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86 of 89 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sain Store HooToo F198 dash cam
I have been using my F198 for a few days now [aug 15, 2011]...

In VGA mode it takes a decent picture. This mode is good enough to see stop lights & the cars in the field of view. The wide angle lense provides a very good picture of what is going on, but there is some loss of clarity. You can read the licence plate of cars stoped directly in front of you, and...
Published on August 14, 2011 by jon

versus
202 of 209 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars You get what do you paid for
Customer Video Review     Length:: 2:12 Mins
I have this DVR for 4 days.
The video quality is not that bad at this price. Please see my videos.
I use the following setting: SxGA(HD), 2 minutes file length, Transcend 8GB SDHC card (class 6). There are 6 seconds gap between the files. Something will happen in 6 seconds that you may miss.
37 files X 2 min = 74 min; 7 GB memory...
Published on December 15, 2011 by Q


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202 of 209 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars You get what do you paid for, December 15, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: SainSpeed F198 Car Dash DVR With Night Vision, Microphone Built In, 2.5" Rotatable and Foldable TFT LCD Screen display (Electronics)
Length:: 2:12 Mins

I have this DVR for 4 days.
The video quality is not that bad at this price. Please see my videos.
I use the following setting: SxGA(HD), 2 minutes file length, Transcend 8GB SDHC card (class 6). There are 6 seconds gap between the files. Something will happen in 6 seconds that you may miss.
37 files X 2 min = 74 min; 7 GB memory used.

The day time video is shaking a lot because my wife held it due to the suction cup could not stick on the windshield more than 15 seconds. I though it maybe the windshield too cold (36 degree F) so I tried it on the dress mirror at home with different methods - clean both side, moisture the cup with water, with alcohol. It always falls down in 15 seconds.

I took out my Gamin GPS suction cup and tie the DVR on it with rubber band. Gamin suction cup sticks on the windshield like glued on it even in the evening with colder weather and raining time.

I took the night video with the same setting as the day video. You only can see the license plate number that at font of you with HIGH mount on a van or SUV. The license plate on a sedan car will reflect the lights that from your car low beam.
I also took a night video in a clear night with / without the head-light on.
The raining night video shows local and high way.
I can hear the conversation with a little background noise on the playback records.

Once, the DVR suddenly stopped record without any reason while I was driving (cigar lighter power code was connected).

DVR was frozen twice in the last day. I had to take out battery to turn it off.

I decide to return this item and order another. It took a while for me to pull out the SD card.

Updated on 12/30/2011
I received a new one on 12/23/2011 and use it every day without any problem.
I set the record time to 10 min the longest record time, and the gap between the 2 files is 10 seconds. I tried both class 6 and class 10 SDHC cards and got same 10 seconds gap. I have to set it back to 2 min with 6 seconds gap. Lost 6 seconds record is better than lost 10 seconds record.

The video quality is better than the video I posted on Amazon. Because after I cut and combined the footages, it lost the quality during the save time. I will re-post the original video late.

Updated on January 16, 2012
The temperature drop to 28 F last night and this morning the DVR completely die because my wife forgot to bring it home and left it in the car which parked outside. I took it in home and let it seat for few hours to warm up and recharged the battery, but the DVR still could not be turned on. Lucky it still in 30 day return period and I always save the package until 30 day return period past.

Now I use $60 Kodak EasyShare Touch M577 14 MP Digital Camera with 5x Optical Zoom and 3-Inch LCD Touchscreen - Black with NAVGEAR Universal Dash Mountas the DVR. The Kodak M577 has 14 megapixels and 5X wide-angle optical zoom, and it easy to record videos in HD (only allow to record 29 min in HD, after 29 min it automatically stop record, you have to press the record button again to start another 29 min record) the battery only last for 80 min, but it enough for 20 min commute each way. The bad is that it cannot record while charging.
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67 of 67 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pretty OK, nothing special., November 15, 2011
This review is from: SainSpeed F198 Car Dash DVR With Night Vision, Microphone Built In, 2.5" Rotatable and Foldable TFT LCD Screen display (Electronics)
Length:: 2:00 Mins

The uploaded video is a 2 min clip recorded in 720P format.

I have been using this camera every single day, every time I drive, for about 2 months now. The picture quality is nothing special. Its pretty much like watching a video on TV recorded by a police car. There isn't much detail but it does catch whatever happens in front of the car.

The battery does not hold a charge for more than a few minutes so the camera has to be plugged into the 12V at all times. Also the connection between the 12V cable and the camera is pretty loose so sometimes the cable falls out of the camera when going over bumps. Taping the cable to the camera helps.

I use a 32GB memory card so it can record about 9-10 hours. What I like about the camera is that the LCD does not have to be opened all the time. The camera records with the LCD closed. Also, to start recording, all I have to do it hold the power button for about 3 seconds to hear a chirp sound and the camera starts recording automatically. It records in 2/5/15 minute intervals and afterwards it records over the old videos.

Overall I think that this camera is pretty ok. Its cheap but after all you get what you pay for.

***3 Month UPDATE: So it has been 3 months now since I'v been using this camera pretty much every single day. It still works just like the first day when I used it. There are normal signs of wear and tear but nothing serious.

One flaw I forgot to mention the first time when I wrote this review is that the date and time on the camera doesn't save. Because the battery doesn't hold a charge for very long, it resets the time and date. I would assume that if the camera was connected to the 12V 24/7, then maybe the time and date would not reset.

Anyways, I'm actually thinking about getting another one of these cameras for my other car. I just saw a scam attempt video online of how a car backed up into another car on the highway to do a scam. If the second car didn't have a dash cam, he'd be in trouble.

***4 Month UPDATE: I ended up buying a second camera for my weekend car. Although the new camera was supposed to be the same, its actually a bit different... better than the first one I got. When I bought my first camera 4 months ago, the camera was sent from California whereas the new camera was sent from Shanghai (Amazon seller BestDeal777). It seems like I received an updated model because the software looks newer and the power connection is different.

With my old camera, the 12V power connection was round, similar to a headphone jack and easily fell out. The connection in the new camera is USB (mini-B), works great and doesn't fall out. As far as the software in the new camera, the camera turns on a lot quicker and there is no "Welcome" screen. When the camera is turned off but connected to power, it shows a "full battery" icon or "charging battery" icon on the screen. The recording modes are in 2/5/10 minute increments. I use a Transcend 16GB Class 10 SDHC Card (TS16GSDHC10) with the camera and there is absolutely zero time loss between videos. In the video mode section, there are 3 options. One is "720p HD" the other "480" and the third is even smaller... I don't remember. The one that I use is 720p and it records in wide screen mode. On my 16GB SD card, I am able to get about 3.5 hours of video. Although it says 720p HD, it is not HD but whatever.

One thing I don't like is that with the old camera when I turn it on, it automatically starts recording and while recording, the indicator light flashes. In the new camera, it does not automatically start recording and the indicator light does not flash while recording. So in order for me to know for sure if it is recording, I have to open the screen. Not a huge flaw but a bit annoying.

***1 Year UPDATE
Both cameras still work however with some issues. On the first camera, the 12V cable fuse blew after about 8 months and I had to get a new cable. I ended up buying this one: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004ZL5ARI/ref=oh_details_o04_s00_i00. Although it is for Sirus Radio, the connection and power output are almost identical and have no issues with it. The second problem, still with the 1st camera is that the power connection inside the camera is really lose now it barely gets any power most of the time... not many options with this unfortunately. My weekend car camera has zero issues. It ended up falling to the floor about 5 times so far because the suction cup didn't hold well but thankful the camera still works.

Few tips:
+Use 2 minute clips, not 5/10/15 min clips-the shorter the easier and faster they will transfer to PC
+When the memory card is full, Format it! this way you will not have any gaps in between clips. When the card is full, the camera will stop recording in order to erase old clips. This can take several seconds or a minute+.
+Use the lowest resolution. I tried all 3 and there is no difference in playback quality. The main difference is that you'll be able to record 9.5 hrs vs. 3.5 hrs.
+DO NOT leave the camera plugged into the 12V for a week or 2 without driving the car. It WILL drain your car battery.
+Get the camera from overseas (Chine, Hong Kong, etc). It might be a newer model with a better connection and software.
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86 of 89 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sain Store HooToo F198 dash cam, August 14, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: SainSpeed F198 Car Dash DVR With Night Vision, Microphone Built In, 2.5" Rotatable and Foldable TFT LCD Screen display (Electronics)
I have been using my F198 for a few days now [aug 15, 2011]...

In VGA mode it takes a decent picture. This mode is good enough to see stop lights & the cars in the field of view. The wide angle lense provides a very good picture of what is going on, but there is some loss of clarity. You can read the licence plate of cars stoped directly in front of you, and with some time you might pick up a letter/number at a time for moving cars. It is much like a cell phone cam & shows cars pulling in your lane, or crossing the light well.

I set the motion detect mode on. At first it was not active at the time I started recording, but then I stopped the car - powering the F198 down & when I powered back up, it was in motion detect mode. The mode is not sensitive enough & is not acceptable for use when driving, so I advise leaving motion detect mode off.

At VGA resolution, it could record three 15 minute clips on 2 Gb. Then it deletes the oldest file when creating a new file. This process takes 2-3 seconds.

The F198 has a car-off detection & will stop recording when the car is off. This requires a switched circuit. The F198 detects loss of power & properly closes the active file using the battery before powering down. When the power input comes back, the F198 automatically resumes recording. If your cigar lighter is not switched... this feature will not work.

The menu is a bit difficult, so read the directions. The IR led mode works well from about 3-4 feet. similar to filming with a flashlight. You do not want to use IR mode for night driving because you will be recording the windsheid reflection... use standard mode.

The mount did not have a swivel end on it, so you end up extending it more than desired to get the correct angle. A better mount willl lower the profile of the camera in the window.

The LCD screen does not switch off when closed. This would be nice, but my battery did not go dead when recording over night.

I believe I got about what I expected because I first looked the camera up on the internet google/yahoo & also saw a video on you-tube. It is useful & of reasonable quality for the very low price.

Updated Aug 1, 2012: This camera has been working non-stop 24 hrs in my car for almost 1 year. The swevil at the camera connection is a bit loose & can't be tightened, so occasionally the camera may get turned if I drive too rough.
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42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad for it's price, July 20, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: SainSpeed F198 Car Dash DVR With Night Vision, Microphone Built In, 2.5" Rotatable and Foldable TFT LCD Screen display (Electronics)
Using this item for 2 weeks. It creates new files any 2, 5 or 15 minutes of recording (you can choose). It has 3 quality modes (VGA, DL, SxGA(HD)). Tried sxga, but the fps amount is not enough and the picture is intermittent, not comfortable to watch.
VGA has too low resolution but movement is smooth. The best choice for me became DL mode.

Picture quality is not impressive. You can recognize the licence plate number of the cars only near you. And it's almost impossible to do in the night on moving cars. Night vision is pretty good, but the headlights of oncoming cars create large white holes on the picture. The same with the stop lights of the cars in front of you.

Plastic is very low quality, but I didn't expect more for this price.

The dashboard mount works perfect, you just have to make the surface wet a little, and it will hold like with glue.

Not bad device but I'd like it to have better picture quality.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not to bad for the quick and dirty, but..., September 15, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: SainSpeed F198 Car Dash DVR With Night Vision, Microphone Built In, 2.5" Rotatable and Foldable TFT LCD Screen display (Electronics)
I bought this as a way of protecting myself in my cab. I have the camera pointed inwards so I can see my passengers, and if needs be (which I hope never happens) identify a run-out or worse, a robber. The picture quality is pretty good, for the price. The night vision feature is decent. The audio completely sucks, sound is really garbled can't understand anything hardly being said, which means I won't be producing my own "Taxi cab Confessions". All in all, the purpose I bought it for, it works well enough.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Would give it zero if I can, April 27, 2012
This review is from: SainSpeed F198 Car Dash DVR With Night Vision, Microphone Built In, 2.5" Rotatable and Foldable TFT LCD Screen display (Electronics)
I think most people want to have a dash camera because no one knows what could happen on the road.
If I don't know what will go wrong with the camera any time, there is no point of owning it.

It would be nice if it works the way it should.
Here are some of the issues I ran into:

1.Waited about 10 days or so for shipping:
no really a big deal except for I need to email the seller to ask that. (no tracking system)

2.SD card wasn't in it:
I emailed the seller again, they said "we copied the listing and didn't notice the package includes 2GB SD card."
They did offer me $4 for it.
This explains how much they know about their products.

3.This thing decides to quit when it feels like it.
After a week of use, the dash cam wouldn't start.
Have to remove the battery couple times to bring it back to work.
The same problem goes on until it died.

4.It just stop working after 8 months.
Emailed the seller again, and the answer is "Sorry to hear that. After checking, the product you ordered has only got 6 months of wuaranty. Any questions, please feel free to contact us." Yes, "wuaranty."
And only 6 months? Wow, that's new to me.

If you like everything I went through, this is the product for you.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Works but video quality could be improved, July 1, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: SainSpeed F198 Car Dash DVR With Night Vision, Microphone Built In, 2.5" Rotatable and Foldable TFT LCD Screen display (Electronics)
Length:: 1:24 Mins

I have been using this for 2 weeks. I bought it because of cheap price and OK review.
It meets my expectation. The video quality is OK. It could show what is going on in front of your car, just not high resolution. It is almost impossible to read out the license plate unless you and the other car are very close too each other. Changing to higher resolution setting doesn't help the video quality at all.
It does automatically start recording after car starts and stop once you turn off the car.
The size of the video is about 12MB per minute.
The viewing angle is about 90 degrees, not advertized 120 degree.

I uploaded a sample video for your reference.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Problems likely due to SD Card, February 22, 2012
By 
This review is from: SainSpeed F198 Car Dash DVR With Night Vision, Microphone Built In, 2.5" Rotatable and Foldable TFT LCD Screen display (Electronics)
I got this yesterday and unwittingly used it with a malfunctioning SD Card, so have hardly used because it froze up. However, I thought I would point out something that flummexed me when the device suddenly froze up and appeared unresponsive - having read the instructions where it states if it freezes up, then press the reset under 1 mm. Well, I can confirm after checking for 10 mins there is no reset hole!! How crap is this manual?

RESETTING:
===========
What you have to do to reset it ; 1. Ignore the Instructions. 2. Simply take the SD Card out, 3. take the Battery out. 4. Put the Battery back. 5. Turn on without SD Card. Voilia! all is working.

The second problem aera people have problems with is setting the Date/Time. Unfortunately, despite being a frequently used function, this is buried away in the menus and you have to use many keys to set it correctly. The procedure is ;

SETTING THE DATE/TIME:
========================

The trick here is to use the 'RECORD button' (next to the ON/OFF button) to cycle through the Year and time data fields. You use the UP and DOWN Button on the flip down to change the numbers, and the RECORD button as enter.

Locate the date/time menu by selecting MODE -> PLAY. Then press MENU until you get the SETTINGS MENU. Goto DATE/TIME with the UP/DOWN Keys and when it says 'NEXT MENU' go into this, Then PRESS RECORD and set this with the UP/DOWN Keys as described above.

REVIEW:
==========
I quite like this device, and the moment I got it, yesterday, I went out with it and was nearly involved in a accident as a car signalled right into a junction and rather than waiting for me to pass simply drove in front of me causing me to brake at 25MPH with cms tpo spare. A closer look at the driver told me he was about 13 and had certainly stolen the car, and thought he had right of way over the mainflow of traffic, which had to break from 30MPH to let him pass! The whole incident lasted only 5 seconds. It shows how critical having a camera like this can be! Unfortunately, due to my SD card failing (my fault) it didn't record this.

The device is basic and functional, and will do the job - it does work from the car lighter quite well turning on and off with the ignition. I haven't tried the fancy functions like motion detect, night mode etc... but I assume its just as useless (along with the 6 IR LEDS) as the other reviewers say it is. The added bulkyness of the 2.5 inch LCD screen is not really worth having in a device like this, and I would prefer a more unobtrusive (hidden) camera which could go behind the drivers mirror or look like a GPS module, Air Freshener, or Toy/Mascot which I can dress in local football club colours. reason is I hate the idea that this makes my car more vunerable to theft as it looks smash and grabable, (it looks like one of those expensive radar trap detectors) which defeats some of the purpose of having the camera.

The only other thing I would say, is that I would sersoiusly think about paying extra for a higher spec model with GPS and better res. The reason being, you will likely want to upgrade, despite this device being functional and generally fit for purpose, it will save you some money if you buy a higher spec model right away. If you look at techomoan on youtube you can see a 1040p, GPS device review with full logging etc.

Overall: Of its 3 modes; My device is without a DL mode, but is the same elsewise, and instead it has a QVGA mode. QVGA mode is next to useless (320x240) and cannot resolve number plate of car parked in front of mine, yet VGA mode at 640x480 is decent resolution and I can just about resolve the number plate of the car parked in front in this mode. SVGA mode I have NOT had a good look at, but I suspect this device just doubles the pixels in this mode and there is no difference between VGA and SVGA, however I have not tested this yet.

Frankly, for what you get for the price, its a bargain. One other tip - you have to make sure both the windsheild and the suction cup is spotless and wiped clean of all greese dirt, etc.. before you get a secure grip.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not good, October 5, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: SainSpeed F198 Car Dash DVR With Night Vision, Microphone Built In, 2.5" Rotatable and Foldable TFT LCD Screen display (Electronics)
Worked half an hour, then froze. Reset did not help.
This is the second unit I have received, the first one was damaged during shipping. Instructions are with tons of grammar errors, the box has no UPC code. The package contained no packing slip.
Never again will buy from SainSpeed! Amazon is degrading. This is my third return during two months.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars SainSpeed F198 works great. THEN IT DIES!, April 11, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: SainSpeed F198 Car Dash DVR With Night Vision, Microphone Built In, 2.5" Rotatable and Foldable TFT LCD Screen display (Electronics)
DO NOT BUY

i bought the SainSpeed F198 on march 15th 2012.

the camera was a bit awkward to figure out at first, but you get used to its setup quickly. it only turns on automatically when you start your engine
---IF YOUR TYPE OF CAR DOES NOT HAVE ALWAYS-ON CIGARETTE LIGHTER, my car and all other cars i have driven have an always-on lighter/power port, no big deal, just plug it in before you start driving.
---NIGHT VISION DOES NOT WORK, I.R. reflects off of glass, and I.R.-off shows only blobs of light at night.
---VIDEO QUALITY IS GREAT FOR DASHCAM, however, it is not HD quality like it said. there is no noticeable difference between the 3 video quality levels except for the file size, so only low quality mode makes sense. suction mount works perfect.

i returned it on april 8th

the day before i was about to order another one,
---MY SainSpeed F198 DIED, IN LESS THAN 1 MONTH!!!
I'VE SEEN CUT FLOWERS LAST LONGER THAN THIS CAMERA! very very displeased with it's lifespan.
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