We are getting a nice collection of dash cameras review here on CarPlay Life, and with some of them performing a little lacklustre, it is a breath of fresh air when one arrives for review that improves on features and quality.
The AUKEY 1080p Stealth Dash Cam is one such piece of tech that features some very clear improvements to the previous cameras we’ve reviewed. So let’s jump in and see how much better this dash camera really is…
In the box you’ll find the usual components: The dashboard camera, a dual-port USB car charger and a rather long mini-USB cable. There are three 3M replacement stickers, two loose replacements and the third is already attached to the mounting plate which the camera slides on to. Six cable clips, a mini user manual and a AUKEY warranty card round up the remaining contents.
The camera first appears a little chunky in its form factor, but it is in no way big in comparison to its competition. Considering its small size of 3” x 2” x 1.45” it manages to pack in an SD card slot, a set of multi-function buttons, a mini-USB port, a 6 layer lens covering a Sony Exmor IMX323 2.19 Megapixel CMOS Sensor and 1.5” colour LCD display.
The PC + ABS casing has a solid feel to it and moving the lens in its housing to compose the perfect angle feels firm and precise. In a day where every small piece of tech requiring a USB connection comes with a micro-USB cable, it was a surprise to see the DR02 come with a more bulky mini-USB port. This would be a shame if you wanted to use a previously installed micro-USB cable; you’ll have to install this new mini-USB cable all over your windshield all over again.
The AUKEY DR02 takes an SD card of up to 128GB at class 10 speed. Anything less than a class 10 and it will not like it – I tried. Luckily my 32GB class 10 SD was dusted off and it works a treat in storing the 10 minute chunks of looped 1080p video recordings. If you wish to store more video clips on your SD card, you can reduce the resolution of captured video to either 1080p (30fps), 720p (60fps), 720p (30fps), WVGA or VGA resolutions via the on-screen settings menu.
Having the 1.5” colour LCD on the back of the camera helps simplify the camera’s general operation. Once powered, the display clearly displays the camera’s live point-of-view on screen to help any adjustment when required. The 170-degree focal lens can be rotated up and down in its housing a full 90 degrees, which makes positioning the camera for the perfect angle a breeze.
With an SD card inserted, formatted and the unit powered on, you’re already recording, thanks to its default instant on loop recording mode. There are two other modes to choose from including Motion Detection Mode, where the dash camera will record only when there is movement detected. There is also Time-Lapse Recording Mode, which will capture a photo every second.
With a large enough SD card, that’s relatively cheap these days, I really don’t see the need to use the other recording modes. It is best to capture everything from your journey at the highest resolution, because you never know how much you will need to freeze frame through footage when making any accident claim or proving your own case in court.
Behind the lens is a Sony Exmor IMX323 2.19 Megapixel CMOS Sensor. AUKEY’s promo text says that it “captures everything in super-sharp 1080p resolution with super-wide 170° field of view and maintains strong performance in low-light conditions for nighttime driving.” Their claims are pretty accurate. Its 1080p 30fps recording is great quality, with a good amount of detail captured in both daylight and at night.
The detail in night recording is impressive too when viewed alongside its competitors, which is likely thanks to its various exposure settings: -1.0, -2/3, -1/3, +0.0, +1/3, +2/3, +1.0. Colour in recordings are also very life-like and are not over or under saturated, making for a nice colour balance throughout an entire day and night cycle.
Photos can also be captured from the AUKEY DR02. By simply holding down one of the function buttons for 3 seconds, a photo is taken and saved to your SD card. 3 seconds may be a little slow in capturing a particular moment in time, but for something more stationary, this functionality can be handy when needed.
Capturing audio is possible thanks to the small microphone located on the side of the camera housing. Audio recording is not too bad, it records general conversion in the vehicle clearly. Any jolts in the car from bumps or potholes in the road do not distort the audio as I have found on cheaper dash cameras.
Another key feature is the Emergency Recording function, which senses any change in movement that is activated by a built-in gravity sensor. This automatically captures unexpected driving incidents, whether driving or parked and locked up. Emergency recordings are then stored and archived where it cannot be overwritten.
An optional External GPS Antenna can be plugged in to provide accurate position and speed data to the DR02, which is saved and displayed on recorded videos. This additional GPS information may support your case in any driving disputes or incidents. It’s a shame though that this feature comes is an optional extra and is not a bundled item.
The AUKEY DR02 1080p Stealth Dash Camera is a great mid-range dash camera. It sits relatively small on your windshield and includes a whole host of tech that will capture some very clear and detailed video in all conditions and times of day. It’s currently on sale for $69.99 on Amazon. Its low cost of entry makes it a compelling upgrade if you’re looking to replace a low-end dash camera. It is also a very competent dashboard camera for anyone looking to jump straight in and attach your first camera to your windshield. For its relatively low price, you can’t do much wrong by placing one of these onto your screen.
CarPlay Life has partnered with AUKEY to bring you our impartial reviews of their products. CarPlay Life has affiliate linked to the reviewed products, which means by clicking on any linked products you also help support CarPlay Life by allowing us to receive a commission from your purchase on Amazon.com.