Several models using the same casing:
The model reviewed here is the G50 priced around 60€. It is equipped with the repectable Novatek NTK96650 chipset and 3MP Aptina AR0330 sensor. It also goes by the name BL850 since Dome Technology started their own brand: BlackView. It has a twin called G55, just adding IR Lights. The "bigger brother" G55W adds Wi-Fi but looses out with a rather average couple of chipset and sensor.
Like its siblings, the G50 is ideally sized and shaped with a very intuitive button layout, which perfectly fits the Novatek firmware (I realize that the G55W in comparison was less obvious with functions distributed differently, like "Enter" for Menu, M button for Mode)
The user interface comes in 10 languages (vs 3 for G55W) and the car registration tag option. I tried the French interface, and while not perfect, the quality of the translation is above average, with everything still making sense.
When connected to a PC, the G50 offers 2 modes: Mass Storage and PC Camera. In that mode, it will self-install and appear in the Device Manager as J1455.
The suction mount is easy to fit and has a USB connector which, due to its location in locked position, will force you to place 3.5 cm lower to allow the USB cable to bend against the roof. The picture below makes my point easier to understand. In comparison the G90 mount is better.
The Aptina AR0330 3MP sensor delivers a full HD video in 30fps.
NTK96650 goes up to 1920x1080x30fps. There's no 60fps option.
The firmware release is 0519-0330-RD07. It includes WDR/ HDR and an F1.8 aperture to deal with low light conditions. The 6G glass lens contributes to the picture quality and the view angle is 170°.
The video recording can be done by segments of 1/3/5/10 minutes. I've tried 3 and 5 minutes which both produced a perfect, uninterrupted recording. I used a Class10 memory as recommended and had it formatted by the camera. There is a SD/Internal memory switch for that function although there's no internal memory in the G50 (but some NTK 96650 devices do have one).
There's a choice of 4 resolutions: 640x480, 848x480, 1280x720 and 1920x1080. 720p still gives correct results but I see no point using anything else than FHD.
The frames below are extracted from Full HD videos taken at different times of the day. In most case, we can read the registrations of cars passing by despite the occasional damages done by the compression. As for most car dvr's, night view is the real challenge. WDR adds too much noise and night views are actually quite good without it.
|Day, WDR off, at about 50kph|
|Morning, WDR on, at about 70kph|
|By adding too much noise, WDR turns out to be counter-productive. Click for full size.|
The G50/BL850 uses one of the nicest design in Car DVR's and is very straightforward to use. On that aspect it outclasses the current flagship G90. Like its G55W brother, it doubles as an excellent PC Webcam. The Novatek 96650 does a good job in most situations but WDR is not convincing and best results are obtained without it. It's basically an updated Z7 with a better optics and wider angle.
The sound recording is loud and clear in any situation with no parasite whatsoever.
For 60€ it is absolutely a good buy if you're looking for a reliable and discreet budget dash cam.
It can be found in many shops including FoxOffer, DealExtreme and JooVuu (shipping from UK).
- A quality product hardware and software-wise
- Good video and picture quality
- Great sound recording quality
- Decent battery life
- Gap-less recording
Not so good:
- USB plug location on suction mount is not ideal
- WDR too "noisy" to be effective
Feel free to email her for further information on that product.