James StanburySee other accessory reviews written by James Stanbury
The Transcend DrivePro 100 is one of the best cheap dashcams without GPS, and it's ideal to use with computers, but read our review to see what's missing
We've gone dashcam-crazy here at Practical Caravan HQ, as we search for the best gadgets and accessories for caravanners. To the uninitiated a dashcam is quite simply a camera that sits on the car dashboard and records the same view that you see as you drive along. Unlike human drivers, however, it never blinks or sneezes. It saves a journey right up to the point when its camera memory card is full up, and then it simply overwrites the older footage with the new frames, in a continuous loop.
All this recent footage is absolutely fantastic to have if somebody drives into you. With your dashcam acting as an impartial witness, the other driver can hardly argue against your version of events.
The sharpness of the image and whether or not the dashcam has a wide-angle lens will also make a big difference to the quality of the evidence you collect for your own protection.
So far, so good, but a great many of the dashcams we tested go much further. If they are linked to GPS (with lifetime updates), they can tell you when you need to slow down to stay safe and legal, give you speed camera (safety camera) alerts, and warn you if you start drifting across lanes (most likely due to fatigue) or if a 'forward collision' looks likely, for instance if the car in front brakes suddenly.
Having GPS on board means that these dashcams can record your speed, direction and exact location at any time, so that in the event of a crash, the footage will be overlaid with this information. The G-Motion Sensor inside top-spec dashcams has the ability to detect and protect the footage that records moments before, during and after the incident. It delivers all this information as a handy video that can't be overwritten when the camera's microSD card is full up.
Parking mode is another great feature that you get in certain dashcams. When you park your car you can leave it in parking mode with complete peace of mind. If anyone knocks into your car while you're away, the camera will be kicked into action, recording the person and their vehicle for you.
More and more insurance companies are offering discounts on annual insurance premiums to drivers using decent dashcams. So, which are the best gadgets to buy?
We've tested the RAC 05, at £149.99, the Garmin Dashcam 20, at £129, and the Mio MiVue 658 WIFI, at £142.96, the Tsumara G3, at £139.99, and the Transcend DrivePro 100, at the low price of £64. We tested the Cobra Drive HD CDR 840, at £99.99 and the RAC 04, costing just £59.99. Then we compared the Next Base IN-Car Cam Duo, at £199.99 and the Trackvue DV300, at £99.
Here we will focus on the Transcend DrivePro 100, which is one of the best cheap, basic dashcams without GPS and costs just £64.
Also in the range is Transcend’s DrivePro 220, costing £129.99, which would be the choice for Wi-Fi lovers on a budget. But the cheaper DrivePro 100 tested here is half the price. This keenly priced model will find favour among serious computer enthusiasts. That’s because, as well as coming with software that’s compatible with PCs and Macs, it will talk to the Linux operating system. The camera itself is incredibly basic, and lacks GPS, but what it does, it does very well.
As with the Transcend 220, we were impressed by the 100’s low light/night-time performance. Our only criticism of the footage shot is that the width of view is narrower than that of many units here.
|Weight||72.6 g (2.56 oz)|
|Size||68.3mm × 63.1mm × 34.4mm (2.69" x 2.48" x 1.35")|
|Included||16GB microSDHC memory card|
|Wide angle lens||130°|
|Screen||2.4in colour LCD|
|G-Sensor||Detects, records, protects footage in the event of a crash|
|G-Sensor override||Press red button to film manually|
|Night vision||Low-light sensitivity CMOS, 3 mega-pixel|
|Emergency mode footage||Protected from overwriting|
|Free download software||DrivePro PC Tool for Windows|
|Still photos||Snapshot function|
|Picture quality||1080p (30fps)|
|Video formats||H.264 (MP4: up to 1920x1080 30fps)|
|Extra||Choice of mounts: suction cup or adhesive|
If you're looking for a simple dashcam with no frills, the Transcend DrivePro 100 will do the job for just £64. It may not be feature-rich, but it does what it does very well. We've awarded it four stars.
- Compatible with PCs, Macs, Linux
- Good night vision
- Not a very wide-angle of view
- No GPS