Auto insurance is required of all drivers. But would it surprise you to know that 1 in 4 Florida drivers on the road are uninsured? So, if you’re ever in a two-car crash on NW 103rd Street, there’s a 25% chance you’re going to be footing the bill for your own car repairs or – this is the moment when you clutch your pearls, folks – being forced to jump through hoops by your insurance company.
Oh! The Horror! Your risk of an auto accident with an uninsured motorist is but one great reason to invest in a good dashcam for your car. For most people, a simple dashboard camera that records video would suffice. However, dashcam features do vary; some of those features will be superfluous to certain drivers but imperative to others, and vice-versa.
For instance, businesses with fleet vehicles may require recorded dashcam footage to be uploaded to the cloud automatically, while new Honda Accord owners may just want a dash cam to protect them in case of a crash or theft.
Which type of dashcam should you buy? Let’s go over the 7 most important dashcam features to look for when you go about choosing a product.
Dashcam Video Quality
One of the most important items to consider when buying a dashboard camera for your car is picture quality.
Just like the TV you have at home, dash cameras film by the pixel – 1080p means the video is recorded at a resolution of 1,080 pixels per image, and 2160p is effectively double that resolution (2,160 pixels), providing you with a much clearer image. (Then you have 4k dashcams, but those are pretty pricey.)
Sound alien to you? No problem. Just remember that the higher the pixel count, the better the video quality. But a 1080p dashcam is typically good enough for more drivers.
Frames per Second
FPS, or the rate of frames recorded per second, is another spec to consider. The more frames that are being recorded, the more vibrant and smooth the video. Older CCTV systems will have a very low frame rate, almost as if it’s taking grainy pictures. Newer cameras will have a higher FPS, which translates to beautiful film quality.
The majority of dash cams will record at 30 FPS – this is acceptable in most instances, as the human eye can only perceive anywhere from 10 to 48 frames per second.
More expensive dash cams will record at 60 FPS – this is best when you want to capture video of more than just car accidents. The downfall is that 60 FPS dashcams will need more storage space to store video, so it’s important to take that into consideration.
FOV (Field of View)
A dashcam’s FOV dictates how wide a camera can see. A narrow FOV usually means the camera will record what’s outside the windshield only, while a wide FOV allows the camera to record further out, usually to and past the side-view mirrors.
You do have to consider the negatives with each FOV, however. With a narrower field of view, cameras only record what’s in front of the car, far less than what you would usually see. With a wider field of view, you get the benefit of recording more area, but image quality can stretch or become distorted as the FOV widens.
There is no standard spec regarding FOV measurement, so the best way to preview a dashboard camera’s field of view is to check for screenshots or video footage, then compare those with other products’.
Dashcam recording quality is paramount, but you shouldn’t skip over the logistics of using your new car camera – that is, how it will be installed on your dashboard.
Traditionally, your dashcam will be mounted directly on your dashboard. Every product has its own proprietary mounting device, but most will utilize an adhesive that you must stick to the dashboard. If your own your car and don’t mind the potential long-term effects of this option – adhesives can discolor the dashboard, leave a sticky residue, or even physical damage or tear materials – then go for it.
What if you’re leasing, say, a new Honda CR-V Hybrid? You probably don’t want to incur the wrath of your Honda dealer or Honda Financial Services at lease-end by damaging the dash. Instead of a traditional dashboard cam, get a car camera that mounts to the windshield. These products will utilize strong suction cups that can be easily removed. Windshield dash cams also provide you with more flexibility to readjust and reposition as needed.
Do a lot of night driving? You should absolutely check out dashcams with night vision functionality.
Normal dashboard cameras won’t record video in low-light settings, ostensibly making them dashboard ornaments when the sun goes down. And what do you know? Car crashes occur more frequently in the evening and at night. That risk is not one to take if you’re a delivery or semi driver running an overnight shipment.
If you choose a night vision dashcam, don’t quibble over the small details. If the video quality enables you to make out details when it’s pitch-black, it should be good enough.
Recording videos take up a lot of space. If you call your Honda Pilot your second home, you’ll want to buy a dashcam with a large built-in storage system or buy several large MicroSD cards or external hard drives.
Dashcam storage usually begins at 4GB – enough for 10-ish hours of normal, everyday driving. Recordings can be deleted as needed, freeing up more space. But these dash cams will usually also be fashioned with MicroSD card slots, enabling you to increase the storage capacity to 512GB (or greater).
What’s best for you? That depends on your proclivity to drive. In any event, it’s best to have at least 32GB of storage, just in case; but don’t quiver at the thought of upgrading to 128GB. Just be sure to check your dash cam’s manual to ensure you’re purchasing the right type of SD card.
Wi-Fi vs. Bluetooth
It’s a smart world out there. Keep up by investing in an appropriately smart dashcam with internet connectivity.
In most circumstances, Bluetooth dashboard cams are adequate. Via your smartphone or device, you can connect to the camera and manage storage, view and delete footage, adjust recording settings, and more. This is a godsend, as dashcams are notorious for having poorly designed user interfaces.
Vehicle dashboard cams can also come with built-in Wi-Fi/wireless connectivity. This feature is crucial if you need your recorded videos to be uploaded and stored directly to the cloud. This option may reduce or altogether eliminate your need for SD cards or external storage devices, but you’ll want to ensure your vehicle has Wi-Fi.
In that case, you may want to invest in a Honda Accord Touring, which comes standard with Wi-Fi courtesy of AT&T. Your dash cam can connect to it, and you’ll also have the ability to enjoy wireless video streaming from the driver’s seat.
Parking Mode/Motion Detection
Your dash cam will record video when you’re driving, but what happens when that new Accord of yours is parked? A dashboard camera with motion detection is crucial if you’re concerned about thieves or hit-and-runs.
Using special sensors to monitor impacts and motion, these dashboard cams will only trigger a recording if the system deems it necessary. For instance, if someone tries to break open your Accord’s window, the camera will automatically begin recording up to the moment it either runs out of battery or the motion is no longer detected. The footage is kept on the device, though we recommend one that will upload the recording to the cloud, allowing you – and your insurance company, the police, and judge – to see what in the world transpired.
This dashcam feature is usually available on “premium” models, but it’s one that Miami drivers shouldn’t skimp on.
While not necessarily important for your everyday driver, dashcams with GPS are great for SMB and fleets. They log the vehicle’s speed and location while recording, and business owners or fleet managers can track and monitor the vehicle from essentially anywhere on God’s green earth.
In some instances, GPS dash cams can also track vehicles that are stolen. You’re paying more for peace of mind, but it’s something to contemplate.
In the grand scheme of things, having a dashcam for your car is one small price (under $300, usually) to pay for peace of mind. You never know when someone – or something – will ruin that gorgeous new Honda Accord.
Although we don’t sell dash cams, our South Florida Honda Dealers do offer a bit of additional peace of mind in the form of new and used Hondas for sale in Miami. Take the new Accord for instance (again). It comes standard with Honda Sensing, which includes driver-assist and safety features, such as Lane Keeping Assist and Adaptive Cruise Control with Low-Speed Follow, that keep you safer on the road. And that’s something dashcams can’t do: Prevent an accident.