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High-End Dash Cams vs. Budget Dash Cams

One of the most common inquiries from our customers pertains to the pricing of our dash cams, which often fall in the higher price range, compared to the numerous options available on Amazon, ranging from $50 to $80. Customers frequently wonder about the distinction between our premium dash cams and those from lesser-known brands such as Milerong, Chortau, or Boogiio. While all these devices feature lenses and can be affixed to your vehicle to capture your journeys, the significant price contrast may lead to questions. They all promise to deliver crystal-clear 4k video quality, but is the price difference purely due to brand reputation, or do the pricier dash cams offer unique features that set them apart? In this article, we’ll delve into the factors that justify the premium pricing of our units and the recent advancements within the dash cam industry.

Why should I buy a high-end dash cam?

There are several factors that contribute to the higher cost of Thinkware and Aoedi cameras compared to the budget-friendly dash cams found on Amazon. These features have a substantial impact not only on image quality but also on overall performance and long-term reliability. Let’s explore the key attributes that set high-end dash cams apart, making them a superior choice for your driving experience and, above all, your safety.

Designed Discreetly

Budget dash cams often come equipped with an LCD display screen, which can provide immediate playback and settings adjustment via buttons. However, it’s worth noting that having a screen contributes to the size and bulk of the dash cam, which may not be advisable for security and legal reasons.

Furthermore, many of these more affordable cameras are typically accompanied by suction cup mounts. Unfortunately, suction cup mounts are known to result in shaky footage, increase the camera’s overall footprint, and, in high-temperature conditions, they can potentially lead to the camera falling off its mount.

Conversely, premium dash cams feature a sleek design and utilize adhesive mounts. This adhesive mounting method allows you to discreetly position the dash cam behind the rear-view mirror, keeping it out of plain view and making it more challenging for potential wrongdoers to detect. Premium dash cam manufacturers also use high-quality plastics that seamlessly match the OEM (original equipment manufacturer) parts and style of your vehicle, enabling the dash cams to seamlessly blend in with the rest of your vehicle’s interior, maintaining a stock in-cabin appearance.

Superior Video Resolution

Both budget and premium dash cameras may advertise a 4K resolution, but it’s important to note that resolution alone doesn’t tell the whole story. Several factors influence the overall video quality, and the resolution mentioned on the box isn’t always a guarantee of superior performance.

While all dash cameras have the capability to record, the actual video quality can vary significantly. Dash cams with higher quality components offer a better chance of capturing crucial details such as license plates. While some may argue that daytime video quality appears similar between premium and budget models, 4K UHD resolution does provide a more extensive range for reading license plates, allowing you to zoom in on details without sacrificing clarity. Cameras with 2K QHD and Full HD resolutions can also record clear footage in specific situations, and they offer higher frame rate options, such as up to 60 frames per second (fps), which results in smoother video playback, even at high speeds.

At night, the disparities between dash cams become even more apparent. Achieving excellent nighttime video quality can be challenging, and this is an area where premium cameras excel over their budget counterparts. A direct comparison of Amazon’s 4K dash cam with Super Night Vision capabilities versus the Aoedi AD890 with Super Night Vision 4.0 illustrates this distinction. While high-quality image sensors contribute to night vision, features like Super Night Vision 4.0 primarily rely on the dash cam’s CPU and software.

Going deeper into Amazon’s offerings, it’s evident that some dash cams on the site record in 720p, often priced below $50. These models produce grainy, dark, and blurry footage. Some of them may also falsely advertise 4K video resolution, but the reality is, they employ tactics like reducing the frame rate from the standard 30 fps or upscaling, which artificially increases the resolution without adding genuine detail to the video.

As of 2023, the latest and most advanced image sensor available is the Sony STARVIS 2.0, which powers our newest dash cameras. In comparison to other image sensors like the first-generation STARVIS and alternatives like Omnivision, Sony STARVIS 2.0 excels in low-light conditions, resulting in more vibrant colors and a balanced dynamic range. We strongly recommend cameras equipped with Sony image sensors, especially the STARVIS 2.0 for superior performance in various lighting conditions.

Parking Mode Recording for 24/7 Security

If your dashcam lacks parking mode recording, you’re overlooking a crucial feature. Parking mode allows continuous recording even when your engine is off and your car is parked, which often spans extended durations. Fortunately, most modern dash cams, including entry-level models, now come equipped with parking mode and impact detection. However, it’s important to note that not all parking modes are created equal.

Premium dash cams offer more than just one type of parking mode; they provide features like time-lapse recording, automatic event detection, low-bitrate recording, energy-efficient parking mode, and buffered recording. Buffered recording captures a few seconds before and after an impact, providing a comprehensive account of the event.

Certain high-end dash cams, such as those from Thinkware, excel in parking mode performance. They incorporate power-conserving software, as seen in models like the AD890  and the new Aoedi AD362. These dash cams feature Energy Saving Parking Mode 2.0, ensuring battery preservation, and Smart Parking Mode, which prevents potential heat-related damage by automatically transitioning to low-power mode when the interior temperature of the vehicle rises too high while still maintaining recording capabilities. Additionally, the Aoedi AD890 is equipped with a built-in radar sensor, offering even greater power efficiency compared to previous models.

Trusted for Temperature Tolerance

High-end dash cams, which utilize supercapacitors instead of lithium-ion batteries, exhibit exceptional resilience in the face of extreme temperatures. In contrast, many budget dash cams on Amazon rely on battery power, which can be susceptible to overheating and potential hazards, akin to the risks associated with using a smartphone as a dash cam.

Supercapacitor-based dash cameras, in contrast to batteries, demonstrate remarkable temperature tolerance, withstanding a range from 60 to 70 degrees Celsius (140 to 158 degrees Fahrenheit). Premium dash cams, in addition to their superior construction and robust materials, often incorporate AI Heat Monitoring, which further extends the lifespan of the device. Supercapacitors contribute to overall longevity, enhancing stability and minimizing the risk of internal damage when subjected to temperature extremes.

While the power source plays a pivotal role in temperature resistance for dash cams, several other factors come into play. Adequate ventilation in the unit is essential, as well as the use of high-quality, heat-resistant materials, as opposed to cheaper plastics that can absorb heat.

To underscore the reliability and safety of high-end dash cams in adverse temperature conditions, be sure to explore our dedicated series on temperature tolerance, ‘Beat the Heat!

Smartphone Compatibility

Premium dash cams come equipped with built-in Wi-Fi connectivity that can seamlessly link to your smartphone via a dedicated mobile app. This feature enables you to perform various tasks such as video playback, downloading footage to your phone, sharing content on your preferred social media platforms, updating firmware, and adjusting camera settings. This functionality proves particularly useful when you cannot access the SD card via a computer for detailed review.

In case of an accident, for instance, you might be required to share the video footage with authorities promptly. In such situations, the mobile app allows you to save a copy of the video to your phone and subsequently email it to yourself, providing a significant time and effort-saving solution.

High-quality dash cams often provide a 5GHz Wi-Fi connection, which is more reliable and experiences less interference than standard 2.4GHz connections. Top-tier dash cams may even offer a dual-band connection, providing the benefits of both Wi-Fi speeds simultaneously. Moreover, premium models enhance the connectivity experience by incorporating Bluetooth.

The addition of Bluetooth to dash cams represents one of the latest advancements in the industry. While Wi-Fi remains the primary choice for streaming footage to your phone, Bluetooth is proving invaluable by delivering a seamless connection experience, akin to Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. Some brands, like Thinkware, have taken it a step further with their recent models, such as the U3000 and F70 Pro, which enable Bluetooth for simplified functions like adjusting settings.

Unlike Wi-Fi, built-in Bluetooth ensures you can effortlessly pair your compatible Android or iOS device within seconds, enabling hands-free video replay and dash cam management. This feature can save time and prove beneficial in situations where you need immediate access to footage, such as addressing traffic violations or verifying the accuracy of events.

Cloud Connectivity for Instant Access

For the highest level of peace of mind, a Cloud-ready premium dash cam is the ideal choice. This connectivity feature, available in brands like Aoedi, offers valuable remote connection capabilities.

The Cloud empowers drivers to remotely access and interact with their dashcam in real-time from anywhere with an internet connection. This means drivers can view live footage of their vehicle’s surroundings, receive immediate notifications of events like accidents or impacts, and even engage in two-way audio communication with their car, all conveniently from their smartphone or computer. This remote connection provides an additional layer of security, peace of mind, and convenience, allowing you to stay informed about your vehicle’s status from your smartphone, regardless of your location.

While budget dash cams may not offer this feature, Aoedi Cloud dash cams are highly recommended, particularly for monitoring your vehicle, driver, or passengers. These capabilities are especially valuable for young drivers and fleet managers.

We previously mentioned that high-end dash cams are capable of providing Cloud services, which require an internet connection. Unfortunately, budget dash cams lack Cloud capabilities and the ability to establish their internet connection.

In some instances, dash cams may need to connect to external Wi-Fi sources. However, what if you’re on the go and require internet access? For Aoedi dash cams, if you don’t have an optional CM100G LTE external module, you can opt for a dash cam with built-in internet capabilities.

With these built-in LTE models, you gain instant internet access, simplifying Cloud connectivity. All you need is an active SIM card with a data plan, and you’re connected to your phone, dash cam, and other internet-reliant devices. This feature is especially beneficial for achieving instant Cloud Connectivity.

Post time: Nov-06-2023