Canstar Blue’s 2021 Dash Cam review has seen BlackVue, Navman, Uniden and Garmin rated on picture quality, ease of use, ease of accessing footage, memory capacity, sound quality, design value for money and customer satisfaction.
See our Ratings Methodology.
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’s 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?
The humble dash cam has become a mainstay in vehicle tech, offering additional peace of mind for motorists, as well as no shortage of YouTube compilations of close-calls and dodgy drivers. But when it comes to picking up a dash cam for your ride, where do you even begin? To help motorists keep an eye on the road, our annual ratings provide a guide as to which dash cam brand may prove the best fit for your needs, and your peace of mind. This year, Canstar Blue surveyed over 440 Australian adults that have recently purchased a new dash cam, so we could turn their feedback into the ratings table you see above, with brands compared on important factors like picture quality, memory capacity, design, value for money and so on. Those which received the minimum survey sample size of 30 responses are featured in our results.
BlackVue was picture perfect, taking out top spot in our inaugural Dash Cam ratings, claiming five stars across all categories, including value for money, picture quality, ease of accessing footage and overall satisfaction.
Here are the best dash cam brands in Australia, as rated by consumers in Canstar Blue’s inaugural review:
BlackVue was streets ahead of the competition, scoring five stars in every ratings category, including overall satisfaction, with Navman the only other brand to achieve a five star rating, sharing the top spot for value for money. Navman was also rated four stars for overall satisfaction, with both Uniden and Garmin finishing on three stars overall.
To find out what each brand has to offer, what type of dash cams are available and what to consider before buying, read on below.
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, backup 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, the DR900S may be the model for you, ideal for taxi or ride-share drivers. Featuring 4K resolution, infrared camera, built in GPS, dual-band Wi-Fi capabilities, 2.1MP internal camera and Parking Mode Recording to help keep an eye on your parked vehicle.
Known predominantly for its GPS Navigators, Navman have also diversified into the dash cam market, offering a number of models for motorists to choose from. The MiVue makes up the bulk of the range, with the MiVue 755 dash cam including features such as 1080p HD recording, GPS tagged videos, wide-angle lens capable of a 130-degree view, a 2.7inch LCD screen, Event Recording Mode which detects sudden changes in motion or in 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 2inch display unit, 1080p recording, Wide Dynamic Range for automatic optical adjustment, Low Light specifications for when the sun is just on the horizon, and is compatible with a memory card of up to 128GB.
Offering a wide variety of products, from baby monitors through 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 2inch LCD display screen, 1080p recording quality, parking mode, a wide angle 120-degree field of view, and comes with a USB charging cable, and is compatible with up to a 64GB microSD card. The top-of-the-line iGO model – the 85R – includes 4K quality footage on the front camera, and 1080p quality on the rear camera, in addition to Wi-Fi connectivity to transfer the footage to the Uniden smartphone app. It also includes 160-degree field of view, impact and motion detection, GPS tagging, parking mode and a supercapacitor for longer battery life.
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-degree 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, 2inch 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-degree 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.
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 a claim.
While they all might appear to do the same thing, there’s a lot of variety available when it comes time to buying 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 cord 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 you 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 on 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 $600 depending on the brand, model, and which retailer you purchase through. According to Canstar Blue’s latest research, survey respondents spent, on average, $189 on their dash cam, with 13% of respondents also stating that they purchased the cheapest dash cam they could find, while 30% 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 59% of survey respondents stating that 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. One third (33%) of respondents said that they researched and compared various brands and models before, with 18% 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.
Photo Credit: Teerawut Bunsom/shutterstock.com, GOLFX/Shutterstock.com, Titikul_B/shutterstock.com
This report was written by Canstar Blue’s Content Projects Lead, Dean Heckscher. He’s our resident expert on all things automotive, health & fitness, streaming and more. Dean is also one of Canstar Blue’s customer research report producers, helping to turn complicated subjects into easily-digestible information for our readers. He’s passionate about helping consumers make better-informed purchase decisions on all manner of consumer goods and services.
Canstar Blue surveyed more than 6,000 Australian small to medium-sized business owners or key decision-makers (i.e. the key decision-maker for the business) across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction, via ISO 26362 accredited research panels managed by Qualtrics. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who have a new dashboard camera for their vehicle in the last 3 years – in this case, 441 people.
Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then by mean overall satisfaction. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.
Best-Rated Dash Cams - November 5th
Nothing beats that new car feeling. But with plenty of brands, models, engine types and even colours to choose from, it can all prove a bit overwhelming. But if you find yourself drawn to the …– Read more
Best-Rated Dash Cams - November 5th
Taking the plunge on a new car can be an exciting (if expensive) time, with no shortage of brands, models and colours for you to choose from before you can hit the open road. But …– Read more