In terms of exterior design, most dash cams still look much like those you could buy ten or twenty years ago.
Vava elected to go with a different shape in this case.
Since they chose to save money by leaving out a screen, their engineers had a lot more flexibility, and the final product looks like a hockey puck stuck on a cone.
Despite what you’d think, this is actually pretty stylish and serves a practical purpose. The suction-cup mount seems durable enough, while the wide angle lens latches on using a magnet. This means it’s easy to remove if need be and it can also swivel through 360°. If you see an accident by the side of the road or want to film a conversation through the window, you can do so easily.
This dash cam, aside from looking cool, really ticks all the boxes with GPS logging, adequate video resolution, and wi-fi connectivity.
Basic Without Being Rudimentary
As long as you get the fundamentals right, there’s little left that can go badly wrong.
Let’s start our discussion of this dash cam by talking about its high-grade, wide-dynamic-range image sensor. Similar to that found in some Apeman products, this is backed up by a digital signal processor for superior performance in low-light conditions.
The rear camera is not quite so capable, but you’ll have few complaints about the video it captures. Depending on your preferences, you can record both cameras at 1080p @ 30 fps, or concentrate on the front only and boost its resolution to 1440p at 30 frames per second.
An included GPS receiver periodically records the car’s geographical location in a separate file, allowing you to review your route in the Vava app. You can also show these coordinates, as well as your approximate speed, numerically on the video footage itself if you prefer.
The lack of a display on the dash cam itself means you have to use the app to configure it, which most people will prefer in any case. Downloading videos and sharing them online, either for your friends’ entertainment or safe storage, is also quite easy.
One fairly unique feature of this dash cam many will appreciate is the wireless “emergency” button you can mount to your steering wheel. With most dash cams, you have to take your eyes off the road and one hand off the wheel to mark a recording as important and prevent it from getting overwritten. With the Vava VA-VD002, this safety concern disappears: just tap the button with your thumb to take a photograph, or hold it for a 20-second video clip that will be easy to find and protected from deletion.
Keeping an Eye on Things While You’re Away
The Vava also contains an accelerometer that senses vibration, sudden braking, or collisions and places the relevant footage into a special directory for safekeeping. When parked and turned off, your dash cam will automatically enter parking mode: if a motion like a bump or someone opening a door is detected, fifteen seconds of video will be recorded as evidence.
This is obviously less effective than the system the Vantrue N4 uses: aside from not recording the vehicle interior and any unwanted individuals who may be rummaging around in it, there’s no way to trigger a recording by motion seen by the camera rather than felt. Still, many people will actually prefer things to work this way.
Since the Vava has a 320 mAh internal battery, it can record multiple 15-second video clips before having to be recharged through your car’s 12-volt socket. This means easier installation and, potentially, fewer unsightly wires running across your dashboard.
The Vava VA-VD002 in a Nutshell
The lack of a viewscreen does have one disadvantage, which may be significant in some situations: you can either view video live using the app or have the dash cam record, but you can’t do both. This shouldn’t be a problem if you’re only planning to use it as an emergency dash cam rather than a kind of mini CCTV system.
In fact, the ease with which you can set up and use this dash cam, along with its low price for one which records to the rear, makes this a pretty attractive buy. It may not be the very best dash cam on the market given the somewhat blurry video sometimes, but it’s solidly built and does everything you really need it to do.
To judge the video quality yourself, you can watch this:
- Front camera can be swiveled 360°
- Emergency "lock recording" button on steering wheel
- Attractive design
- No display
- Relatively narrow field of view
- Parking mode records only 15 seconds after impact is detected