Three Things to Know Before You Buy a Dash Cam

Considering purchasing a dash cam for your car or truck? Here are a couple of things to consider before you make your decision.

The options for dash cameras can be staggering. Between the various fields of view, resolutions, smart features, wireless capabilities and more, you might feel a bit overwhelmed. Consider these three things to dial in on the right dash cam for you.

New User-Friendly

It only takes two minutes to install and automatically starts recording when you turn on the engine. APEMAN

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Video evidence isn’t going to do you much good if it’s all pixilated and blurry, right? That’s why video quality is one of the most important factors, and there’s a very wide range. There are two main things to look at here: resolution and frame rate. For resolution, keeping it at 1080p (full HD) should be a minimum. Cameras that are 720p and lower just won’t have the detail. Some cameras even go as high as 4K resolution. Frame rate is the number of still images it takes per second, and here I would say look for cameras that do 30fps (frames per second). Slower than that and you’re liable to get motion-blur. You also want to make sure it has a nice wide field of view. 170-degrees is excellent.

Premium Picture Quality

You can use the app to download captured videos to your phone. ROVE

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Dash cameras record on a loop, continuously deleting old footage to make for the new stuff. The idea is that you only need to save the footage when an incident happens, right? A good dash camera will have a sensor that can detect crashes and automatically lock the video in storage, so you don’t have to think about it in the wake of an accident. Some cameras have built-in GPS, so it can overlay location data as well as your speed of travel. Some have Wi-Fi, too, enabling you to quickly transfer an important video to your phone so you can share it.

No Blind Zone

When the SD card is full, it automatically overrides old videos with new ones. APEMAN

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While virtually all dash cams record what happens in front of your car, some have the option of working with a second camera. This gives you the option to add a backup camera to your car, even if it wasn’t designed to support one. That will be an even bigger relief for people towing trailers or boats. Some cameras also have a rear-facing camera on the unit, which records not only what happens in front of the vehicle, but also in the cab, a feature parents of new drivers may want.