Length:: 1:04 Mins
Note: The maker supplied me with a review sample for evaluation, the opinion of the product is my own personal view
This is one of the smaller in car dash cameras I've looked at to date that has some advantages, but also some drawbacks in this case the main appeal is the small footprint which won't take up a lot of windscreen area, the downside is the smaller 1.5" LCD which makes changing settings a bit more fiddly than it could be.
On paper the unit has quite a good specification the Mini 0805 model I looked at has built in GPS, and a raft of settings in the camera including lane detection warning, multiple video resolutions and compression settings, the ability to adjust G sensor settings and a HDR mode to help in harsher lighting conditions. I ran the unit through some fairly extensive field testing and rounded up a list of stronger and weaker areas of the camera.
+ Strong feature set includes higher resolution (2560 x 1080) video setting, GPS imprinting/data log
+ Video quality in normal light is good, decent sharpness and resolution. In lower light levels the camera does a reasonable job though benefits from some adjustments in camera
+ Many settings can be changed from resolution, compression, G sensor levels of sensitivity, white balance, motion detection levels, reg no. imprinting, watermark for GPS/speed
+ Lane detection system (and calibration)
+ Accepts larger memory cards (up to 64GB)
+ Build quality is good with fairly strong casing and the small size makes it discreet once mounted in the car
+ Lens is sharp with good performance across the wide 135 degree image
+ Sound quality is quite good, though I couldn't find a menu setting to turn it off
+ 3 metering modes (average, spot, centre) unusual for a dash camera
+ Efficient video codec
+ Can add car registration (up to 9 characters)
Could be improved:
- Mounting system has limited scope for camera movement unit attaches via sticky pad 90 degrees Max angle adjustment
- Some settings need to be tweaked to get the best performance (ie HDR Mode), still image quality is fair at best (no point using the highest resolution it's up-sampled stick to 4 mega pixel)
- Auto white balance can be thrown off by sodium street lighting
- Small LCD and font makes changing settings more challenging when mounted, not the most intuitive controls.
The unit which is straight forward to operate but has only 3 buttons to operate and you will have to press and hold the top/bottom buttons to enter the main menu/playback mode.
Video settings: Resolution is up to 2560 x 1080 @30fps, 2304 x 1296 @30fps, 1920 x 1080 @ 30/40fps, 1280 x 720 @ 60/30fps/ HDR mode is set to 1920 x 1080 @30fps.
Footage has 3 compression settings super fine, fine and normal. Video is in the .MOV container format with H264 codec. GPS data can be imprinted on the footage and it is also written to a log file on the card.
At 1920 x 1080 @30fps in "super fine" files are approx 80 MB for 1 minute of footage
At 2560 x 1080 @30fps "super fine" uses around 120MB per minute of footage, in "normal" the highest compression files are about 80MB per minute
Motion detection settings: off/low/medium/high. Battery life is about 20 minutes (recording) during my tests.
The camera can be connected directly to a computer when removed from the mount this allows you to pull data off the card when you connect it via a micro USB cable, it does not function as a web camera.
Test card was a Samsung EVO micro SD class 10 I didn't experience any issues with this card and the camera.
The unit comes with a car charger (to micro USB), a normal micro USB plug, the GPS unit is in the mounting section. There are two micro USB sockets one on the camera and the base unit as well as a mini HDMI output and 3.5mm socket.
Installation is via 3M sticky pad there is one pre-fitted to the unit and one in the box, the grip is quite firm when mounted, but there is less adjustment possible then a normal windscreen sucker. You can move the camera up/down to 90 degree there is no side to side movement with this mounting system. The main base unit has contract points where the camera clips in this is quite tight in fit.
Settings I found that you should take care with the metering mode spot will react to a small area only in the middle of the frame (bright or dark), the average works off the entire image area and seems to be better suited to general use, central is a larger area in the middle.
I found the HDR mode to be useful in both normal light and darker conditions this might be limited to a single resolution (full HD) but there wasn't a huge difference between this and the highest resolution on the camera. HDR helps tame brighter skies and helps avoid the "white sky" effect, in low light shadows could be a little plugged some adjustment of the EV can help here.
The Mini 0805 puts a good quality video camera into a small casing and largely pulls it off, however I personally am not a huge fan of the mounting method used here. It's quite secure once fitted but it can't be easily moved and the angle can't be adjusted on the side this has some drawbacks changing settings for example means you can't angle the camera around and the menus whilst logical enough require long presses for playback and settings (workable but not as user friendly as it could be), maybe the maker wanted to make the smallest unit possible some some sacrifices were made here for me a normal sucker mount would work better. Saying that once you have the camera set up how you want you probably won't need to hit the menus very often.
Footage wise not much to complain about bar lower light levels where you really need to adjust the camera to get the best out of it. Daylight shots showed good details smooth frame rates and the many resolutions/file settings mean you can squeeze more footage into the card. GPS worked well in my testing locking on quite quickly and the imprinting doesn't invade the image area much. You might need to tweak the motion detection at the lowest level it might not trigger the automatic recording I would raise that up in the settings.
Quirks aside the camera does spit out good video footage and in many ways that's one of the most important aspects for any dash camera, this is one model of many from this maker. Really it comes down to how you want to use the camera if you want to have a camera you can move around easily this isn't ideal (you can buy additional mounting pads but this adds to the cost) But if you are fine with a fixed camera position and value the small size/footprint this could do the job for you.