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Dash cams are an excellent safety accessory to include in your vehicle when you want some assistance with driver awareness or a simple record of events when the unforeseen occurs. Unfortunately, many dash cams struggle when the sun goes down. In low light conditions, video quality decreases unless you have the right model with night vision. Since accidents are just as likely (if not more so) to happen at night, a low-light dash cam is a smart investment for safety, security, and convenience. If you feel like you're in the dark on what kind of low-light camera to buy, read on for our helpful guide on everything you need to know on the best dash cams with night vision.
This is the most common type of dash camera available on the market. As a single-unit dash cam, this is the device that does nothing but records the view around the vehicle. These tend to be rather budget-friendly, depending on the construction and design of the camera.
For some dash cams, recording the view just isn't enough. Multifunctional dash cams may be dashboard cameras first with a few extra features built in, but most cams are added to other devices like GPS navigators or aftermarket backup camera kits. In either case, the extra features give you more to work or play with without having to install several different devices in your vehicle.
For more coverage around a vehicle, you'll need more lenses, preferably wide angle, to capture different angles. The most common multi-camera kit comes in the form of a front/rear camera. Sometimes, the lenses are built into the same body you mount onto the windshield. Others, however, come with a separate camera you can place on the rear windshield or bumper. Some low-light kits come with multiple low-light cameras, while others may only have night vision in the front where it matters the most.
As a small electronics developer, VAVA has made its mark on the industry with unique designs that have won awards like the Red Dot Design Award. Starting with audio devices in 2015, the company quickly branched out into automotive electronics with notable products like its VAVA 1920x1080P Car Dash Camera.
Apeman is an electronics company that focuses on giving customers the means to share their adventures with the world. While the company's lineup has a healthy line of action cameras that can survive harsh conditions, it has also developed a few high-quality dash cams like the Apeman Ful HD Mini Car Recorder.
In order to see in the dark, you need some way to illuminate the objects in front. Low-light dash cams do this using infrared light: light you can't see with the naked eye but can be picked up by the camera's sensor. Just like a flashlight, results vary depending on the power and surface coverage of the infrared LED bulbs.
The amount of useful footage a dash cam can capture depends on how much memory it has to store files. Dash cams with a built-in memory card will be limited in this regard depending on how large the hard drive is on the inside. Expandable memory, coming in the form of microSD cards and slots, allow you to increase the camera's storage capacity or swap out different cards if you want to record more.
The final quality of a dash camera's image comes down to the camera itself, especially the lens and sensor. Like other digital cameras, you can get a better image quality with a higher-quality, wide-angle lens and high-dynamic-range (HDR) sensors, more megapixels on the sensor, and higher recording resolutions supported by the camera itself.
Vantrue's low-light dual-lens dash cam is designed for continuous use in professional settings such as Uber or Lyft trips. With that said, this front and rear dash cam is more than capable of being effective for personal use. The self-facing camera covers most of the interior and some of the view out of the rear window.
The image quality of both cameras and the overall low-light performance are highlights of this camera option. The front camera records as a full 1080p HD, so the image details are clear, even at night. The built-in infrared LED lights also do a good job of illuminating low-light conditions.
While the recording quality is good, the camera suffers in the usability department. The included mount can come loose after a few short trips in the car. For some reason, the camera lacks clear directions for some features and handy connectivity features via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth that most competitors offer these days.
The Apeman low-light dash cam packs a lot of helpful capabilities in a large but affordable camera body. Unlike some dash cams that can only upload the recorded video to a laptop or smart device, this one has a 3-inch LCD panel for live reviewing right from the device.
On the inside of the camera, the sensor is sensitive enough to capture full HD video continuously. The screen is large and easy to view in most driving conditions, although it can be difficult to see in direct sunlight. The built-in memory relies on separate SD cards (up to 32 gigabytes).
Since it is a value design, this dash cam leaves a lot to be desired in advanced capabilities. With no GPS or wireless connectivity, the camera can't log or send location data. Sound recording quality is also lackluster.
For families and Uber or Lyft drivers, a low-light dash cam with an interior lens does more than record accidents. Crosstour's Dual Lens camera is one such camera that documents and displays what happens inside a vehicle. With a built-in LCD panel, the camera is a good way to monitor the interior without using the rearview mirror while up front.
The camera packs a lot of high-end features for a decent price in its design. Standout features include the built-in GPS with automatic location recording, motion detection, and the aforementioned LCD panel.
While this dash cam offers a lot of useful features, learning how to actually use them can be a challenge at first. The instruction manual doesn't make it clear how some settings, like the variable loop recording settings, actually work or how you can access them. The image quality is also just decent compared to higher-end competitors.
A. This depends on the design and construction quality of the camera itself. In part, the number of infrared LED lights built into the camera will play a major role in the final results. More lights tend to be better, but this also depends on the power and coverage of each bulb.
A. Most dash cams record whenever the vehicle is on, meaning they pick up everything that happens as you drive. With that said, most don't record everything since memory is limited. Instead, the camera will store several minutes worth of footage in the short-term memory. Long-term storage happens when the G-sensor goes off or the user directs it to record manually.
A. Absolutely. Almost all dash cameras work automatically once they turn on. To save a video, for example, a G-sensor will kick in any time an impact occurs. More advanced dash cams sometimes come with hands-free voice control as well to change settings and start and stop recording while driving.
The overall winner of our low-light dash cam roundup is the Vantrue N2 Pro Dash Cam. As a dash cam that covers multiple angles, it's the perfect solution for low-light recording in normal driving conditions.
The best way to save some money is to check out the Apeman FHD Car DVR Recorder instead. Focusing on the front only, this dash cam offers high image quality and a viewable LCD panel built right into the body.
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