5 Best Dash Cams – 2017

5 Best Dash Cams – 2017 Dashboard Cameras Tested and Approved

Editor’s Note: It’s absolutely worth it to have a dash cam these days. They are cheap and provide evidence.

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1 Novatek NT96650 G1W

It’s no coincidence that the world’s best-selling dash cam also happens to be one of the cheapest, but for the money, there’s no way you can go wrong with the Novatek G1W. The G1W is ready to use out of the box and includes a car adapter, windshield mount, Mini-USB cable, and HDMI cable. It also has an HDMI output that connects directly to your television. The 2.7-inch LCD screen makes it simple to change settings such as adjusting the camera resolution, changing loop clip recording length, or setting the screen duration (a must to prevent driver distraction). Like most dedicated dash cams, the G1W includes an accelerometer (sometimes called G-sensor in dash cams) that detects if the car’s been hit, and earmarks that footage for later review.

Likes: The perfect camera for those just getting started with dash cams. Great video quality for under $50.

Dislikes: The plastic camera mount is hard to adjust and feels like it could break easily.

Price: $48
Resolution: 1920×1080 @ 30fps
Viewing Angle: 120 degrees
File Format: .MOV
Size: 4½ x 2 x 1¼ inches

2 Mobius ActionCam

The ActionCam is a discreet, high-quality dash cam that’s small enough to fit on your keychain. Its compact size makes it a hobbyist’s dream: This cam could easily attach to remote control planes, cars, or drones, not to mention helmet mounts or handlebars. Unfortunately, it sacrifices some features to stay small, including GPS, accelerometer, and the most important being a built-in screen.

This camera is an action camera first, but you can use the software included with the camera to configure it into a reliable dash cam using your Windows PC. For this, you’ll need to pick up an extra-long Mini-USB cable and a suction cup mount, and you should turn on the Auto Loop feature, set the Clip Length, and turn Flip Movie on in your settings.

Likes: The compact size means it won’t distract the driver or other motorists. There’s ample firmware support by the manufacturer and an active online community.

Dislikes: LED notifications are hard to see, especially when the camera is mounted. Heat sinks on the camera’s housing get very hot. Included software is PC-only, so Mac users will have to download a third-party app before setting up their camera.

Price: $80
Resolution: 1920×1080 @ 30fps
Viewing Angle: 116 degrees
File Format: .MOV
Size: 3¾ x 2½ x 1½ inches

3 Papago P2 Pro

The Papago P2 Pro could be perfect for a professional driver or just someone looking to upgrade their car with a few fancy features. In addition to an accelerometer that will automatically save your footage if it detects a collision, this high-quality dash cam also alerts you when you need to turn on your lights, when the car leaves its lane unexpectedly, when you’re entering stop and go driving conditions, and when a collision is imminent. There’s even a Driver Fatigue Alarm that can be set to alert you during long drives. All of this functionality comes at a price, and that is size; this was by far the largest of all the units we tested.

Likes: The P2 Pro uses a capacitor rather than a battery, which prevents overheating and extends the life of the unit. The enormous 2.4″ LCD screen makes setup a snap. The robust Advanced Driver Assistance (ADA) system takes a moment to calibrate, but those features could really benefit drivers who spend a lot of time on the road.

Dislikes: It’s big. Real big. And the speed camera warning must be updated manually, rendering it basically useless.

Price: $145
Resolution: 1920×1080 @ 30fps
Viewing Angle: 130 degrees
File Format: .MOV
Size: 3⅞ x 2⅖ x 2½ inches

4 Cobra Drive HD CDR 900 Dash Cam

For most users, a dash cam offers peace of mind that things will be recorded in case you are ever involved in an accident. But with the growing popularity of hilarious and strange dash cam videos, Cobra has realized their entertainment potential. That’s why its Drive HD CDR 900 dash cam is Wi-Fi-enabled. Users can transfer videos to their smartphone using the free Drive HD app for iOS and Android devices, and then upload them to YouTube or your preferred social media networks.

Likes: Cobra’s CDR 900 can be used either as a dedicated dash cam with auto power on and off and loop recording, or as an action camera using the standard suction-cup vehicle mount or a special lanyard attachment, which is also included.

Dislikes: Cloud mode will supposedly allow you to access the live stream from your camera via your smartphone from anywhere in the world — just so long as your Wi-Fi enabled camera is within range of a dedicated hotspot. Which it usually isn’t.

Price: $250
Resolution: 2304×1296 Super HD @ 30fps
Viewing Angle: 160 degrees
File Format: .MP4
Size: 1¼ x 2¼ x 2¼ inches


5 Garmin Dash Cam 20

Despite their popularity overseas, dash cams have yet to become an automotive must-have here in the U.S., which is why you don’t see many big brand-name manufacturers building them. Garmin hopes to change all that with its Dash Cam 20.

The Dash Cam 20 is big on simplicity but surprisingly light on extra features. Just mount the camera on your windshield, plug it in, and as long as your car is running, you’re recording. The 2.3″ LCD display is bright, with easy-to-navigate menus allowing you to adjust your camera settings, tweak the sensitivity of the accelerometer, and review any footage you’ve recorded from the comfort of your car.

Likes: Total setup time out of the box is less than five minutes. The all-black camera and suction-cup mount make for a nice, discrete dash cam that won’t attract attention. Because the 20 uses a rechargeable battery as opposed to a power cord, if you are in an accident you can even use it outside of your vehicle to document any damage.

Dislikes: The price is a little high for what you get; and ultimately you’re paying for the Garmin name. However, Garmin also makes the Dash Cam 10, which foregoes the GPS functionality and costs about $30 less to boot.

Price: $250
Resolution: 1920 x 1080p 30fps
Viewing Angle: 120 degrees
File Format: .AVI
Size: 3¼ x 2⅝ x 1⅖ inches

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