Transcend's Drivepro 200 is one of the most popular dashcams out there. Unfortunately, I do somewhat think this title is overrated considering the product.

What's in the Box

For AU$160, you get the car video recording unit, a suction cup, 16GB MLC micro SD card, car charger with integrated 4m cable terminating in a right angled (yay) mini USB 2.0 port and a video out cable adapter. An adhesive mount is AU$40 extra. If you want to permanently leave the camera in the one car, I'd recommend the adhesive mount. The car suction cup mount vibrates, reducing image quality. Additionally, it makes the unit significantly larger, and has a tendency to fall off.

Suction Cup and Adhesive Mounting Options

Video Output and Car Charging Cables

The camera uses capacitors instead of batteries, which hold a charge, rather than permanently storing it. A capacitor can hold far less power than a battery when sizes are equal, but capacitors are far more resistant towards heat.

Due to the capacitor design, the camera boasts a two year warranty. Something I took advantage off within a week, when one of two of my Drivepro200 dashcams constantly started writing corrupted files to the SD card. The microphone also started picked up nothing but static once every few seconds, even when the car was parked in a deserted carpark. Of my two units, my other unit is still going strong, but it was a shame that my second unit went wrong so quickly. Bad luck.

One disadvantage of capacitors in dashcams is that if you leave this particular camera without power for 3 days, you'll need to set the clock again.

Honestly up until this point, I was really quite impressed. However, the video quality really left a lot to be desired. Youtube does compress and degrade the quality of the files. Download the original files.

Video Quality

Sharpness and dynamic range range leave much to be desired. At night, the camera looses focus at times. The lens distortion is almost fisheye, which makes poles look ridiculous. The microphone is terrible. Analogous to the camera being underwater. The volume is low, and can't pick up the sound of my indicators, despite other dashcams being able to. Don't buy this camera expecting it to exonerate you if you are alleged to be at fault for not indicating.

Due to the 160 degree field of view, the camera tends to expose to the sky, leaving the road completely dark. In future, I hope Transcend implements a 2560x1080 option (21x9), allowing for the camera to meter exposure off the road. Another fix would be to allow the user to set a zone where the camera should meter from, so the exposure is set off the road only.

I's say the wide angle is a bit excessive. 160 degrees can be good in certain cases, but the edges are even softer than the centre of the image, making license plates unreadable. Even cars that I tailgate in the right lane of the motorway look like they are on the horizon. This further exacerbate the issue of reading registration plates.

Emergency Recording

The G sensor even on its lowest sensitivity constantly triggers when I drive through bumpy Australian cross sections. Hence, my SD card is filled of unremarkable videos of after the G sensor is triggered. Happily, these clips are eventually overwritten when more emergency files are added. It's just annoying for the cameras screen to flash with a emergency recording warning.

User Interface Features

The user interface is great. Best in class. The Wi-Fi, although unusually slow adds functionality like changing the Wi-Fi network SSID and passphrase. You can also browse the SD card on your mobile device. On my Android phone it downscaled to the resolution of a potato, making this feature completely useless. Download to your computer at home instead.

Conclusion

For the price, I can't recommend this camera unless the capacitor is a must have for you. The video quality is as bad as you can really find and the Wi-Fi isn't implemented as well as it could be. The G sensor is perhaps too reliable, and the the suction cup isn't the mounting solution I'd recommend for most. On the upside however, the camera has a great user interface, good hot weather performance, comes with a decent sized SD card and comes from a reputable manufacturer.

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