Are you looking for the best dash cam in the UK? Well, put it this way, you can be a great driver but that doesn’t fully protect you from other road users who are more careless a driver than you. You can be the safest driver in the world with years of driving experience behind you and the perfect car insurance record to match, but all it takes is for another driver that’s sitting on their phone, had a little too much to drink, or just generally driving carelessly, and then suddenly through no fault of your own you’ve found yourself in a car accident!
When it comes to road accident liability, people have tendencies to lie especially if no witnesses are around and they believe they can get away with it (your word vs their word). So how can you combat this, and ensure you’re not the victim of a motoring injustice? Simple, install a dashboard camera!
Our Best Dash Cam in The UK 2017 Top 5 Table
What Are Dashboard Cameras and Typically How Do They Work?
Dashboard cameras (or dash cams for short) are a rising trend in the UK with more and more people choosing to use them, sparking a new wave of interest and searches for the best in car camera recorders, and for what our research team believe good reason!
These are simple cameras that are installed in the vehicle and protect road users from liability issues when involved or witnessing an incident, allowing footage to be sent directly to the police, or car insurance provider. They can also protect the user from other things such as insurance fraud – or what people are referring to as ‘cash-for-crash’ incidents, as well as instances where their car may have been damaged or ‘keyed’ when parked. Scroll down to check out our more detailed breakdown of all the advantages they can offer. They are typically installed behind the rear view mirror – this ensures a distraction free, safe environment for the driver. The power lead typically runs from the cigarette lighter to the camera, making sure the cable is as hidden and safe as possible, as illustrated below.
*A Typical Dashboard Camera Installation*
The recorders come in all different sizes, and have a whole range of different features varying from model-to-model, with plenty of manufacturers to choose from in the UK marketplace. Whether you are a young or old driver, with little or lots of experience behind you, or even simply looking for a one to fit your budget (they are only as expensive as you make them!), we have researched them inside out to present our best dash cams in the uk reviews, and hopefully answer the big question “what is the best dash cam to buy for my needs?”
Check Out Our Other Best UK Dashboard Camera Reviews of 2016 – 2017
- Best Budget Dash Cam Guide
- Best Front and Rear Dash Cam Guide
- Best Dash Cam UK of 2017 Guide
- Best Dash Cam UK in 2016 Guide
A common question that hangs over these dash cams is whether or not they are legal or not. The consensus is that they are perfectly fine to use as car camera recorders in the United Kingdom, providing they do not present a distraction to the driver. However rules and regulations may vary from country-to-country, state-to-state, and city-to-city, so always check your local laws to be in the clear.
With road policing numbers being significantly reduced over the past few years in the UK, and car crime on the rise as well as car insurance premiums, it seems inevitable they will be playing a vital role in all cars in the not so distant future.
Rise In UK Car Insurance For 2016
Here we can see a car insurance graph put together by consufed.com, which shows the rise and fall of the average car insurance price from as far back as 2011 – where the average hit an all-time high of £858. The data is based on the analysis of over 4 million car insurance quotes in the UK, with this particular graph running up until the 2nd quarter of 2016. The findings show that the average price is up to £715 for an annual comprehensive car cover policy, which is a 19% or £115 increase over the past 12 months. Without being too pessimistic, going by the data presented and speaking to other sources, it seems inevitable that the average car insurance quote will continue to rise. Check out confused.com’s full comprehensive analysis of UK car insurance.
What Features To Consider When Looking For The Best Dashboard Camera UK
There are a whole host of different features and qualities that these cameras have to offer differing from model to model, though you will notice that some features are present across the entire range of devices. Although all these features are worth considering, some features are more or less desirable than others depending on your specific needs and requirements.
Our team will break down all the features you should consider when looking for the best camera on the UK market, into a nice, easy to understand summary that helps you get a better picture of what your requirements are and tick all the boxes in finding that perfect camera!
- Video Quality / Resolution – Probably the most important feature of these devices is the video quality / resolution. You obviously want to make sure the image is clear and as stable as possible up on playback, otherwise why bother with a camera? Most modern manufacturers in the market these days come as 1080p HD as standard, which generally offers great quality recording and playback. Of course the quality can still vary from model-to-model, so make sure you check out video quality reviews for the device you are considering first.
- Night Time / Low Light Recording – A very important feature to consider for all potential and current dash cam owners, especially if you do or intend on doing a lot of night time / low light condition driving. Not all models come with a built-in night vision feature, however, all or most recorders should have at least some basic level of low light recording functionality. Therefore don’t assume that if a camera is stated as not having night vision, that it cannot perform well at night, this is not the case, and you should always check out review footage at night from that model.
- G-Sensor – All or nearly all models have g-force sensor technology, if the model in question doesn’t, then it’s probably some ultra-cheap nasty recorder you should avoid! The technology detects any events that may occur such as the impact of a crash or a bump, and marks that part of the footage to keep safe, ensuring that any incidents captured by the g-sensor are not recorded over or deleted. This is imperative for loop recording.
- Loop Recording – Another feature that is a must and would be expected to be present in every model. The loop recording function makes sure that the camera can keep recording with the same memory card even when it gets to the end of the storage, by recording over the oldest footage first, keeping all the newest footage available for playback. You can still set your camera to protect any incidents / accidents that you wish to keep safe and not record over, so don’t worry!
- Date and Time Stamp – A feature that’s very useful especially if the video is being handed over as evidence to an insurer or the police, it’s important to have the date and time accurately displayed on the playback video, so reference to the incident is made much easier.
- GPS – Some of these cameras come with GPS features which can come in handy in the event of an incident or accident. The GPS feature is not used as a navigator, but instead can record your co-ordinates, speed and route details for reference. Most dash cams GPS data output can be used with google maps, allowing you to see street and road names, which is great for recalling the details of an event, especially if it is required as evidence.
- Wi-Fi – Most of the modern ones these days have a built in Wi-Fi option on them. With a wide range of apps to download for them, a passenger can simply log on the app for the cam on their phone and control the camera / settings, by checking or even uploading some footage online straight away. The Wi-Fi feature makes uploading footage to a smartphone for example and sending it to a car insurer or even the police, easy and convenient.
- Auto Power On/Off – Some cameras will automatically power on / off in accordance with the car ignition system thanks to detection technology. Having this feature can be very useful to some users as it allows them to just jump in the car and go, without the worry of having to turn the camera on for recording, and eliminates the fear that you may have missed an important incident. Not all devices come with this feature.
- Emergency Lock File Button – Another feature that is not present in all models, but should still be considered. The emergency button should be easily accessible on the device, and be used in the event of an incident occurring while recording. The purpose of this button is to make sure that the part of the recording where you have signalled as an emergency will be safeguarded and stored, ensuring it is not lost or overwritten. This typically works by marking the seconds leading up to the pressing of the button, and several seconds after the press, as the signalled emergency.
- Front and Rear Dash Camera / Dual Dash Camera – This feature is becoming more and more desirable all the time in the market. By default you will obviously be able to record your viewings from whatever end you choose to point it. There are however devices with built-in front and rear recording capabilities (or what some people refer to as dual cameras) in the UK market. These devices can offer viewings from both angles of the car simultaneously, and can come as one single unit, or a two part camera – one camera for each end. This feature may be cost effective if you want both the front and rear covered, as it may save you money on having to purchase two separate cams.
***credit to Car Camera Shop Ltd channel for this video***
Here you can see the advantage of having a front and rear dashboard camera / dual dash cam option. You can see exactly what has happened out the front windscreen of the driver that has been hit, and why they had to bring their car to a stop. It also shows the accident in full from behind and clearly displays driving negligence, with the offender failing to break in time.
- Parking Mode – Another very popular feature on the market. Car dash cam parking mode works with motion detection technology, allowing you to continuously record what happens to your car when you are parked and not around, capturing any vandalism or damage to your vehicle. This feature is not present in all models and can have different settings to adjust, in order to make sure you capture any incidents. This feature can be very appealing to people who often park their car in public places or unfamiliar areas.
*Note: continuous recording with parking mode requires a constant power source, so in almost every case a hardwire installation is required.*
- Viewing Angle – Wider viewing angles allow you to capture more of the road, or cover a larger radius when recording if you like, reducing the chance of having any blind spots and missing some important footage. The bigger the viewing angle, the more peripheral vision the recording has, however this does not mean the bigger the viewing angle the better the cam is, as some devices can struggle with the image quality due to capturing too much with the viewing angle. Always be sure to check out the review footage of the model in question to see its viewing angle in action along with the quality of its recording output image.
- Size / Discreetness – Dash cameras by nature are not large, but do of course vary in size from model-to-model with many different sizes to consider. The most sought after size for vehicles is… of course you guessed right, its small. Large models do have some appeal to them as well as they may offer a larger playback screen or viewing angle. However the main reason people look for small dash cameras is for their discreetness. For example, when you have parked in a public place and have parking mode activated and running, you do not want your recorder to draw unnecessary and unwanted attention to your vehicle, especially if you leave it parked in an unknown or very crime prone area. Also being a small, discreet and well-hidden dash cam is very important for driving safety, as the device should not cause a distraction or impair/obstruct your driving vision in any way, as this can be both dangerous and illegal.
- Power Cable – The length of the power cable that comes with the camera should be taken into consideration, as you don’t want to end up with a power lead that’s too short to run along the inside of your vehicle, leaving you with a stupid looking cable that runs from the cigarette lighter straight up to your recorder. The cable should be long enough to run along the inside of your vehicle, making it hidden and out of view, while ensuring that no cables are hanging around. You can buy separate third party power cables for most models that are on the market, however, this will of course add more money on top of what you have already laid out, so should be considered in the price when judging a model.
What Advantages Do Car Cameras Offer?
There are many different advantages that these recorders offer, that’s why you should ensure you have the best dashboard camera to fit your needs, as it will maximize the benefits you will reap from the device.
- Help Lower Your Insurance – Some UK car insurers these days are offering a discount on their car insurance policies if you have a dashboard camera installed in your car. They can be used as proof / evidence in an accident which was not your fault, helping to keep that precious no claims discount. Some of these policies come with specific terms that you must comply with to receive their discount. You should always check out what each car insurance company has to offer.
* Check out our article on how to get a car insurance discount with your dash cam*
- Protect You From Insurance Fraud – With vehicle insurance fraud still very common these days in the UK, you can protect yourself from this ongoing illegal activity, by having the whole incident / accident on camera. This vital evidence puts the user in a much stronger position when it comes to an insurance claim, and can protect you from any driving injustices that occur.
***credit to Dash Cam Network for the video***
You can see in the video what looks to be a blatant car insurance fraud act committed, or what people are referring to as ‘Crash For Cash’ scams. The driver in this instance would be able to use the video as evidence of fraud, protecting their car insurance. It could have been a very different story though if the driver did not have this vital proof. The other driver in question could have just claimed they had driven into the back of their car, acting as though it was a genuine accident, and the crash victim driver would be stuck between a rock and a hard place when it came down to an insurance claim.
- Act As Legal Evidence – They can be a great way of providing legal evidence in driving cases that may involve you, other drivers, cyclists or even pedestrians. You can provide evidence for incidents / accidents such as a crash or hit and run, making it easy for you to prove the correct people to be prosecuted or protected, in what would otherwise be a tough, expensive, stressful and long on-going battle for yourself or someone else. Also if there is a dispute over an incident such as speeding, parking, driving standards, other drivers, or with the authorities, you can cover yourself completely with these cameras where ever you have to defend yourself. Always check your local laws and regulations on filming/recording people with your recording device, as in some places you may be in violation of the law.
- Capture Any Damage To Your Car When You Are Parked – If you choose to get a dash cam with parking mode features, then your camera will continue recording when you are parked, making it easy to prove any vandalism or damage towards your vehicle that occurs when you are not around, giving you the ultimate peace of mind.
***credit to BBC news for this video***
Here is an example of someone ‘keying’ a particularly expensive motor, oblivious to the fact that they were caught red handed in the act by an in car camera recorder. Unfortunately this act of ‘keying’, where a person simply runs their key along the side of a motor, most of the time trying to be discreet, is still all too common these days. It doesn’t matter the value of your motor, no one should be subject to this criminal damage. With the protection of a dash cam in this instance, the driver could correctly identify and have prosecuted the offender. Imagine where the driver would be with no evidence in this instance, they would be forking out a lot of their own money for repairs!
- Record Those Great Car Journeys – These devices are not just a source of capturing all the doom and gloom accidents of the day. You can capture those special scenic road trips or family holiday drives that you always big up but no one believes, creating a video memory that you can always watch and cherish forever.
- Help Improve Your Driving Standards – An RAC study found that one in four or 24% of the drivers they asked, believed that installing a car camera would improve their driving standard. With the playback features that these devices come with, you can watch your clips back and view your driving objectively and see it from a different perspective. You may be able to see areas where you should have taken more care or regard, such as not leaving a cyclist enough room when overtaking, or even driving too close to the pavement for example. You can also get a second pair of eyes to take a look at the footage, and point out anything obvious in your driving that could be improved.
- Capture Random Moments – With the rise of social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, random and funny videos can potentially become viral in a matter of minutes, due to the ease of uploading videos and the huge reach that these networks have. When recording you could witness a random event you didn’t expect that’s worth sharing. It is very simple to upload your recordings from your device to YouTube for example, especially with a Wi-Fi capable device. And who knows, you might end up being the next big thing on YouTube!
How Can They Benefit Other Road Users?
Although we primarily do reviews of the best in car cameras in the UK, they have a use and can benefit other road users such as:
- Taxis – Can use a dual camera model to record the road as well as passengers in the back of their taxi, this can help the driver if there is an incident involving a passenger where evidence is required. However there as strict laws in place for taxi drivers when it comes to passenger privacy. Always be sure to check out your local laws first.
- HGVs – Usually covering lots of miles, a HGV cam should be considered for installation by the company, as in the instance of an accident the footage can be referred to easily by the company.
- Cyclists – In car dash cams have a use for cyclists even although the cyclist doesn’t actually have a camera. The car cam recorder can capture incidents of motorists driving too close to a cyclist, driving in a cycle lane or not leaving a cyclist enough room when overtaking. They can work the other way as well though protecting the driver from a negligent cyclist, who may be putting other drivers at risk with bad or carless cycling. However, similar to a system that a car would use, a helmet recorder could be used by the cyclist for the same sort of protection.
- Motorcyclists – Again like cyclists, even although the motorcyclist does not have a cam on their motorcycle, other road users still have a role in protecting motorcyclists, and in protecting themselves from them. Again, the same as a cyclist, a helmet recorder can be worn for similar protection
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We hope that we have helped you find the best UK dash cam for your requirements through our reviews, and at the very least have gave you a better idea where to spend your money. And remember people, always drive safe!