The considerations I had for a dashcam were – Reliable, capacitor based, atleast 2k and dual dashcam. Wanted something which was just fit & forget.
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I have been using Viofo since Aliexpress days ~ 2017. After using A119 and A119S since the past 5 years, with no problems whatsoever, naturally my first choice was Viofo. The considerations I had for a dashcam were – Reliable, capacitor based, atleast 2k and dual dashcam. Wanted something which was just fit & forget. Not something I’d have to maintain with TLC. I did not want anything which would just give up because of heat, cold or just freeze the videos in between without even a notification. So, in all these considerations’ reliability part was paramount to me.
Usually, I am a brand loyal person. I don’t jump ships very often. But this time I started looking for alternatives because of Viofo’s pricing in India. Dashcam’s from companies like 70Mai and DDPAI cost almost half of what Viofo retails in India. If anybody from Viofo is reading this, please reduce your prices, like me not everybody is brand loyal. Initially, after looking at prices on Viofo’s India website, I started looking for alternatives.
DDPAI Z40: I was about to buy this, had added this to my cart then thought comparing price to Amazon, if they were running any card promotional scheme or if there was a lightening deal available. Thank God, I didn’t purchase it then and there, because this is what I found on their Amazon page:
Immediately dropped this.
DDPAI MOLA E3: This had all the features I wanted, dual dashcam, auto glare and 2K recording. But this would just fit on the existing IRVM which for me is an eyesore. 4 Brackets would stare at me every time I’d look into the mirror. On top of that, it had inbuilt lithium batteries, and I am really fussy about keeping batteries in direct sunlight and that too In temperatures which can even melt the roads.
This is how it’d look in the Thar:
(Credit: BHPian ph03n!x’s ownership review on this camera)
Dropped this too.
At that point I realised wedge shaped, discreet dashcams are hard to find in other brands. So I was back to Viofo. Luckily, Viofo launched A229 Duo which I found when I was just lurking around on their site.
Purchase & Shipping:
I purchased A229 Duo from Viofo.in on July 8 and within 48 hours it was with me. Fortunately, No hiccups here.
What I like:
- Wedge Shape: I’ve been using wedge shaped dashcams only so this was something I was comfortable with. Any other shape would have me a lil awkward since I am so used to looking at that shape.
- Resolution: This was the best resolution available after 4k which was reliable. 4k cameras have heating issues, not just in Viofo but across the brands. From what I had read on various forums, YouTube and others is 4k cameras tend to overheat after a certain time. Some even freeze in between recordings. So, there was a fair chance it would stop in between and TBH, this is something which if it doesn’t work as intended defeats the whole purpose of having it. This one has Front as well as back – 2k cameras.
- Reliability: Touchwood. Haven’t used much but considering their past cameras and my experience with them, it should be reliable. Having a capacitor too makes it much more reliable than the battery ones.
- After Sales Support: Viofo India provides warranty of 18 months on all accessories including mounts, cables etc. From what I have been told there is free pick up and drop during warranty. This was also one of the reasons why I did not shift to any other brand. From my correspondence with Mr. Vijay (Viofo India) his customer support has been excellent till now. Mostly was pre-purchase so I hope it remains the same in future as well.
- Firmware Updates: Just like new mobile models dashcams too tend to suffer from bugs, for which Viofo provides updates based on users’ feedback. One example for this would be A119 v3, it was launched as a 2k model. But several updates later, it supports 4k resolution too. From my experience, they have added several features in models such as A119S like WDR which were not present when it was sold. This does shows that the company cares a bit and is working to improve their shortcomings in the same model.
What I don’t like:
- Pricing: This is the elephant in the room. It pinches me more because I remember I had purchased Viofo A119 for Rs 7005 in 2017 which included hardwiring kit, CPL Filter and 32GB SD Card. A119S (without accessories) in 2018 costed Rs 6233 which included 950 as customs duty.
- Expensive Accessories: Even the accessories are priced exorbitantly. CPL Filter alone for this, costs two grands, same goes for hardwiring kit. After paying so much, these accessories must be bundled together, at least the CPL filter should, just like they include GPS now. Back in 2017 even GPS was an accessory.
- No adhesive clips for cable management: A119 and A119S both had these adhesive clips included in their box. But now they have been axed, probably in the name of cost cutting. Both A119 & A119S had these clips.
These clips would have been helpful to hold wire in the roof panel of the Thar as it does not even have padding in the roof panel. This is how I had to hold down the wire with double tape so that it stayed in place till I installed the panels back on. This is where adhesive clips would have been helpful.
- No GPS Coordinates in Basement: I don’t know if this is the case with all the dashcams but this one does not get any signal for GPS in basement just like my phone’s network reception.
- Just one additional adhesive pad: Man, this is cruel in the name of cost cutting. When someone is paying so much, at least provide him with additional adhesive pads. It’s not like it can be screwed to the surface, it needs to be stuck on windshield. What if the windshield breaks, or the user fails to paste it properly, or the pad falls and picks up dust, there could be several other reasons for pad to go waste. The bigger problem is they are not even available as a spare.
This is what happens when Aliexpress spoils you, I miss the days when mentioning an additional pad in the order comments, they’d provide it complimentary. No more now. Sigh.
This is what was included in the box apart from the main front facing camera:
- Rear Camera.
- Coaxial Cable for Rear Camera.
- Prying Tool.
- USB A to Type C Cable for Dashcam.
- 12v Charger with 2 USB Points.
- Short USB A to Type C Cable: To Transfer files from dashcam.
- Memory Card Reader.
- 1 Extra Adhesive Pad for Front.
- 1 Extra Adhesive Pad for Rear.
In excitement, forgot to capture image of box contents which I realized after installation, so this Image from Youtuber RetroCarGuy530.
You can simply just plug the included charger to car’s port, but it becomes a hassle if your car has single port like mine. So, I found another way to do this. Since I did not buy the hardwiring kit. I used an extension cable from Maruti Suzuki (Part No: 990J0M999L1-550), was available online. Placed an order, picked it up after 2-3 days.
I removed the male cigarette lighter socket from extension cable, crimped a thimble for negative line and a fuse tap for positive line. Routed it back to the glove box with some cable ties and voila, everything’s concealed.
Rather than me repeating the same thing, You can familiarize yourself with this post. It is pretty exhaustive, the only thing changed is the extension cable source as Aliexpress has been banned. So you may try the above part number.
This is the best method you can use to install a dashcam. No wire cutting, no warranty issues, no alterations to your dashcam or your car. Plus, you get an addition USB socket for charging, as the dashcam only takes one port in the supplied charger.
This is how it looks from driver’s view. Also notice the beautifully hand installed Honda’s gorgeous IRVM:
This is how it looks when it is switched off:
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