|Dash Cam Name||Weight||HD||Check Prices|
|Vantrue R2||82 Grams||2K||Check Prices|
This is the most recent model from Vantrue, so far the company has had very successful models, mostly in the mid-range price range.
This particular model is very affordable, but promises a well rounded set of features.
I reviewed a few of their models in the past, and some of them were very surprising in terms of what they had to offer for an extremely low price.
They have demonstrated a level of commitment to their customers, as well as a strong presence on the market all over the world. They keep finding new ways of bringing value to the customer a, so let’s see what this new models is all about.
- Extreme 2k HD 2304x1296p/2560x1080p resolution
- Excellent night vision
- Numerous and easily accessible options
- First class customer support
- 18 months guarantee
- 170° viewing angle
- Ambarella A7 chipset
- Durable buttons
- Parking monitor
- Video can be shaky if the dash cam isn’t mounted properly
This cam arrives in a standard Vantrue signature white box with an orange logo. The box is not as descriptive as other models I’ve recently reviewed, but instead it features flashy images of the camera and its basic abilities.
Inside, packed neatly, you’ll find the camera, the mounting bracket, a mini USB cable, a HDMI cable, a long power cord for the car’s cigarette lighter, and the instruction book.
The camera and all of its additional components are all in black colour.
The instruction book is a lot more descriptive than the box, as you might have guessed. One of the main advantages Vantrue has is that their software is really well done. It is simple, easy to use, and pretty intuitive. It also looks much better than most software programs I’ve seen, so together with a simple user’s guide you shouldn’t spend too much time learning the instructions.
One of the things that immediately caught my eye is the 18 month guarantee included in this pack. Most cameras have 12, so this only adds to the already great reputation Vantrue has for its customers, along with a great customer service they provide.
In the manual you’ll find a bunch of useful info like the in depth feature explanation and the recording time chart to help you better organize your memory consumption. In maximum resolution, 2560x1080p, the 64GB memory card provides 6 hours and 36 minutes of footage time. After that it will start overwriting the oldest footage of course.
The camera looks like a plain photo camera really. It has a bit more edges adding to a futuristic look, but nothing too flashy. The materials it is made of are chrome and metal, and the cam feels durable, although not heavy or too firm.
The lens is in the middle of the front side, and it is lined with a silver colour. It is a standard f2.0, 6 element glass lens.
Besides that and a few silver buttons, the whole camera is in black colour. The front side also has the infra-red light and the speaker.
The viewing angle on this unit is 170°, which is the highest encountered in a dash cam. Most cameras have about 140-160°, which means this can is well above average. The 170° viewing angle means that if your camera is placed in a default position, just behind the rear view mirror, it will capture everything in front of your car, both side walks, and almost both sides of your car, so pretty wide.
The back side holds the large 2.7 inch display screen together with the two pairs of rubber buttons on each side of the screen. The screen is reasonably visible in daylight and sunlight, and the resolution is decent. The speaker is also located under the left side buttons. In the default record mode the screen shows you an overview of the recording angle with information on the screen’s edges like: the current resolution, battery life, video length, etc…
On one edge of the camera you’ll find an HDMI video port and the reset button, and on the other is the micro SD card port. The card port is not ideally designed, because it is somewhat difficult to plug out the card once it is inside, even if you have small nails. You are supposed to press it down until it clicks, which is not that easy, but the card is not meant to be removed often, so this is not that big of a deal.
The cam supports up to a 64GB memory card size.
Other ports and slots area also spread on other sides of the cam.
An always welcomed addition to any car camera is the manual emergency button. What this button does is that it allows you to manually lock down a current loop being recorded and prevent it from being overwritten later. This process is also being done automatically by other features of the cam, but this way you can do it manually. This is important, because you may want to keep a certain recording that does not trigger the cameras sensors for video lock down.
As mentioned above, the main control buttons are in pairs of two, on both sides of the display screen. They are rubbery and easily pressed. I actually feel that this was a smart way to go about it. Rubber is just hard enough to provide enough firmness, and just soft enough to absorb the force and provide longer durability. Because of this I have confidence that these buttons will last long, unlike many other cameras that have issues with this part.
As the buttons are placed on both sides of the camera, you will need two thumbs to operate the menu, and so you will need both hands so no driving and tinkering with the cam.
The function of the buttons changes depending on the mode your camera is in. One button embodies multiple functions, but you will quickly get the hang of it. For example, the main menu button that opens up the main menu becomes the emergency button when the camera is in record mode.
The mount is slightly unusual. The slot connecting it with the cam has connector pins that transfer power to the cam. The mount is then plugged to the power by the power cord. It has a easy stick turning handle, which you turn to push the air out after you place it to your wind shield.
The power cord is lengthy enough (9 foot long) so that you can successfully run it around your windscreen, down your car’s corner, under the dashboard and into your car’s cigarette socket. Now, the cigarette socket power adaptor has an additional USB port, besides the one powering up the camera, so that you can possibly plug in or charge an additional device at the same time, like your smart phone for instance.
The image processor this model uses is the standard Ambarella A7LA50, which is commonly used on all good quality high tech cameras, even many above this price range and camera class.
The camera’s sensor is the Omnivision OV4689. These two make a popular good quality combination for high image quality.
The set-up is fairly easy, owed to the fact that Vantrue has one of the best software’s I’ve ever seen in a dash cam.
The main menu consists of four large orange icons. The first one leads to the record set-up, the second to system set-up. Next we have the GPS set-up, and the file section.
The recording set-up allows you to choose your desired resolution, video quality, loop recording length, parking monitor switch, G-sensor set, WDR (wide dynamic range), microphone on/off, stamp, etc…
The resolution let’s you choose between:
- 2560x1080p (30 fps)
- 2304x1296p (30 fps)
- 1920x1080p (30fps) with or without HDR
- 1290x720p (60fps and 30fps)
For the video quality you can go with super fine, fine, and normal.
If you don’t know what the loop recording feature does, it divides your loops into loops for easy managing and overview. In the setting you can set up your desired length of the loop. You can choose between 1, 3, 5 minutes, and you can completely turn the loop dividing feature off, so you have large 4GB files at a time.
The parking monitor, or what is more commonly known as the motion detection, lets camera use its motion sensor to detect movement near your car while it is parked. Once movement is detected, the camera will turn on automatically and make a single recording, audio and video included.
The G-sensor, or the gravity sensor, is what makes a dash cam what it is. It detects impacts, sudden shifts in your car’s stability and position, and once that happens locks down the current video loop being recorded, preventing it from being overwritten and storing it in a separate file for easy review.
You can also choose between three different sensitivity levels: high, medium, and low. You should use the low setting if your car is a bit shaky, because the sensor is very sensitive on this unit.
The WDR (wide dynamic range) enhances your image quality giving your colors a natural look and allowing for higher detail.
The stamp option lets you set up the the info visible on your recordings. You can set up date and time, logo stamp, license plate number, and the speed and GPS stamps. The speed and GPS stamps are only enabled if you have your GPS unit plugged in and active.
Other recording settings include: contrast, sharpness, white balance, EV setting, and power off delay. They generally speak for themselves.
The system set-up lets you set your language for the menu, the camera’s clock, auto LCD off, non-use auto power off, sound volume, flicker frequency, TV standard, format, default setting, etc… These settings also speak for themselves.
The files menu leads to two file folders, the normal and the event one. The normal stores the usual recording, be it divided into loops or not, and the event one stores the locked one’s that are marked by other camera’s features.
Depending on your car’s stability, the camera’s recording can be a little shaky. The mounting bracket and the ball joint also add up to the shake effect a bit. The camera doesn’t have any picture stability feature, but the footage is still pretty decent. It can show license plates far away from your car, even at night and low light. In my experience, the highest detail visibility is achieved in the wide resolution.
The power consumption is low, the memory storage lasts long enough. Some of these models come with a 32GB card, but if you want to be sure you should purchase the 64GB one.
The sound quality is also noticeably better than on most units I’ve reviewed. The GPS set-up is easy, and the software is also nicely accessible.
All in all, this is a nice gadget. It can be considered affordable, if you factor in the wide range of features and capabilities. It doesn’t break the series of good cameras Vantrue has been producing, but it doesn’t raise the bar too much either. Generally, it is worth its cost and should serve its purpose to the fullest.