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Dome DVR Car Camera – superb budget car cam adds intelligent driver assist tools too [Review]

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Car DVR cameras are definitely not a new thing. They’re very popular in countries with dodgy drivers – ahem … Russia …cough – and we’ve featured them in review before. But what is getting interesting are the advanced features they’re starting to add to these cameras, to give them more driver value in more ways than just video and GPS. We recently got our hands on a new model, the Dome GS98C Car DVR Camera, and came away very impressed.

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First impressions
The camera ships in a very ordinary, almost banal, box, with basic illustrations and not a lot of style. But once inside the box things start to perk up. For one thing, the camera itself is a nice solid, well crafted product, no nasty flimsy plastic to be seen. Nice. The other surprise is the fact that the manufacturers have included some decent accessories. Not many, but what’s there is good.

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The specification of the product is also top class. It features a 2.7 inch back display, an Ambaralla A7LA70 chipset with 16 megapixel camera, and 1296p video resolution. There’s also a GPS accessory, HDMI out, 178 degree lens, mic and speakers and compatibility with up to 64GB microSD storage cards. It’s all good stuff.Take a look at our video below to get a feel for the whole package and view some sample video.

The power cord is thankfully long enough to thread around the windscreen and make for a much more professional installation. At last, no unsightly cable dangling down the middle of the windscreen. The actual camera mount is also well designed. It’s sturdy, nicely adjustable and sticks to the glass like glue (and suction). Score another point.

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The next surprise is the user guide. It’s multi-lingual, but most importantly it covers just about everything you’re going to need to know about the product. In detail. In fact the only thing we couldn’t find was a mention of one of the features to do with parking, but everything else is clearly laid out. The result is you can spend less time guessing and more time getting the thing ready and installed.

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In use
There’s not usually a lot to say about a car camera. They’re there to capture videos, right? To make sure you’re proven innocent if you hit a donkey by mistake. Some cams throw in GPS too, and emergency buttons, and the best all include G-sensors to automatically sense if a bump or worse has happened, so you don’t have to worry. But this product goes even further.

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As well as having all the above features as standard, the Dome also includes time-lapse functionality, as well as a neat Park Alert function which uses the G-sensor to automatically switch on if it feels a bump or noise and capture 30 secs of video before shutting down again. Great for catching hit and run drivers if one hits you while you’re parked overnight or in a car park etc.

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But the really cool feature is the ADAS function – Advanced Driver Assistance Systems. Turn this on and you get the kind of computer sensing smarts that the big brands like BMW and Mercedes have nowadays. In practice it’s a lot more rudimentary of course, but hey, for the price who wouldn’t say no to an alert system which warns when you drift out of your lane, or tells you to wake up if you day dream at the lights and fail to notice the traffic has moved on green? It’s rough and ready, but neat.

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Last but not least though, is the video image quality, which is truly superb. The camera captures crisp, clear video in both daylight and at night. Clear enough to read number plates with just your headlights as illumination, and definitely good enough to make out details in any situation. Incredibly impressive performance all round. The emergency ‘event’ button is an added touch of cool, in that you can tap it at any time and the product will automatically grab the previous 10 seconds and the next 20 secs (total 30 secs) of any event, so you have a record of exactly what happened.

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Conclusion
The Dome GS98C Car Camera is a great little product, well thought out and which does its job perfectly. It’s packed full of features, which all add up to a super value package, and when you add on the superb image quality you’ve got a stand out product all round. We love the ADAS function, which is great even though it’s still kind of rough around the edges. With a little more work this will be a super after-market feature for any car owner to covet. All in all, terrific work, a great product at a great price, and worthy of our Editors Pick.

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Price: $74.29 / £48.87

Specifications:
2.7 inch high resolution LCD, can view while recording
178 degree super wide angle lens
Ambarella A7LA70 Chip
GPS module on the car bracket
2304 x 1296/30fps high definition resolution and others optional:
2560 x 1080P(30fps)/1920 x 1080P(60fps)/1920 x 1080P(30fps)/ HDR 1920 x 1080P(30fps)/1280 x 720P(60fps)/1280 x 720P(30fps)
Advanced H.264 video compression technology
Support HDMI high quality video transmission
G-Sensor to keep the record of sensor data at emergency cannot be cover
Loop recording with seamless, does not leak second
Automatic circulating recording, it’s able to set the record time for each file
Watching video simultaneous while driving, supporting on-spot play back
Time and date display changed, there is no need to reset when re-starts
One key lock function
Motion detection function
Automatically turn on/off function
Can charge and transmission through USB
Equipped with special car fixed sucker, easy to fix and use
Maximum memory storage 64GB, or TF with more high capacity storage device

Nigel is the managing editor of the Red Ferret, as well as a freelance columnist for the Sunday Times newspaper in London. Loves tech and fancies himself as a bit of a futurist, but then don’t we all?

Nigel – who has written posts on The Red Ferret Journal.


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