With smartphones being as widespread as they are it might not seem like we need gadgets like a GPS or a dashcam given our phones can handle that functionality just fine.
That having been said there are a few advantages to using a bespoke gadget particularly when it comes to a dashcam.
For the last three weeks we’ve been using the Transcend DrivePro 550.
The dashcam sports a wide-angle camera up front that captures footage in day time or at night quite decently but the real claim to fame is the swivelling camera which cam capture footage of the cabin, even when it’s dark.
The camera up front is able to capture video footage at FullHD resolution (1920 x 1080) at 30 frames per second. The swivelling camera is able to capture crisp footage at night thanks to four red LEDs around the lens which turn on automatically.
The only downside to this is that the image is grey scale and not full colour when recording in dark environments.
The camera is dreadfully useful and you can connect the DrivePro 550 to your smartphone via the DrivePro app. Through the app you are able to playback and download footage to your handset so that you can backup the footage in the event the removable microSD card inside (it’s included in the box) the camera is filling up.
We’ve tested a few dashcams here at Hypertext before and the one feature that is something of a rarity is a battery. The DrivePro 550 contains one though it’s not a massive battery at all.
At most you could coax 15 – 20 minutes from the battery depending on what it is capturing, for the most part however your car is going to need to be switched on to power the camera.
Our footage from the camera is currently being edited as it contains a number of license plates that we aren’t comfortable making visible online. As soon as we have that footage we will update this review.
The video below however does show off the quality of the camera well. We will of course place our footage alongside this video so you can judge for yourself.
One of the stand out features of the DrivePro 550 is a G-sensor. This starts recording as soon as the camera detects movement and in addition should an impact be detected the recorded file won’t be overwritten.
As we mentioned the battery in the camera is a bit small so to make use of this feature you’d need to either have a car which pushes power to the cigarette lighter when the car is off or an external power source such as a battery bank.
The feature we’re talking about is a time-lapsed parking mode which can detect any movement in front of the camera when you are not in the vehicle.
This can result in a few false positives if you’ve parked in a busy area but it might be useful at night if you’ve parked in a dodgy area.
So then, is having a dashcam vital in 2018? It really depends on the reason you’ve been considering getting one.
Are you concerned with getting into an accident and needing to prove the accident wasn’t your fault? That use case makes it hard to recommend outright considering how rarely we should be getting into an accident.
However, if you manage a fleet of cars or you are an Uber driver partner then I would absolutely recommend getting a dashcam if for nothing else but peace of mind. Obviously being able to capture an unruly client or negligent driver is a bonus as well.
Overall this little piece of tech is incredibly useful and if you are in the market for a dashcam the DrivePro 550 is well worth considering.
The one downside of this dashcam is its price. The DrivePro 550 currently retails for R3 166 through local etailer Raru.
That having been said if you are looking for a dashcam we recommend looking at the Transcend DrivePro 550, it’s rather good.
Disclaimer: The Transcend DrivePro 550 was provided to Hypertext by Transcend for review purposes. The device will be returned.