Social media channels are flooded with uploaded dash-cam videos, showing everything from meteor storms to cats on pedestrian crossings. But they have a serious role to play in the event of an accident or crime, often saving hours of wrangling with insurance companies and paying for themselves many times over.
In the event of an incident, then, any camera will be better than none at all, but there is a huge choice facing the first- time buyer. The quality of the footage captured also varies massively from model to model, while the specifications and features offered can be confusing.
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Do you need filters, hardwires, Alexa and WiFi? Although there are cameras that cost as little as £15 and as much as £1,000, we have gathered the eight best options in the most popular price range, from £60 to £300, to see what works and what matters.
How we tested them
The most important feature of any dash camera is to capture clear footage in a wide variety of weather and light conditions. To test this, we drove a route in bright sunlight and at night.
Most cameras have an app for viewing footage, so this was used, along with a check for clarity on a larger computer screen.
The greatest importance was placed on being able to read registration numbers clearly in all conditions. Finally, we took value for money and additional useful features into account.
Bear in mind that some cameras have an SD card included in the package. If they don’t, then don’t forget to budget between £10 and £20 for something suitable to store footage on.
While the Nextbase 622GW still sets the benchmark in terms of the quality of its footage, a price rise means it is starting to look expensive, especially when rival Kenwood is dialling up the value.
It’s enough to see the Nextbase knocked off the top spot by a newcomer in the form of the Ring RSDC3000. It will cost less than £100 even with the additional expense of an SD card, yet it has all of the features we think are essential in a camera. The RSDC3000 also takes surprisingly good-quality footage, too.
- Ring RSDC3000
- Nextbase 622GW
- Kenwood A601W
- Price: around £85 (plus memory card)
- Rating: 5 stars
- Resolution: 1296p
- Contact: ringautomotive.com
If your priority above all else with a dash cam is to have the very best-quality footage, the Ring isn’t going to provide it. But for a package that costs less than £100, it offers an unbeatable combination of features and value.
The compact RSDC3000 has a resolution of 1296 pixels, giving it a useful step up in quality from the 1080p resolution of most cameras in this price range. It dealt well with changing light conditions, too.
It also has GPS tracking data to log speed and location, and a two-inch screen to make navigating menus easier. It will connect to Ring’s app using a WiFi connection to view and download files.
- Price: around £250 (plus memory card)
- Rating: 4.5 stars
- Resolution: 4K
- Contact: nextbase.com
In terms of footage quality, the Nextbase 622GW is still the benchmark for dash cams. It has the clearest images in all conditions, even compared with rivals we’ve tried costing twice as much.
The 622GW also has some interesting – if gimmicky – extra features included, such as What3Words location data and Alexa voice activation, which work better in theory than they do in practice.
But we can’t ignore that the Nextbase’s price has risen by £30 since it won our last test, so adding extras such as an SD card and a rear camera will take the total price to £319. It’s still the best cam, but you pay for it.
Kenwood DRV A601W
- Price: around £200 (includes 64GB memory card)
- Rating: 4.5 stars
- Resolution: 4K
- Contact: kenwood-electronics.co.uk
Kenwood’s range-topping 4K camera almost matched the Nextbase 622GW for footage quality, but can’t quite repeat the image stabilisation in darker conditions, especially on rougher roads.
It also has to make do without the Nextbase’s Alexa and What3Words features, but in exchange it costs less than £200, and that includes a 64GB memory card.
You can also buy the Kenwood as part of a bundle that includes a hardwire kit, an SD card and a rear camera for the same price as the basic Nextbase 622.
Kenwood DRV A501W
- Price: around £140 (includes 16GB memory card)
- Rating: 4 stars
- Resolution: 1440p
- Contact: kenwood-electronics.co.uk
If you don’t need the full 4K resolution quality, but want a step up from 1080p, Kenwood’s A501W offers all of the useful functionality and features of the company’s A601W camera (see page 59), at a usefully lower price.
The £139.95 cost includes a 16GB SD memory card, too, but what lifts the Kenwood above similarly priced rivals is the inclusion of a polarising filter as standard. This works like sunglasses in bright conditions and noticeably reduces the glare on footage. Factor in the camera’s WiFi, GPS and magnetic mount and it makes the A501W a decent package.
- Price: around £100 (plus memory card)
- Rating: 3.5 stars
- Resolution: 1440p
- Contact: ringautomotive.com
Ring’s range-topping DC4000 lacks a screen, which is a feature we always appreciate on a dash cam, because it makes the device far easier to set up and to check footage.
But we can almost forgive it, because connecting the camera to the Ring app is simple and means the RSDC4000 is tiny. This could be a real bonus if you have a shallow windscreen and want to hide the cam behind the mirror.
The footage can’t challenge the 4K cameras and lacks the detail of the Kenwood’s 1440P A501W, too, but the Ring is good value, even taking into account the lack of an SD card.
- Price: around £170 (plus memory card)
- Rating: 3.5 stars
- Resolution: 4K
- Contact: amazon.co.uk/vantrue
The Vantrue is the cheapest way we could find to get full 4K dash- cam footage, and the X4S also has a three-inch rear screen to view it on. As you’d expect from a dash cam at this price level, there’s a WiFi connection and a simple app to download and manage your video.
But there are a few surprising omissions, too, the biggest being a lack of GPS location and speed stamps. To add these features, you must buy a module that costs an extra £23.99. That, plus an SD card, will take the total price to the same as the superior Kenwood 601.
Garmin Dash Cam 57
- Price: around £130 (includes 16GB memory card)
- Rating: 3.5 stars
- Resolution: 1440p
- Contact: garmin.com
This compact Garmin 57 has the usual GPS, a neat screen and app, but it also has a couple of innovative gadgets that we really liked the sound of.
The first of these functions is the option to use voice activation to save clips, and the second is the ability to connect to a WiFi hotspot and view the camera’s feed even when you are away from the car.
Unfortunately, neither of these features worked smoothly in our tests, making it difficult to justify the extra cost over the other 1440p cameras here.
- Price: around £60 (plus memory card)
- Rating: 3 stars
- Resolution: 1080p
- Contact: halfords.com
The Mio has two big points in its favour: the price and the size. The downside is that the C312 lacks features, too, with no GPS, smartphone link or other useful gadgets. It does have a two-inch screen, however, which makes it easy to navigate menus and check the camera is pointing the right way.
But that screen is also a hindrance because it is permanently on, which can prove distracting, especially at night. The footage also suffers in the dark. While the Mio will capture acceptable detail during daylight hours, its tiny lens struggles at night.
Continue ReadingBest dual dash cams
In this review
- 1Best dash cams 2022 - currently readingEight cameras line up for their screen test
- 2Best dual dash camsIf you want to record both the front and rear of your vehicle, then check out a dual dash cam
- 3Best factory and dealer fit dash camsWith dash cams becoming such big business, some manufacturers have got in on the action too
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What is the #1 dash cam? ›
We think the best dash cam overall is currently the Nextbase 622GW. A premium option with advanced connectivity features, it records steady 4K footage whenever you're on the road.Which dash cam has the best picture quality? ›
- Garmin Dash Cam Mini 2. A name-brand cam that won't clutter your windshield. ...
- Nexar Beam. Compact but also smart, with driver alert algorithms. ...
- Vantrue N4. Record three views at once in HD resolution or higher. ...
- Nextbase 622GW. A sleek, premium option with almost as many smart features as a phone.
Dash cam footage can be used to prosecute for a range of offences, including speeding, dangerous or careless driving and driving while using a mobile phone.Which dash cam do Uber drivers use? ›
If you're looking for the best dash cam for Uber drivers, the Vantrue N2 Pro is the gold standard. This camera is not only designed to start recording as soon as you turn on the engine — it detects motion when you're parked.What are the disadvantages of dash cam? ›
Dashcam video may be used as evidence if you're involved in a crash. While you may think you're not at fault, the video could prove otherwise! Additionally, if the footage does prove your innocence, it's not guaranteed that it would be admissible should you end up in court.What is the best car camera you can buy? ›
- Garmin Dash Cam 67W: The best wide-angle dash cam. ...
- Thinkware Q800 Pro: Great image quality and features. ...
- Thinkware F800 Pro: The best front and rear dash-cam bundle. ...
- Thinkware T700: The best-connected dash cam. ...
- Nexar Pro: The best dash cam for in-car recording.
It is a good idea to remove your dash cam once you have left the vehicle to avoid your car being broken into. If you have parking mode on your camera or want to keep it in the vehicle it is best to place it in a discreet place.Is it worth getting front and rear dash cam? ›
Best front and rear dash cams in 2022: two-way protection for you and your vehicle. The best front and rear dash cams are something you'll wish you had if an incident takes place on the road. By capturing what happens both in front of and behind your vehicle, you'll have a full record of events.How much should I spend on a dash cam? ›
Consumer dash cams for cars cost around $60 to $150, though some are as little as $30. A higher-quality professional-grade dash cam will cost from $80 to $500, depending on the number of advanced features included – from night vision to AI.Is a 4K dash cam worth it? ›
While cams that record in 1080p will do the trick in most situations, 4k cams simply pick up more detail. In the case of an accident, having better quality footage can mean the difference between a clear-cut victory and a drawn-out battle.
Can I use my phone as a dash cam? ›
For Android, you can download AutoBoy dashcam- BlackBox, and Droid Dashcam, and for iOS Roav DashCam. Once you have downloaded the app, accept all the permission like camera, location, and even audio. Connect your phone to a power source and open the required application.Do I need to tell insurance about dash cam? ›
This sounds obvious, but insurers and the police need to be able to see what's happening on the road in the footage. If you've told your insurer you have a dash cam but later make a claim without having the footage to support it, you may have to repay any discounts you've had. It could also invalidate your policy.Do police follow up on dash cam? ›
Only if the images clearly demonstrate the offence being committed. Dependent on the offence, the Police may require the video footage of the whole incident. They may also need to see more of your journey so that they can understand the context of what happened.Will a dash cam lower my insurance? ›
Is there a dashcam car insurance discount? Insurance companies generally don't offer discounts for dashcams, but they can help you avoid an increase in your insurance rate by providing evidence that you weren't at fault in an accident.Should I register my dash cam with Uber? ›
If you have a dashcam, consider registering it with Uber below to: Let riders know that your vehicle has one installed. Easily share recordings with Uber Support if needed.Can Uber access your camera? ›
After you download and open the Uber app, your mobile device will notify you when the app requests various permissions. For example, if you'd like to upload a photo to your account, the Uber app will ask for permission to access your camera and photo library.Is the nexar one dash cam good? ›
Overall, the Nexar One dash cam is innovative and tech forward. Despite some of the initial problems, which is to be expected with a brand new product, it is a unique and exciting product. The most compelling piece of the camera is the promise for better performance every day.Where should a dash cam be placed in a car? ›
Where to Mount Your Dash Cam. Although all dash cams have wide angle lenses so that they maximize the field of view, they should be mounted in or near the middle of the front windshield so that an even field of view for the sides of the vehicle is recorded.Why do cars not have dash cams? ›
Was this worth your time? This helps us sort answers on the page. The main reason is that they sell those cars across many different states and countries and they can all have different laws regarding dashcam recordings, Some will require concent for recording audio in a vehicle others won't.Is it smart to get a dash cam? ›
The dash cam is the strongest and most efficient proof you have for defending yourself, in case of car crash. In the end, it is better to have one and to stay on the safe side, as it can help you save a lot of time, money and trouble in the long run.
Can I use my iPhone as a dashcam? ›
You can use your iPhone as a dash cam by downloading an iPhone dash cam app and placing your phone onto the dashboard of your vehicle. Is there a dash cam app for iPhone? There are multiple dash cam apps for iPhones, like CamOnRoad, which has no ads and is capable of recording up to three hours of on-road video.Is there a battery powered dash cam? ›
Most battery-powered dash cams offer a simple user interface with good resolution and video display. There is a built-in front camera, but you can install a rear camera as well. The camera will start operating when triggered by any sudden motion or impact.How can I read my dash cam footage on my phone? ›
- Step 1: Connect mobile phone and SD card via OTG. ...
- Step 2: Open SDHC memory card file. ...
- Step 3: Select the file and download it. ...
- Step 4: Open download video. ...
- Step 5: Watch the video. ...
- Step 6: Editing. ...
- Step 7: Share or Upload.
A good cam will last several years- exactly how long is hard to say as there are variables, but many of us here are still using cams over 3 and 4 years old with no problems. Many old but still-working cams go out of service simply because newer and much better cams come to the market so we upgrade.How can I hide my dash cam in my car? ›
Top 5 Tips to Hide Dash Cam Cables - YouTubeHow long does a dash cam keep footage? ›
The recording quality, the size of the camera's SD card capacity, and other factors can all affect how long a dash cam records for. However, with a high-quality recording (1080p), you can expect the camera to record for about this long: 8 GB – 55 minutes. 16 GB – 110 minutes (1.8 hours)Can dash cam see through tinted windows? ›
In many ways, tints on vehicles will have a comparable effect as sunglasses. During the day it may reduce glare but won't compromise video quality at all. At night however, tints do tend to restrict how much light gets through to the sensor thus there will be less detail picked up by the camera.Should I get 2 Dashcams? ›
2-channel dashboard cameras are ideal for those that wish to record what is happening both at the front and rear of their vehicle.Can a dash cam record while parked? ›
Parking mode is a feature of some dash cams that allows them to continue recording while your car is parked and turned off. Basic dash cams without a parking mode will turn off while your car's engine is off, so your car is only monitored while you are driving.Does having a dash cam reduce car insurance? ›
Does having a dash cam lower insurance? Insurers tend to look favourably on dash cam users, so they might offer you a cheaper car insurance quote if you have one. It shows them that you're willing to have your driving scrutinised – the camera doesn't only record other drivers.
Is there a dash cam without wires? ›
While you might see dash cams that claim to be totally wireless, you'll generally find that most dash cams currently on the market do require some sort of wiring to draw power. There are a few dash cams that run entirely on internal batteries but these are usually only able to record for a few minutes.What is the best dash cam for 2022 UK? ›
- Nextbase 622GW: The best high-end dash cam. ...
- Garmin Dash Cam 47: The best compact dash cam. ...
- Garmin Dash Cam Mini 2: The best no-nonsense dash cam. ...
- Nextbase 322GW: The best entry-level dash cam. ...
- Nexar Beam: The best budget dash cam. ...
- Mio MiVue 818: The best budget dash cam for features.
So, is a dash cam worth it? These days, the answer to that question is almost resoundingly yes, and people are going out and buying these devices for their vehicles to protect themselves. Dashcams can do far more than simply put other people at fault for their own reckless driving.Can you give dashcam footage to police? ›
You can submit any type of footage, whether it is filmed on a Dash Cam, mobile phone or any other device – regardless of where it was filmed. In and out of a car, from a building's window, as long as it relates to the case that you are submitting, it is good to be submitted.Do you have to turn over dash cam footage? ›
You are not required to spontaneously turn over dashcam footage. But you can't knowingly destroy it either. If the other party asks you under oath if you know of any dashcam footage- and you lie- you have committed perjury.How much does a dashcam take off insurance? ›
Most dash cam discounts range between 10 and 15%. Some insurers offer up to 30% off, but only when you buy a specific make of dash cam. Having a dash cam means you're happy to have your driving filmed – and this makes you less risky in the eyes of many insurers.Can I connect my dash cam to my phone? ›
So the first thing you should do is download the Thinkware app onto your phone or even iPad or tablet from the app store. Then press the Wifi button on your Dash Cam, this turns on the connections. Then go into your phone WiFi settings, select the dash camera and now your connected!Can I use my phone as a dash cam? ›
For Android, you can download AutoBoy dashcam- BlackBox, and Droid Dashcam, and for iOS Roav DashCam. Once you have downloaded the app, accept all the permission like camera, location, and even audio. Connect your phone to a power source and open the required application.Where's the best place to put a dash cam? ›
Position your dash cam where it can capture the best view of the road, which should ideally be on the passenger side of your rear-view mirror so that it doesn't obstruct the driver's vision.How much should I spend on a dash cam? ›
Consumer dash cams for cars cost around $60 to $150, though some are as little as $30. A higher-quality professional-grade dash cam will cost from $80 to $500, depending on the number of advanced features included – from night vision to AI.
Is a 4K dash cam worth it? ›
While cams that record in 1080p will do the trick in most situations, 4k cams simply pick up more detail. In the case of an accident, having better quality footage can mean the difference between a clear-cut victory and a drawn-out battle.Is it worth getting front and rear dash cam? ›
Best front and rear dash cams in 2022: two-way protection for you and your vehicle. The best front and rear dash cams are something you'll wish you had if an incident takes place on the road. By capturing what happens both in front of and behind your vehicle, you'll have a full record of events.Is GPS important on a dash cam? ›
GPS in dashcams has 2 main purposes: Registering the current speed: Dashcams with GPS show the current speed in the bottom of every video. This can be very useful in providing proof in case of an accident or when you received a speeding ticket.Why do cars not have dash cams? ›
Was this worth your time? This helps us sort answers on the page. The main reason is that they sell those cars across many different states and countries and they can all have different laws regarding dashcam recordings, Some will require concent for recording audio in a vehicle others won't.Will a rear dash cam work with tinted windows? ›
You should be able to use another Nextbase camera in the rear. If you find the image is a little dark, go into the settings menu and change the Exposure, or EV setting. Turning this up increases the brightness to compensate for the tinted glass.