Any Dash Cam is better than no Dash Cam.
However, a high quality Dash Cam is better than a low quality one for numerous reasons.
The main purpose for buying a Dash Cam is to reliably record quality video evidence while you are driving and/or parked. If a dispute or confusion arises about the cause of an incident, or should you need to produce the Dash Cam footage to police, insurance companies or road authorities, you want confidence knowing that the Dash Cam recorded and captured the important events. The last thing you want after an unfortunate incident is to be wrongly accused or blamed for the incident. Dash Cam footage doesn’t lay and can prove your innocence, provided your Dash Cam recorded at the time.
There are hundreds of Dash Cam brands and models currently being sold in Australia. Dash Cams prices range from $40 to $900. Each Dash Cam has its place and purpose in the market. A $40 Dash Cam might be all you want to spend or can afford, whereas a $700+ Dash Cam might be overkill for your requirements. It is very important to get the right balance of performance, reliability and price.
All Dash Cams will record footage on the road while driving. For example, all Dash Cams should be able to show the red car suddenly braking in front of you, or a vehicle cutting lanes and pushing you off the road. However, this is provided the Dash Cam is working correctly from the time you start your car and continue to work correctly over its lifetime. The Dash Cam also needs to capture all the important details so you have solid and undeniable evidence of the incident.
Not one Dash Cam manufacturer guarantees you will pick up every number plate in the footage. There are too many external factors that can affect the ability to pick up a number plate. However, a high quality Dash Cam with a high quality sensor, high quality lens and good engineering will give a much better chance at picking up a number plate. The better the chance at getting a number plate, the better the chance the hit and run or hon. driver can be tracked down by authorities.
All too often we are contacted by regretful and frustrated customers using cheap, low grade Dash Cams. Their cheap, low grade Dash Cams did not perform for them during an unfortunate incident. Even though the customer was not at fault, they could not prove their innocence to police or their insurance company because the Dash Cam did not record the truth. Most often customers in this situation call us looking to upgrade to a quality Dash Cam after they realize their Dash Cam did not record at a very important time, or it was giving them too much grief and operational errors during use. Understandably, all the customer wants is something set and forget, dependable and records clear footage all the time.
At Dash Cams Australia, we have only ever dealt with the most professional Dash Cam brands and sort out only the most reliable models. We stand by supplying and purchasing only high quality Dash Cams. Here’s why:
1. Proper engineering with in-house technical and production teams
All the Dash Cam manufacturers we work with have dedicated in-house manufacturing facilities and in-house technical development teams. They don’t outsource production or product development which enables them to oversee all stages of development, testing, production and quality control. Development, production and testing are tightly controlled by reputable Dash Cam brands resulting in higher quality design and builds.
Most low grade Dash Cams are simply generic, cheap models that are rebranded and sold under numerous brand names. This means the Dash Cam brand simply has their company logo stamped on a heavily mass produced, low end product. There is no control over the quality, development or production processes. You get what you are given.
We want to know how the models we sell are built, developed, produced and tested. All the manufacturers we deal with can provide us with any information we need to make sure we are selling a quality unit to the Australian public. Based on our own Dash Cam testing or customer feedback, we are able to directly relay any information back to the manufacturers to tweak their products or make firmware upgrades. You don’t have this communication or level of input with a low grade mass producer.
2. Reliability & Dependability
High quality Dash Cams has better reliability than low grade Dash Cams.
A reliable Dash Cam will sit on your windscreen and record seamlessly under all conditions. Whenever you need the footage, it has been recorded.
The quality of the internal components is one of the highest contributing factors determining reliability. Cheap Dash Cams use cheap components. Reliability comes down to the quality of the sensor, the processor, the circuit boards and the way everything is put together and tested on the production line. High quality internal components, intelligent product development and high quality production does cost more, however, reliability is relative.
Reliable Dash Cams take more time to develop and test, but the end result is always better. Cheap Dash Cams are not developed and tested as thoroughly. They also don’t carry strict quality targets or strict performance criteria.
What good is a cheap unit that plays up while driving and intermittently records?
We ensure the Dash Cams we supply are as dependable as possible and offer confidence while on the road.
It must be noted that the quality of the Micro SD card is also a contributing factor to reliability. You can have the best Dash Cam around, but a cheap Micro SD card will demean and degrade the Dash Cam.
3. Temperature Resistance
High quality Dash Cams has higher temperature tolerances. This comes hand in hand with reliability.
The higher the quality of the Dash Cam is the higher temp resistance. A high heat tolerance ensures that the Dash Cam can record inside a hot car cabin (particularly for parking mode recording). A higher heat tolerance can also extend the life of the camera even when it is not recording. If parked for 8 hours a day in direct sun, the constant heat has more wear and tear on cheap Dash Cams quickly reducing their lifespan.
Higher quality Dash Cams use super capacitors for increased longevity over traditional lithium-ion batteries. However, like anything there are cheap, low grade super capacitors and there a high quality, more expensive super capacitors. A $50 Dash Cam advertised as having a super capacitor does not mean it has a high temperature resistance or improved longevity.
Same can be said for lithium-ion batteries. A high quality lithium-ion battery will not swell and leak acid like a lithium-ion battery can in a cheap Dash Cam. High quality lithium-ion batteries can actually last longer than cheap super capacitors.
We ensure the Dash Cams we supply offer consistent performance over the longest period of time.
4. Better Features & Ease of Use
High quality Dash Cams have better features and are more intuitive than low grade Dash Cams.
In our experience, well designed Dash Cams have easy menus for setup and a better overall user experience. Low grade models can be confusing to use and operate.
You want your Dash Cam to have very customizable settings so you can tailor the settings to suit your needs. There is no one setting that fits all users. For example, in parking mode you might want to choose low motion detection sensitivity in a tree lined street (so the trees blowing don’t keep triggering the camera to record) but you want highest sensitivity in a car park. You might want maximum G-sensor sensitivity in parking mode, but low sensitivity while driving (so pot holes don’t trigger an event recording). Small, important features like these only come with well designed and well engineered products.
Other features where we see a major difference in quality is the Wi-Fi apps and software players. Reputable Dash Cam manufacturers produce much better Smartphone apps and computer software players. You get a much better overall user experience when using these higher quality add-ons.
Cheap Dash Cam producers don’t invest in the technical expertise and technical development to enable high levels of customization and Dash Cam user friendliness.
5. Video Quality
High quality Dash Cams produces higher quality footage. You want video quality to be as sharp and clear as possible. High grade Dash Cams give you the best opportunity at picking up small details like license plates. High recording resolution is not the determining factor for good video quality. We have seen cheap, low grade cameras record in 1440P 2K resolution however the video quality is very poor. High quality video involves high quality components, firmware and features.
High quality Dash Cams use a combination of software and hardware that contribute to better video, like:
1. Large lens apertures – larger lens apertures allow in more light to enhance video quality
2. High ISO values – the higher the ISO value, the more sensitive the Dash Cam is to picking up light
3. Bit Rate – higher bit rate = sharper, clearer, more detailed footage with less distortion
4. Image sensor and Processor (CPU) – cheap Dash Cams use cheap, no name sensors and processors
5. HDR/WDR Technology – high/wide dynamic range to optimize and balance bright and low light conditions
6. Most cheap Dash Cams use plastic lenses. This means that over time, the plastic lens warps and distorts with heat which produces low grade video quality. High quality Dash Cams should use glass lenses and are generally 6 to 7 layers think to ensure consistently good video quality over time.
Low grade Dash Cams simply doesn’t have these features or the proper software development.
6. Firmware Updates
Reputable Dash Cam producers regularly release firmware updates for customers. Firmware updates keep Dash Cams working at optimum performance. Dash Cam features and video quality can be tweaked in firmware updates. Customer feedback and ongoing in-house testing provides Dash Cam manufacturers opportunities to further improve their Dash Cams via firmware updates. If bugs are found in a Dash Cam feature, reputable producers can quickly rectify any issues via firmware releases. Low grade producers simply don’t have resources, time or knowledge to create good firmware updates so you could be stuck with a buggy Dash Cam.
7. Customer Support
Reputable Dash Cam producers know their Dash Cams. They are able to resolve issues faster and offer better customer service. If we need assistance with a customer enquiry and can’t assist on the spot, we can contact our reputable manufacturers directly for advice. Low grade brands generally don’t know anything about their Dash Cams because they don’t produce them. You have to wait for the actual mass producer to provide an answer (if they can provide one).