I’d been contemplating a dash cam for my car for a while now. Idiot drivers around Birmingham are a common theme, especially when it comes to lane discipline around some of the City Centre ring road roundabouts, where sometimes it really does feel like you’re at the fun fair on the dodgems.
The Senwow GS8000 showed up as an Amazon Lightning Deal one day and looked a good bargain, however, I didn’t want to jump in on a lightning deal right away, so just added the item to my wish list so that I could read up on it a little more at a later date. The product sounded good, and the reviews were also pretty good. So once the item was back on a lightning deal I didn’t hesitate in ordering one.
The sales blurb boasted Full HD 1080P at 30 frames per second, Emergency lock on files where a bump has been detected (God help the pot holes) loop recording, night vision, motion detecting parking monitor, auto power on and off with the engine and an included 8GB Micro SD card. Not bad.
The packaging is impressive for a cheap device, I picked this up for just over £20, and to be fair, the packaging looks as good as a high end smartphone.
It’s worth noting at this point the camera also comes with a USB key for inserting the micro SD card so you can easily transfer video footage from the card to your computer, and as seen above, plenty of sticky back cable mounts in order to help keep cabling tidy if you intend to do a permanent installation.
The camera itself is quite small, fitting easily into your hand. It seems pretty flimsy if I’m honest, and why wouldn’t it feel cheap, after all, it was cheap! The supplied MicroSD appears to be a SanDisk one, so that was a bonus, or so it seemed.
Which brings us nicely onto installation. The first thing you should do is set the correct date and time once you’ve connected it to some power, the last thing you want is the incorrect information embedded into the video if you need to make an insurance claim and need that footage. The 12V adapter that’s provided has an extremely long cable on it, which is great, but the downside is, it completely takes up the 12V socket in your car. I’m lucky enough to have 2, one in the back too, but I didn’t want to use that one, cabling that up tidely would have been a nightmare. I already had a 12V adapter that had 2 USB sockets on it. Mainly so two of us could charge our phones at the same time if need be, but now if I wanted to use my phone as a sat-nav and have the dash cam running at the same time, then clearly I needed another way of powering the dash cam.
So I purchased a 3m USB A Male to USB Mini 5 Pin Male Cable from Amazon as luckily the dash is powered via the Mini USB port on the side. I checked it would power on ok in this manner first, which it did, and then did as best I could to install the Dash cam into my Ford Mondeo in a way that the cable remained tidy. It was pretty easy. I stuffed the cable up under the glove box of which there was plenty of room for cable, and then stuffed it under the sealing for where other cables were already, brought it back out at the join near the top of the front windscreen. Stuffed the cable then under the upholstery between the roof of the car and the windscreen, there was one section where it wouldn’t stay in place, so I used one of the provided cable ties and then brought it down to where I had the dash mounted. I was quite pleased with my installation job, which to this day, has stayed in place without an issue!
The default setting of the camera footage is set to 720P, so if you want it to be 1080p, you need to go into the settings and change this. To be honest, I didn’t notice much difference between the footage that was captured at 720p and 1080p. According to the manual at 720p you’ll capture 100 minutes of footage on the 8GB Micro SD before it starts looping over the oldest data, and 72 minutes at 1080p. If you are used to doing long journeys, and want footage of the idiot driver towards the start of your journey, then I would recommend you buy the 32GB version, or buy a card separately. A 32GB card can hold 400 minutes at 720p and 280 minutes at 1080p.
Whilst i’m on the subject of the Micro SD card, it’s probably worth mentioning this is where I had my trouble. Fake Micro SD cards are a huge problem. In fact purchasing SD cards online, even from Amazon always seems to be a game of Russian roulette, will it be genuine or will it be fake. It’s annoying, because the savings are obviously there to be made compared to buying on the high street, but at least when you buy on the high street you’re much more likely to be getting a genuine card. So sometimes it may be worth paying the extra to eliminate the potential hassle. Hassle indeed is what I had with my included card. After several uses the card was still recording footage, but would no longer play back on my computer, all the footage seemed to be corrupt. In fact the only way to get it to play was with MPC-HC media player. Not even VLC would play it. With MPC I couldn’t scrub forward or back either, it would always go back to the start of the footage. I already had a 32GB Micro SD ready to go anyway, which was the main reason I didn’t spend the extra on the 32GB version, and once I replaced the Micro SD card everything was all good again. I couldn’t be bothered to raise a return because of the dodgy Micro SD card. So despite above recommending the 32GB version of the camera, if you don’t want the potential hassle of a faulty card, then you might want to just grab the cheaper 8GB version and get a 32GB SD card separately.
So what about the footage. It’s actually quite good. at least during the day anyway. The only downside is perhaps the night mode, when turned on it’s practically impossible to read number plates unless you’re really close to the car in front, and oncoming cars, you just won’t see at all due to the cars headlights. Leaving the camera in day mode is also a no go. The instructions make this clear that in night mode the plates will only be clear at 5 metres distance. Also it’s a shame the camera doesn’t automatically switch to night mode, you need to remember to do this manually, and then switch it back during the day! The only other downside seems to be on extremely bright sunny days where the reflections from inside the car will show on camera, and the number plates of cars in front are not as clear.
Below is a video I have uploaded of various conditions of when I was driving, daylight, night, motorway. rain, it’s all here. Skip through it and make your own mind up. It’s worth noting the camera does record sound, however as I often have music quite loud whilst driving sadly I seemed to be triggering copyright notices from music studios, so for that reason, I have removed the sound from the videos. Be sure to set the video quality in your YouTube browser to 1080P to get a true reflection of the footage recorded, any other setting that YouTube delivers the footage to you at will not be a true representation of the product.
I haven’t had the need to check the parking guard system, as thankfully, no one has bashed my car whilst it’s parked. It’s worth noting this only works when the camera is not receiving external power! There’s also an option for motion detection, which may be a little overkill, when parked, this does need an external power supply to be continued to the device, which may result in a flat battery for older cars or cars with a poor battery health. It’s also worth noting my camera does not go off when the engine is turned off because my 12 V will continue to supply power even with the engine off, so I have to unplug from the 12V adapter to power the camera off, but this is no fault of he camera, it’s just how my car is designed to work!
Overall I rate this product 3/5.
Losing stars for the combination of dodgy Micro SD card, poor night vision and not supplying an alternative longer Micro USB cable as an alternative to use to power the device instead of the 12V. However when the product is on a lightning deal for £20, it’s a very good starter dash cam for the price.
I purchased this item for £20.79 as part of a lightning deal.