Following on from an article we published on Dashcam’s (find it here), I wanted to do a follow-up for you guys. I’ll preface by saying that this is not a paid article, the dashcam has been paid for as it was for the earlier review.
When Kalen suggested I look into a model with a rear camera, I was interested in the concept, especially considering both he and I have young kids. Read on and I’ll cover the Camera we tested, the setup involved, some learnings along the way, and then my take on a Dash Cam having now driven 300km with it mounted on the front and read windscreens.
As mentioned earlier, the Uniden IGO 50R appealed from the outset because it had a rear camera. We had grandious ideas that we could use the rear camera to ensure no-one was behind the car before reversing, a critical safety feature neither of our vehicles had.
Opening the box, we were presented with a range of cords and cables.
It was apparent straight away that the rear camera was not wireless as we had expected. Funny what happens when you expect and don’t read. As Kalen mentioned in his article, the other slightly disappointing thing was that there was no micro SD card in the box, and we had to go and purchase one. If you do buy a dashcam, make sure you note the maximum storage capacity or you will find the card may not work. The IGO 50r has a pretty chunky 32GB maximum card capacity, so I ran down to the local Officeworks and one for about $15.00.
The next step was looking to install it in the car (and yes, for this review, I installed the cam in my daily drive, a Hyundai I30). Rather than making a mistake on the install, I decided it would be worth checking out the manual first (yes, not all blokes are the same!).
I found some interesting information in there, including the recording times. With a 32GB card, the Dashcam will record about 220 minutes of activity before it cycles to record over the top of the oldest recording. It made me wonder about how you prevent a recording of an accident or other emergency type event being overwritten.
The good news here is that the cam features an ‘emergency’ recording mode thanks to the built in gyroscope. In short, when the camera detects a sudden change in momentum which could be caused by an impact, it activates emergency record mode which puts a lock on the file so it doesn’t get deleted. The default setting is quite sensitive – I knocked the car lightly causing it to shift on the suspension while parked, and the emergency mode came on. The sensitivity is adjustable which is a good thing in my opinion.
So having skipped through the manual, it was now time to set the thing up in the car. After plugging in the power, I connected the GPS antenna to the camera, and turned the ignition on. The cable seemed a lot longer than I would need, although the length soon came in very handy.
Once I turned the unit on and held it up to the windscreen, I got a better understanding of the view the camera would provide, and it struck me that I should install the rear camera first. The only way to see what the rear camera was recording was using the dashcam itself, and this is where the long power cable came into its own, allowing me to move the camera to the back of the car and hold it while I adjusted the rear camera into place.
With that locked into place, I then set about securing the main camera in front. Once I was happy with that, I had a heap of cables to hide. Ideally you would pull the roof lining down and run them through there; but given this was for the purposes of a review, I simply ran the cables along the edge of the roof, tucking them into the rubber seals near the door.
Now that the unit was installed, I played with the settings. The IGO 50R has the ability to record 2 channels at once, and it also displays both on the rear screen of the dashcam, with the rear camera shown as a picture in picture style view.
The downside of this was that the rear camera isn’t really useful as a reversing camera. Having a very small portion of the small dashcam screen means you can only really pickup big items moving around, and the field of view isn’t big enough that you can actually see the bumper or shorter items.
In terms of monitoring and recording what happens behind the vehicle, the field of view is wide enough that you’d capture any adult or vehicle knocking into your car despite the resolution (VGA) being comparatively lower than the amazing forward viewing camera. On that, the forward facing camera seemed to work very well in low-light situations also
When you turn on the car, the dashcam starts recording and it also has a microphone that will pickup conversations inside the car, this can be disabled though. On the display comes the date and time, GPS location, and the speed the vehicle is travelling at and you can choose whether or not to have these recorded onto the video outputs.
There is the option of the Dashcam showing the speed in a large font on the screen rather than the video, and while this didn’t initially appeal to me, I think that ongoing it makes a lot of sense.
The thing that appealed to me most having driven with a Dashcam is the speed determined by GPS. It highlighted how conservative OEM speedos are. I found that the GPS speed reading was 4-5km lower than my speedo.
Below are some video and stills capturing the sort of quality you can expect from the unit.
Original Dashcam shot (from Kalen’s Review) –
The secondary rear camera would certainly be useful if you get into an accident in a carpark. Such accidents usually result in a liability dispute and each party paying their own damages; being able to verify that you were standing still while someone else reverse into you would be a great way to prevent having to pay an excess (along with getting the other party’s details – per our recent article )We were super hopeful that we could use it as a reverse camera; and while it does technically do the job – wed be looking for a much wider angle camera a a screen at least the size of the main dashcams to rely on it safely. If Uniden had the option of a one button swap to the rear camera it could almost be perfect. Our hunt for an aftermarket rear view camera will continue – if you have an recommendations please share it with us.
As mentioned, understanding your true speed was a highlight and had practical implications for me. I also like being able to record the speed I am travelling at. I’m not into speeding these days and I felt certain that recording that information would be useful if pulled over by the police, or involved in an accident.
Dashcams are not just for recording obscure events on European roads for sharing on Youtube – as amusing as they can be. Hope this helped