When you think about dashcams, you typically picture an action-camera-looking solution hanging from your windshield. They face forward and record everything going on with the road in front of you as you drive or while you are away. This is great for so many reasons, but they do lack a few opportunities, such as what is going on behind you during these times.
So, in order to increase your protection, some companies have been developing front/rear solutions that allow you to keep an eye on both sides. This also increases the feature list of what these devices are able to achieve beyond normal recording. One of these devices is the VanTop H610 10-in 2.5K Mirror Dash Cam. It records both front and back, and in a unique way.
Most front/rear solutions feature both cameras built into the same device. So the rear camera is picking up everything inside of the vehicle as well as if you were looking out the rearview mirror. The only issue with this is that you develop blind spots. So VanTop decided to go the route of some of the upcoming smart/electric vehicles that you’ll soon be seeing hit the streets from companies like BMW, by placing the rear camera on the back of the vehicle (and on the outside).
It attaches (installs) above your rear license plate. There is a cable that runs from it to the main unit that you have to fish around as you find the best path. Now, you have a perfect rearview of your vehicle with no obstructions from the inside of the vehicle.
Of course, this also means that it does require you to have experience with working on a vehicle enough that taking certain parts/sections off to get to the license plate efficiently, doesn’t bother you. Else you will need a professional for the install. So that is something to keep in mind.
To make things even more unique, the main front camera isn’t your typical action-cam-looking device. Instead, it covers your rearview mirror. It turns your mirror into your display, and the front camera sticks out from the side, behind the unit and facing the window. It uses rubber straps to attach securely to your mirror and then the camera slides in and out and moves around so that you can get the best view with it.
Now, you not only have a front and rear-facing camera, but the rear camera replaces your normal mirror view. So you also no longer have any blind spots caused by seeing the inside of your vehicle in the mirror. It also means your mirror is now a giant touch-screen that allows you to see everything coming from this camera, or the front camera, or both (split-screen).
In fact, it’s a very fluid experience to swipe between the modes. In the above image, you can see the front camera to the left and the rear camera to the right. There isn’t really any noticeable delay/latency in what you see (which is incredibly important), and it bounces between the modes nearly instantly as you swipe around.
You can also use the screen to access the menu for adjusting various settings with, such as resolution, sound, parking mode and more. You get all of the same features you’d expect from a dashcam, including the ability to record any bumps to the vehicle as it is parked.
Taking things even further, the rear camera also functions as a backup camera. When installing the camera, it has a second shorter wire (red) that you fish into one of the rear light housings on the back of your vehicle, and tap into one of the backup/reverse lights. This allows the camera to know when you are backing up. So as soon as you throw your vehicle into reverse, your lights come on as normal, and the camera switches to your typical backup display (it lowers the view to the ground and overlays colored lines to show how close you are to your goal and other obstacles).
So it’s your front camera, rear camera, backup camera, and rearview mirror. There is a lot going on for this device, and all of this for $99. This is an incredible price.
The screen is large and quite responsive to the touch. Simply put, it is awesome and easy to look at. The ability to switch back and forth is awesome. The feature set is awesome. The quality of the front-facing camera is awesome (2K resolution). You can capture license plates and everything just fine.
Of course, for only $99, there have to be some caveats right? Well of course! Clearly, the rear camera could benefit from being the same resolution as the front. In fact, we’d rather it be 4K since it is replacing your mirror. Instead, it is only 1080p (and compressed). The rear camera is simply a support camera more than anything and is mostly about backing up. It’s a clear shot of what’s behind you, which is great, but (again) the reduced resolution is unfortunate. It would be worth spending a little more if they offered a model with 4K shooting out the rear so that the mirror is a bit more realistic feeling. It would also allow you to see further.
There is a learning curve to adjust to the camera vs a normal mirror. The difference in point-of-view and resolution is noticeable and a little disorienting at the start since your brain is expecting a mirror without any resolution restrictions other than bright lights or a tinted window behind you. So this throws you off. It does get a little easier as time goes by, but safely getting through that learning curve would be challenging.
To be fair, this is also going to be the case if you had a perfect 4K resolution as well. We have sat in some of the upcoming models from companies like BMW that are replacing mirrors with cameras. Their screens feature a much higher resolution and feature things like object recognition. Along with it all, a huge learning curve as your brain tries to adjust to it all.
So for this model from VanTop, it would just benefit from a higher resolution on the rear cam. It’s all about safety after all. At least until all vehicles are autonomous, and even then, it’s nice to clearly see what’s going on without second-guessing anything.
The quality of the parts is pretty solid, and the instructions are pretty straight forward for the most part. Sadly, they can’t walk you through the exact details of installation since every vehicle is different, so these parts of the instructions are a bit vague (like “install it above your license plate area and run the cable to the front device” kind of vague). Some vehicles will offer a way to run the wires naturally, and others you might find yourself drilling the path out. So it isn’t for the faint of heart. If you have to question it, get a professional to do it for you.
Want some sample footage? Sure you do! Check out the video below the conclusion information (below) and it will end with sample footage from both cameras that we recorded during our tests.
This is a fun dash (and everything) cam. Installation (as long as you know what you are doing) is pretty straight forward. You don’t even need the instructions outside of knowing that the red wire connects to your backup light (and even that is kind of obvious). The front resolution is perfect (dashcams always perform best at 2K or 4K) and the resulting video files look great. The rear camera, however, is only 1080p and this weakens the product as the unit also replaces your rearview mirror with the image on the screen. Honestly, it is the only complaint as everything else it has going is great. We’d rather see a crisp/clear image on the screen so that it best replaces the image quality you’d get from a mirror (vs a noticeable resolution and compression). The touchscreen is quite responsive and fun to operate. In fact, the size of the screen is perfect for a camera in the vehicle, especially when you are relying on it as your backup camera. It’s a fun approach to a dashcam that also allows you to upgrade the mirror in your vehicle to be like some of the newer flagship smart/electric vehicles you are able to see hit the market. It just needs a better resolution for the rear cam. Beyond that, it is just a learning curve to adjust to having a camera, instead of a mirror that sees both the inside and outside of the vehicle.
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*Average price is based on the time this article was published
- 66 inch Touch Screen
- 320 X 1280 Display Resolution
- ARM Cortex A7 CP
- Hi3556 Chipset
- Front Camera
- IMX335 STARVIS Sensor
- 160° Wide Angle
- Rear Camera
- 140° Wide Angle
- Front Camera
- Front Camera?2560 X 1440P (Default)
- Rear Camera?1920 X 1080P (Default)
- Supports up to 128G SD card at class 10 or above
- Power Supply
- Input 12V-24V, output 5V 2.5A for car charger
- Working Temperature
- -4°F – 140°F
- Strap design for easy installation
- Operate Temperature
- 0°C ~ 45°C
- Video Format: MP4
- Photo Format: .JPG
Are you a manufacturer or distributor that would like us to test something out for review? Contact us and we can let you know where to send the product and we will try it out.
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