Transcend DrivePro 520 Dash Cam Review
- Front and rear cameras
- Custom adjustments to multiple features
- Distraction-free driving
- Mic can be switched on/off
- Effortless setup
- Includes 32GB memory card
- A rear camera designed for in-vehicle recording
- Narrow viewing angle
- Live video is sub-par
- Short battery run time
- Larger unit
Twin Cameras: The Transcend DrivePro 520 Dash Cam elevates vehicle safety with its seamless integration of dual cameras. The DrivePro™ 520’s frame fits two cameras, one front-facing camera and a rear 180° rotating camera, giving drivers ultimate protection and complete coverage while on the road. Both cameras employ six glass lenses and a CMOS sensor delivering remarkable visual clarity, especially during daytime driving. The front camera has a wide 130° angle lens with an F1.8 aperture, letting in plenty of light and and automatically adjusting to changing light conditions. This camera records in Full HD, 1080p at 30fps. The rear camera is intended for in-vehicle recording purposes, engineered for those driving “in the field,” such as taxi and private hire drivers. This camera has an F2.8 aperture, 110° field of view and records in HD, or 720p at 30fps. It employs four IR LEDs, boosting the camera’s ability to record in virtually no light, recording details of passengers and their actions as added protection for drivers on the clock.
IR LEDs: Infrared LEDs record in virtually no light. While the Transcend DrivePro 520 Dash Cam does not include night vision, the rear camera integrates the power of four infrared LEDs for solid in-cabin recording in near darkness. The IR LEDs automatically turn on when the camera detects that there is not enough light to effectively record. Note: Recorded IR footage is always in grayscale.
GPS Tracking: GPS functionality is built into the dash cam and can be switched between GPS and GLONASS navigation systems in the menu. Within the span of a quick 15-20 seconds, the GPS locates drivers and automatically sets the date/time stamp to log travel activity. The GPS system stores current and past travel routes as well as displays maps for navigation. If an accident occurs, drivers can relay their exact coordinates to the police and emergency response providers.
Emergency Recording: Emergency recording is triggered when the 3-axis G-sensor detects a sudden bump or severe impact. Footage recorded in this mode is saved as an overwrite protected file until further analysis. In the menu settings, the G-sensor’s sensitivity levels can be adjusted—particularly convenient for those with bumpy roads as a regular part of their commute.
Emergency Button: The Transcend DrivePro 520 Dash Cam features an on-device emergency button that can be manually activated by drivers, recording activity in-cabin or outside the vehicle. The button serves as another measure and means of capturing evidence, safeguarding those driving in the field from potential false claims or lawsuits while on the job. The emergency button records either video or takes still images. Files manually recorded by pressing the emergency button are saved as a locked, overwrite the protected file.
Wi-Fi Enabled: Using the Transcend’s DrivePro™ New App, Wi-Fi allows drivers to instantly upload and share recorded footage from an accident or false accusation made by customers with the police and insurers. Note: The app is compatible with Android and iOS smartphones and tablets only.
Snapshot Mode: The included Li-polymer battery is a dedicated backup source for recording should vehicles lose power. The battery powers the DrivePro™ 520 during Snapshot Mode, permitting users to remove the dash cam from its mount and take pictures in the case of an accident as a supplemental form of evidence. Snapshot Mode can even take stills while the dash cam is recording video, storing images as a separate file. The front camera boasts three megapixels of resolution, while the rear has one megapixel. Use the Wi-Fi capability and instantly send these images to police and insurers directly from the dash cam.
Loop Recording: Loop Recording ensures continuous, uninterrupted recording of travels. Once the memory card is full, Loop Recording kicks in, overwriting files starting with the oldest footage first. Loop Recording maximizes the camera’s efficiency and preserves valuable space on memory cards. Footage recorded from Emergency Recording mode, whether automatically or manually triggered, remain locked as overwrite protected files.
Auto Power On/Off: Smart technology prevents draining of the vehicle and DrivePro™ 520’s battery. With auto on/off functionality, the dash cam instantly powers on or off once it detects the vehicle’s power source with a simple twist of the key or push of the ignition button.
Transcend Software: Transcend’s DrivePro™ New App and DrivePro™ Toolbox contribute user-friendly platforms for streaming, reviewing, downloading/uploading and sharing recorded video and photos from mobile devices and computers. The mobile app supports live streaming of video from the dash cam, as well as downloading and instantly sharing video with the police and insurers in the case of an accident using Android and iOs devices. The DrivePro™ Toolbox is intended for reviewing footage on computers and is compatible with both PCs and Macs. With the Toolbox, users can review detailed trip summaries, including GPS coordinates (or Grass, the Russian satellite system) and travel speeds. The footage is organized and easily located within the software according to date and time stamps.
LED Screen: The Transcend DrivePro 520 Dash Cam includes a large 6 cm display screen. Brightness and clarity of the LED screen reduce eye strain when using the GPS or reviewing footage in playback. Drivers can make several selections to what is on the screen, alternating between front camera, rear camera or a split screen showing live visual feeds from both cameras. Additionally, the screen can be blacked out after one, three or five minutes of inactivity for distraction-free driving at night.
Transcend DrivePro 520 Dash Cam Pros and Cons
- Front and rear cameras. Transcend joins the next wave of dash cams with front and rear recording capability. Dual cameras yield more complete coverage of roadside conditions that can be used as evidence for the police, insurers and a means to prevent false lawsuits. The front camera provides impressive video quality, capable of making out license plates from a distance with minimal shaking due to road conditions. The rear camera rotates a full 180° for custom placement. Drivers have the option of directing the rear cam forwards, to the side to capture peripheral events or facing the cabin and out the rear window for versatile recording perspectives and vantage points while on the road. Potential consumers should understand that Transcend’s rear camera was designed as an in-field camera and meant to record in-cabin activity that protects drivers from false lawsuits or dangers while on the job. Integrating notable facial recognition technology, the rear camera is able to lock onto specific faces regardless of lighting conditions. If the driver, or front passenger, ever feel unsafe, they are able to activate Emergency Recording by manually pressing the red, on-device emergency button. During Emergency Recording, drivers can also take snapshots without removing the dash cam from its mount. As always, Emergency Recording files are saved as overwrite protected files.
- Custom adjustments to multiple features. Navigating through the DrivePro™ 520’s menu offers users plenty of ways to adjust modes and settings according to personal preference. Exposure, length of video segments (one, three or five minute segments), time stamp (on/off), G-sensor sensitivity, mic, delayed power off as well as display settings can all be modified by drivers through the intuitive menu.
- Auto-activation. As soon as the key is turned in the ignition, the DrivePro 520 Dash Cam sets to recording video footage. Smart technology detects the vehicle’s power source, saving drivers the added step of having to remember to turn the dash cam on/off.
- Distraction-free driving. Within the menu options, drivers can choose between varied settings for the display. Choose between constant-on, never on, off after one or three minutes of inactivity or never on. Turning off the screen is particularly useful during nighttime driving, eliminating excessive light inside the vehicle.
- Mic can be switched on/off. While not essential, the DrivePro 520 Dash Cam enables users to toggle mic recording on/off. As always, disclose and receive full permission from passengers before recording any conversations.
- Effortless setup. Drivers can choose between either the adhesive or suction mount package. While the Transcend DrivePro™ 520 is slightly larger than other dash cams, in-vehicle placement is simple and removal of the dash cam is smooth and effortless. The rear camera rotates a full 180° for optimized placement according to driver preference. When not in use, the dash cam easily stows in the glove box.
- Includes 32GB memory card for straight out-of-the box use. Transcend bundles the DrivePro™ 520 with a 32GB, Class 10 memory card for instant use on your ride home from the store. The memory card promises a 6,000 hour lifetime of Full HD recording for reliable performance.
- Rear camera designed for in-vehicle recording. While drivers can position and use the camera to record through the rear window, the DrivePro 520’s rear camera was designed for in-cabin recording purposes. The rear camera records at a lower, HD resolution of 720p. Furthermore, this camera does not adjust as well to variable lighting conditions, often overexposing elements recorded through the rear window making it difficult to read license plates and other details. However, at night when lighting is virtually nonexistent, the rear camera automatically mobilizes its infrared LEDs, recording exceptional video in grayscale that is even capable of capturing tailgaters.
- Narrow viewing angle. At 130° and 110° angles respectively, the DrivePro 520’s front and rear cameras have a narrower field of view compared to many single channel dash cams. While the field of view is sufficient for recording events occurring in front of and directly behind vehicles, it may fail to document activity occurring along the driver’s peripherals (unless the rear camera is rotated specifically in the driver’s blind spot).
- Live video is sub-par. Streaming live video of vehicles left unattended has its limitations. Firstly, continuous live video recording requires the DrivePro 520 to be connected to a constant power source (meaning installation of a hardwire kit, or risk draining the vehicle’s battery). Additionally, this mode requires strong Wi-Fi signals from where the vehicle is left parked and where you are located. Even in that ideal situation of Wi-Fi wonderment, users have been disappointed by the narrow radius in which they’re able to receive live feeds as well as the slow transfer rate of data.
- Short battery run time. Despite serving as a backup power source and for use during Snapshot Mode, the Li-polymer battery has a limited run time.
- Larger unit. Again, the Transcend DrivePro 520 Dash Cam is targeting a market of professional drivers. Hence, the unit is slightly larger than typical dash cams (even the new crop of dual cam dash cams) as it’s intended for business use.
The Transcend DrivePro 520 Dash Cam pairs front and rear recording capability for impressive visual coverage on the road and inside vehicles. The DrivePro™ 520 combines a powerful front lens that lets in plenty of light for optimized recording with fine detailing. At night, the front camera produces satisfying images, with minor halos around streetlamps and headlights. Footage from night recording appears slightly saturated due to an automatic post-production filter. The rear camera employs innovate IR diodes for superior recording in virtually no light. Both lenses are made from six layers of glass, enhancing details and textures. Transcend packs their dash cam with a host of popular features, including Wi-Fi, Live Feed, connection with their proprietary mobile app and plenty of customization options to settings. Its slightly larger footprint may be distracting to the average driver, but nothing too overwhelming.
Overall, the Transcend DrivePro 520 Dash Camera is a quality product guaranteed to perform reliably and is a must-have addition for those driving professionally. Its 180° rear rotating camera is optimally suited for recording in-cabin activity. Integration of dual channels safeguards drivers in the field from any roadside hazard as well as potential false claims and lawsuits brought on by passengers. While on the higher-end of the dash cam spectrum, the DrivePro™ 520 is a worthwhile business and safety investment, claiming its spot in our Best Front and Rear Dash Cam List.
Transcend DrivePro 520 Product Details
|Spec Name||Model Spec Details|
|Lens||F1.8, 130° wide angle (front) | F2.8, 110° wide angle (rear)|
|Image Sensor||CMOS, 3 megapixels (front) | 1 megapixel (rear)|
|Resolution/Frame Rate||1080p at 30fps (front) | 720p at 30fps (rear)|
|Low Light Recording||Yes|
|GPS||Yes (GPS, Glonass)|
|Wi-Fi||Yes, 802.11 b/g/n|
|Date/Time Stamp||Yes (on/off capability)|
|Video Format||H.264 (supports .MOV at 1080p)|
|Video Output||USB 2.0|
|Power Source||12 VDC car charger, 1x Li-polymer 430 mAh battery|
|Memory||Up to 32GB microSD card, Class 6 or higher|
|Compatibility||PC (Microsoft Windows 7/8/8.1/10; Linux Kernei 2.6.38, or later), Mac (OS X 10.8.2, or later)|
|Display Type/Size||LED/6 cm|
|Dimensions||9.6 x 6.5 x 4.4 cm|
- Transcend DrivePro 520 Dash Cam
- In-vehicle suction/adhesive mount*
- 12 VDC/miniUSB power adapter
- 32GB Transcend microSDHC memory card, Class 10
- Quick start guide
- Warranty card (2-year limited)
*Depending on package*
- Rocketek 4 USB 2-Sockets Car Charger/Cigarette Lighter Adapter Splitter
- DURAGADGET Carry Case with Belt Clip and Memory Card Holders
- In-Car Camera Recording Stickers-CCTV Signs
Founded in 1988, the Taiwanese electronic manufacturer Transcend has established a solid global reputation. Transcend has made a name for themselves, offering a wide range of over 2,000 electronic devices and multimedia accessories, including the following: memory modules, flash memory cards, USB flash drives, digital audio players, portable media players, portable hard drives, multimedia products and graphics cards to name a few. A 2007 report ranked Transcend as the world’s third largest manufacturer of USB flash drives.
The Transcend DrivePro 520 dash cam is a recipient of several awards, including the following: 5-Star Award, Nordhessen Rundschau (Germany); Recommended Award, CHIP Malaysia, Professional Driver (UK) and B2G (Philippines).