Getting behind the wheel – particularly if it’s a new car – can be a lot of fun. Whether you enjoy driving, enjoy the company of your passengers, or you’re just excited about your destination, there are plenty of opportunities to get excited when you get out on the open road. However, while you may be obeying the road rules, chances are not everyone is doing the same, with accidents unfortunately a very real likelihood, and can sometimes have serious and lasting effects. Even leaving your car parked on a suburban street doesn’t always mean it’ll be safe from harm, but what can you do to help keep your car protected? A dashboard camera is an excellent start. Our review compares dash cams on customer satisfaction, so you can find out what other Aussies think about the compared brands before you go ahead with a purchase. Think of it as like asking hundreds of your closest mates which dash cams they think are best!
Canstar Blue surveyed 259 Australians for their feedback on the dashboard camera(s) they’ve purchased and used in the last three years.
Respondents rate their satisfaction with their dashboard camera brand(s) from zero to ten, where zero is extremely dissatisfied and ten is extremely satisfied. Brand satisfaction was rated by respondents on the following criteria:
The winning brand is the one that receives the highest Overall satisfaction rating once all the scores from the Overall satisfaction criteria are combined and averaged.
Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included, so not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The brands rated in this survey are listed below in order of best overall satisfaction.
Navman captured a win with five stars in every category, including ease of use, design, user-friendliness, value for money, video quality, and overall satisfaction. Uniden and Garmin were the only other brands to earn five stars, sharing a win for user-friendliness.
Find more detailed information on our ratings methodology.
Navman scored a clean win across the board, rating five stars in every category including ease of use, design, user-friendliness, value for money, video quality, and overall satisfaction.
Known predominantly for its GPS Navigators, Navman has also diversified into the dash cam market, offering a number of models for motorists to choose from. The MiVue dash cam line makes up the bulk of the range. The MiVue 770 dash cam includes features such as 1080p HD recording, GPS-tagged videos, wide angle glass lens capable of a 130° view, a 2.7-inch LCD screen, Event Recording Mode which detects sudden changes in motion or the event of an impact, and automatically saves the footage in the event of an accident.
Other Navman models focus on specific features, with the MiVue SpeedoCam including a large speedometer on the display, while the Auto200GPS includes GPS tracking for record keeping. If you really want to keep your eyes on the road, the Focus450 Dual dash cam may be worth looking at, featuring front and rear cameras, a 2-inch display unit, 1080p recording, 3 Axis G-Sensor to show the direction of any impact, optimised day and night recording to capture a wide range of details in varied lighting conditions, and is compatible with a memory card of up to 128GB.
Uniden rated five stars for user-friendliness, and four stars for ease of use, design, value for money, video quality, and overall satisfaction.
Offering a wide variety of products, from baby monitors to security systems and radio scanners, dash cams seem a solid middle ground for the Japanese brand. Uniden’s range is primarily made up of the iGO range, along with a few Dash View models for those looking for something a bit more hi-tech.
The iGO range begins with the iGO CAM 30, which features a 2-inch LCD screen, 1080p recording quality, parking mode, a wide angle 120° field of view, a 3 Axis G-Sensor to show the direction of any impact, and Parking Mode which allows you to record even when your car is parked, and the engine is turned off. The top-of-the-line iGO model – the 90R – includes 4K quality footage on the front camera, and 1080p quality on the rear camera, in addition to Wi-Fi connectivity. It also includes a wide 135° front camera view, looping mode, a 128BG microSD card and a supercapacitor for longer battery life.
Garmin received a five-star review for user-friendliness, and a four-star review for ease of use, design, and value for money. It finished on three stars for video quality, and overall satisfaction.
Another brand that’s ventured into the GPS scene as well as dash cams, Garmin may not have the range as its competitors, but still offers a number of models that may fit the bill for your needs. Garmin products are available to purchase directly through the Garmin website, or through third-party electronics retailers.
For those who are after a small, discrete model may be interested in the Garmin Mini 2, which features 1080p footage quality, 140° field of view, incident detection, voice control, and is compatible with up to a 512GB memory card. The Garmin 57 is the middle ground in the line-up, featuring 1440p and 60FPS recording quality, a 2-inch display, rechargeable lithium-ion battery, GPS, Parking Guard and camera-assisted warning features such as lane departure and forward collision warning for additional safety. The top-of-the-line Garmin Tandem features a dual-lens camera with two 180° lenses for complete coverage, as well as NightGlo for night-time recording, voice command compatibility, interior recording as well as GPS for additional information and security.
BlackVue rounded up the ratings with four stars for design and user-friendliness, and three stars for value for money, video quality, ease of use, and overall satisfaction.
BlackVue – operating under the Pittasoft Co umbrella – was founded in 2010, and specialises in dash cameras, offering a number of models for everyday motorists, as well as a professional range. BlackVue products are available to purchase at auto retailers and camera stores, with a store locator available via the BlackVue website.
BlackVue’s range begins with the DR590 model, which includes 1080p and 60FPS recording capabilities, compatibility with up to 256GB storage cards, Wi-Fi, back-up battery, built-in motion and impact detection to switch between recording modes, and an optional GPS capability. If you’re after something from the Professional range, either the DR900X-1CH Plus or the DR900X-2CH Plus could be the models for you, ideal for taxi or ride-share drivers. Both models feature 4K resolution, built-in GPS, dual-band Wi-Fi capabilities, sleek control design and Parking Mode Recording to help keep an eye on your parked vehicle.
Not all dash cam brands in the market qualify for our ratings (based on minimum survey sample size), but that doesn’t mean they’re not worth considering. Here are several more brands to check out before making a purchase decision.
Our buying guide zooms in on everything you need to know about purchasing a dash cam, from the different types, to installation, to insurance claims to brands. We’ve kept an eye on all the important stuff, so you can keep an eye on the road.
While a dash cam may be a worthwhile investment, deciding on which one to install can prove a tough decision. Below are a few of the more common types of dash cams available in Australia:
The more coverage the camera offers, the more expensive it may become, but will also provide you with more footage should you get into an accident, which could save you time and effort down the line if you make an insurance claim.
While they all might appear to do the same thing, there’s a lot of variety available when it comes time to buy one. Here are some of the factors to consider before you head to the checkout.
You can install a dash cam by either connecting it to a 12V power supply (such as the cigarette lighter in older cars), or by hardwiring the unit into the car itself. While you’ll be able to attach most models with a bit of DIY (with instructions often coming in the box), you can also ask for your camera to be installed if you purchase from car shop retailers such as Supercheap Auto.
If you do decide to play handyman, to avoid being left with a lot of cord hanging from the camera, look to line the cord along the roof lining and behind the trim panels for a neat installation. Additional cords can usually be purchased if you need it for a neat interior.
Choosing where to install your dash cam is something you need to consider, with behind the rear-view mirror generally the standard recommendation. You’ll also want to choose a spot that the windscreen wipers can reach, or you may not be able to properly view any incidents during wet weather.
You may also need to buy a dash cam battery, particularly if the dash cam you’re looking at records while your car is parked. As most dash cams are connected to the car battery, it may drain the battery, potentially leaving you stranded. As a result, a dash cam battery may be a worthwhile investment, with most brands offering charging stations or additional batteries to combat this.
While a lot of the legislation regarding dash cams is playing catch up to the industry, dash cams are a legal car accessory in Australia, although common sense will dictate where and how you place your dash cam. However, it’s best practice to install your dash cam in an area that won’t impair, or obscure, your vision of the road, and to make sure the cords aren’t hanging down from the unit.
If you drive for a ride-sharing app such as Uber or Ola however, you’ll have to comply with a few additional rules. Regulatory bodies and state governments require drivers of ride-booking vehicles to purchase a pre-approved camera system to allow for safety of both the driver and passengers. A list of pre-approved cameras and models are generally outlined on government websites, and may vary from state to state.
Currently, no insurance companies offer motorists with dash cams a discount on their premiums, but it will likely speed up your claim’s process should you meet with an accident, meaning it may save you in other areas than your premium. Check out Canstar’s guide on dash cams and insurance premiums for more info on if there are other ways you can potentially save.
Dash cams can cost between $100 and $650 depending on the brand, model, and retailer you purchase through. According to Canstar Blue’s latest research, survey respondents spent, on average, $193 on their dash cam, with 16% of respondents also stating that they purchased the cheapest dash cam they could find, while 40% also stated that they purchased their dash cam on sale, meaning while some aren’t after all the bells and whistles, some are just thrifty shoppers.
With so many brands and models available, as well as no shortage of specs and features in each dash cam, getting out of first gear can be tough if it’s your first time venturing into the market. With a whopping 70% of survey respondents stating they purchase their dash cam for safety, it’s important to buy one that gives you additional peace of mind, even when you’ve parked it. Two-fifths (40%) of respondents said that they researched and compared various brands and models before, with 19% of all respondents wishing they had bought a better dash cam. While you can put certainly put a price tag on dash cams, it’s hard to put a price tag on peace of mind and feeling safe behind the wheel, so looking into all of your options, and choosing a model that can help should you get into an accident, is a sure-fire way you won’t be left spinning your wheels.
Megan is Canstar Blue’s Home & Lifestyle Editor, leading the team that focuses on consumer products and services, ranging from supermarkets and groceries to home and personal appliances and retail stores. She interprets Canstar Blue’s bespoke research on the thousands of brands that we compare, rate and review, to help shoppers make better purchasing decisions.
Samantha Howse is Canstar Blue’s Consumer Research Specialist, coordinating the consumer research program behind our customer satisfaction awards across Canstar and Canstar Blue in Australia and New Zealand. Sam has earned a Bachelor of Business (Marketing) from Griffith University and, with seven years in market research and 2 years in marketing, she is experienced in survey design, implementation and analysis, coupled with an understanding of marketing principles and best practice.
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