Dashboard cameras are one of the best innovations for frequent drivers. They give you the capacity to record your trip footage, especially in cases where an accident has occurred. The roads are full of different levels of drivers, meaning accidents can any form. So rather than resorting to the blame game with other drivers over what happened, you can always pull up the video footage as evidence of the event. These footages are admissible as evidence where additional proof of the event is required to undoubtedly establish who was in the wrong. For new drivers, it serves as a handy enhancement to boost your driving confidence as you adjust to being at the wheel. This is especially true when it comes to manoeuvring your vehicle in and out of tight parking spaces, like at public parking spots.
Qualities of a Great Dashboard Camera
Before you start shopping for a dashboard camera for your vehicle, you need to know what is good and what’s not worth the hassle of buying. Manufacturers come up with a variety of products to help suit the needs of various individuals, depending on the price point that’s ideal for them. Below are the major factors to think about while browsing for a dashboard camera, regardless of your budget:
1. Field of View and Type of Lens
The option you choose for your vehicle should allow for a wide field of view. This will allow you a better look at those in close proximity to you, wherever you are. Most companies offer this capability, so do not settle for less just because you’re looking into getting cheaper models.
2. Footage Quality
The purpose of the dashboard cam is to take clear footage, which may later be utilized for reference whenever the need arises. To guarantee you get high-quality footage, the frame rate of your chosen option must be high. However, keep in mind that with clearer footage qualities, you will have larger files. Therefore, depending on what your preferred quality is, ensure you have adequate space to accommodate recordings.
3. Dynamic Range
This is a component that plays a significant role in someone choosing a dashboard camera. It balances out the effect that extremely bright or extremely dim lighting conditions have on the footage produced while recording. Getting a camera that boasts a higher Dynamic Range than others in your price bracket means you will always get clear footage regardless of the lighting situation.
Best Budget Dash Camera worth under $50 In 2020
1. Nexar Smart Dash Cam
It’s a compactly designed model that can be installed rather quickly. Its minimal weight means that it stays securely in place even when the vehicle is being driven on bumpy terrain.
This camera is used in conjunction with a smartphone app. This allows users to record and save all footage to the cloud, seamlessly.
You are able to access cloud functionalities through the camera’s compatible Nexar app. In case of accidents, users get 1-click reports that include the footage, image, and G-force information.
The camera also has automated functions such as recording whenever the vehicle is started, and ending the recording once the vehicle stops. In case you’ve ever had issues with speeding, then this camera can also help with that. You can generate a traffic report stating the speed at which you were driving.
Smartphone users will love the compatibility of this affordable dashboard camera with its app. The cloud storage capacity is also a plus as far as storing and retrieving data is concerned.
2. 70mai Smart Dash Cam
If you’re in the market for a dashboard camera that doesn’t draw too much attention, this could be it. It’s compact and comes with a USB port, memory card slot, an internal battery, and a speaker. Users also have a microphone that can be used for giving voice commands while driving.
One of the best attributes of this camera is its WiFi capability. This allows users to view the footage in real-time on their smartphones. Alternatively, it makes for faster data transfers, through smartphone synchronizations, in case of accidents. This camera starts recording footage immediately accidents occur. These get stored in the emergency-only segment of its internal storage. The footage is recorded using a 130-degree lens and can be taken with or without sound. The WiFi function can also be turned on or off as needed. All video footage is 1080 p, which makes viewing on bigger screens no trouble at all. It also has an overwrite ability to enable continuous recording of footage even when the storage is full.
Verdict: For a modern-day cheap dashboard camera, this model fits the bill.
3. Apeman Dash Cam
This camera is a fantastic budget option for users who prefer compact designs, as it resembling a small camera. It has a digital layout, allowing you the option of choosing where exactly you would like the recorded area of focus to be. This is due to the inclusion of a 170-degree lens, which is a nice addition for everyday drivers. With this camera, users also get a motion sensor which proves handy when your car is parked. All your footage gets stored in the camera’s 32 GB memory card, and users can access it through a data transfer.
There’s a lot of functionality that comes with this camera. Shooting videos in various light conditions isn’t hampered due to the inclusion of Wide Dynamic Range and High Dynamic Range tech, which guarantees clear footage at all times. The camera comes with a USB port enabling you to transfer data directly to your laptop. Considering the recorded footage is 1080 p, viewing on larger screens doesn’t turn into a hectic endeavor.
There are also stabilizing enhancements that enable the camera to start recording in case the vehicle experiences shocks which result from collisions. Users don’t need to worry about constantly clearing out the camera’s memory. The camera is programmed to overwrite old footage whenever the storage becomes full. That means you will always have the latest footage from your vehicle. To set it up, drivers use a suction mount.
Verdict: Combining the High Dynamic Range, Wide Dynamic Range, overwriting capability, and high-quality footage, this camera serves drivers well.
4. YonRui Dash Cam
With a zinc alloy casing, you’re unlikely to come across another cheap option with such a sturdy build. Besides its durability, the case also gives it a very polished finish for those who prefer aesthetically pleasing options. It comes with a suction cup for quick installation, as well as a car charger, which is included in the package. Its in-built comes in handy whenever the camera isn’t connected to a power source for whatever reason. It’s also got auto-recording whenever the vehicle is switched on.
This camera has 170-degree lenses, which, when coupled with its 1080 p images, create high-quality footage. These can even be used as evidence during the compilation of accident reports. It also comes with a gravity sensor that triggers auto recordings after a collision involving the vehicle has occurred. However, while parked, the camera’s motion sensors pick up movement around the vehicle and start recording. Regardless of the lighting conditions, the WDR ensures you get high-quality footage.
This purchase comes with a full year warranty thrown in.
Verdict: Its sturdy build gives budget users longevity that’s only experienced with more high-priced alternatives.
5. Peztio Dual
Dual capability fans will certainly fall for this dual camera dashboard option. The casing is sturdy, ensuring its longevity. The cameras can be positioned at the front and back of the vehicle with their 170-degree lenses that offer wide views. Such a setup eliminates blind spots by giving drivers different views of their surroundings. They also provide drivers with a simple way to park or drive out of tight spots.
There’s a 3-inch display that comes with the camera, making it easy to view recorded footage that is FHD quality due to its various sensors. This affordable dashboard option also has motion sensors that ensure footage starts recording the minute movement is detected around the vehicle. It also comes with a gravity sensor that initiates a recording whenever the car moves. This is ideal, especially during collisions. Users can expect Wide Dynamic Range footage, which guarantees you always have clear footage no matter the lighting. The camera also continuously records, thanks to its overwrite capability. Therefore, you don’t need to worry about running out of space.
Verdict: For drivers who require a full view of their vehicle, this dual camera dashboard option does a fantastic job of providing just that.
Best Budget Dash Cameras worth Under $100 In 2020
In case you’d like even better features without going too much over your budget, here are some options worth checking out.
6. Uber Dual Lens
Get multiple connectivity options with this pocket-friendly dashboard camera. These include an HD out, USB, and a TV out connection option. It comes with two cameras. A front-facing camera for viewing traffic and a rear-facing camera for recordings of the vehicle’s interior. The name already alludes to the fact that this option is most suitable for cab drivers. That’s because having a camera monitoring your passengers helps as a deterrent to bad behaviors. Still, in line with the safety of cab drivers, the camera has a GPS recording of your travel locations.
It comes with Sony’s image sensor as well as an F 1.8 front lens to enhance images taken in minimal light conditions. There’s also a time-lapse option in addition to gravity and motion sensors. The sensors help with detecting collisions and movement around the vehicle, triggering automated recordings. Its body is made of strong materials, allowing it to still function flawlessly in extremely hot or cold temperatures.
Verdict: It’s a durable dashboard option for those who not only need views of outside the vehicle, but also the inside.
This dashboard camera was created to have multiple functionalities, while still remaining fairly hidden. It has an LCD screen for easier control of functions like playback of real-time footage. You also get a 170-degree lens with an image sensor that guarantees you get clear footage over a wide field of view. You can also get visible images in low light situations, such as when driving in the evening.
Whether you’re recording during the day or at night, the 1080 p clarity gives you superb footage. It doesn’t come with too many controls or compatible apps, which makes using it a breeze. In case of accidents, the vehicle’s motion will trigger a recording to start without your input. It can also work in extreme temperatures, like during winter, without diminishing the quality of all its functionalities. To get your footage, there’s a micro USB slot for instant data retrieval.
Verdict: This is a fitting option for those looking for cheap dashboard cameras that aren’t conspicuous. It also allows you to transfer data directly to your laptop via a Micro USB port.
If you need 4K footage on a budget, this option will work well for you. It’s small in size but comes with a variety of features all packed into it. Drivers will get an LCD screen with control buttons arranged below it. The camera comes with F 1.8 lenses for improved footage quality even when there’s minimal light within the camera’s field of view. In case you need to change the view you’re recording, this camera can be turned 360 degrees.
With images taken at 24 frames per second, you can expect clear footage throughout their travels. You can also achieve full HD footage shot at 40 fps or even 60 fps, with a slow-motion option available in case you happen to need it. This option supports WiFi connectivity, making data transfer a hassle-free experience. You’ve also got a geo-location and gravity sensor which prove handy, especially after a collision occurs. And in case time-lapse videos tickle your fancy, this low-budget camera can also record them. Through its GPS function, you can record the location where an incident happens. A worthwhile option when it comes to insurance cases.
Verdict: If the image quality is your main concern, then worry no more with this affordable option that can record 4K footage.
9. Byz Car
This dashboard camera was designed for those who do not mind the size, as it’s rather bulky. To get an idea of its size, pedestrians, as well as those in the vehicle ahead of you, can clearly see it. That aside, it records reliable footage during your travels. Installation is easily achieved through the attached suction cup. In case you’d like to switch its position, there’s a removal tool included in the purchase. Also included in the package are the camera’s car charger and micro USB cable for data transfer.
You will receive 1080 p footage at 30 frames per second gives you average image quality. However, this camera supports WiFi connectivity, giving you more than one way to retrieve your recordings. There’s also a memory card slot, though a memory card isn’t included in the purchased package. With Wide Dynamic Range capabilities, you get clear footage regardless of lighting conditions. There’s also a gravity sensor that triggers emergency auto recordings after a collision. You also get an in-built battery that can be used to store data in cases where the power to the camera is disrupted.
Verdict: With the capabilities of a Sony image sensor integrated into its features, you can expect clarity with all your recordings. Though it looks big, it all weighs less than 100 grams, which is quite good considering it has a sizeable LCD screen.
10. Rexing V1
Though the design doesn’t give much to write home about, it’s compact enough to not draw attention. Its 170-degree lens is at the front, giving drivers a wide view to record. Its controls are located on the side, facing the driver for easy access. There’s also a 2.4-inch display above these controls to give the driver a real-time view of what’s being recorded.
Sony’s Exmore image sensor is included to ensure users get clear and smooth video playback of their recorded footage. There’s also a parking and gravity sensor. It automatically starts recording when movement outside the care is noticed, or when the car suffers a collision. To ensure you have all the footage you need, it supports SD storage capacities of up to 256 GB. This is in addition to its overwrite functionality, which records over older footage whenever space is depleted.
Verdict: The inclusion of Sony’s revolutionary image sensor ensures all footage is exceptionally clear.
Frequently Asked Questions on Budget Dash Cameras
Are low-budget dashboard cameras worth looking into?
Yes, they are. These days you can find cheap options with various functionalities like HD videos and multiple sensors for you to take advantage of.
Do I require a professional to install my dashboard camera?
No, you don’t. The majority of dashboard cameras are easy to install as they come with a suction mount. That way, even if you need to switch its position, you can easily remove and reinstall it where it suits you best.
Does using a camera use up my battery faster?
The camera only uses your battery when it’s active. Therefore, if parked, it will only activate in case someone collides with it, or if there’s motion nearby.
How can I ensure my footage is always saved?
Some dashboard cameras come with safety features to ensure you don’t lose your data, such as an in-built battery to provide auxiliary power in case of a power interruption. Also, WiFi compatible options allow you to save files whenever you need to on the cloud.
Can having a dashboard camera be considered illegal?
Different areas around the globe function under different laws. Before purchasing your dashboard camera, ensure they’re considered legal where you’re planning to be conducting your driving activities.
Essential Factors in when Shopping for Best Budget Dash Cameras
There’s no need to settle for a low-quality camera simply because you’re sticking to a budget. Cheap Dashboard cameras don’t have to have limited functionalities in this day and age.
It’s always advisable you get a product warranty for your budget dashboard camera purchase. When it comes to cheaper options, you should be extremely keen to get a 1-2 year warranty, with even the option of a moneyback option after purchase, so you don’t feel like you made a wasted purchase.
Type of Connectivity
Once your footage is recorded, you need to be able to access it. That’s where the connectivity options come into play. Different budget options these days come with multiple options so you can transfer your data in a manner that suits you. Some of the best affordable dashboard cameras will give you wired options like a USB port in addition to wireless access to your footage via WiFi. Other options include a TV-out, micro USB port, or a removable memory card.
Quality of The Lenses
Once you purchase your affordable dashboard camera, it’s a wrap. You won’t be able to change the lens if you’re not happy with the quality of the footage it takes. Keep in mind that the smaller the aperture, the better the images as there’s enough light captured in the sensor through the lens. Therefore, look for options with an F 1.8 aperture in advance of making your purchase. This is the standard of great footage in whichever lighting conditions you’re driving.
Whether It Has A Display or Not
Do you want something inconspicuous, or you would like to see what your camera is recording at all times? For the former reason, a dashboard camera without a display is better as it will be small in size. However, for the latter option, a camera with an LCD screen is the variation you should be on the lookout for.
Having a dashboard camera with sensors that automate its functions is a plus you should look out for. These include sensors that sense collisions, or whenever movement around the car is evident. It immediately starts a recording, making them a great additional safety feature for your vehicle as your input isn’t necessary.
Not all dashboard cameras will remain functional in extreme atmospheric conditions. For this reason, you need to check whether the camera you’re looking into will still give you service during winter seasons, as cars get exposed to really cold temperatures during this period of the year.
The dynamic range of a dashboard camera determines how footage is captured in hard light environments. The ability to adjust instantly and take clear footage is a definite plus when it comes to choosing your ideal budget camera. For instance, a good camera is one where, even in a dimly lit tunnel, you will still get to see the footage in all its clarity.
The image sensors built into your dashboard camera determine the quality of the recorded footage in different light exposures. A recommended camera worth considering is one that has a Sony image sensor. This is one company that’s taken it upon itself to create sensors that dashboard camera manufacturers can then include in their final products.
As with all new purchases, start by asking yourself which capabilities matter most to you and why. Answers to these will help you narrow down your selection to only the best of the best within your price range. Get something that suits your needs, not something that simply works.