on December 9, 2013
This is a cost-effective, relatively decent dash camera. It does have some features I was pleased to see - Shock sensor which, when enabled, will automatically write-protect or lock the 3 minutes preceding the impact and a period of time following the impact; emergency record button for when you need to record video RIGHT NOW!!!; support for up to a 32 GB microSD (it comes with an 8 GB microSD); date/time stamp on every frame of video or still (can be disabled); 12Mpixel still camera (max - can also do 5Mpixel), with or without a delay. The unit can also be configured to invert the video in the event you want the camera mounted upside-down.
The unit is, quite literally, ready to use out of the box. Plug the vehicle auxiliary power cable (cigarette lighter cable) into the camera and then into the vehicle and you can immediately begin recording video (it automatically starts recording).
There are a few shortcomings with this dashcam. The suction mount it comes with, while strong, is such that there is over 4 inches of space between the lens of the camera and the windshield. The mounting point on the camera is proprietary, so the suction mount would need to be modified to use any other mount. The spring on the microSD slot is actually too strong, in my opinion. Should you have a mishap and slip when trying to insert or remove the microSD card, it can go flying across the room - literally! Fortunately, I was in a room with wall-to-wall white tile or I would have never found the flyingSD.
As I frequently park in places where having a dash cam in plain sight would attract thieves, I have to take the dash cam with me. It, unfortunately, does not come with a semi-rigid case, nor does Cobra seem to sell one.
In summary, a good value if you are willing to accept its extremely minor deficiencies. Good job, Cobra!
on February 23, 2014
So, I have had dash cam's for the past year or so. All from China, the last being a good cam (DVR207) which in itself received good reviews. That is, until I figured out if was putting out spurious signal emissions that were screwing my FM signals up. My GPS traffic receiver could no longer receive signal, weak FM radio blocked, etc. Nothing worked to resolve that other than to wait until "FCC approved" US based companies got into the game....and now, Cobra and soon Garmin (next few weeks) are finally jumping in.
Took a shot and bought this cobra about a month ago, used from Amazon ($93). When I received it in 2 days, looked to be new. If you're used to these type devices or are a nerd, it wasn't to difficult to get through the menu system. But for most, it would be nice if they could put a basic manual together with simple instructions. The biggest step, is that the menu cannot be accessed while recording. Most dash cams don't come with a external off/on mic button, this does which is great. The screen is not bad for the price, pretty much have to be right in front of it. No side viewing. The camera rotates but you have to manually go into menu and flip image. That should be a future firmware fix, that if you rotate camera, the image automatically flips. The suction cup has been good so far...though that will be finally determined once the Texas heat arrives. Note, make sure you remove the plastic suction cup cover that it shipped with, it peels off otherwise ain't gonna work. The boot-up and auto start of recording is fast and has been without issue so far. Once you mount device in plastic mount and it clicks, I don't think it will come out very easily without taking it off of windshield and strong arming it out. I just remove microSD card instead of taking entire unit inside to laptop to review video.
Now for performance: I have not taken any still shots, no use. The video resolution I am using is the 1080P HD which gives 1920x1080 and 55 min with supplied 8gb card or 220 min with 32gb card which is what I am using. This resolution aslo gives you a wider view though a little distorted on edges which makes sense. Speaking of the microSD card, it is on the right side of the unit and comes out fairly easily with a pen or long finger nails. Everything seems to just work, the time stamp is top center, not in the way. The video output, even with a class 10 microSD card still gives you a twice/sec very brief stutter. Not really a big issue but somewhat annoying when reviewing video. Must be a throughput issue at higher resolution? The HD resolution, not awesome but not that bad either. You can read license plates in daytime if they are within one car length. The tint on my unit leans towards blue which I have read on other reviews...not that big a deal. If I am in a accident or something happens within view of this camera, I don't think I really care that the trees seem a touch blue.
For the price, this is a must have. The Garmin unit without the GPS, like this one, will sell for $219 next month. I cannot imagine anything better with that unit except the video being crazy sharp but I doubt that will be the case.
This thing just works. I have not had one issue with unit and I drive for a living. Have probably put 5000 miles on car since installing and no lockups, failures to start. I have mine set to record for an extra 15 min after power is disconnected, the battery handles that without issue. I really haven't tested non-replaceable battery, but seems to be OK. The supplied cord is long enough for my install, probably 8 ft or so, don't remember. If I remember something else, I will add later. I will also add any issues if they occur, once it starts heating up in a few months. Whoops, almost forgot...the video during daytime is pretty good though you will get dark area's (low contrast) that will severely show pixel's, not that big an issue. Also, night time video is pretty good if you're in a city with street lights, otherwise your head lights are all you're gonna see. Also, the IR lights are a waste of time. Make sure you leave them off, they just make things worse at night.
Playback hasn't been a problem on my computer with built in windows 7 player. If you do have a problem, download the Cobra dash cam player from Cobra's website. It is actually for the CDR-830 (GPS version) which has not been released yet. It will obviously not show you any GPS data but the video from this unit plays fine on it.
Hope this helped, if you have any questions feel free to ask. I have not posted any video on uTube but there are several samples after searching.
Night Visibility: Keep in mind that you're buying a $100 camera, not a night vision device. If you take your smart phone out, hold it up to the windshield at night, this is pretty much what you're going to get. If on a country road, moonless night, all you're going to see is what the headlights are hitting. On the other hand, if you mainly drive in the city with plenty of street lights, this device isn't that bad.
on March 1, 2014
This camera was a mixed bag of pros ands cons. First of all, I tried two other dash cams around this same price range, and this one was better than the others in the categories that were important to me. I've had this model for about three weeks and so far it seems very reliable. It records video clips when it is set to record. This sounds like a no-brainer but the other cams I tried constantly had gaps missing between clips when they should have been recording. However, this camera is useless for recording at night. Basically, you can't see anything passed your headlights. I drive a truck during the day so this was not a major concern for me. Also, when recording at 1080P HD the video frame rate drops to 24 fps causing a stutter when viewing the playback. I record at 720P and the playback looks awesome and you are still able to read road signs at this lower resolution. This camera seems to have problems rendering green at times and the trees and grass have a purple tint to them but that still wasn't a big problem for me.
The only other drawback was that the owners manual for the camera is very basic and not very informational. Still, anyone with any tech savvy at all should have no problem figuring out how to use the camera.
Another pro about this model was the fact that you can lock the current recording with the push of a button, preventing it from being recorded over. Great for saving interesting moments on-the-fly.
Finally, the built in battery can keep the camera recording for at least half an hour. I leave the cables in my work truck and use the battery to record my drive home. Very convenient.
Overall, it met my needs without having to spend twice the amount of money to get a higher end camera.
on September 18, 2014
Wish there was a way to give NO stars. The item says that it is "Professional Quality" - in reality, this is not true. The unit itself is ok, but the resulting image and image quality is far below par. It actually looks like it was taken by a digital camera from 2001. All the green trees look pink and you can NOT read the tag on the car in front of you sitting at a red light or stop sign (unless you have the magical CSI software). This is the third Dash Cam I have tried and it has by far the lowest resolution image in the resulting video file. I checked the resolution and it is set correctly. I reached out to Cobra, but they offer no reply or solution. I would suggest you avoid this item unless you just want a cute ornament for your window.
Wanted to add that while this item was connected to my vehicle (2014 Equinox) I was getting errors in the tire pressure monitoring system. The monitor would go nuts and an error would display in console. I thought it was truly an error with my vehicle, but once I removed the device from my vehicle, the error went away. I can only assume that it caused interference with my vehicle systems. Don't know why.
on January 3, 2014
The good: excellent video quality
The bad: rather poor instrucitons
The video quality is excellent, day and night. I was also impressed with the sound quality. Mine was set at 720p and sound off as default. It did take some "playing" to change it to 1080p with the sound on and to change to current date and time. I also replaced the provided 8GB card with a 32GB card. Depending on the angle of your windshield, this device may sit back from the windshield 3 or 4 inches. Remember, it will also record what's on your windshield so don't base the quality of the video based on windshield cleanliness. It is also easy to remove the dash cam from the mount, leaving the mount in place which I find handy. The camera can also be flipped around to record the inside of your vehicle. I hope I never have a need for the video, but it does give me peace of mind knowing I'll have a record if I should need one.
on May 21, 2014
I got this from another retailer, but felt the need to leave a few remarks here for other buyers.
This camera is good, but should be better for the way it is advertised. First of all, it's a good idea to ignore the 1080p setting entirely. The framerate will max at 24fps at that setting vs. 30fps at 720p. This wasn't entirely a deal-breaker for that setting, but I did some side by side comparisons to find that there appeared to be no actual boost in quality when going at 1080p. The camera WAS saving the video at that resolution, but upon close inverstigation it appeared to be pretty much the same as 720p, only upscaled by software to 1080p. I don't think the sensor in this unit can actually capture proper 1080p. I decided that smoother playback was more beneficial than any small amount of clarity to be gained by the higher setting. The still mode shots are even further upscaled from what appears to be the same source resolution as the video...so they look really blurred. you can actually see the original pixels blurred from the up scaling.
The compression of the video seems pretty high too, so expect to see a fair amount of artifacts in the video too (license plates are only readable when close and still). Another 'issue' is the color captured by the device. Expect to see vegetation come out as pink or purple. I'm pretty sure this is because the unit lacks a filter for IR light, so you are actually capturing the high amount of IR light reflected from the plant life (as is very common). I understand the lack of filter to be to enhance the units sensitivity to IR for the 'night mode'. This isn't an issue for me due to the fact that I'm recording the road and cars... the color of the trees does not matter. It's cool, though, if you put a visible light filter over the lens because you can record in infrared only which looks surreal and dreamy.
I didn't really find myself having any issues with the menu system as other reviewers have noted. Once you understand the button functions as listed on the insert, everything is clear. The function of the unit is very solid and pretty nice compared to the cheaper one I had previously.
I will say, though, that I like the unit. The video quality is more than passable at 720p for the price I payed for this. The sensitivity is good enough to still capture good video in low-light conditions such as dusk. It's small and comes with a very long adapter cord that I can wrap along the ceiling over the passenger visor, around the door over the handrail, behind the passenger seat, and up along the center console to the lighter. I do recommend this unit if you understand that you aren't getting iPhone quality 1080p video and have a budget cap of about 100 bucks.
on June 11, 2014
We used this on a recent road trip. We pushed the orange button every time it was recording something we knew we wanted to keep, otherwise it would keep recording 3-minute segments until the 32Gig card was full (four hours worth) and then would record over the oldest ones. By marking with the orange button, the device saves those files as SOS... filenames and will not record over them. Handy feature. Very high quality HD video! (keep your windshield clean in front of the barrel) !!
on December 25, 2013
You can buy a cheaper Dash Cam than this but you always pay for what you get.
I purchased a cheaper no-name dash cam from China. Boy did I regret it. It didn't work as it was supposed to and since there is no name behind the product, there is nobody to complain to when it didn't work the way it was supposed to.
Usually, Cobra products tend to be rubbish. They seem to have sold their name a few years ago and allowed people to put it on any old cheap electronic crap. Perhaps they are trying to make a comeback. This is pretty good. My only disappointment is that the user interface- the buttons don't seem very intuitive. I guess that will smooth out while I get used to it.
The IR lights seem ineffective/nonfunctional. Everything else seems to work fine.
on August 15, 2014
Great little dash cam for a good price. I wanted something that was simple to use and completely automated. I didn't want to have to turn it on/off, or manually start/stop recording each time I wanted to use it or I would never use it. This is exactly what I was looking for. It automatically turns on and starts recording when the car starts, and automatically stops recording and shuts off a minute or so after the car stops. The quality of the video is quite good too. I have noticed videos will occasionally get corrupt when in 1080P HD mode. Not too often, but every now and then it happens. When on 720P I never had that issue so I keep it on 720P most of the time.
After a few months of use, one thing I noticed that is a bit annoying: If you don't use it for a few days, the battery will die (even when the unit is completely off). When the battery dies, the date/time resets to Jan 1, 2013. Which is annoying because until you fix it, the date/timestamp on all the videos will be wrong.
on November 21, 2013
Very easy to setup and all the options are clearly explained in the included instruction manual. Like almost all dashcams, the IR LEDs are pretty much useless while mounted inside on the windshield. The video is clear at 1080PHD(1920x1080) and is somewhat viewable at night; I haven't bothered to try out the other resolutions yet. The suction cup mount is very sturdy but could be better if it was a little longer and more adjustable.
Finally a dashcam designed by an american company and not chinese mass-imported and rebranded(Top Dawg and 4Sight brands sold at TravelCenters of America/Petro Stopping Centers come to mind).