should be clarified separately.
The higher the resolution, the more detailed the image from the camera will be, the more small details will be normally visible on it. On the other hand, high detailing affects the volume of materials to be filmed and the requirements for the “hardware” of the registrar (and, accordingly, affects the cost).
In general, additional cameras of modern recorders can be divided into the following categories:
— SD. "Standard" resolution (as opposed to HD — "high resolution"). A rather modest frame size, which at the same time allows you to significantly save memory for video recording and is suitable even for low-cost recorders. Specific resolution options include, but are not limited to, 628x582, 640x480, and 720x480.
— HD 720p. The traditional, most popular resolution for this video recording standard is 1280x720. In addition to it, registrars also found 960x720 (aspect ratio 4:3) and reduced in height 1280x480. HD is the most modest of today's high-definition standards, but still provides pretty decent detail.
— Full HD 1080p. The "classic of the genre" for this standard is the resolution of 1920x1080, however, there are other values in registrars, including very specific ones —...such as 1440x1080 (4:3 aspect ratio) and 1920x540 (halved vertical resolution). This is a fairly solid indicator even for the main camera of the registrar, and there is no need to talk about additional ones.
— Super HD. Not a particularly popular standard in video technology, which, nevertheless, has found application in video recorders. Most often provides a resolution of 2304x1296, which provides even more
Maximum video frame rate supported by the optional DVR camera. Depending on the design and configuration, we can talk about both a remote camera and a camera for filming the interior (see above for both); this nuance should be clarified separately. Anyway, it is with this frequency that the shooting is carried out by default.
The higher the frame rate, the clearer the moving objects will be on the video, the less they will be blurred and the less “jerky” the video itself will be. It is believed that the most comfortable for the human eye is a speed of 24 to 60 frames per second; a lower frequency is already perceived as a “slideshow”, and a higher one only increases the amount of material being shot, without giving a visible increase in quality. At the same time, registrar cameras can also provide higher filming speeds than 60 fps — this provides good visibility of individual moving parts in slow motion or frame-by-frame playback.
Field of view
Angle of view of the additional camera of the DVR. Depending on the design and configuration, we can talk about both a remote camera and a camera for filming the interior (see above for both); this nuance should be clarified separately. And the viewing angle can be indicated both horizontally and diagonally, which is why models with the same numbers in the characteristics may differ somewhat in the actual field of view. However, in this case, this difference is not critical.
Theoretically, a wider field of view allows you to cover more space, but individual details in the frame are smaller. In addition, wide-angle lenses give geometric distortion at the edges of the picture; and the DEWARP technology (see "Features") used to eliminate them is not usually used in additional cameras.
The diagonal of the display installed in the DVR.
A large display, on the one hand, provides additional convenience, on the other hand, it affects the dimensions and price of the entire device. Therefore, manufacturers choose a diagonal in such a way that the device can be used normally and at the same time it is not too expensive and bulky. So, for a classic registrar that does not have additional functions, a small display is enough — 2 – 2.5", 1.5 – 2", or even less : it completely allows you to manage the settings and control what exactly gets into the frame, and to fully view the footage, you still need a computer, TV or other large screen. A size of 2.5 – 3 " by the standards of such devices can already be called average, and screens of 3" or more are typical mainly for fairly advanced models, often with an abundance of additional functions.
Also note that there are models that do not have a display at all. To control the operation parameters and check the position of the frame, such a recorder is connected to an external device — for example, to a smartphone via Wi-Fi.
Resolution of the display installed in the recorder.
The higher the resolution (with the same diagonal) — the clearer the image is, but the more expensive the screen itself. At the same time, high resolutions are not needed to set the camera in the desired position and to work with the basic settings of the device. So you should pay attention to this parameter only if you plan to use additional functions that require a high-quality “picture” — for example, a GPS navigator (see “Functions”) or a remote camera that plays the role of a rear view camera.
This technology provides high-quality colour reproduction, high brightness and wide viewing angles, and thanks to the improvement and reduction in price, the price of IPS screens is constantly decreasing. At the same time, the meaning of the IPS screen may arise in the case of using a DVR at the scene of an accident in order to clarify the situation and review the footage. And the availability of an IPS screen indicates a device of a higher class.
Touch screen similar to those used in smartphones and tablets. Control by touching the icons on such a display often turns out to be more convenient and intuitive than through the classic buttons, and sometimes it is simply irreplaceable — for example, it is very convenient to mark points on the map with a touch when using a GPS navigator (see "Functions"). On the other hand, such screens are more expensive than usual ones, and it makes sense to use them mainly in advanced registrars with an abundance of additional features.
Note that there are other specific types of control in registrars — voice control and gesture control. They are not as functional as touch ones, but they are noticeably safer when used while driving; see "Functions" for details.
The ability to rotate the display of the registrar — from side to side, up and down, and often — on both axes. This allows you to choose the optimal viewing angle at which the screen will not glare and distort colours. Without a swivel display, for this purpose it would be necessary to move the entire recorder, and this is not always convenient, and often impossible.
HDMI port is an output that allows you to use the recorder as an external player — namely, to broadcast video and audio from it to a TV, monitor or other video equipment that has the appropriate input. The HDMI standard is specially designed for high-definition content, it allows you to transfer even the highest quality video (up to and including UltraHD 4K); and inputs of this type are available in almost all video devices that support HD standards — in particular, in the vast majority of modern TVs. Note that a smaller version of the HDMI connector is usually installed in the recorder, and the appropriate cable is supplied in the kit, but the presence of the latter needs to be specified separately.
AV output is an analogue output used to broadcast captured audio and video to an external display such as a TV. In registrars, such an output usually has the form of a mini-Jack connector, and a special cable is required for connection (often supplied in the kit, but there are exceptions). This interface does not allow working with HD resolutions, however, it does not require powerful hardware and can be provided even in the simplest and most inexpensive devices. Another advantage is that AV inputs (usually called composite) are found not only in modern, but also in frankly outdated video equipment like CRT TVs.
AV connector for connecting an additional remote camera to the DVR, which can be used to provide a view of the rear hemisphere or filming what is happening inside the vehicle.
Two memory cards
The recorder has two slots for memory cards.
This feature gives the device a number of additional features. First of all, it allows you to increase the amount of memory available for saving videos. Recall that most modern recorders work in the overwrite format: when the drive is full, new video starts to be recorded over the oldest fragments. And the more memory in the device, the more video can be stored in it at the same time without being overwritten.
In addition, the second memory card can be used in the mode of information duplication — as a backup storage that increases the likelihood of "survival" of the recorded video in the event of an accident or other emergency. In some models, this mode is activated in specific cases — when the G-sensor is triggered, at the user's command, etc.; in others, it may be permanently enabled.
Maximum memory card size
The largest size of the memory card allowed for the device. This limitation is primarily due to the fact that more powerful hardware is required to work with larger volumes. In addition, there are nuances associated with individual subspecies of cards. Anyway, this value cannot be exceeded: with a high probability, the registrar will either work incorrectly, or will not be able to work at all, or even completely fail.
Most modern registrars support cards up to 32 GB or 64 GB, but there are models that are compatible with more capacious cards — 128 GB or even 256 GB.
Remote control included in delivery. Most often, this is a wireless remote control that operates either in the IR range or via a radio channel; the second option allows you to create remotes with the ability to mount on the steering wheel, right at the user's hand. Anyway, this function provides additional convenience in management: using the remote control is usually easier than reaching for the recorder itself (especially since a careless touch can move the device from its place and shift the camera's field of view).
The presence of a remote block in the design of the registrar.
As the name implies, such a block is executed separately from the camera; usually it contains a “hardware” that is not directly responsible for filming. Thanks to this, the cameras themselves are very light, compact and unobtrusive, which simplifies their installation, increases the reliability of mounting and reduces the attractiveness of the car for thieves. And the remote unit itself can be made quite large without sacrificing ease of use — which means that you can easily install a large display and advanced electronics in it. Among the shortcomings of such structures, in addition to the high cost, one can note the overall complexity of installation: not every car has a suitable place for a remote unit, and the need to pull additional wires does not contribute to convenience.
— Cigarette lighter. Connects to a standard 12V cigarette lighter socket or car socket of the same format. Such a connection is available in almost any car — except that 24 V instead of 12 V can be used in heavy equipment like trucks and buses, so in such cases you should be careful. The main advantage of the cigarette lighter is an almost unlimited operating time: the registrar is guaranteed to receive energy while the engine is running, and the power from the on-board battery (with the engine turned off) can last for a very long time. To connect, however, you have to pull an additional wire, but this is usually not a noticeable drawback. But a more serious point is that when the mains voltage fails, the registrar instantly turns off — and this can easily happen during an accident. Therefore, although there are many models with this type of power supply, even more recorders are additionally equipped with a built-in battery(see below).
— Cigarette lighter / battery. Models that can be powered both from the cigarette lighter and from their own battery. See above for the first option, but the battery most often has a low capacity, sufficient for several minutes of battery life, and is not a full-fledged power source, but an additional guarantee in case of emergency situations. Such a “guarantee” can be useful, first of all, in case of an accident: if the voltage in the cigarette lighter socket disappears due to damage, the registrar...will still remain operational and will be able to record at least a few more minutes after the accident. However, there are exceptions to this rule — these are models with the ability to fix on a helmet or steering wheel (see "Installation"). Such devices can be used on motorcycles and other equipment where there are no cigarette lighters, so capacious batteries are installed in them, and the time of continuous shooting is already measured for hours. And connection to the cigarette lighter in such a registrar can be useful both for installation in a car and for recharging a dead battery “in the field”.
— Supercapacitor (ionistor). Recorders that normally operate from the on-board network of a car, and as a backup power supply are equipped with a special energy storage device — an ultra-high-capacity capacitor. Such a drive has a number of advantages over the built-in battery. In particular, supercapacitors are immune to low temperatures, sunlight and temperature extremes, they do not lose capacity as they wear out, and they do not catch fire or explode even in extreme situations. And even with a strong impact (for example, in the event of an accident), such a power source will remain operational with a higher probability than a battery. So ionisters are considered a much more advanced and reliable backup power option. However the capacity of such a capacitor is only enough to save the last recorded video and turn it off correctly; it does not allow the device to function autonomously even for several minutes. However, in traditional DVR applications, more is generally not required, so in such cases the practical advantages of this type of power far outweigh the disadvantages. And the low prevalence of supercapacitors is mainly due to the fact that this type of power supply has appeared relatively recently.
The type of connector used in the recorder to power it. First of all, you should pay attention to this item if you plan to change the registrar with ready-made wiring for one or another type of connector ( miniUSB, microUSB, USB C, DC 12V). Thus, the replacement of the registrar rests simply on installing a new one without re-changing the cable.
The capacity of the internal battery installed in the device (see "Power supply").
First of all, the general purpose of the battery depends on this indicator. If the recorder uses a relatively modest battery, up to 500 mAh, this most often means that it plays the role of backup power in case of disconnection from the cigarette lighter (for example, in an accident when the on-board network failed). In such cases, you can not pay much attention to the capacity — usually, it is guaranteed to be enough for at least a few minutes of offline recording, and for permanent operation the device will still have to be connected to the cigarette lighter. But for a full-fledged (not “spare”) power supply, much more capacious batteries are required — at least 800 mAh, and ideally 1000 mAh and higher. The exception is ultra-compact motorcycle models that do not have screens and do not consume much energy — sometimes 200 mAh or even less is enough for them.
Note that theoretically a more capacious battery allows the device to work longer without recharging. However, in fact, comparing different models by this indicator, in fact, makes no sense: after all, the battery life of the recorder also depends on its power consumption, and it is determined by a number of characteristics. Moreover, manufacturers sometimes select batteries of different capacities for different models just in such a way as to achieve more or less the same battery life.
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