Are you here 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!
Nowadays more and more people are acquiring dash cams, as the need for them becomes more necessary. Drunk drivers, careless speedsters and even incidences of road rage can all be logged and saved for later reference. In fact, the UK happens to be among the countries, along with France and Russia, which have been gaining the most dash cam popularity in recent years. It’s due to the simple peace-of-mind that they provide, as well as a formidable card to pull out if you encounter drivers who won’t admit that they are wrong, even when are.
If you are considering getting a dash cam then make sure you buy the best one for your money. This article has reviews of the best dash cams in the UK on the market in 2017, with everything you need to know about what to look for when selecting the best dashboard camera for you. Each one has been specially placed on this list after extensive research and feedback and, depending on your specifications, will all do an exceptionally good job of catching everything on film. With that said, let’s take a closer look at our list.
Our Top 5 Table
Best Dash Cam in the UK of 2016 – 2017 Reviews
Still seen as the best on the market by many – the highly-advanced Nextbase 312GW. This particular dash cam is embedded with all the features needed for novice and professional motorists. It sports an updated, all-new design which is highly durable as it is innovative. It contains the state-of-the-art Powered Magnetic Click&Go Mounting system which allows for swift and efficient mounting by way of magnets and power-driven touch points, eliminating the need for any annoying wires. Removal and attachment is quick and effortless, so you will be up and running, or should we say driving, in no time.
The 312GWalso features high-speed Wi-Fi and, together with the smart Nextbase App, you can review and share all your recorded footage on social networks, with friends and your insurer in a jiffy. Thanks to high-resolution, full 1080 HD recording, information such as number plates and other vehicle details that may be required later will always appear crystal-clear and without blurs or blemishes. This is critical in avoiding any misunderstandings or complications at a later stage.
An additional feature, and an all-important one for motorists, which is included is top-notch GPS. By utilising Google maps and an extremely accurate sensor, your speed, journey and most importantly your location is recorded. Moreover, in the case of an accident, all road names and types are logged, thus providing you with every detail of the incident.
Efficiency, security and safety are the name if the game with the Nextbase 312GW, with all aspects of a supreme dash cam accounted for with creative ingenuity and hi-tech additions. It is easy to see why this is still regarded by many as the uk’s best dash cam on market in 2017.
- Easy to dismount and attach
- Offers quality HD footage day and night
- Has a range of great features with it
- Simple and easy to use
- Comes with a 12 month manufacturer warranty.
- Fantastic price
- Photo mode doesn’t last long with the built-in battery
- Memory card not included
- Some buttons a little awkward to use
Our Verdict: A Near All-Round Masterpiece
Nextbase 512G Ultra
Nextbase makes another entry with the unique and award-winning 512G Ultra. As with the 312GW, the 512G Ultra is jam-packed with an array of extra modes and features, taking the concept of the dash cam to the max. A notable feature is the Anti-glare Polarizing Filter which minimizes glare on your widescreen allowing you to obtain clear recordings, even if you are facing the sun. Furthermore, if you are already travelling in bright, sun-filled conditions, the 512G’s Wide Dynamic Range feature automatically adjusts brightness levels and guarantees capturing images of the utmost clarity and superiority.
The WDR also works just as effectively for night-time driving with up to ISO 3200. Recordings are further enhanced as a result of the ground-breaking Sony Exmor Sensor which delivers brighter, more colourful images during the day and night.
Yes, as already mentioned, the 512G Ultra comes with comprehensive range of hi-tech features and they cannot all be discussed here. But, let’s look at one more which rounds it off as a winner – the peerless 2.7 inch 16:9 LED screen. In terms of a dashcam screen, this one is substantially better than most and allows you to capture every intricate detail over a wide-range with clear-cut quality. It also has an easy-to-use playback option.
The Nextbase 512G Ultra couples revolution with the well-being of the consumer in mind, thus earning itself a well-deserved spot on this list.
- Exceptional high quality recording image in all conditions
- 140 degree wide angle view
- Packed with lots of great features
- Photo mode allows for clear still images to be taken.
- Fully compatible with PC and Mac.
- Very simple and easy to use
- Does not come with Wi-Fi
- Difficult to dismount
- Memory card not included
Our Verdict: Ultra Optics
MAISI HD 1296P m15
When it comes to resourcefulness and convenience, the MAISI HD 1296P m15 does not compromise. To start off with, it has one specifically distinct feature that differentiates it from alternatives – the 1296P Super HD lens. The resolution outdoes 1080p by a long-run and the definition delivered is unmatched. Complimenting this is its high-speed photography capabilities of 30 frames per second, promising crisp, flawless imagery. This advancement alone makes it ideal for anyone, but there is more.
By way of auto ignition, as soon as you start your engine the camera will automatically start recording and stops upon turning your engine off. It also provides unlimited recording time thanks to the loop recording addition. At night, the High Dynamic Range function makes sure that in poorly-lit areas your visibility is as sharp as a wolf’s, therefore safeguarding your well-being on even the darkest of roads.
Anything can happen on the road, but when bad weather strikes, the chances of an accident occurring are higher. The MAISI HD 1296P however, is unaffected by weather due to its six-layer glass lens which also exhibits F/2.0. Whether you are driving through a heavy thunderstorm or a sub-zero blizzard, the 1296p is able to draw out the highest level of quality images possible. Its 150 degree wide angle covers a large area without image distortion.
Upgraded, fresh features and a number of accessories including a car charger, handy start guide and a lithium ion battery, make the MAISI 1296P m15 one-of-a-kind and a wonderful addition to the dash cam market.
- Ultra HD crisp clear recording in all conditions
- Excellent price
- Slim and lightweight at only 181 grams.
- 150° viewing angle
- Supports microphones and speakers
- Hi-tech Ambarella A7 hardware enhances the camera’s speed and stability
- No Wi-Fi or GPS
- Does not include a Micro SD card
- Only supports a maximum of 32GB
Our Verdict: Hidden Gem
Yes, that’s right, another Nextbase dash cam and a superb one at that. Its slick and slim line design boasts new-age QUAD High Definition 1440p footage which provides ultra-clear, sharp recordings at 30 frames per second. Downloading and sharing footage is quick and easy with the renowned Nextbase Cam Viewer app which is available for the iPhone and Android.
The Nextbase 412gw has parking mode built into it, allowing it to operate and record even when your car engine is off and you are not in your car, as long as it has a continuous power supply, you can do this by getting the camera hardwired to your car.
The screen can also be turned off while recording and constantly films from the moment the power is activated. It also records audio, so you can hear as much as you can see perfectly. As with the previous Nextbase models, it contains the Click & Go Powered Magnetic Mount, allowing for a wire-free camera and simple attachment. Adding to this is its lightweight, at under 300 grams, and durability ensuing that it isn’t affected by any bangs and drops. Nothing more needs to be said about Nextbase, who are clearly pioneers of the dash cam arena in the uk. However, this model does come with its problems.
- Sharp recording quality with Quad HD
- Feature rich
- Easy to dismount and attach
- Simple to setup and use
- Includes a nice 4 metre long power cable and clear instructions
- Built in battery life like the 312GW is poor
- Does not include an SD card
- Some models a bit of a hit and miss with reliability
- No photo mode
Our Verdict: Built Round The Video quality
Transcend DrivePro 200
The Transcend DrivePro 200 is a neat, compact dash cam with a range of exclusive highlights. In fact, it’s hard to believe that a camera of its size could support so many features. Its screen is only 2.4 inches with 1080p high-definition recording and a rate of 30 frames per second. Image quality is taken up a notch with seven glass lenses delivering superbly well-defined images. The DrivePro 200 also provides a massive viewing range thanks to its 160 degree viewing angle.
Now for the best part – Emergency recording. The DrivePro 200 has a Motion G-Sensor that instinctively safeguards recordings by sensing impact. In the event of an accident, this sensor will instantly prompt the camera into emergency recording mode, therefore preventing all vital moments before the accident from being overwritten. When evidence is needed for insurance companies and police to ensure that you are compensated accordingly, this feature really pays off.
Besides all of the above mentioned first-class extras the DrivePro 200 can also be operated wirelessly which is both a convenience and beneficial plus. By and large, the Transcend DrivePro 200 is certainly one of the most reliable uk dash cams reviewed on our best dashboard camera guide for 2017.
- Crystal clear recording day and night
- Huge 160° viewing angle
- Emergency button that activates emergency recording mode
- Includes a 16GB Micro SD memory card
- Nice and compact
- Well priced
- G-Sensor a bit sensitive
- Manual activation
- Date and time settings don’t save
- No suction cup provided
Our Verdict: Reliable and Great Value For Money
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 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?”
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 in the 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. Check out our guide to choosing the best front and rear / dual dash cam.
- 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
Final Word on The Best UK Dash Cam of 2016 – 2017 Reviews
There you have it folks. All the ins-and-outs, information and recommendations you need to make your decision-making a little easier. Either way, the fact that you are reading this means that you are taking a step that will prove priceless in the unfortunate case of an accident.
Accidents are dreadful and the last thing anyone wants is to have more dread piling on them. Dash cams eliminate all unneeded headaches and investing in one is one of the wisest moves you will make, you can be sure of that. Hopefully our best dash cam uk reviews provides you with all the knowledge you need, to ensure you spend your money on the right camera for you and your needs. Thanks for sticking around and always remember to drive safely and responsibly. Take care!