TrackVue DV300 full review
Russian dash cams provide much of the amusing footage for driving fails, but they’re becoming more and more popular in the UK for proof of blame in the event of an accident. We take a look at the new TrackVue DV300: a compact driving camera that costs less than £100.
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TrackVue is the sister brand of BlackVue and is devoted to more affordable dash cams without the frills that most people don’t need. For example, the DV300 doesn’t have GPS, Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. There’s no iOS app or any PC software.
Instead, the DV300 concentrates on the basics: recording good-quality footage while you’re driving. The camera itself is very small and fits in the palm of your hand. The tiny colour screen can be used as a viewfinder so you can set the camera at the right angle, but it’s also used to change settings and replay clips and photos.
On top is mini USB port and 3.5mm minijack for composite video output (no cable is included). Underneath you’ll find a slot for the microSD card and a mini HDMI output (again, there’s no cable in the box). You don't get a card but you can use cards with capacities up to 32GB. It’s enough for around 12 hours of continuous recording at the maximum quality.
The camera comes with a quick-release bracket which sticks to your windscreen, and has its own mini USB connector. The pins in the bracket are quite flimsy and one bent out of shape and broke off after removing the camera a few times.
You get a USB cable for connecting to a PC – so you can use the camera as a memory card reader or even a webcam – and a long power cable which plugs into your car or van’s 12V or 24V socket. If you want to, you can hard wire the camera to free up your 12V socket, and enable parking mode with motion detection. The hard wiring kit costs £7.99 but we’d recommend getting this done professionally, not least because connecting to the wrong live feed could leave you with a flat battery.
Setting menu options is tricky until you figure out how to use the three buttons to the right of the screen in combination with the power button on the left-hand side. The instructions (which are in broken English) are helpful to some extent, but it’s certainly not what you’d call intuitive.
At least there are lots of settings for those who like to play. You can choose whether or not to record audio, the resolution and frame rate (up to 1920x1080 at 30fps) and how many minutes each video clip should last. There’s a built-in motion sensor and you can enable motion recording to catch incidents that happen when the car is parked. It’s crucial to set the sensitivity correctly to avoid the camera recording constantly and draining your battery.
You can even change the metering and exposure compensation, but the defaults were perfectly good in our tests. Setting the time and date is fiddly, so make sure you don’t let the internal 320mAh battery run flat or you’ll have to go through the process again. Needless to say, you won’t be able to record for long on the built-in battery. New recordings will automatically overwrite old ones when the SD card is full.
If you have an incident, you can replay the clip using the screen, but it’s not easy. It’s far better to connect the camera to a PC or Mac and use a memory card reader to browse the files and play them using Windows Media Player, VLC or any other player which can handle MP4 files. You can copy the files to your hard drive using Windows Explorer.
Image quality is great considering the price. The angle of view is nice and wide and as long as you stick the camera mount just below your rear-view mirror you’ll get a decent view of the road.
Detail is sharp, so you’ll be able to pick out number plates, road signs and similar text. Colours are accurate too: we’ve seen a whole lot worse than this. Exposure is also good, and the camera is quick to change when entering and exiting a tunnel, for example.
Audio quality is pretty clear when things are relatively quiet. At high speeds, or if you have a particularly noisy engine, the distorted soundtrack isn’t pleasant. However, sound recording is rarely important for dash cams, since it mainly records passengers talking and music blaring from the radio.
TrackVue DV300: Specs
- In-car video recorder
- Camera CMOS sensor / 2.0 megapixels
- Resolution HD (1920x1080) or (1280x720) / Max 30fps
- Audio Compression G.728 / 32kbps
- Video Compression H.264
- View Angle 120°(Diagonal) / 98°(Horizontal) / 55°(Vertical)
- Integrated 2i LCD screen
- Motion detection function senses whether objects are moving in the field of view when parked
- Memory Supports up to 32GB providing up to 12 hours of continuous recording
- Recording Normal recording, Event recording(G-Sensor)
- Video Out Composite for connection to a DVD player
- HDMI for connection to a DVD player
- Rechargeable 320mAh li-ion battery
- Size 75x40x40mm
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