James Stanbury

See other accessory reviews written by James Stanbury

With good night vision, a large screen and Wi-Fi compatibility, is the Mio MiVue 658 WIFI dashcam the one for you? Read our review before you decide!

Overview

Remember the thrill each time you go on holiday as you get your first glimpse of the sea, sparkling in the bay below? There's something magical about towing your caravan over the hills and down to a coastal holiday park. And now there's an easy way to capture that moment, and many other scenic drives, without trying too hard. A dashcam will save the very same view you see, but can't capture because you're busy driving.

Most people, admittedly, buy dashcams to act as an expert eye witness, in case of accidents. From the minute you turn the car ignition on, the dashcam starts recording the view ahead, saving it on a camera SD card. Once the card is full, the journey will be overwritten with a new one, unless you – or the dashcam's motion sensor – intervene.

At any time you can save your dashcam footage to a smartphone, computer or tablet, or upload clips to social media or your favourite cloud for storage.

But if your dashcam's G-Motion sensor detects an impact, it will immediately protect the footage of events leading up to the crash, as well as what follows. The best dashcams also overlay the video with GPS data. this pinpoints the exact location, direction, date, time and more.

It is just the kind of evidence you need in the event of an insurance claim, particularly if there is some dispute over whose fault the accident was. The last thing you want is for the two insurance companies to settle on a 'knock-for-knock' basis, because this could lead to you paying higher insurance premiums in future.

If you're unlucky enough to suffer a 'hit and run' accident, at least your trusty dashcam will give you the make, model, colour and numberplate of the other vehicle. You may have the other driver's face on camera as well, if they were driving towards you.

We've been testing a large number of dashcams at Practical Caravan recently, to help you buy the best. Prices vary wildly. We compared the Tsumara G3, costing £139.99, the RAC 04, at just £59.99 and the RAC 05, costing £149.99.

We tried out the Garmin Dashcam 20, at £129.00, the Transcend DrivePro 100, at £64, and the Cobra Drive HD CDR 840 at £99.99. Then we tested the Trackvue DV300, at £99, and the Next Base iN-Car Cam Duo, at £199.99.

Finally, we looked at two Mio MiVue dashcams for this group test, the 538 Deluxe, at £124.99 and the 658 WIFI model, at £142.96. In this review we'll focus on the latter, the Mio MiVue 658 WIFI.

Mio’s MiVue 658 WIFI has the same excellent optics as the slightly cheaper 538 Deluxe, but the output is enhanced from full HD to the wider screen, with an increasingly detailed, Extreme HD, format. There's a wide-angled lens taking in a 140° view.

Again, low-light performance is impressive, as is the wide field of view. This time, though, the unit relies on Wi-Fi to broadcast its footage, allowing easy viewing on a smartphone. Unfortunately the lack of an HDMI output makes hooking up the unit to a TV a little more challenging. 

Features-wise, GPS gives speed camera alerts and tells you if you're driving over the legal limit in that area. You'll get free updates on the speed cameras as well, but you're on your own with the safety cameras in France, Switzerland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.

Strangely, it seems that the Mio MiVue 658 WIFI doesn't give forward-collision alerts.

The 70mm (2.7 inch) touchscreen makes navigating the unit’s many features considerably more intuitive than the screens on some rival dashcams.

You'll get a suction-cup screen mount with this dashcam, and it's the type that you can rotate if you need to collect video evidence all around you.

When you park your car, your dashcam can offer further protection from harm. Set it to parking mode and connect it up to a 'Smartbox' for power (an optional extra), then it will detect any impact motion and start recording while you're away.

Technical specs

Screen2.7 inch touchscreen
AlertsSpeed cameras, speed limit alarm
HD picture qualityH 264 (high quality videos at a smaller file size)
Integrated wi-fiSend files to a smartphone or share on Facebook
Free safety camera updatesExcludes France, Switzerland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia
GPS trackingLogs speed, altitude, longitude, latitude and direction
Wide-angle lens140°
Night visionBright F1.8 lens
3-Axis G-SensorRecords direction and G-forces of impacts
Suction-cup screen mountRotates for video evidence collection
Parking modeDetects motion and starts recording when you are away
ExtrasSmartbox to power parking mode
Photo modeFor still photos
Speed alarmBleeps if you're over the speed limit
MiVue ManagerPlay video while tracking route on Google Maps
Extreme HD2304 pixel camera

Verdict

The Mio MiVue 658 WIFI is a feature-rich dashcam that will record all you see as you drive along, and probably more. Its low-light capabilities are particularly impressive and we love the wide-angled lens. It's a shame that the parking mode only protects your car if you buy the extra Smartbox to provide the power when the ignition is switched off. Other dashcams have inbuilt batteries for this purpose. Nevertheless it's a pretty high quality piece of kit and we've awarded it four stars. 

Conclusion

Pros

  • Good night vision
  • 140° wide-angled lens
  • Extremely high definition recordings
  • GPS speed camera alerts
  • Parking mode

Cons

  • No forward-collision warning
  • No HDMI output to link to your TV screen
  • You need to buy a Smartbox to power 'parking mode' protection
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