The segment of dash cams for road use is becoming increasingly popular also in our country. The aftermarket offers models for all budgets and needs, it is therefore possible to set up a simple and functional system in your car, without necessarily contacting an auto electrician or a professional in the sector.
We decided to try a consumer model easily available online through different channels, that is a device that integrates the classic video surveillance functions with a few more features capable of "modernizing" an older car.
Our choice fell on Auto-Vox V5, it is a dash cam model integrated in an auxiliary rear-view mirror with, supplied, a second rear cam unit. But before talking about it in detail, let's clarify the concept of dash cam for road use. It is an image and video capture system that can be used on vehicles, a sort of black box capable of continuously recording what is happening around our car. The market offers models with different video resolutions and coverage areas, with or without GPS tracking system and other additional features.
- First impact
- Technical specifications
- Usage and Functionality
- Software and Video
Inside the Auto-Vox V5 package there is a complete manual, however, the Italian translation is not available and it is necessary to chew at least a little English. The main element of the system is represented by the auxiliary rear-view mirror which is mounted above the standard one in our car, which also integrates the front cam.
The system of rubber hooks allows the unit to be firmly applied, which has the advantage of being larger than traditional mirrors and is therefore able to expand the driver's field of vision. Aside, we find the rear cam unit with 6.5 meters of video cable, enough to reach the back of any car. As for the GPS module and the rear cam, these can be attached to the glass using a bio-adhesive present in the package. To use all the features it is therefore necessary to contact an installer, unless you have some experience in this regard or simply want to try your hand at healthy DIY. In this case, the main obstacle will be to bring the video signal to the rear of the car, hiding the cable under the plastic or under the seats. The operation is not always easy. We have done a fairly neat installation on an Audi A1 (2012) without too much difficulty. Then we find in the package the USB-C power cable that will be connected to the cigarette lighter socket and the GPS antenna.
The mirror unit houses a 9.35-inch LCD display that covers the entire front surface. In the upper portion there are the power, GPS, video and microSD slot connections, while on the right there is the front cam for front shooting, adjustable laterally in extension to limit the presence of unnecessary elements of the passenger compartment in video recordings. The glass used boasts an excellent oleophobic treatment and is not affected by fingerprints. The mirror treatment offers excellent visibility and is able to considerably mitigate light reflections, therefore it does not make you feel the absence of the original mirror at all. The brightness is very high, so much so that it is enjoyable in any external light condition but, in any case, it is possible to adjust the optimal level via touch gestures.
- Front Cam: 1080p / 720p 30 FPS (Sony IMX307)
- Rear Cam: 1080p 25 FPS
- Display: 9.35 inch Touch (res. 1,280 x 320)
- Audio: Integrated microphone
- Sensors: Accelerometer
- Storage: MicroSD up to 128GB (optional)
- Power supply: 12 / 24V input, 5V output
The Auto-Vox V5 system turns on together with our car. After the proprietary logo appears briefly, the screen is set to show the rear camera's real-time capture, but you can select the front camera or halve the screen in two and show both views. Registration starts automatically at startup and to stop it we have to act manually.
By touching the display at any point, the settings menu appears superimposed in the lower portion. Thanks to it we can activate the built-in microphone, access the recording menu, start a priority emergency shooting (which will not be overwritten), save a photo frame and change the basic settings. The menu is quite intuitive and, although not in Italian, you move fairly quickly between the commands, with the exception of the start / stop recording button, which responds with a few seconds of delay. In reality, once the system is set up, we will no longer need to enter the menu.
Once the microSD card is inserted into the slot, video recording starts automatically both front and rear and clips can be set to last 1, 3 or 5 minutes. In case the microSD is full, the older video files will be automatically deleted in favor of the new ones.
The presence of the accelerometer offers an additional functionality, at least on paper, that is the possibility of recognizing an impact against our car and saving the related video files as a priority. These are not deleted if the memory is full, but preserved for possible use for legal purposes. We tried to trick the accelerometer with some sudden braking without ever being able to activate the priority recording function. Obviously the standard calibration requires greater stresses.
The accelerometer should also intervene if you opt for an additional installation, which provides for direct connection to the battery to enjoy the parking monitoring function. In this case, an event is recorded even with the machine off, if the accelerometer detects an impact. To use the function it is necessary to use an optional external adapter that can be purchased separately, so we follow what the house says.
In addition to the primary dash cam functionality, the Auto-Vox V5 can also be used as a reversing assistant, offering a feature now quite common on newer cars. Also in this case you can opt for two different installations. The most complete involves connecting an auxiliary connector to the positive pole of the reversing light. In this case, parking assistance is activated automatically as soon as reverse gear is engaged.
If we do not want to make this connection, it is possible to activate the mode by swiping the display from left to right. The parking assistant needs an initial calibration and shows a grid of green, yellow and red colored bands on the display, positioned by default. It is therefore necessary to carry out a manual adjustment, since the bands can be widened, stretched and narrowed at will. To obtain a valid result, the advice is to use a reference gate, to position the lines in a way that is consistent with the size of our vehicle. The cam can also be adjusted, raising or lowering the shooting area with simple on-screen gestures. In this way we can better frame the lower area of the car. The rear cam unit has IP68 protection, so it can be installed both externally above the license plate and on the rear window. To simplify the assembly we opted for the second possibility. The framing in this case is not as perfect as it would be with external installation, but thanks to a correct adjustment of the bands we have obtained a satisfactory and rather precise result. Of course, the position of the reticle is not adaptive, does not change in relation to the steering, and therefore works well with simple parking maneuvers but fails to match the solutions fitted as standard on current cars.
Once the reverse maneuver has been completed, it is possible to exit the mode by performing a swype on the screen.
Another nice feature implemented is the Driving Mode, which uses the GPS connection to offer a digital speedometer. Activation takes place automatically after 30 seconds if it has been selected in the options. In Driving Mode, the display appears blank, although it is actually automatically set to low light mode. The only visible element on the left side of the display is the speedometer, which requires a stable GPS signal to function.
The two cams respectively have an FOV of 145 degrees at the front and 150 degrees at the rear, so they are able to capture a very wide field. In fact, the recordings made inevitably end up including elements of the passenger compartment, especially in the case where both units are installed inside the car. Recordings are made at maximum 1080p, 30 FPS front and 25 FPS for the rear unit. The general quality of the captures is good, the files are saved in the .MOV format and hardly exceed 40 MB per minute of capture.
Auto-Vox V5 is based on the Sony IMX 307 sensor, widely used in video surveillance systems of this range. This is the economic solution inspired by the well-known Starvis IMX291 and introduced by Sony in 2018. So we know what to expect from this 2 MP module. If in daylight the detail is very good, in the night catches you pay an absolutely acceptable price. The videos are still very sharp even in low light, becoming noisier as the brightness decreases.
The transfer of video files must necessarily be done manually, since the microSD must be removed and inserted into a reader. In this regard, the position chosen for the slot (in the upper portion) is decidedly unfortunate, complicating the extraction of the microSD.
Auto-Vox also provides a player for Windows and Mac, thanks to it it is possible not only to reproduce, but also to fish the saved GPS data and display the vehicle's position on the screen.
If we are interested in a functional and economical dash cam, Auto-Vox V5 is certainly one of the most interesting choices on the market in its price range. The videos made are of good quality, so they can really be useful in any disputes in the event of accidents.
The additional features do nothing but enrich the product, especially as regards parking assistance, a function capable of giving new life to a technologically old car. Too bad for the slowness of the interface, an aspect that, however, is easily forgotten once everything is set up properly. The mirror, even when turned off, improves visibility compared to the original units. In fact, while losing the use of the rear camera, it is possible to mount only the front camera and avoid complex installations.
The product is suitable for everyone but we cannot say the same about the assembly process. To obtain a clean installation, it is necessary to hide the cables and wire everything properly. It is therefore advisable to use an auto electrician or an expert in the sector. If this operation does not represent a stumbling block, Auto-Vox V5 could be an interesting and cheap solution to equip your car with an automatic surveillance system while driving. It is possible to find it online on Amazon or on other channels at the price of 149.99 euros.
Image qualityLoop recordingAdditional features No lateral monitoringNot super fast softwareComplicated assembly
We open a final parenthesis on the current regulation. One of the most common doubts about using aftermarket dash cams concerns its legality, if we consider the important aspects related to privacy. At present there is no specific regulation on the use of dash cams and, yes, it is possible to mount them in your car without risk. Naturally, the rules relating to video surveillance and the processing of personal data apply.
The heart of the matter is simple, data can be collected and recorded without incurring legal risks, however they cannot be disseminated and must be protected. As for the video surveillance rules, the dash cams can record every event within the field of view relating to the area to be monitored and therefore, in the case of the car, what is visible in the immediate vicinity and along the road.
The recordings of an accident are undoubtedly useful in reconstructing the dynamics, but are they valid for legal purposes as evidence? Specific regulation is non-existent and each case could stand on its own. However, there are precedents, in which the video recordings are considered as "atypical evidence" and taken into consideration in cases of disputes and claims. For further information on the matter relating to the processing of personal data and the rules to be respected, we advise you to view the page of the Privacy Guarantor (at this address).
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