*English version is model number G-W-3. The Chinese version can be updated with English firmware. Model G-W-6 is in Spanish.
With the increase in fake insurance claims and general tomfoolery on the roads these days, dash cams are getting increasingly pretty popular. Fixing a dashboard camera to your front windscreen can help call out any ‘moron’ on the road and settle any police or insurance disputes that you maybe unfortunate to encounter.The Xiaomi Mijia Car DVR Camera* from GearBest.com is a 1080p dashboard camera that on paper has some impressive features, all packed into a device that’s smaller than a deck of playing cards. I took the Mijia for a spin over the past few weeks, to put it through its paces during various conditions here in the UK; including day, night and (of course) in the UK rain, to bring to you my impressions on this sleek-looking little dash camera from Xiaomi.
In the very Apple-esk box, the Mijia comes with everything but a micro-SD memory card to get you going. Inside there is the camera itself, which is a nice looking piece of technology. Under the sleek black casing there is a Sony IMX323 CMOS image sensor and enough processing power to continuously loop through a cycle of 1080p video.
Alongside the camera, you’ll find a screen/dash mount and two adhesive pads to attach the mount to the windscreen or on the dashboard, if you prefer. There is also a lengthy single L-bent USB cable, that plugs into the supplied USB port 12v adaptor to supply power the unit – this device is not battery charged, and finally there are two clear electrostatic stickers if you wish to temporarily mount the dash cam to your screen. With plenty of accessories thrown in, even a little plastic crowbar to help route the USB cable around your car’s interior, there is enough options to mount the Mijia dash camera exactly where, and how, you want it.
Once the camera is mounted and its USB cable tucked away, with the help of the tiny plastic crowbar, I took the camera on a few weekly daily commutes and long weekend road trips. Luckily I didn’t have the need to rely on the camera for any road instances, but it of course, it did manage to capture some moronic behaviour on the roads! But nothing worthy of prosecution by the authorities 😉
With the Sony 1080p image sensor, with its F1.8 aperture and 160 degree field of view, the images captured on the Mijia was sharp with colours that are very pleasing to view, at least when it is being viewed on its little 3-inch rear view colour display. Thanks to its H.264 compression, video quality is kept high whilst also being efficiently stored on my 32GB Class 10 SD memory card. A maximum of 64GB is supported, however there is no SD card bundled – so you have to source your own. I recommend getting at least a Class 10 speed SD card, and the bigger storage of memory card you can afford, the more captures you’ll be able to hold on to before it gets overwritten.
If you do come across any captured moments, you can quickly tap one of the device’s four touch-sensitive buttons that run below the 3-inch display. Sadly, the whole screen isn’t touch sensitive, but that didn’t stop this reviewer still trying to touch the various sub-menu options directly on the display. The additional three buttons along the bottom of the rear of the camera allow you to toggle audio capture on/off, view and set the camera’s recording settings, save latest capture to a saved event location, and finally toggle Wi-Fi on/off – so you’re able to access the camera using its smartphone app.
Once you’ve downloaded the Dride smartphone application from the Apple App Store for iOS, or Google Play Store for Android, and connected your smartphone to the Mijia’s built-in Wi-Fi transmitter, you can browse stored video captures and download them to your smartphone for permanent safe keeping. You can also use the optional free Cloud upload feature to store any recordings to your cloud profile on dride.io.
My experience with the Dride app wasn’t a smooth experience. From saving clips to my smartphone, through to simply viewing clips over the Wi-Fi connection on the camera, I came across many long waiting times whilst files between 150MB and 300MB where being saved to my iPhone – so if time is precious it will be much faster to remove and insert the SD card directly into your desktop computer, and save them off directly.
Once you do have your recordings downloaded to your smartphone or desktop, you’ll soon notice that the capture quality is pretty great for this camera’s small price tag. You may assess this camera’s quality more strictly depending on what kind of detail you feel it is important to capture. If it is the capture of licence plates of oncoming traffic, or being able to read from white roadside signs, then the Mijia dash camera is may not be for you – you’d be better off spending more money on a higher resolution dash camera with a better light sensor.
The Mijia’s capture can appear very high in contrast and a little too bright. This is ideal for nighttime driving, but even then, some of its nighttime capture can have a loss in its dark details. During daylight captures, most of the time I wasn’t able to read oncoming white licence plates, or even large near-side white road-side signs. These are both areas that I would have thought would be very handy to have when submitting any footage for legal/claim proceedings; but if its general captures of oncoming traffic, date, time of day, car type and its colour, then the Mijia will serve you just nicely.
Its built-in G-Sensor can be toggled between off, low and high settings. Once a jolt or shock has been detected, the Mijia will store your latest recording into its ‘event’ area for safe keeping, where it will not be overwritten by its continued loop-cycle recordings.
Due to its cost, the Mijia doesn’t come with built-in GPS. This can however be recorded as long as the app is also connected to the camera. Having to set this up for each journey can be a chore and it isn’t 100% reliable if you’re running audio and navigation apps at the same time. This is unfortunate as without GPS built-in, the Mijia does not track your vehicles’s speed either – a feature that also could be in your favour during any legal proceedings or insurance claims.
In conclusion then, you get what you pay for, when it comes to the Mijia dash camera. Retailing for just $50 (£36) from GearBest.com its sleek design and decent capture quality can stand amongst one of the better cameras in its price range. It’s capture can be a little bright in daylight and its black levels may not be as detailed, but to get anything better will cost you much more than double its price. If you’re on the look out for a stylish, cheap and simple dash camera that you can, very conveniently, access via your smartphone, then the Xiaomi Mijia dash camera is worth your attention.
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