So, you’ve decided to purchase a dash cam?
Well, you’ve definitely come to the right place. In this Viofo A129 Pro Duo 4k dual dash cam review I’m going to give you all the information you need to decide whether this dash cam is right for you. Enough with the introduction and lets get right into it.
Basic Product Info
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I’m not going to bore you with all the details, but here are the main things you need to know about this dash cam from a technical perspective:
4K – This dash cam offers true 4k UHD (3840×2160) resolution in the front camera.
256GB Storage – The camera supports up to 256GB micro SD cards. You can store about 8 hours of continuous footage from the front and rear cameras along with about 15 hours of parking mode footage. People report success with using 512GB memory cards, but use of 512 GB cards is not supported by the manufacturer.
Dual cameras – 4K in front, 1080P in rear. The rear camera connects to the front camera with a really long USB cable. You will need to take apart some trim in your car to route the cable or you will need to pay someone to route the cable for you. The rear camera is useful in showing what was going on behind you.
Software settings – You can adjust a bunch of different settings to your liking.
Parking Mode – This setting allows your dash cam to continue recording after you turn off your vehicle. There are different settings that allow you to choose between using a low bit rate, one of many frame rate settings, or Auto EventDetection which detects when there is movement and will record video at full resolution. I recommend low bit rate setting as it is the only setting which will give you the most coverage. Auto EventDetection is good, but it will not detect all events.
G-Sensor – This is a sensor that will automatically lock recordings when a certain G-force is detected. There are separate settings for when you are driving and for when the dash cam is in parking mode.
GPS – You can configure the dash cam to record GPS or not. Personally, I have it turned off. You can adjust what it displays to include speed, coordinates, or both.
LCD Display – Useful for changing display settings and detecting if the dash cam froze. If you press the menu button and the LCD doesn’t turn on, then you know the dash cam froze and needs to be power cycled.
Power – You can power this dash cam with the included cigarette lighter adapter or purchase a hardwire kit and “Add-a-circuit” fuse taps to draw power from your car’s starter battery. The hardwire kit will automatically shut off the dash cam once your car battery reaches a selectable voltage level to prevent your car battery from dying.
As part of a more advanced setup, you can install a second/house battery to power the dash cam while the car is turned off and have the house battery charge while you’re driving. This is useful if you don’t want wear and tear on your starter battery or your car stays parked for longer periods of time when the cutoff voltage on the hardwire kit is reached and the dash camera powers off
WIFI – The only thing I found useful about this was the live feature where you view the video from your phones. This feature was helpful when I was mounting the front and rear cameras to make sure they were positioned the way I wanted.
GPS – The dash cam comes with a GPS unit as the base. I share videos online and don’t care to make the exact location known, so I have this turned off. Sure people can tell where I’m driving by looking at the street signs or if they’re familiar with the area I was driving in, but it requires additional effort to do this.
Audio Recording – The dash cam has a microphone and will record audio. A lot of people recommend leaving this to allow you to call out the license plate of a car in the event of a hit-and-run as a fail safe should the plate be blurry in the video, but I currently have it turned off because my girlfriend doesn’t like our conversations recorded and I tend to forget to turn it off when she’s in the car with me.
As I mentioned earlier, this is not an exhaustive list of features and settings, but rather a highlight of what I consider to be a core feature. If you have a question about any features I’ve listed, or not listed, leave a comment and I’ll be sure to respond to you.
Why Purchase a Dash Cam?
If you’re at the point where you’re reading dash cam reviews, then I’m sure you realize that purchasing a dash cam is a very wise decision. However, for completeness sake, here are some reasons why buying a dash cam is in your best interest.
Liability – Let’s face it, the other drivers around you are getting worse and worse with each passing year. Should one of them actually cause an accident that you’re involved in, then it’s going to be your word against their word without a dash cam. Should they lie, which unfortunately is pretty common, then it’s possible the police officer and insurance companies will assign blame for the accident to you. Dash cams provide an indisputable record of the accident.
Catch interesting things on camera – One of my favorite things to do with a dash cam is to share with family and friends interesting things I caught on my dash cam. You can catch all sorts of weird and interesting things on your dash camera.
Take the Stress Out of Driving – Having a dash cam lets me not stress about the other drivers on the road. Instead of being upset and angry over something stupid another driver did, you can simply laugh it off and save the clip to share with others later. Basically, it helps take some stress out of driving by taking your ego out of it. Rather than being an unwilling participant in another person’s crazy antics, you are merely an observer.
My Personal Experience Using It
After watching a bunch of dash cam videos online and dealing with bad drivers more frequently over the years, I decided that I needed a dash cam. Unfortunately, the dash cam proceeded to sit in the box for over a year until I got off my butt and installed it in my car.
Installation – I opted to install it myself in phases. At first, I opted to just power it by using the cigarette lighter power plug. This only involved removing the 3M adhesive backing, sticking it on the windshield, and routing the cable across the headliner and down the “A” pillar (be careful if your car have airbags.) If this is overwhelming, then you can pay Best Buy or a car audio shop to install it for you. You could even let the cable hang down, but I don’t recommend that as it could turn the dash cam into a projectile during an accident if the air bags deployed. Installing the front camera first let me get some coverage on my car and motivated me to install the rear camera which a little more involved, but definitely worth the effort. Not I can’t imagine driving without a dual camera dash cam.
Firmware updates – Updating the firmware on it by connecting it to my computer was a little tricky. I definitely recommend using the micro SD card method of updating the firmware by copying the new firmware to the card, putting it into the camera, and powering on the camera. The manufacturer seems to be very proactive about updating the firmware to resolve issues.
WIFI issue – I upgraded the firmware on my dash cam to resolve an issue where the parking mode files were limited to 10GB. After the firmware update, I could no longer connect to it via WIFI. This wasn’t too impacting because I still had the LCD screen to change the dash cam settings. I still need to follow up with Viofo on a fix, but in the grand scheme of things is such a small issue for me I still haven’t followed up.
Freezing up issue – I have noticed an issue where the dash cam buttons will become unresponsive. In some instances the dash cam stopped recording the rear video. In other instances the dash cam stopped recording both the front and rear video. While not ideal, it seems like most dash cams on the market have these types of issues. I’ve opted to just make sure the dash cam is responsive when I turn on my car to go anywhere. If I push a button and the screen doesn’t turn on, then I know I need to power cycle the dash cam. There’s still a chance it will freeze while I’m driving, it’s happened before, but I believe checking it before I start driving it will minimize the risk that the dash cam is inoperable should I be involved in an accident.
What Comes with the Camera
I’ve already mentioned a few things, but here’s a complete list that comes with the camera:
- Front/main unit
- Rear camera
- USB cable to connect rear camera to front camera
- USB cable to connect from/main unit to cigarette lighter charger.
- Trim tool to help with the removal of your car’s trim.
- User manual.
- USB to micro SD card reader.
- 32GB micro SD card (check for accuracy)
- extra 3M adhesive strips in case you need to move the dash cam from car to car and the adhesive wears out.
- GPS base
- Bluetooth recording lock button
- Circular Polarizing Lens (CPL)
- Hardwire Kit
All of the optional accessories are highly useful and I recommend you purchase all of them.
Do I Recommend This Dash Cam?
Yes, I definitely recommend purchasing this dash cam. The front 4k camera has absolutely stunning video. Sure there are some issues with the firmware and it freezing, but no dash cams on the market are without flaws. Additionally, Viofo seems to be committed to making firmware updates which is encouraging.
If you don’t opt for this dash cam, then I recommend you purchase any dash cam and as soon as possible. No dash cam is perfect and purchasing, installing, and using any dash cam is better than no dash cam.
If the worst case scenario happens and it malfunctions and doesn’t capture an accident, then you’re no worse off, minus the money and time you spent on purchasing and installing the dash cam, than if you had not installed it.
The real benefit of a dash cam is that it drastically reduces your of being blamed for an accident you did not cause. Sure it may malfunction and not catch something, but you’re infinitely more likely to catch an accident on video with a dash cam installed, than you are without one installed.
Go out and purchase a dash cam now! You can purchase this exact model here. I don’t care what dash cam you purchase, where you purchase it, just purchase one to protect yourself! This dash cam is more than good enough to take care of your needs.
If you have any questions or comments please leave them below and I’ll be sure to respond to you.