Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Generic Car DVR (Dual Cam) w/ Remote Review

Late last year, I purchased a car DVR made by Thinkware, a Korean company but has a local distributor here in Manila (Uncharted Corp). I have no complains about it and up to this day, I am currently happy with my investment. Well, it doesn't earn you back money literally but since it's more pricier than others, I just consider it as an investment and consider the footage I can possible collect as content for my blog (or as evidence).

A few weeks back, my brother and I purchased two more car DVRs. One for his car and one for my sisters car. It was priced at almost 1/4 of the price I paid for my FXD700. This one though is a generic, unbranded car DVR and I wanted to see if it does the job.

The Design
The design of the generic car DVR I bought is one of the neatest I have ever seen. I disliked the other generic car DVR designs because some look liked a webcam while others looks like a digital camera and the worst design for me is the one that looks like a small video camera!
Generic Car DVR Designs
...and this is the one that we got.

 Compact, simple and neat. It's not shaped weirdly and won't cause obstruction even when in use. Plastic built but doesn't feel flimsy and when attached to the windshield, you can place it behind your rear view mirror and forget about it. It is still visible though unlike the much compact FXD700 but this one is good enough. It also comes with a rear camera while the FXD700 can be bought separately.

The Features
It's just been a few weeks since we've used it and we immediately noticed slight differences that may or may not matter to others. For example, the footage output from this camera only provides date and time as information, whereas the FXD700 can give you the speed, location, shock sensor information and the footage all playing at the same time using the software provided.

An advantage I saw with this generic car DVR is that you could set the video duration before it is cut. In the FXD700, it is cut every minute and you need to use another software to put them together for continuous viewing. Here, you can set a specified time, for example, 5 minutes before the video is cut and start again counting up to 5 minutes on another file. Both are similar though in the DVR function whereas it will overwrite files that are not locked, just like how a CCTV DVR for home and office use works.

In the FXD700, there's a warning sound (two beeps) everytime the "video lock" feature is activated. It activates when the shock sensor detects a spike in movement, whether vertically (humps, potholes) or horizontally (sudden break, sudden acceleration) and saves it in another folder that will not be overwritten. In this generic camera, we have yet to find the option to set it to auto-lock videos that detects sudden shocks or movements because as of time being, you need to click a button in the car DVR to manually lock the video from being overwritten.

Similarly, you can disable and enable the audio recording manually and take still shots. In this part, the difference between the generic and the FXD700 is that in the latter one, you can take still shots without stopping the video recording while in the generic one, you need to stop the recording, take the still shot and click the start recording again.

Still shot from Generic Car DVR - Chevrolet Trailblazer counter-flowing on a one way street
Still shot from Thinkware FXD700
The two images are not entirely the same. The generic camera captured the still shot while stopped while the FXD700 captured the image while in motion. It did affect the focusing of the image. Will try to get an image while stopped as well. Regardless, the minor differences might be a big deal or a deal breaker for some so that's already some of the items you should consider when choosing a car DVR. Think if that feature is important for you. If you just want plain video recording, the generic one is the way to go because of the price factor.

Video Quality
Since the video quality is different, 780p (generic) vs 1080p (FXD700), the files are much much bigger when saved on the latter but of course, the quality is higher. During day time, FXD700 is slightly better in terms of quality. During low light conditions, the FXD700 is much better. Check out the sample footage below.

(When watching the video below, make sure to change the quality to the highest possible available.)

Night time recording
Thinkware FXD700

Generic Car DVR

Day time recording
Thinkware FXD700

Generic Car DVR

You be the judge and decide whether the difference is a huge factor for you.

Regardless of what you will purchase, these car DVRs are becoming more and more essential nowadays as unscrupulous street thieves whether "official" or not are on the loose. You'll never know when you might need them and depending on your budget, either of these can definitely help you gather the evidence that you need.

To check out my review of the Thinkware FXD700, go to:

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Carlos Miguel De Villa said...

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