Length:: 1:51 Mins
The Timetec AB216 2-channel dashcam provides either one or two channels of video data plus GPS information. The forward facing camera (and main control unit with a 3.5" LCD touchcreen) receives the second video channel via a wired connection from the rear-facing camera (a slave unit, with no onboard controls); the same cable also powers the rear camera. GPS data arrives via an external module that is powered by (and plugs into) the main camera.
There's lots to like a about this hardware and its software combination...along with some things you should be prepared to accept during use.
Note 1: video quality in the video accompanying this review has been compressed by Amazon for streaming, and is *not* indicative of this camera's excellent video output).
-Outstanding HD video from both cameras (front is 1080P, rear is 720P)
-Intuitive interface on the 3.5" front camera and main control unit.
-Multiple capture options: normal video, "event" video and parking video.
-The video viewer software (for Windows only) provides excellent side-by-side displays of the concurrent front and rear recordings.
-Easy to understand file structure on the microSD card (a 16GB card ships with the unit) cleary separates each of the "normal" (and therefore constantly overwritten) video segments from "event" video files (initiated either by the camera's G sensor or manually by the user and not subject to overwriting) from "parking" events (detected by the G sensor).
-Smart file naming convention that includes the date/time and F/R labeling that allow you to quickly determine front and rear video files.
-Excellent user documentation: includes well written, nicely illustrated color user guide and quick start guide.
CONS (none are show stoppers, but they are what keep this from being a 5-star product):
-Mounting configuration. The main camera snaps into a bracket which is secured to the windshield with adhesive tape; the rear camera attached directly to the window, also with tape. I haven't had the camera long enough to know how it will stand up to the extremes of a car's interior temperature, but the user guide specifically recommends avoiding repositioning. I would have preferred a suction cup mount allowing the camera to be moved between vehicles. Tip: Just consider the installation a one-time opportunity. Further, the bracket is hinged and the camera secured into the desired viewing angle using an (included) Allen wrench. You know you'll misplace the wrench in time. I would have preferred either a friction/detented hinge or a thumbscrew for this.
-Lots of cordage if you want to use both video channels and GPS. DC power, GPS and 2nd channel video are all provided via cords that connect to the top of the main camera. Presumably the topside location for these ports is to accommodate those who will hardwire their camera to the vehicle electrical system (cabling for this is included) and run their wires from overhead. For the rest of us, this means the three cables will pass in front of the LCD display on their way down to your 12 volt outlet. I bundled them with a series of cable ties to reduce physical and video clutter, and would have preferred these to be at the bottom of the camera instead. While the DC power and rear camera wires are non-negotiable, this camera is bulky enough that it could have accommodated an integrated GPS unit (similar to TImetec's own Road Hawk DC-2
-microSD card for storage. As with the GPS, this camera body is bulky enough that it could have held a full-size SD card. My objection to the microSD card will be obvious to anybody who has searched for one when the slot ejects it unexpectedly (or tried to insert it with adult hands).
-The map data (Google maps used) on the player display is simply too small and can't be resized (see screen capture in accompanying video).
-Apparent disconnects between the amazon product listing, which indicates the video format is .MOV (it's .MP4) and indicating the camera is dash mounted (it's windshield mounted).
None of these are terrible, and none was a major problem for me: but users need to be prepared for all of them.
Note 2: this item provided for review purposes.