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Reviewed: RoadHawk DC-2 GPS-Enabled DashCam

 

Reviewed By

Matthew (MaFt) Morley
Review Date

6th August 2015

Manufacturer RoadHawk

RRP

£179.95 inc VAT

8

 

 

For the last few months, years even, I've been terrified to drive around the streets of Bradford. OK, 'terrified' may be a slight exaggeration, but when you're almost the victim of someone else's recklessness you start wondering what would happen with regards to insurance claims if there's no clear proof of what happened.

 

Not long back I was driving behind a learner coming up to the brow of a hill on a blind corner. The driver of the car 3 vehicles behind me was clearly impatient (we were 'only' doing 55mph on a 60mph road) and decided to overtake all of us. My initial thought was “wouldn't it serve him right if a van came over the hill right now”. Do you know what? When the van did appear it was actually pretty scary - the car was next to me at this point and trying to pull in... In all honesty I can't actually remember what happened after that other than there was no crash. But it got me thinking, what if there had been an accident? There's no way I could have given evidence as to what actually happened other than the lead-up to the event.

 

And this is where I segue perfectly into a 'why you might consider a dash-cam' section... The above being just one reason. Other reasons include improving driver behaviour (you know you're being 'watched' so probably drive a little bit better), faster claims in the case of an accident and, more recently, a possible discount on your insurance premium.

 

Since 2007 UK company RoadHawk have been at the forefront of the dash-cam market and over the years they have released a number of products that consistently improve the video quality and features.

 

For the last couple of weeks I've been using the Roadhawk DC-2. The DC-2 is a 'Full HD' (1080p) forward-facing camera with GPS, shock sensor, microphone and can use SD cards up to 128GB in capacity.

 

 

Installing the camera is very straightforward: it needs power and it needs sticking on your windshield - that is pretty much the crux of it. As I was only reviewing it for a couple of weeks I used a suction mount to hold the camera in place behind the rearview mirror but was still able to hide the (very flexible) power cable across the top of the car and down the side of the windscreen out of view. The DC-2 includes a few different mounts with 3M sticky pads to stick on your windscreen as well as a number of clips that can be used to help keep the wiring tidy.

 

Mounts and Cable Clips

 

Power is from the cigarette lighter socket so you will need a splitter if you also have your phone charger too. I suspect that, if you're cleverer than me, you could hardwire it to the car's power - but neither myself or PocketGPSWorld.com Ltd take ANY responsibility if you decide to do this and it goes wrong!

 

Even though the DC-2 uses h.264 encoding for the videos, when you have them at Full HD they can take up quite a bit of space. As such, the included software (available for both Windows and Mac) has a number of options for both video resolution and video quality (bitrate). You can change the resolution between 480p, 720p and 1080p. As a ball-park figure you can fit around 1hr20m of 1080p on an 8GB card, 1hr40m at 720p and around 3hr at 480p.

 

The RoadHawk DC-2 with Manual and Software (Mac and Windows)

 

Other settings in the software include adjusting the microphone sensitivity (or even turning it off), adjusting the G-force sensitivity and the brightness/contrast of the video etc.

 

RoadHawk Settings

 

The nature of the device does mean that once you have changed the settings or adjusted the mount, you do need to go for a quick drive, return to the computer to check the footage, make any changes then start the whole process again... This isn't the end of the world though (unless you're really lazy) and it only really needs to be done once. A built in screen would be useful but, obviously, would add to the cost.

 

In the few weeks that I used the DC-2 I found that the GPS fix can be quite slow to obtain. However, I have a heated windscreen and I know that this can interfere. From a cold-start I had no GPS fix for 20 minutes until I held the DC-2 outside the car window. Then it picked it up within about 5 minutes. Subsequent 'warm' starts were faster but could still take up to 10 minutes when in position at the top of my heated windscreen. Thankfully for those who also have heated and/or UV-coated windscreens the DC-2 has a GPS antennae connection so you can run an external GPS signal booster (sold separately for around £20) to improve the time to get a fix. You can also plug in a microphone if you want a better recording of your audio.

 

Roadhawk have designed the DC-2 to be as easy to use as possible - as soon as it's powered on then it is recording. The device has a built in speaker and will announce that it's been turned on and is active and also when it finds a GPS signal (there are also LEDs that show the status too). A slight downside to this is that if your car's 12v supply is 'always on' then you need to manually disconnect the power from the DC-2 otherwise you'll have a lot of footage of parked cars... I personally don't like leaving any technology in the car and the same goes for the DC-2. Removing and re-fitting the DC-2 is easy, it just slides onto the mount - it's a tight enough fit to keep it sturdy but not too tight that it's hard to remove.  The only issue I have with re-fitting it is that the power lead fits into the mic input socket and it's very easy to put it in the wrong hole.

 

The mic and power inputs are the same size...

 

The default settings of the DC-2 have it set to record videos in 1min files and to save 'events'. These events are automatic based on sudden collisions and can also be triggered using the 'E' button on the device itself. In these instances it marks 3 x 1min files so they don't get overwritten - the previous minute, the current minute and the following minute. Event files won't be overwritten by normal recordings and the idea is that you then have a few minutes of footage saved on the DC-2 for any incident that takes place.

 

RoadHawk HD Software Screen

 

Reviewing the footage is a breeze: simply connect the SD card to your computer (you'll need a card reader) and fire up the RoadHawk software. After reading the contents of the card you will see a list of all the files (named as the time and date) and you can filter between seeing all videos or just the events. Playback of the files will show you various things like your speed at the time, the details from the accelerometer (eg how fast your were stopping, or how sharp you were turning) and also the location on a Google Map in the corner. You can save individual files from here to review later or use as evidence etc.

 

Reviewing the footage shows consistent quality even with varying driving conditions. From driving up the M1 straight into a bright sunset to heading through town in a huge downpour of rain, the footage is very clear even at 720p. At 1080p you get the extra quality and it doesn't actually use much more space on the SD card. E.g. an 8GB card will fit 1hr40m of 720p or 1hr20m of 1080p.

 

Sample screen shots of the DC-2 footage

 

When driving through a short tunnel the lighting adjustment was very quick on both entering and exiting (see the video below, around 2m15s). Also, at 1080p registration plates are generally readable (as are loose wheel-nut indicators that come off Pets At Home trucks on the motorway and bounce off my bonnet...! 3m29s in the video). I've created a montage of footage from different conditions in both 720p and 1080p so you can see the quality. Note that I've muted some of the video when I had music playing so we don't get told off by the copyright police (but mostly so you can't hear my singing).

 

 

 

Overall I've been really impressed with the Roadhawk DC-2. It's easy to use, it's small and doesn't get in the way and the features and quality are impressive. If you're after a good quality dashcam then you could do far, far worse than invest in one of these. While I can see the benefit of having a rear camera (to record those idiots that think flashing their lights will make you move out of their way), if you're on a budget at least you can get excellent quality with this front-facing camera. Sadly I need to send this one back but I'll be buying one for myself in the near future.

 

 


References

Manufacturers Web site http://www.roadhawk.co.uk/
Pocket GPS Contributor

Matthew (MaFt) Morley

   
Forum Comments:

 

Comments
Posted by worried on Thu Aug 06, 2015 4:15 pm Reply with quote

I have a twin cam on the front screen with gps and road speed, it has to be positioned such that the driver cant look at the screen (tis against the law to look)

also a simple one on the rear screen.

so far filmed four near accidents on front camera and every other day too close for comfort on the back camera

took the evidence of this one to the drivers office

http://i654.photobucket.com/albums/uu270/pierre-pierre_2009/Clip01_zpsvcnx5pcz.jpg

http://i654.photobucket.com/albums/uu270/pierre-pierre_2009/Clip03_zpsr3jjmgwh.jpg

Edited: Images changed to links as they were too wide - MaFt


 
Posted by worried on Thu Aug 06, 2015 5:27 pm Reply with quote

could not remember what are where I got it, May 2013 Amazon

2.7 inch screen Dual Camera 5MP Car Blackbox DVR with GPS Logger and G-Sensor X3000
Sold by: Sourcingbay
47.15
Condition: New

now i whow
2.7 inch screen Dual Camera 5MP Car Blackbox DVR with GPS Logger and G-Sensor X3000
by Sourcingbay
27.66
More buying choices
26.96new(17 offers)


full show here

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6WwuZn8J6IA


 
Posted by IanS100 on Thu Aug 06, 2015 11:41 pm Reply with quote

I've just ordered a Thinkware F750 2 Channel dash cam for the front & back screen of my car, all I have to do now is find the time to fit them Sad


Galaxy Note 4 / TomTom GO : CamerAlert : CoPilot

 
Posted by Kremmen on Fri Aug 07, 2015 3:29 am Reply with quote

I quite like this idea:

http://www.civinfo.com/forum/electronics-ice-9g/216305-android-rear-view-mirror-dashcam.html

It's an Android rear view mirror with built in dashcam. Not too obtrusive so shouldn't stick out attracting thieves attention.


Satnav:
Garmin DS61 LMT-D (In the car)
Garmin 2599 LMT-D (Indoor test rig)
DashCam:
Viofo A119 V3

 
Posted by paradad on Fri Aug 07, 2015 7:18 am Reply with quote

I would be tempted to edit this video because it shows you driving along the middle of a 3 lane motorway with nothing in the nearside lane which is now a traffic offence!


 
Posted by DGJones10 on Fri Aug 07, 2015 8:02 am Reply with quote

I have just read your article.
I have a mini0806 bought a couple of months ago.
It is quite small and fits behind the rear view mirror.
It has a mount permanently fixed to the windscreen which includes the power socket and the tiny camera slides into the mount.
The camera starts filming when the ignition is switched on and stops when ignition off. The power is taken from the cigarette socket and the cable slides behind the roof lining and the window rubber surround.
The camera is removed and connected by USB to the computer and the video is viewed on a supplied viewer. The film is split into 5 minute segments.
Fortunately not had reason to use the films., but they clearly show traffic day and night and reg nos are readable.
Very satisfied. cost about 100.
Optional filter not worth having as it fits magnetically and disappeared beneath the seat to be permanently lost after first time camera removed from mounting


 
Posted by bandeet on Fri Aug 07, 2015 8:19 am Reply with quote

paradad Wrote:
I would be tempted to edit this video because it shows you driving along the middle of a 3 lane motorway with nothing in the nearside lane which is now a traffic offence!


On a forum that thrives on speed camera alerts would I be wrong to suggest these may not always be used to ones own advantage?

Can open, worms everywhere Twisted Evil


 
Posted by fruit on Fri Aug 07, 2015 8:25 am Reply with quote

I have a Nextbase 402G, used it regularly for a couple of months now.

Others' opinions on this hardware vary a lot but it works fine for me. It's hardwired with a 10 kit.

I also have a couple of Mobius but not tried them for dashcam usage yet.

As with most of such devices using Li cells, do not leave in the vehicle if it is subject to very high temperatures or direct sun. The batteries cook!


 
Posted by Major_Route on Fri Aug 07, 2015 9:10 am Reply with quote

I have a Koonlung K1S front/rear 1080p dashcam and it's very discrete.

Here's a review
http://www.techmoan.com/blog/2015/3/1/k1s-the-first-front-rear-hidden-1080p-dash-camera.html

Got mine from the bay for just over 200. It's only the cameras that attach to the windows and the brain/screen mounts out of view. This also means the main box is not subject to excess heat on hot days and hanging in view.

I hope one day car manufactures will build in cams as an option. They already have rear parking cams and rain sensors/speed limit cams so adding functionality to record a video front/rear while driving wouldn't add much. You can buy a separate front/rear cams now for 200 which is cheap by car option standards.


 
Posted by saragan on Fri Aug 07, 2015 9:30 am Reply with quote

paradad Wrote:
I would be tempted to edit this video because it shows you driving along the middle of a 3 lane motorway with nothing in the nearside lane which is now a traffic offence!


I noticed that too. Not good!


 
Posted by K13ehr on Fri Aug 07, 2015 9:33 am Reply with quote

I got this from Gearbest about 6 months ago, it's been updated since then but this one does all I need and is so tiny you forget it's there, takes a 32gb class six micro SD card, works well I think I have YT vid somewhere of mine (in Bradford too :D ), I'll link to it if I do.

Found it

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Q9Cg_LwEeM


Kev.
If things don't change, they'll stay the same...
Ive tried gardening, yoga, meditation and medication and yet I still want to slap someone sometimes..

Visit my MoHo forum, motorhomeowners.org free.

 
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