Car dashboard cameras are becoming quite popular among motorists who value the additional security that these gadgets offer. These small in-car cameras are quite useful in providing evidence against car vandals and thieves and give good accounts of road accidents that can happen at any time.

Since some motorists are still skeptical about their usefulness and may be hesitant to invest in one for lack of sufficient technological know-how, dash cam reviews are a good way of learning more about how the cam works and the benefits that it can provide.

You can get video footage along the road using a hand-held camera or a smartphone but the dash cam offers convenience and ease of use that will not affect concentration while driving. These units can be hard-wired into the car’s electrical system but many are designed to conveniently plug into the cigarette lighter socket.

Some models are powered by a built-in, rechargeable lithium ion battery. Once installed and plugged in, the dashboard cam starts recording when the car starts, recording continuous video onto a removable SD card.

The basic dash cams featured in many cam reviews are mostly set-and-forget type devices. Unlike general purpose recording devices that you have to turn on and set to record every time you get into your car, the dash cam has no off and on switch but is wired into the circuit of the vehicle in such a way that it is turned on when the ignition key is fired and ceases recording only when the ignition is turned off.

The unit consists of a video camera, LCD screen and a built-in or removable solid-state storage media. Thus, you can obtain a continuous video recording of your trips without fiddling with the device to make an input. In case of mishaps, you can get good video footage that can be used to validate insurance claims or to refute allegations from other involved motorists.

A notable feature of dashboard cameras is the overwrite feature that automatically deletes and replaces the oldest recording when the storage media fills up. Since the dash cam functions as a surveillance device that records continuously, you will not be too concerned when these old files are deleted. When you want to preserve some videos from special road trips, you can transfer these to your computer.

If you are interested in installing a basic car digital video recorder, choose a model that functions minus the frills, such as those featured in our selected cam reviews. You will not have to spend much and you get to test the functionality and usefulness of the gadget.

The affordable cameras listed below perform well in video quality, ease of use and reliability. Equipped with a removable or built-in storage media that constantly records whenever you are driving, any one of these models is a good investment when you are on a tight budget.

Later on, should you desire a more powerful camera with higher video quality, you can upgrade to more advanced models with additional features like GPS logging, speed sensors, accelerometers and audio recording.

  • The GS800L Car DVR 1080P HD Black Box Traveling Driving Data Recorder is a camcorder that comes with 8GB TF memory card. Equipped with a G-sensor, IR night vision, 120-degree high resolution ultra wide-angle lens and a 2.7-inch TFT LCD display screen, the dash cam provides seamless loop video recording that automatically deletes old files and records new ones. It has a suction mount and a USB interface for HD video transmission to a TV or computer.
  • The Black Box G1W Original Dash Camprovides full HD 1080P recording at 30FPS or 720P at 60FPS. Equipped with 2.7-inch HD wide screen LCD and a video recorder with night vision motion and G-sensor, it is easy to use and set up and operates with auto-start and record and with on-spot play back. It has a swivel ball suction that can be mounted on any flat surface and automatically starts when the car does to record indefinitely via looping.
  • The Old Shark 1080P GS8000L Pro Mini Dash Camera employs Smart Power Engineering for cost-effective energy operation through connection with the dashboard cigarette lighter socket. It provides a 120-degree wide-angle perspective of the road and has the capability to track license plates within 5 meters. The dash cam employs a seamless video recording loop that automatically overwrites the oldest videos with the latest footage. It is easily installed on the dashboard or windshield with a lockable suction cup mount.

Unlike general purpose recording devices, dashboard cameras tend to be no-frills affairs that often lack fancy bells and whistles like power switches and recording controls. In fact, a prototypical dashboard camera consists of only a handful of basic components:

  • A video camera
  • A hard-wired power input
  • Built-in or removable solid state storage media

Function follows form in the case of dashboard cameras, so you can probably get a pretty good idea of how they work by looking at that sparse list of components.

Without an on/off switch, a dashboard camera is typically wired into a circuit that is only hot when the ignition key is in the start or run position. And without any sort of recording controls, dashboard cameras are typically designed to record continuously whenever they are powered up.

With that in mind, you can see how these simplistic devices are designed to automatically turn on and start recording each time a car is driven — without the need for any input or interaction from the driver at all. This can be contrasted with general purpose portable recording devices. Although you can use virtually any recording device as a dash cam, you will have to turn it on and set it to record every time you get in your car.

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