Already a rage in the US and Russia, dash cams are becoming more and more prevalent amongst Indian drivers, and for a very good reason – they can actually help you get out of a grim situation and save you a bundle of involuntary expense at the same time. Let me explain, a dash cam (dashboard camera) is something that continuously records the view of the road when you drive and acts as your undisputed eye witness to prove your innocence in case of a collision. Think of it as a slightly rudimentary GoPro for your car.
And like the aforesaid action camera, the internet is flooded with a whole bunch of dash cams with different specs, varying video quality and gyro based features. While you can get entry level models for around Rs 1,500 to Rs 3,000, the quality of these cameras is questionable. Meanwhile, the high quality ones start at around Rs 6,000 and come with more features other than basic recording. One such model is the T810 full HD DVR with a 4-inch display that we have here on test.
Priced at Rs 7,500, the T810 is ready to be used out of the box and includes the main camera (with the display), windshield suction mount, mini USB cable, power cable, dual USB port car charger and a special power cable to hardwire the connection to the car’s battery in case you would like to record all the time.
For the price you also get a rear camera for parking assist although what’s really useful is that you can enable it to simultaneously record as you drive along, for both front and rear footage. However, unlike the main camera, the rear camera needs to be installed with some professional help as one needs to drill through the number plate to mount the camera and connect it to the reverse light cable.
Coming back to the main camera, the T810 rocks a 12 megapixel, 170-degree wide angle lens along with a 4-inch IPS display. Like all dash cams in this price range, it comes with auto power on/off and an accelerometer that senses if the car has taken a hit and saves the footage for viewing later.
As for the quality of accessories and packaging, we found both to be mediocre. Although the main camera plus display is surprisingly light and feels solid, the plastic suction mount is flimsy and the USB car charger and cables are of poor quality.
When installing a dash cam, the first and foremost thing to do is to make sure that the main unit is mounted at a spot that is out of the driver’s sight. It is commonly always behind the rear view mirror.
The next step is to make sure to line up the suction mount high enough so that the field of view is wide enough to cover the bottom left and right edges of the windscreen.
Perhaps the most difficult bit of the whole installation process is plugging the power cord to the camera and linking the other end to the cigarette lighter in the cleanest manner without leaving any wires dangling. The ideal way to setup the power cord is by pulling it up into the headliner and tucking it away until it’s reached the driver’s side A-pillar. The headliner in almost all vehicles can be gently pulled down for the cord to be pushed into.
Next up, you need to run the cord down the A-pillar by putting it inside the rubber beading to reach the bottom of the dashboard. From here, make sure to look for any form of hooks under the dash to conceal or wedge the cord before directing the car charger towards the centre console. Plug it into the cigarette lighter and you are all set!
Now that it’s unboxed, installed and ready to record, it’s time to see if the T810 is any good as a reliable eye witness to my daily commute and weekend drives. More on that and the verdict in the next report so stay tuned.
Pictures by Kaustubh Gandhi