CHOICE membership

Dashcam review


There are a few wifi/bluetooth enabled ones that you tap into a power circuit to power the camera. So when the car is running the camera is on and transmits either via wifi or bluetooth to the display.


So the latest Choice Magazine talks about the decision not to recommend most dashcams because they can’t identify details like license plates or who’s in a car in many light conditions. For me though I wasn’t really expecting my dashcam to do that when I bought it. I more just wanted it to prove I was driving legally and wasn’t at fault in the event of an accident (cause I’ve been on P plates since buying it 18 months ago and therefore easy to blame). Anyone else have a dashcam? Why did you buy it and what did you expect it to do?


Still using my Viofo A119, which I bought to replace the Navman 380 which I had bought just in case… and that purchase was as a result of a near miss. A idiot pulled in in front of me and slammed on her brakes to teach me a lesson because I had braked in front of her to let traffic go by on the roundabout. Clearly she was not watching carefully and expected me to go through, almost rear-ending me. I had not slammed my brakes on but could see why she might have thought so if she wasnt paying attention. However… theres NO reason to then do what she did. I realised then that there are more people on the road who believe they are more entitled than anyone else and that this could be an ongoing problem. Hence the dash cam. Nothing interesting has happened since then. Its a good luck charm :slight_smile:


I think many people would agree with your intended purpose for buying a dashcam @tpeter267. Do you find your cam footage is good enough for your purpose?

I’ve copied the section from the mag below.

Most people buy a dash cam for safety reasons. If you’re in or you witness a car accident, footage captured by a dash cam can corroborate your story when the law and insurance gets involved. This is all well and good in theory, but the vast majority of models in our test can only paint a broad picture of events, thanks to poor-quality components.

A dash cam should be able to clearly capture important details such as number plates, unique features on other vehicles, and even the identity of other drivers involved. In practice, however, all you can prove is that you were hit by a white sedan driven by… someone. The best dash cams do a decent job in daylight, but the rest can’t discern enough detail even in optimal environments. Their performance in artificial light, such as in tunnels and carparks, is much worse, and low-light video is basically a blackout.


Yeah I find that it’s correct that license plates etc are hard to see, especially in changing light conditions. But that doesn’t really matter to me. I can see where other vehicles are, the road markings, traffic lights and where my car is in it all. And I feel like that’s the main thing I need to be able to prove my innocence if someone crashes into me. As for who did it it’s a case of not my problem. I have insurance and they can chase that up.


If it was a hit and run one that would be more difficult if you couldn’t provide more detail about who hit you and drove off. Many policies require the details of the offending driver for your claim to be a “No Fault” claim and otherwise you may be labelled an “At Fault” driver (even if you weren’t) and then have to pay the excess.


You will probably find that is not the case if you read your policy documents. It is usually the insured’s responsibility to provide the details of the other driver and vehicle. The insurance company will not play sleuth. The following terms (bold added) are in most if not all policies

You will not have to pay any excess if:
• the claim relates to damage, that we agree, was the fault of a person other than the driver of
your vehicle at the time of the incident; and
you can provide us with the name and contact details of the other person; and
the claimable loss is recoverable by us.

In the event that the fault of the incident which gave rise to the claim is in dispute, you will be required to pay the excess and the excess will be refunded if we are successful in establishing the fault of the other person.

Also, any NCD rating is separate but also depends on whether you can provide the details of the other driver.


While it might not be foolproof, I can think of a number of situations where the cam will still be useful without the license plate data. Has anyone seen the dashcam videos online where someone will deliberately reverse into a vehicle, then claim that the driver ran into the back of them? I reckon a dashcam would solve that issue.

However, in terms of winning a CHOICE recommendation, there are only two that our testers feel are good enough quality to achieve the full range of purposes to a reasonable degree.


I saw that exact scenario a few years ago whereby some scumbag stopped on a US freeway and then proceeded to reverse into the vehicle behind before trying to shake the driver down for hundreds of dollars.

When the driver pointed to his dashcam, the grub very quickly departed.


@BrendanMays & @Fred123 Even with this proof it may still leave a driver with an excess to pay and an “At Fault” record as was posted in the topic by @omy005aw in regards to the theft of their car and subsequent arrest of the offender. Hopefully in their case they may get the excess back but as @TheBBG points out many policies and their PDSs require firm proof of the identity and a possibility of recovery from the at fault driver.

Again an area for CHOICE to possibly weigh in on in regards to what seem unfair terms placed on “No Fault” drivers/owners. The dashcam may prove innocence but won’t necessarily protect the innocent party.


Thanks for the tips. I’ll make sure if that ever happens I get enough info then. If I can get the license plate manually that should generally be enough. Especially if they’re lodging a claim with their own insurance


I checked out my dashcam (an older Blackvue model) and found that by adjusting the night vision setting I’ve got it to a point where it at least makes out license plates in a lot of light conditions. It’s a shame it doesn’t auto adjust but I guess the newer ones might