With more errant drivers being caught on camera going against the flow of traffic, you might want to safeguard yourself by installing a dashboard camera, or dashcam, in your car.
For that, consider the Mio MiVue 698 bundle. It comes with a MiVue 698 front camera, a MiVue A20 rear camera and a Smart Box Cable.
The Smart Box Cable connects directly to your car battery and provides continuous power to the two cameras. This way, it prevents your car battery from being drained of power. It is great for continuous video recording when your car is parked.
Thus, this bundle practically gives you complete coverage whether it is a rear hit or frontal impact during driving, or collision when parked.
Installation with concealed wiring for both front, rear cameras and the Smart Cable Box will cost roughly between $80 (Asian cars) and $100 (continental cars). I think it is a small price to pay rather than have unsightly cables dangling in the car.
Unlike some dashcams in the market, the lenses of both the MiVue 698 and the MiVue A20 are made of glass instead of plastic. Not only does glass provide better image quality, at least in theory, but it is less susceptible to deterioration under the hot sun in Singapore.
PRICE: $399 (includes MiVue 698 front camera, A20 rear camera and Smart Box Cable)
LENS: 130-degree (front camera) and 140-degree wide angle (rear camera)
DISPLAY: 2.7 inches (front camera)
MEMORY: microSD card slot
WEIGHT: 102g (front camera) and 48.5g (rear camera)
VALUE FOR MONEY: 5/5
The MiVue 698 takes up very little of your windscreen space with its 2.7-inch display. There are four buttons on its right and one power button on its left. Interface is pretty straightforward, and you will be able to navigate through the menu in no time.
It also comes with GPS tracking, so you know exactly where a collision took place to facilitate insurance claims. It even includes other data like speed and altitude, which can be accessed via the MiVue Manager software (Windows and Mac).
The front camera records videos at a resolution of 2,304 x 1,296 pixels at 30 frames per second, much higher than the usual full high-definition (HD) resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels. The A20 rear camera records full HD videos.
Videos recorded by both cameras are sharp and vivid. Even for night recordings whereby it is understandably grainy, you can still clearly see the number plates of the cars in front of and behind your car. Audio is also clearly recorded, including your in-car singing.
The MiVue 698's parking mode utilises its motion sensor to save and lock "event" recordings to protect them from being deleted. It will alert you to these "events" when you start up your car. You can view the clips to see if there have been any collisions. Thankfully, the events recorded during this review were just of me opening and closing the door or boot.
The MiVue 698 also features the Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS). When you deviate from your lane, it will start warning you via voice prompts or sound alerts.
I found the LDWS to be a tad too sensitive. You really have to be in the middle of the lane.
A slight deviation to avoid roadworks cones or obstacles will result in warnings.
Another notable feature of the MiVue 698 is the speed camera warning. Whenever you are a certain distance away from a speed camera (this threshold is customisable), it will warn you to slow down and adhere to the speed limit.
I found it t be pretty accurate during my drives.
But with more speed cameras sprouting up, there were instances when it did not issue any warning. You could add a new speed camera location by pressing the second lower right button at the home screen. But you should not be doing that when driving.
My only quibble is the lack of Wi-Fi for easier transfer of video clips from the camera to a smartphone. You need to take out the microSD card from the camera in order to retrieve the videos. But I really hope there is no such need at all.
•Verdict: The Mio MiVue 698 bundle is almost everything you need for a dashcam and peace of mind at a very affordable price.