I recently bought my first car dash cam, a PEBA 1296P Super HD dash cam. I did a lot of research and ended up with the following features I wanted:
- At least 4 stars on Amazon
- At least 1296p resolution
- Circa 150 degrees field of view
- Suction mounting, not glue
- At least a 2-inch screen
- Cabled power
But that was just the technical specifications. It is surprisingly hard to find in-depth reviews of dash cams which actually focus on what’s most important when it comes to cameras that you operate while driving: the user interface and the user experience. Unfortunately when you haven’t owned a dash cam before, it’s hard to predict what kind of UX cases will be important to you.
Before I go on it’s worth noting that dash cams usually work in the following way: the camera fills up the memory card as you drive, automatically deleting the oldest recordings to make space for new ones.
Having used the camera for a while, two common use cases very quickly became obvious:
- Something happens on the road and you quickly want to save and lock the last X amount of minutes from deletion on the memory card.
- Quick and easy transfer of data from the memory card to computer or smartphone.
Unfortunately the PEBA camera doesn’t support any of these in a meaningful way. It does have a feature where tapping the OK button the camera locks a clip against being automatically being deleted, but the feature is useless because it only stores the clip a few seconds back. So, let’s say someone cuts you off or you see something funny and want to store that clip without going through hours of hours of footage to find it, this is not possible with this camera.
For quick importing of the footage onto my iPhone, I bought a lightning to SD adapter, but apparently this only supports a specific list of video formats, and the format the camera is using is not supported. So, I have to either bring my laptop into the car or bring the SD card with me into the house to import footage. Kind of annoying when you frequently like to watch the footage.
So, I will be buying a new camera which supports both of these use cases.