The Apeman C860 is a nice general-purpose dash cam for the family that wants to have some record of what happened in case of an accident. It will also enable you to save on insurance premiums – usually not directly, but very likely in the long run.
The trouble is that dual dash cams are often on the expensive side. Fortunately, this is a very competitive industry, and companies like Apeman have stepped up to offer more affordable yet impressively capable models.
In the case of the C860, the 1440p, a wide dynamic range front camera is certainly worth mentioning, as is the large, high-visibility screen.
Unfortunately, it falls short in one major regard: you cannot view or download videos on your phone without switching off the camera and removing its microSD card. If you can live with this minor drawback and you’re on a budget, this may be the dash cam for you.
The Importance of a Rear-Facing Camera
Take a moment to think about the following dangerous situations:
- Someone crowding your bumper at the moment an animal darts out in front of your car,
- A car speeding through a parking lot while you’re backing out,
- A driver camping out in your mirror’s blind spot instead of overtaking.
In every one of those cases, having a dash cam that records only through the front windscreen will show that you acted sensibly. When it comes to assigning blame, however, the court (or insurance adjuster) will want to look at the behavior of both drivers. Front-facing dash cams tell only half the story.
Having eyes in the back of your head is valuable in parking mode, too. An errant shopping cart is just as likely to hit your car from the rear as the front, while at least some thieves prowling your local sidewalk know enough by now to approach parked cars from behind.
The Apeman C860: Some Features, Some Flaws
Of course, evidence needs to be reasonably distinct to be of any use at all. The C860 doesn’t disappoint in that regard: with quad HD resolution to the front and full HD to the rear, you shouldn’t have any trouble making out details. If desired, you can also record forward only at a slightly higher 1520p resolution.
At night, the image sensors’ WDR low-light capability comes into play. Should a scene contain very bright objects as well as dark areas (like oncoming headlights on an unlit road), you will still be able to see what’s going on. When viewing footage in your car, you’ll also find that the 3″ IPS LCD screen is brighter and crisper than many other displays. It’s certainly one of the best dash cams in that regard.
You can set the display to be on permanently or to go dormant between 1 to 5 minutes after you’ve started the car. It will continue to record, as indicated by the red light flashing from time to time. A few button presses allow you to switch between rear and front views, or the handy picture-in-picture display mode.
Note that the back camera doesn’t invert the image left-to-right like a mirror, so take care when using it to park. It is also not waterproof and is designed to be mounted on the inside of a rear window. If you’re looking for a back-up camera, especially for a van or truck, the Toguard CE60 Mirror Dash Cam will be much more suitable.
Odds and Ends
Mounting the additional camera on the rear window means you’ll have to route the included 18-foot cable underneath your car’s interior trim. This isn’t too difficult to do, though, and there are a number of videos that explain the process.
This camera has almost twice the internal battery capacity of comparable dash cams, meaning that you can choose whether or not to use a micro-USB hardwire kit if you’re planning to use the camera in parking mode. This will set it to record a video clip when it senses a vibration or impact. But be warned: the camera takes a few seconds from the actual event to the start of the recording.
The C860 can save about 15 hours of footage on a 128 GB card, segmented into 1, 3, or 5-minute clips. While driving, you can save important footage or take still photographs by pressing a button. This footage will display the date and time and also, optionally, your own car’s license plate number. You can also tweak the low-light performance by adjusting the exposure and enabling or disabling WDR mode.
All told, this is a pretty capable dash cam considering its price. The only things you can really complain about is the lack of wi-fi compatibility.
If you’re still unsure, have a look at Apeman’s C860 operation video, which includes front and rear footage of day and night time situation:
- Economical and simple to operate
- Can rotate to face side or rear
- Fairly high resolution
- No wireless connectivity
- Requires rear window to mount
- Some installation required