Decide on a design
Now you can buy video recorders of various designs. Each has advantages and disadvantages.
The camera, control unit and screen are in a single housing. Such a model is good due to its relative simplicity and the fact that only one power wire goes to the registrar. The disadvantages include dimensions, especially if the screen is built-in, not folding.
The camera and the main unit, and less often the screen, are separate parts. The compact camera does not attract attention, and the control unit does not catch the eye and does not distract. But there are also disadvantages: an abundance of wires and a higher price.
The entire filling of the registrar is hidden in the rear-view mirror, which is attached to the regular one. The camera is behind, and the screen is directly under the glass and is not visible when turned off. As a counterweight to compactness and convenience, a rather high price and the inability to use outside the car are here.
DVRs combined with a navigator and a radar detector. There are even models that can be used as action cameras outside the car. The advantages of all such devices are versatility, but you will have to pay a round sum for it.
Which DVR to buy
The resolution of the matrix is the main parameter on which the quality of shooting directly depends, and hence the chances of proving your case in emergency situations. There are three most popular standards:
- Full HD. Devices with Full HD support shoot at a resolution of 1,920 × 1,080 pixels and boast a fairly clear picture of the traffic situation. As a result, all important objects, markings and license plates will be visible.
- Quad HD. These DVRs shoot at a resolution of 2560 × 1440 pixels. It gives higher detail and allows you to scale a fragment of the frame.
- 4K. These devices record video at a resolution of 3840 × 2160 pixels. In this quality, with the best detail, it will be possible to consider all small elements, including inscriptions and signs.
Full HD and Quad HD registrars are now considered optimal. The use of more modern 4K is still not universal due to cost, large file sizes and high CPU usage.
But if you want to get the most out of the DVR, still take a closer look at models with 4K resolution. These devices will require a faster and more voluminous memory card, but they will please with an almost cinematic picture quality.
Be careful when evaluating this parameter. There are now a lot of low-cost DVRs with overpriced performance, which manufacturers achieve by interpolating (or, more simply, stretching) a lower resolution to a higher one. With such devices, you will simply get a low-quality, high-resolution blurry picture, but there will be no detail.
Which DVR to buy
Assess the viewing angle
A very important parameter on which the result of the DVR operation will depend. The larger the viewing angle, the more roadway and curb gets into the frame. Must be at least 120° horizontally or 145° diagonally. Pay special attention to this, since some manufacturers indicate exactly the diagonal angle, which is obviously larger.
In addition, sometimes manufacturers give information about the maximum viewing angle that is achievable when working at lower resolutions. For example, when recording in Quad HD, 100-120° is captured, but if you select Full HD, the value increases to the declared 145°.
Too large an angle of view (from 170° horizontally) will round the edges of the frame, causing a fisheye effect. This option is useful when driving around the city, because at low speeds it allows you to capture the shoulder and neighboring lanes well. However, when driving fast on the highway, devices with this viewing angle will do more harm.
Which DVR to buy
Find out about the type and mechanism of fastening
The most common mounting options are a vacuum suction cup and 3M double-sided tape. With some DVRs, both elements are included at once. Then it is convenient to test the device with a suction cup and find the optimal position, and then secure it permanently with adhesive tape.
- vacuum suction cup good in that it allows you to easily change the position of the DVR and quickly shoot it. However, it increases the dimensions of the device.
- On double sided tape the recorder is installed once, and the device can be removed only if the design of the hinge allows. At the same time, this option is more compact, provides for installation behind the rear-view mirror, does not interfere with the view, and also attracts less attention from car thieves and does not fall off in winter.
Pay attention to whether the DVR has a rotary mechanism. This will allow you to quickly point the camera at the driver’s window to record the actions of the traffic police officer or in the other direction if there is an intruder there. The fewer hinges and the more compact they are, the less shaking during movement and, as a result, shaking of the picture.
Which DVR to buy
Check the power supply
All DVRs work from the on-board network. The power adapter is connected to the cigarette lighter or an external socket. Then the cable is laid to the installation site of the device along the perimeter of the windshield, under the dashboard or in another way.
Most DVRs are equipped with their own battery (built-in or removable) that will power the gadget if the car stalls, which sometimes happens, especially in emergency situations. The battery capacity is enough for several minutes of work just for such failures. But some models can function as full-fledged cameras outside the car, allowing you to film the proceedings with the participants in the accident or a conversation with the traffic police in their car.
Another important point is the power connector. In some models, it is built directly into the mount, in others it is connected separately. The first option is much more convenient, eliminates the fuss with wires, and also eliminates the breakdown of the cable and the connector itself.
Consider additional features
Of course, DVRs have a lot of different parameters and options. Oddly enough, their abundance is far from always good.
- Impact sensor. There are already almost everywhere and protects against cyclic overwriting of videos taken during a collision, emergency acceleration or braking, as well as a car overturn.
- WDR (Wide Dynamic Range). A function that stabilizes the brightness in different parts of the frame. Improves picture quality by removing the glare from the headlights of oncoming cars at night and the bright sun during the day.
- GPS module. It fixes the route and coordinates, and also notifies you about speeding or approaching traffic police cameras.
- Sound signals. They work when crossing the marking line and just by timer. Will not let you fall asleep at the wheel on a long road.
- Image stabilization. Reduces jerking and shaking of the picture when recording.
- Motion Detector. Allows you to automatically record video when moving in the frame. It will help to find the culprit of damage in the parking lot.
- HDMI. There is no point in watching the video from the recorder on the TV. A memory card is attached to the protocol, and it also acts as evidence in court.
- Touch screen. Terribly inconvenient to use and loses to the usual physical buttons.
- Photo shooting. It is unlikely that you will photograph the scene of an accident. And if you need it, there is a smartphone for this, which is always there.
- LED lights. In theory, it should improve the quality of the picture when shooting at night, but in reality it does not cope with this task at all.
This article was first published in July 2017. In August 2022, we updated the text.
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