Written by AMT Team
26 September, 2019
According to the RAC, nearly three million motorists are recording their journeys with in-car cameras in the UK – and it’s easy to see why. Whether you’re hoping to provide evidence for an insurance claim, lower your insurance premiums or avoid being penalised for an accident that wasn’t your fault, there’s countless benefits to getting a dash cam. Even the most careful of drivers have run-ins with others who aren’t paying attention.
In fact, the most common cause of car accidents in 2017 was driver error, with 108,479 crashes occurring due to things like drivers failing to look properly, poor maneuvering and sudden braking. With that in mind, installing a dash cam can give you peace of mind when you’re out and about.
But with so much choice on the market it can be difficult deciding which dash cam is best for you – especially with top-tier cameras doing so much more than just recording video. Whether you’re looking for a cheap and cheerful camera to get the job done or a top-end high-definition dash cam that records driving data, our guide breaks down the best dash cams in 2019 to make your choice easier.
In general, the best dash cams on the market have similar technology, high-resolution capabilities and will mount on a car’s front windscreen. Wherever you decide to mount your camera, it’s important that it doesn’t block your view of the road. Some cameras will be solely rear-facing, while others will have a front-facing camera and some will benefit from both. Each will require a different level of installation depending on the cable set-up and number of advanced features like Wi-Fi, voice recognition and night vision.
As a guide, some of the features you should look for in a dash cam are:
Dash cams vary in price, with low-resolution standard models starting at around £30 and increasing up to GPS-enabled devices at £200 or more. If you want advanced features like higher-quality video, a dual-camera setup or Wi-Fi, you’ll need to be willing to pay a little more. Most dash cams will need a microSD to store footage – most come with one but it may have limited storage. You may also want to look into cable management and built-in batteries to avoid trailing wires obstructing your view while driving.
The Nextbase 512GW has a max video recording resolution of 1440p at 30 frames per second, with a 140-degree field of view and a 3-inch display. Additional features include GPS, an accelerometer and mini-HDMI output. There are touch controls to the left and right of the screen and a quick-release mount. The dash cam sits in the middle of the Nextbase range yet still benefits from Wi-Fi which connects it to an innovative smartphone app. It’s also endorsed by the AA due to its ability to stamp a driver’s number plate, time and speed on the video frame. Buy the Nextbase 512GW here.
Price range: £100 – £135
The Yi Compact Dash Cam is an excellent choice for those wanting an affordable camera that’s less than £50. The Yi provides 1080p recordings at 30 frames per second and features a G-Sensor, which triggers an emergency recording if you get into an accident. There’s also a free Yi app which lets you look back through all your looped recordings or emergency footage. The 2.7-inch screen provides a suitable real-time preview without intruding too much on the windscreen and records everything you need for an insurance claim – even if it does lack some of the advanced features available from pricier models. Grab yourself the Yi Compact Dash Cam here.
Price range: £35 – £50
Garmin is known for its advanced GPS proficiency and the Dash Cam 55 is no exception. A popular choice with drivers, the Garmin 55 has 1440p recording, voice controls, GPS data, phone streaming and even lane departure warnings. Its small size means it has a handily low profile on the windscreen that’s similar to a GoPro, while the time-lapse recording means very little gets missed. The camera is secured via a small magnetic mount which makes it easy to store away while you’re parked up, and the internal battery means you don’t need to plug the camera into your lighter socket all the time. Buy the Garmin Dash Cam 55 here.
Price range: £125 – £150
The Vantrue N2 Pro has a dual camera system that records both the road and the driver, and includes a microphone for crystal-clear audio. Both the camera and the mount have mini USB connectors. The N2 records at 30 frames per second at 1080p resolution as default but can be tweaked in the user settings, and is also capable of time lapse recording and night vision. Once connected to the car battery via the long cable, the N2 will only run when the ignition is switched on and the 1.5-inch display will switch off after the first minute of driving to avoid distraction. Although it’s more of a pricier camera, the range of top-tier features mean it’s a good investment. Buy the Vantrue N2 Pro here.
Price range: £130 – £160
Designed to sit at the top of your windscreen behind the rear-view mirror, the F800 Pro is ideal for those wanting a dash cam that looks like it came with the car. The Pro model provides the full package with front and rear cameras, built-in GPS and WiFi, as well as a host of safety features. It also comes with a 32GB microSD card. The enhanced night vision setting helps to improve low light videos, while the speed camera alerts aim to encourage safer driving. The camera even continues filming when you’re parked unless you turn it off. Snap up a Thinkware F800 Pro here.
Price range: £250 – £330
Like the Thinkware Pro, the BlackVue isn’t cheap – but it can be the perfect choice for safety-conscious drivers. Unlike many other dash cams, the D4900 doesn’t have a screen, but it does have dual-channel recording at true 4K resolution on the forward camera and 1080p resolution on the rear. There’s also a buffered parking mode that continues recording even when your car is stationary, but doesn’t save footage to the memory card unless movement is detected or the G-sensor identifies movement. The DR900 can also connect to the BlackVue Cloud, which allows you to view live footage from anywhere on the web, send alerts to your phone and talks directly to the driver via a two-way connection. Buy a BlackVue DR900S-1ch here.
Price range: £300 – £450
Cobra’s new top of the range dash cam shoots in Super HD and can double as an action camera – but it relies on a paired smartphone and doesn’t have GPS. However, if you can overlook that then the CDR can be a dependable choice for drivers on a budget. The camera is secured to the screen by a reliable suction attachment and only has one USB connection. It records at 30 frames per second, and has an Impact Sensor and Motion Detector, which can be set at high or low depending on your requirements. Treat yourself to a Cobra CDR 900 here.
Price range: £300 – £350
The Motorola MDC150 is another dash cam that offers a surprising amount of tech for the price, with a 2-inch screen offering full HD resolution at 1080p. It has a 150-degree viewing angle, responsive night vision and motion detection, as well as a microSD card that offers up to 32GB of storage space. The MDC also benefits from a small compact design and is mounted via windscreen suction. The motion detector G Sensor locks footage when an accident occurs so you can easily access the video you need, although a memory card isn’t included. Buy a Motorola MDC150 here.
Price range: £40 – £50
Dash cams are becoming increasingly important on UK roads, leading many to question why more manufacturers aren’t including built-in dash cams in their latest models. The main advantage to a built-in dash cam is the lack of windscreen obstruction and fiddly setup, meaning more drivers will be able to back up their insurance claims and ultimately encourage safer driving.
One manufacturer who is leading the way when it comes to built-in dash cams is Citroen, which debuted its ConnectedCAM in the best-selling Citroen C3 back in 2016. It features a wide-angle HD camera that sits behind the rear-view mirror and a staggering 128GB of memory that allows a photo or video to be shared on social media at the touch of a button. There’s even a ConnectedCAM app.
At the end of the day it’s up to you which dash cam you go for, but we feel it’s a worthwhile investment when it comes to keeping insurance costs low, deterring thieves and encouraging safer driving. If you’re concerned about security and safety, you may want to read our guide to find out how to keep your car safe.