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The Best Dash Cam for You, Explained

Specs like resolution and rear view are important, but so is the right kind of windshield mount and connectivity to your phone. Here’s how to find the best dash cam for your needs.

When it comes to dash cams you’re probably in one of two camps camp a that’s weird why would you want to record everything like that or can’t be they’re so cool why don’t car makers build them in standard i recommend the latter you see dash cams have arrived let me show you why and examples of the features you make sure to consider first of all a quick refresher

What a dash cam is in case you really don’t know i bet you actually do because you’ve seen the output of dash cams they capture amazing things that perhaps nobody else would have videoed had a dash cam not been running on a nearby car they also captured tons of accident footage you may say okay that’s just like prurient interest except when you’re in the accident

And you’d like to be able to prove what really happened so it’s not their word against yours especially if it’s a view to the rear of the car and you get rear-ended there are also times when dash cams are handy when an interaction with some authority doesn’t go the way it should and you’d like to be able to show that and not just say that and dash cams can be

Really useful when nobody’s around when your car is not running when it’s parked most of them have a mode where they will wake up from sleep and start to record if your car is bumped or even if motion detection tells them someone’s casing your car that can be pretty handy stuff to have as long as they don’t steal the dash cam dash cams do all of this by recording

To an internal sd card and once they fill that up with these clips they then start to overwrite the oldest one first so you’ve always got a pretty large wealth of clips going back in time to pull from many of these cameras have a rear view cam some of them will look into the cabin the so-called uber view right and many of them also offer these add-on rear cameras

That wire on a long cable back to your back window or backlight and look out at the world from the rear of your car again handy if you get rear-ended a notoriously irritating and sometimes tricky thing to prove who did what i love small dash cams all other things being equal that’s more than an aesthetic concern you see some states regulate how big an object can

Be on your windshield or how much windshield it can cover or in what corner of it tiny cameras are in the spirit of those laws the downside of a tiny dash cam is what do you have to give up to get it this small for example on this one which by the way is you know a quality brand name model you still don’t get 4k resolution today a lot of folks want 4k because it

Allows them to zoom in when they look at a clip later and maybe read a license plate that you couldn’t read in 1080 resolution secondly there’s obviously no screen on this one if you want a screen on your dash cam you want a bigger dash cam so this one uses entirely a wi-fi connection to your phone now before i show you the next camera the next r beam gps let

Me show you how i’m going to mount it up here because you want to think about mounts if you have multiple cars that you’re going to use your camera in many of them use a permanent adhesive patch and that’s great they tend to stick like mad and never let go but this one’s interesting because it has one of those little sticky gummy suction cups on the back that

You often see with phone mounts for example and that makes it a whole lot easier to move between cars it’s not really using an adhesive per se and this one’s also interesting because as you can see i think right through there the gps sensor is part of the mount and it becomes active with the camera once you attach this to the windshield and then plug the whole

Apparatus into the camera which hangs here below let me show you so i’ll attach my mount like so and then i’m going to rotate it like any typical suction cup for gps or what have you and then i attach my little mini built-in cable here and then the whole apparatus gets put in like this and like that okay i think we’re in good shape now something along those lines

It may seem like i’m getting into the weeds here but i think the mount design is nearly as important as the camera design take a minute to scrutinize it when you’re shopping this does have a wi-fi connection to your phone and your phone’s usually with you in the car right so whenever these two are in proximity they are going to meet and connect and that’s going to

Create a de facto connection to the cloud so this is going to operate like a cloud connected camera constantly backing up clips to your cloud account which by the way is free from nexar as cams move more toward using your phone as their screen and in some cases their cloud connection check a camera’s specs before you buy it to make sure it’s compatible with your

Phone which is not a given this camera didn’t support my phone oh by the way if you’re looking for new trends in dash cams i guess i have to say ai is it this one uses ai so it claims to identify important clips and automatically put the save tag on them so they don’t ever get overwritten without you having to push any button or say anything foreign is interesting

Because it’s one of those cameras that doesn’t rely on your phone as its interface it has a ton of interface built in buttons all around the thing a nice size screen on the back lots of i o ports over here on one side so this is a great camera for those who don’t want to fiddle with another device to control this device it’s also big on multi-channel recording doing

Three views at once all recording at the same time the forward camera you see here there’s a built-in always connected cabin camera over on this end with four little infrared emitters to illuminate the cabin for the camera anyway and then you’ve also got packed with it this rear camera and a long cable that lets you stick this in your back window as we’ve seen on

Some other cameras and therefore have that rolling at the same time and while just about every dash cam these days has a g-force sensor that’ll make it wake up when the car is parked and start recording like if someone bumps it or tries to break into it this one also has a motion sensor at the same time looking for motion visually as opposed to just waiting for

Bumps or impacts either of those can wake it up to start recording so ideally it might catch the person who’s thinking about breaking into your car before the impact of them actually doing it this one represents a premium dash cam with nice materials and solid build quality that you’d actually welcome in your expensive car look here at the nose there’s this

Knurled ring that lets you turn that filter on the front as a polarizer to take out some of the glare that you typically find when you aim a camera through windshield glass nice touch it’s got a nice screen on the back as well 4k image stabilization which is another way to make sure that you get the resolution you need to see fine details 4k is part of that but

Having a stable image is also a key part of that because if something’s shaking and vibrating every frame that can make it hard to read even if it’s 4k now on this cam smart algorithms are used to process out fog that’s a neat trick because it’s actually capturing more than you can see in a sense that can be useful given the fact that fog often causes incidents

On the road that you would want to have a recording of and it also connects through your phone like so many do but using that connection once its g sensors detect a major accident it can automatically reach out to first responders and relay any information about maybe your blood type or any allergies to drugs you may have or medical conditions that are part of

Its sos report if you choose to put that into the app and have it share that information so there’s a lot going on in here beyond just capturing the view of the road so i hope you’ve got a little better understanding of dash cams and maybe now a little better comprehension of what makes a good one depending on what you’re interested in by the way if it all sounds

Like a lot of doom and gloom collection also know that today’s dash cams are so good they actually capture great scenic footage of really great drives you’ve taken that’s a whole other side benefit that you can use a lot of the time let’s face it most of us aren’t in accidents very often so i hope i can tell you this once you have a dash cam on your car it’s kind

Of like buying a pickup truck you’ll wonder how you ever lived without one

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The Best Dash Cam for You, Explained By CNET