The DDPai Mix3 is a 1080p dashcam based on a Sony sensor that promises excellent night video – and for the most part it delivers. This camera has noticeably better license plate legibility than many other 1080p dashcams in its price class. The built-in storage seems like an odd decision, but may make it easier for a user who does not want to buy extra memory. It also has quite a large battery.
During the day, video quality ranges from good to excellent. In sunny weather, there’s a lot of detail and brightness is accurate. It’s possible to read most oncoming license plates in the adjacent lanes even at fast speeds. The video looks great, albeit once and a while there’s just a little bit of visible compression noise in areas of high details (such as being surrounded by lots of tree branches). Even in those moments it’s still possible to read plates for the most part, but it would be nice to see a slightly higher bitrate. Overcast weather has the same characteristics: excellent video quality overall, with accurate colour and lots of detail.
At night, video quality is still very good and among some of the top cams I’ve tested. In the city, the video is slightly darker than other cameras but that makes details a bit clearer. It’s easier to read street names and see the makes and models of cars. License plates are not readable for oncoming traffic, which is normal. Plates are often readable on cars ahead of the camera travelling in the same direction. In the pitch black, illuminated by only headlights, this camera does a respectable job, with decently bright and detailed video.
Audio quality from the camera is a bit muffled but it’s possible to understand voices talking while the car is in motion. It wouldn’t be usable for high fidelity requirements like travel vlogging, but it should be audible in a pinch. At least the road noise is muffled too so voices are not drowned out by engine noise.
The Android app is straightforward enough. It is a little bit clunky to use, though it gets the job done. In the Android app, there’s options to preview the video, take snapshots, and see footage that was already recorded by the camera. You can also adjust camera settings on the fly, although there is not many of them. There’s settings for video resolution (1080p30 or 720p30), mic on/off, parking mode and date stamp. It’s functional, but not the most pretty.
The biggest issue with the app is permission requirements: at the time of writing, the Android app requires the permission to view/manage phone calls. I don’t think that’s necessary for a dashcam app, and is kind of invasive. DDPai has been in contact to say that the iPhone app doesn’t require that permission. They’re also apparently working on updating the app so that it does not require that permission. I’ll update this review once they do fix that.
One of the odd features of this camera is the built in storage. I can understand the reason behind it: this way users do not need to worry about buying extra memory cards. The problem is that there’s no way to plug in an SD card if you choose. Memory is one of the most common points of failure on a dashcam, so it would have been nice to have the option of an external card. Despite DDpai’s assurance that the memory in this camera is MLC (high quality and long lasting), if the memory does corrupt then the camera will have to be thrown out and a new one purchased. That might result in a lot of warranty claims for DDpai. The other thing to keep in mind is that the storage is internal so in order to get video off of this camera it is required to use the app over Wi-Fi or to take the camera out of the car and plug it into the computer. It’s not possible to remove the memory and plug it directly into a phone, tablet or computer. You’ll also need a spare micro USB cable since there’s only the long one included in the box.
The camera also has a nice feature: a timer to turn it off while in parking mode. It can be set to 1 hour, 6 hours, 24 hours or disabled. Setting it to a time ensures that it will not drain the cars battery when parked for a week. As someone with a car that has the lighter port always active, that’s a great feature and one I took advantage of while testing the cam. My car battery never died despite leaving the cam plugged in.
The camera also seems to have a relatively massive battery for a dashcam. With most cameras I have tested that use a battery, I can only record between 30 seconds and five minutes with the camera on its internal battery. With the Mix3 I filmed almost the entire review on the internal battery. I found that I could easily record between 30 and 60 minutes with the internal battery. That’s HUGE for a dashcam. A big battery means the camera can function in parking mode without power for longer. However, the problem with a big battery is that they do not do well in heat or cold. This could be an issue for someone living in a hot climate like Texas or Australia. I would not recommend leaving this camera in direct sunlight, and having to take it out of the car kind of defeats the purpose of having parking mode anyways.
From a sheer video quality perspective, this camera hits a home run. License plates are legible in most lighting situations, colour is accurate and video is detailed. The camera is not without its quirks, though, such as the big battery and internal memory. Some users may find those features useful while power users may want something that has a different feature set than this camera: a capacitor, 1080p60, and even some basics like a license plate number stamp.
The Keeken N56 + HL01 is a dual dashcam kit that features two real 1080p video streams, an OV4689 sensor for the front and a Sony IMX sensor for the rear. This kit is pretty close to a replacement for the Viofo A119 front facing and the A119S rear facing, at a significantly lower cost. There are a few little issues with the video quality but overall it has been solid and reliable in my time using it.
Dual 1080p + 1080p video streams
1440p 30FPS or 1080p 60FPS (when using only the front facing camera)
Mic can be turned on or off
OV4689 front, Sony IMX rear sensor
Capacitor for better performance in varying weather conditions
Sharp display with accurate colours and deep blacks
Excellent typing experience
Solid build quality
Stays cool during operation
Smooth pen experience
What I don’t like:
Some PWM on display if backlight is dimmed
Port selection could be better
Potential screen issues with this model
Specs as reviewed:
i7-7700HQ 7th Gen Processor
16GB DDR4 Ram
1TB Samsung SSD
4K IPS Display (BOE)
Touch screen with pen (separate purchase)
Conclusion: Since Lenovo is likely going to update this model for 2018, there are some solid bargains on this laptop if you don’t mind 7th gen hardware. It’s quite a capable device for work on the go, plus the flip screen and decent sounding speakers are great for media consumption. It doesn’t get too hot nor too loud while doing heavy tasks. There are some caveats that come with the price though: the potential screen issues and limited ports. Apart from that, this laptop seems to be great for day to day use, light gaming and media consumption.
Summary: If you’ve been following my channel for a while today’s video may give you a sense of Deja Vu because I’ve reviewed this camera before. No, it wasn’t this exact design or accessories included, but the internal hardware in this camera is nearly identical to one of my previous recommended cameras. To prove it, I went ahead and installed C30 firmware onto the camera, and as you can see it’s still turning on and recording. Unfortunately I don’t have a C30 to put it beside and do a proper comparison any more, but once the C30 firmware was installed on the camera the results are identical to what I expected from a SooCoo branded cam. I will discuss installing the SooCoo firmware later in the video, including the risks and the rewards of doing so.
My recommendation with a solar panel like this is to buy a battery bank and charge them together instead of directly charging a mobile phone or device. The reason for this is sunlight fluctuates, and phones are not as well equipped as battery banks to handle the drops and jumps in current. From my experience with this panel, in bright full sunlight, I got at best just under 1.3A of charging, with an average of around 1000mAh. Given the solar panels rating of 8.5W, this is expected. The panel is rated for a peak output of 1.7A and there will be some loss in circuitry, sunlight intensity, heat, etc. The one issue I noted with this panel is at lower outputs (in the shade particularly), the charge controller makes a quiet high pitched whine when there is not enough light. I also encountered a small voltage drop before the controller decided to stop trying to charge in low light but it wasn’t enough that it would damage my devices – just something I wanted to point out.
In non-technical terms, in direct sunlight it will take approx. 3 hours to charge a smartphone. This panel does not store energy on its own – it will only charge other devices in sunlight. Things like clouds blowing past, a window or intense heat can push charging time a little longer. Since it’s inconvenient to be connected to a solar panel for several hours in a row, I recommend buying an external battery bank with the panel, despite the fact that they take longer to charge. For example, a 10,000 mAh battery bank will take about 10 hours to charge with this panel in direct sunlight. However, charging a battery bank means your phone is not constantly tethered to the panel and you can move freely with it. It is also better for the phone, because this panel does not charge much in the shade, and phones need a consistent amount of power to charge properly. If you want to charge multiple devices at once, or charge better in mixed sun/shade you will need a higher wattage panel.
This is listed as an 8.5W solar panel online, but the specs say 10.6W. Little solar panels like this can be alright in direct sunlight but I’d advise, for most cases, to buy something a bit bigger otherwise you’ll just get 1A (standard speed charge) max. That’s not taking into account light fluctuations and whatnot that happen with the sun. This one also made an audible whine at lower current outputs. But otherwise it seems to work fine in direct sun. This power bank does not store power, so a separate USB battery bank would be required if you want to keep energy while .
The Viofo A119S is a low profile dash camera based on the A119 form factor however there are two main differences: the camera uses an updated lens with a narrorwer field of view, and it contains a Sony imaging sensor that is capable of a max resolution of 1080p at 60 FPS. Continue Reading →
The Meike MK-320 is a compact hot-shoe flash featuring TTL functions and tilt/spin capability. It runs off of two AA batteries. This flash is also known as the Neewer NW320.
When I first mounted the flash on my camera I thought it was broken because the TTL function was not exposing correctly, however I realized that the camera didn’t initially recognize the flash so I had to pull it off and put it back on. Once I did that the camera recognized it fine. When you first put it on at any shoot though, you’ll need to pay attention to make sure the camera is properly recognizing it as it seems 1 in 6 times the camera didn’t see that a flash was mounted so the flash was just firing at an incorrect brightness.
Comparing this flash to the built in one on my D750, they’re about the same power, but where the benefit of this is in its diffusion and ability to bounce the flash off of the ceiling or walls. Because the flash face is larger, the light is smoother, and there’s less harsh reflections on skin. Included in the case is an additional diffuser that helps even more. I’m also fond of the LEDs that it includes for video mode, however, they don’t really illuminate all that much to be useful beyond a few feet. Exposure with TTL is good, perhaps a little bit on the bright side at times. Manual mode is easy to adjust functions and slave mode works fine.
Build quality seems reasonable at this pricepoint. All the buttons have a nice click to them and the plastic feels solid. With the 2 AA batteries inserted (you’ll need to provide your own), the flash has a decent weight to it. Not as much as a big flash mind you, but this is the type of device for someone who wants something more compact, so that’s a win.
This flash is small, so it is not a master of heat dissipation while repeating flash. Don’t fire too many in succession otherwise it will pause to cool down.
Overall it would make a better addition to a micro 4/3rds camera or a point and shoot than a standard full size DSLR. I wouldn’t personally use it in professional situations, but for the type of person who wants something to mess around with it’s cheap, compact and works decently once the camera recognizes it. My honest recommendation though: if you want to spend less and don’t mind a full size flash grab the Neewer VK750 II. It has more power, better TTL accuracy and a built-in zoom function (USA Link | Canada Link).
Summary: The N2 is a dual lens setup made for viewing the road and passengers at the same time. If you’re looking for the type of camera to view in front of and behind the car you will either need two separate cameras or a unit that has a secondary camera on a wire and hangs from the rear window. This kind of camera is more for taxis or Uber drivers who need to keep an eye on their passengers.