Dome G5WA Dual Dash Cam review

Aug 12, 2015

The Dome G5WA is the first dual dash camera to be equipped with the renowned Ambarella chipset.





Another day, another Dome... Until now, the dual car camera sector was reserved to the most terrible pieces of junk.
Well, the game is changing at last, with the first Ambarella-equipped dual camera.

Features:
Ambarella A7LA70 chipset and Sony IMX322 sensor
360-degree collision warning system.
Dual 1080P Car DVR:  1080P, Font and Rear
Both 170 wide angle,ultra-wide-angle lens.
Support 64G memory cards
Loop recording,G-sensor,motion detection,GPS connection (optional GPS module)
3.0 inch screen.
FMWS, SCWS, HMWS, ADAS, LDWS**

** These warning systems are really marketing gimmicks from Ambarella and will at best distract you while driving, with random frontal collisions and lane departure alerts even while driving straight on a deserted road. It is exactly the same as with the G95A reviewed earlier.

Front and Rear cameras:
Until recently, buying a dual car camera was always done at the expense of the overall image quality.

Here, both cameras are 1080p 30fps. They use the Ambarella A7LA70 chipset, which is helped by 2 companion chips to handle the simultaneous capture.
The rear camera picture quality is good except for the color rendering. Also the bit rate of the rear video stream is lower than to the front one (7000 vs 11000 kbps).

The rear camera is a true advantage. With so many drivers having no clue about the safety distances, this view will allow for a better understanding of the situation in the event of an accident.


The rear camera mount can be articulated in virtually any position and fixed with screws or a double-side sticker. Still, it can be a challenge to find the right on some cars. Deciding the best route for the cable to reach the front unit is another challenge.






Viewing:

The Registrator viewer is probably the only capable free viewer for dash cams. However it only plays one video at a time and the G5WA records 2 files simultaneously. 


At least, VLC media player can be set to load and play several videos together

Datakam player cannot play 2 videos simultaneously but VLC can.

Interface and general operations:
(This unit came with firmware G5W-ZX-A7L-1389-S-H)

The G5WA has slightly bigger dimensions than the famous G90.
The G5WA has AE and Meter mode control but lacks some others that are usually present in Dome products, like the option to mute the on/off jingles and button sounds.
The video recording can be started manually, but I could not find the snapshot camera mode!
Also disappeared: the "emergency" button used to manually write-protect a portion of video.

The microphone is very sensitive and the speakers loud.
The faint clicking noise in the recording is a classic now, present already in G90 and G95, and is caused by the power adapter. It can be heard in the short video below and in any sample posted on DashCamTalk.

The buttons on each side have their function engraved on them. Having some labels printed instead would greatly help the operations.

There are 2 front leds on the main unit with no other function than producing some blueish glare at night.




Parking mode:  once set from the setup menu, the camera will record the activity around the car while parked. However it also interferes with normal driving mode, turning the camera on and off repeatedly, so this needs to be deactivated, manually, while driving and activated, manually, when parked.
The parking mode should be automatic, engaging only while the camera only when the engine is stopped.

Battery: Unlike my previous G-series products, the battery does seem to hold some power for longer which could be an advantage for the G5WA if the parking mode was fixed and if it was possible to switch to the snapshot camera mode.




Optional GPS:
I used the GPS module that came with the G90-7S. It works really well with an almost instant acquisition. Unfortunately, the G5WA is not bundled with one, and finding the right GPS to buy separately is not easy.

Conclusion:
The G5WA is sold  around 150$ and this unit was sent by Gearbest.
It represents a milestone in dual dash cams as the first one using the Ambarella chipset.
It does the basic job fine with the usual excellent picture quality from the A7LA70 chipset, even if the rear view could be improved.

There is (lots of) room for improvement on the software side and the product design is quite a step back compared to the G90, so I cannot recommend that product at its current price. At the very least they should include the GPS module with it.

Gearbest is aware of most issues and reported them back to Dome, so there's hope that a future firmware will improve the product.

List of issues found:
- No way to mute the jingles of the camera.
- Permanent on-screen speed indication (something seen in previous models from Dome)
- Permanent "zhongxing" stamp
- Still camera mode is missing
- Front blue LED useless and cannot be turned off
- Subject to focus shift on warm day (never a problem in Ireland, so I rely on feedback from the forum)

- No Emergency recording button
- Camera turns off during operation (resolved by turning off the Parking mode. Formatting the SD card using the G5WA interface also helps in other cases)
- Power adapter produces background noise in the recording.

Product page:
http://www.szdome.com/product-detail-216.html

Discussion: DashCamTalk.com



Special thanks to Lindell @ GearBest for providing the sample reviewed here.










1 comment:

  1. Another interesting product from Dome Technology. Thanks for the review.
    I'm pretty happy with the G55, it produces very good quality videos.
    What I could do with next is a dual helmet camera for use on the bike - in some respects the forward camera is 'after the event'.

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