Text: Benj Ngo / Photos: Benj Ngo | posted October 06, 2015 23:31
Budget friendly dashcam with premium features
Traffic these days can be a real pain and most people would not even attempt to go out if it’s not an absolute necessity. What more if you not only get into a jam but got into an accident. Dash cams are one of those things you wished you had if you got stuck in a traffic dispute.
Known for its reasonably priced quality flash memory cards and DRAM products, Transcend recently venutured into the dashcam market with its DrivePro series. We took the new Transcend DrivePro 200 (TS16GDP200) for a ride to see if it will serve its purpose.
Out of the box, the DrivePro 200 comes with a pretty simple package, the dashcam unit, 16GB micro SD card, a suction cup mount, cigarette lighter plug adapter, user's manual and a 3.5mm jack to female RCA plug adater for video playback to a TV.
Setting up the unit is pretty straightforward. You just need to put in the micro SD card, connect plug the charger onto the cigarette lighter of your car and you’re set for recording after inputting date and time. In consequent uses, the unit will turn on automatically once you switch on the ignition. It runs on this entirely and does not have other battery sources. This means that you can only review your footages when you’re in the car or if you’ve transferred them to your computer. Not a deal breaker as the unit has a 2.4 inch screen which is big enough if you want a quick footage review. Anyway, if the manufacturers put in another power source like a battery, the price might increase.
Boasting Full HD recording (1920 x 1080), the Transcend DrivePro 200 did produce crisp images --sharp enough that the plate numbers of cars are readable, though not all the time. Perhaps, the camera has a hard time focusing on a lot of moving objects. This might be an important point if you get into a hit and run and don’t have any proof or information except for your video to get you leads. Nevertheless, the camera records clear enough videos for daytime and night time. The camera also has an f/2.0 160° diagonal wide angle lens (wider than most dash cams in the market) that captures more of the road.
Similar to other dash cams, the unit uses loop recording but has an added G-sensor. This special feature, when activated by a hard bump, immediately locks videos so they will not be overwritten and ensures you get that very important footage. There’s also an emergency button on the side of the unit which does the same thing should the driver have the presence of mind to press it in case of an accident or emergency.
Another special feature is its Wi-Fi capability. In itself, the unit is easy to use and browsing on the menu manually is not difficult at all. Though having the Wi-Fi capability is an extra option by letting you control the camera with your smartphone should you want to change the settings even if the unit is not within reach.
In terms of size, the Transcend DrivePro 200 is compact and won’t distract the driver’s view at all. Though, it has an operating temperature of -30°C to 65°C, we didn’t want to risk leaving it out to bake under the sun when parked during the day. Also, a tip for users, the camera might invite unwanted attention from burglars so it’s probably best to take it down if you will leave the car parked out for a long time.
Transferring the images to your computer to view is easy as well. When viewed on a 13.3 inch laptop, videos are clear. There’s a choice to record by 1, 3, or 5 minutes. I find recording in 1 minute intervals useful especially if you are looking for a particular incident.
All in all, the Transcend Pro is a dependable, nifty and easy to use model if you’re in the market for a dash cam. It retails for PhP 6950, so you don't need to break the bank for this. At the end of the day, it does serve its purpose of recording your travels and giving you proof should you run into a car accident with actual footage. Visit http://ph.transcend-info.com/product/cvr for more info.