Dashbaord cameras, or dash cams, are among the hottest pieces of in-car technology at the moment, allowing motorists to monitor their own driving, as well as everybody else’s. They can help you negotiate discounts on your car insurance and provide footage of any incidents, but the best and newest devices aren’t particularly cheap.
So why not opt for a car camera recorder based around your smartphone? Many app developers have tapped into the cameras built into the latest mobiles. You’ll be at the mercy of your phone’s camera for the quality and resolution of footage, but add in GPS positioning and automatic crash recording, and it makes real sense.
Initially, the biggest cost with these apps will be the cost of a sturdy in-car phone mount. Once you’re up and running, keep in mind that video eats into storage and battery power; it pays to be diligent about downloading footage at the end of each drive, and carry a charge cable in the car. On top of that, the heat of constant recording can wear out your phone. But which dash cam app is the best?
How we reviewed them
We rated eight of the most popular dash cam apps available for iOS and Android operating systems. Our test involved running them during the day, at dusk and in the dark on an Apple iPhone 5C and an LG G3.
We drove through tunnels, in sunshine and at night under street lights to rate clarity of detail in all levels of light, weathers and road conditions. Plus, we examined ease of set-up, recording and obtaining footage at the end of a drive.
The performance of these apps very much depends on the quality of your handset’s camera and how
solid your phone mount is – some may not deliver footage that’s good enough to be used in court. But in our test, the Drivermatics app had the edge over OsmAnd DVR, with AutoGuard completing our podium.