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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on January 31, 2012
The DOD GSE550 promises HD resolution recording with wide view angles and GPS tracking but some major flaws prevents it from living up to its promise.
Flaws:
1. 120 degree view angle is only available in 720p. In 720p mode, the GSE550 does not actually record with that pixel density, instead it records in a much lower resolution and uses software to generate 720p output. You can see gigantic pixels especially in sharp edges. In essence, you're getting a low resolution recording at 720p's memory footprint. This mode is useless.

2. The battery is an internal Li-po battery that can not be changed and has no ebay replacements even if you're inclined to change it. The battery in the unit I got does not hold more than 3 seconds charge. This speaks to the quality of the battery and the eventual problem you will face when it fails.

Having a working power source when the car is unplugged is very important as H264 video files become corrupted if they're unable to save before power is cut. Imagine getting in an accident that knocks out the car's power and corrupting the entire recording. DOD should use a high value capacitor or a user replaceable battery otherwise the entire device is useless.

3. The unit is advertised with a bundled 16GB memory card. That never materialized. False advertising is bad for business reputation.
"This listing is a package deal which includes the GSE550 as well as a free 16GB Class 6 microSDHC Card by 3C Pro."

4. The auto settings don't provide adequate sensitivity at night. This means you must change the settings manually

5. The included software player does not display x,y,z acceleration, GPS location, and velocity pass 5 minutes. Which means if you make longer recordings you will have to look at the log files to find out that info. When you exit full screen on the video it stops showing the video feed. Thankfully you can use VLC or media player classic. (Windows 7 x64)

6. You must press the mute button each time the unit starts up to prevent voice recording. This is annoying.

7. Vehicle velocity displayed on screen lags real velocity by many many seconds.

The Good:
1. True 1080p recording with 90 degree view angle is able to capture license plates if you're not moving and very close to the vehicle ahead.

2. Unit starts and records when the car turns on and stops recording when the power is cut.

3. Records XYZ acceleration and GPS data at a high enough frequency to be useful.

4. The screen makes setup easy since it's folded for storage.

I plan to use the GSE550 as a stopgap solution until a better unit is available. Hopefully the replacement unit has a working battery.

DOD if you're reading this here's what I'd love to have:
1. 120 degree view angle in 1080p mode with true 1080p pixel density
2. High value cap to hold enough charge to guarantee the recording finishes when power is cut.
3. User replaceable battery if you bother to include one or get rid of it to reduce cost.
4. Remember the mute setting across recordings.
5. HDMI out is not very useful, save a few bucks by removing it.
6. Make the auto settings work for day and night.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on January 30, 2012
The resolution of this device is great, and you can actually read licence plates and signs, as long as the roads are smooth. Where I live, sadly the roads far from autobahn smooth, but this is no fault of the device.
The DOD GSE 550 does have three faults in this otheriwse good unit.
1) Users have reported that the battery only holds a few seconds of charge, so do not expect to use this without it being plugged in (USB works as PWR source too). Not a huge negative, as the battery is only there to enable soft recording shut-downs when you turn off the car.
2) The screen is located a few precious pixels off centre and sits about 1/8 inch down, so the timer text is cut in half and not really readable. Other owners of the GSE 550 have also experienced this. I have not connected it to an external monitor.
3) For me biggest concern is the screen turning itself on, while in screen saver mode. At night this is bad.
My only guess so far is that the screen somehow gets activated when driving over a sharp bump. All my "G-sensor" settings are at zero, but the screen just turns itself on mid drive, while recording. The only way around this, is you have to stop and restart the recording, using the fiddly buttons now behind your mirror. Not recommended while driving.

This is my first Car DVR device, so I can't compare it against others. All in all this is a decent car DVR, with quality image and solid design clam shell. If a software update can fix the items above it gets five stars, otherwise a solid four.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on February 7, 2012
I am on second unit DOD GSE550 already. The most of pros and cons were more or less covered by other reviewers (wide angle is not wide, battery and so on), I am not going to repeat those. Here are the problems that I found in both units that I used.
- During playback in DOD player GPS tag on the map runs far ahead of video. My clips are 1 min long to avoid time lag between recordings nevertheless GPS tag runs faster than real speed and by the end of 1 min it is sitting more than 0.5 miles ahead of video record which is frustrating.
Another drawback I found on a long trip from Phoenix to LA and back is that DOD player can not accommodate all recorded files from my 32 Gb microsd. Manual and box states that product works with 32 Gb microsd. I can pull out approximately 4 hours of records into DOD player, the rest of the files are not showing but they are on microsd card. Those files could be viewed with regular player but without GPS positioning.
Customer service in DOD Tech is none existent. I have never been able to get any help from them, just promises to call to forward and so on but nothing real.
Overall this product is half baked not even in beta state of development.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 25, 2012
I've had mine for about 6 months. Every few days it freezes for no reason. The record icon which normally flashes stays solid, the camera still works but nothing records, the device wont turn off either until the battery dies. Its supposed to overwrite the oldest file on the sd card, but it seems to have major trouble doing that, it seems like when the card gets full, the files get corrupted easily and the device freezes. Its not too hard to fix, just take out the sd card and format it and you're good for a few days, but as everybody knows the day you forget to do that will be the day you have an accident, so this recorder is pretty useless unless they issue a firmware update to iron out the bugs, which hasn't come yet and doesn't look likely.
Its very awkward to set up, and the software is terrible. Its a pity because its a decent idea, and good design, but they are overcharging for an under engineered product. I'd hold off on buying one until somebody gets it right.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 11, 2012
I rec'd my dod gse 550 a week ago. So, far I'm happy with it. It works well, set up was easy, picture is clear during the day time and at night on well light streets (and still OK under darker conditions - you can still see everything - road signs and traffic lights are still clearly visible), gps works well, speed is shown in both KM and Miles per hr on the computer. the only thing is that I can't change the date settings (it is one day ahead of NY date, while the time is correct). I'm glad I bought this car cam.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 13, 2012
This thing is great. Small, includes a basic LCD so you can line it up and configure it without the help of another computer. Long enough power source that I can hide it . The biggest problem is mine will crash at least once a day, and requires a hard power reset to function again (using a paper clip). This only seems to happen after I've used it for the first time in the day, stopped the car (at which point its miniscule battery fails within 10-15 seconds and it shuts off), and then resumed the trip 10 minutes to 2 hours later. It simply won't power up at that point, and stays that way until I use a paper clip to reset it.

I'm going to be returning it to Amazon and either trying to find a competitor's model or just repurchase this one and hope that I just got a dud.
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on November 1, 2013
I purchased my first GSE550 over a year ago and experienced many of the problems some of the other reviewers suggest. I am writing this review to explain how I overcame these problems. For a video of this camera's capability look at my video on YouTube: [...]

1. The first item is the battery. The intention of the internal battery is to save the file after the power is shut off. Unlike other cameras, the battery is not intended to do anything other than save the last open file. I have dash cams (I would not recommend) that have motion detectors and a battery. These items are pretty much useless.

2. The Micro SD chip should be a speed rating of 8 or better. I have used 4 with 'some' success. Some success does not cut it when you are depending on this item to be your in-car witness.

3. I can get a week and a half of driving out of the chip and DO NOT trust circular recording (noted by many). I cannot tell you how many times the device froze up before I discovered why. The GPS Logger uses sensors that automatically make a file READ-ONLY so the file is not overwritten. The problem is, the sensitivity is such that 80% of the files become read-only and then you have a mess. What I do is pull the chip, back it up to computer, and format the Micro SD chip. End of all problems. (If you backup all three directories then the GPS Logger items are available).

4. The DOD Player has not skipped ahead in my experience. However, how I found this GSE550 (at a Great Price (see Below)) item while doing a Google search on how to change the DOD Player to MPH. The Camera can use either KPH or MPH, but the playback software only displays KPH. Annoying.

5. If you simply want to see the picture, play it back in Media player full screen and do not use DOD Player. You do not get the axis or GPS info, but you get a swell picture. Some reviewers noted the grainy night shots and some of that disappears using full-screen playback.

6. You do have to mute the microphone every time and that is annoying. I tend to flame up when the I-D ten t's are on the road and have to edit a lot of audio out.

NOTE: I did not buy my first GSE550 from Amazon. I purchased it when it was first came out and paid over $300 for it. So the item here is a great price and I just bought a handful more (From Amazon) so I can equip all my vehicles and put a rear camera in my primary vehicle.

If you can accept what others call shortcomings that I have commented on and you use a class 10 chip that you format each time you pull the data you will enjoy the utility and picture quality of this item.

NOTE II: If you let the camera format the chip, it will put the DOD Player utility on it. Naturally, if you format with your computer, no player. So do not freak out that you lost the DOD Utility.
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on May 13, 2013
Night time is spotted. Does not loop automatically. Like the other feedbacks say, there is NO MEMORY CARD with this dash cam. VERY FALSE advertising. I thought maybe they had changed and made sure it was in there but still after all of the complanints, NOTHING. Not sure how this is allowed by Amazon. I had to go to Sams Club and spend 30.00 on a Micro Memory card. That was an expense that I did not plan on. Dash cam does not have power when you stop the car. It stops also. No way to set it to stay on. When my memory card was full the dash cam turned off while driving. I turned it back on and it told me the memory card was full. I had to erase the memory card to reuse it again. This is scarey if you are driving and this happens and you do not notice and then you need it..... remember Murphys Law.

Just be aware, that it is April of 2013 and they are not giving you the memory card with the dash cam. Amazon need to make them delete that fromtheir description of the item for very FALSE ADVERTISING. Upset about this.
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on January 22, 2013
I should have returned this camera while I was still within the return policy window.

When it does work, it works great - the picture quality is pretty good, and camera itself is designed nicely.

Now for the bad - as soon as your SD card is full, the camera will freeze pretty much ALL THE TIME (it is supposed to overwrite the oldest file, I have it set to 1 minute clip). The red blinking light becomes solid, and none of the buttons are responsive. Only fix? Disconnect power cord, wait for the camera to die, reconnect power.

Random "SD Error" messages - even though I'm using a recommended Amazon Basics class 10 16GB card, which I have tested with multiple utilities.

Bottom line: the camera may or may not work when you need it most. If you're really unlucky, perhaps it will cause an accident while you're trying to mess with it to make it record again...

The screen turns on randomly, even though it's set to never turn on - really annoying at night.

The microphone has to be disabled every time the camera starts - there is no setting to keep it disabled.

The speedometer overlay on the video lags several seconds behind the real speedometer - best to disable it.

The time needs to be manually set, even though the unit has a GPS receiver...

NO WARRANTY SUPPORT FROM THE MANUFACTURER! The supposed "1 year warranty" is a joke. I contacted the US distributor, who advised me they don't sell these products anymore and don't provide support. They also said they believe the manufacturer went out of business (I wonder why...). I went to DOD-Tec Chinese website and could not find any warranty claim information.
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