Today I’m handing the blog over to my husband for a fantastic product review. He’s loved reviewing this Philips ADR810 Dash Cam so if you’re looking for the detail and the technical stuff as well as having a family friendly focus, you’ve come to the right place. Over to you Shilts….
As regular readers of the blog might know, I have in the last 12 months changed my job. I have gone from being a classroom teacher, always based in one place, to being a university lecturer who is on the road quite a bit. I still don’t spend as much time on the road as a lot of professionals, however the more time I do spend in the car, the more aware I am becoming about the safety of me and my family and that of other drivers.
As someone who considers myself to be reasonably tech-savvy, it is therefore somewhat surprising that I haven’t considered a dashboard camera, or ‘dash cam’ before now; after all, between us we own most of the popular home gadgets that you could need (plus a few more!). So when Philips invited us to ‘road-test’ the ADR810 Driving Video Recorder (aka dash cam), I was only too happy to do so. I knew that I had a good road trip coming up, as my work was taking me to Cardiff; perfect for testing out the camera.
Upon opening the box, there was the camera unit, a windscreen attachment that needs to be positioned in place before use and a power cable that attaches to the car cigarette lighter. The cable plugs into the camera using a micro USB, and as I had a cable that fitted this for my mobile phone, I was able to power the unit up by plugging it into my laptop prior to the first in car use. This was useful to be able to do things like changing the time and date, and also looking through the menu options on the unit.
The camera also needs a micro SD card to be able to record footage upon, and these can be purchased in various different sizes. I used a 32GB SD card in the dash cam for my journey. I was up early on Saturday morning, and after attaching the camera into place just behind my rear-view mirror and powering it on, I was ready to go. We often take long journeys as family that can be up to 200 mile round trips, so it is important that the equipment matches the purpose.
The first thing that I noticed was that once the unit is powered on, it begins recording almost immediately. I like this, as it means that you don’t need to remember to begin the process prior to starting to drive. The cable provided was also long enough that it could be run around the inside of the windscreen so that it doesn’t provide a distraction whilst driving.
My journey to Cardiff began at around 6am, and being as we were into December, the sky was very dark at that time of the morning. However, just before I moved away, I noted that despite the darkness outside, the picture clarity on the unit was very good. The unit incorporates a Sony CMOS sensor, which provides backlit recording in low-light situations. This is the sort of technology that has been present in camcorders for a while, and is the technology responsible for being able to film at night.
High Definition Video
The camera records in 1080p HD video. If you are unsure about the meaning of this, it basically refers to the number of horizontal lines that the camera is capable of using to record. The more horizontal lines that are used, the better the quality of the video. In this case, 1,080 lines are used, and this in turn produces the high definition picture quality. The ‘p’ in 1080p refers to ‘progressive scan’ – meaning that the whole picture appears on the screen at the same time, a common feature in most modern digital recording devices.
I was interested to find out a few things whilst using the camera. As a computer scientist, I do have a good handle on file formats and storage devices. I wasn’t sure how the camera would handle the files, and so when I decided to break up my journey with a short stop half way, I had a quick look at what had been created so far, and was interested to find that it had broken up the footage into 3 minute clips, however there were no breaks in the video, the footage simply followed on from one clip to another. Due to the HD resolution of the camera, each three minute clip is around 280 megabytes in size – important to note if your laptop hard disk is already quite full prior to transferring any video!
As the night turned to day on my journey, the footage quality did not change – it was still a very good and clear recording. The camera also has the ability to record sound, and I did find myself chatting away to the camera on the way down to Wales! This would be a very useful feature in the unfortunate event of an accident, to be able to record reactions and any associated noise that might give clues in the event of any disputes.
Collision Detection Feature
The camera also has a feature built in called collision detection, and what this means is that if a collision does occur, the camera stores the video in a different place to standard clips and prevents them from being overwritten accidentally. If something did happen, you would definitely want to be able to depend upon the footage being present – nothing would be worse than reviewing the film and finding that the crucial few seconds worth that could provide valuable insight had not been captured successfully. To accompany this, there is also the opportunity to quickly switch the camera into emergency EasyCapture mode, so that if a situation arises in front of you that you weren’t expecting, a press of a button on either the device itself, or the cigarette lighter attachment will turn this feature on.
The other thing that I liked was that the video footage all comes date and time stamped, and it is easy to scan quickly through the clips (saved as MOV files, playable by most video players) to find the footage that you require.
The final thing to note is that you do need to think carefully about the size of Micro SD card that you require for the types of journey that you regularly make. The round trip to Cardiff was in the region of 230 miles, and this produced around 20 gigabytes of video. The 32GB card that I used for this journey was more than adequate, however if I had used a smaller capacity card then some of the earlier footage would have overwritten itself. You will also need a card reader or SD card adaptor to plug the card into for the purposes of transferring video to your computer.
In summary, we are really pleased with the Philips ADR810 dash cam As a busy family on the go, we are often doing journeys around the UK, and as our roads get busier it is of paramount importance that I can ensure that I can keep my family as safe as possible whilst travelling. If you are looking for a high quality digital dashboard camera that will record in HD and won’t let you down in an emergency, we would definitely recommend it.
The Philips ADR810 Dash Cam retails at £159.00 and is a great investment for peace of mind for families who travel by car on a frequent basis.
Disclosure: Post in partnership with Philips