Viofo A119S Review
Video - Day6/10
Video - Night9/10
What I Like
- Acceptable colour and exposure during daylight
- Very good night video
- Decent audio recording
- Can accept CPL filters
- Low profile mounting
What I Don\'t Like
- Focus shifting on edges of lens
- Still no easy access parking functions
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.
Build Quality and U.I.
I’m going to be very brief about the body and UI of this cam because it shares so much with the A119, so go watch that video if you want more in depth details. The body itself is decidedly midrange but this isn’t a bad thing. The plastic doesn’t feel cheap yet at the same time the camera is quite light weight so it doesn’t feel premium. The screen is big and easy to read with bright colours and decent viewing angles. The USB port is on the side of the cam unless you use the GPS adapter. The A119S lens has a 140 degree field of view and can only go up and down as opposed to its cheaper sibling that also turns side to side.
Video Quality – Day
In terms of day time video quality it is overall pretty good despite some minor issues with my copy of the camera. Out of the box I found my cam to be slightly out of focus, which was especially pronounced around the edge of the frame. I didn’t initally review any of the footage I shot over the last month until compiling this review and after putting the footage side by side with other cams everything is slightly blurry in comparison. To be fair it’s not that bad, but other samples of the camera on Youtube have showed better. As of yesterday there’s been a firmware update that claims to improve image quality, so I’m going to have to do further testing including an updated review in the future to see how much of a difference there is after the firmware update and refocusing. In terms of everything else, colour, exposure, these are all accurate. The exposure balances slightly towards the darker side with this cam which I prefer over many cameras which expose on the lighter side. It makes reading bright street signs and license plates easier. In direct sunlight the camera performs admirably, retaining enough detail to read some license plates and street signs. The bitrate of the 1080p60 video is about 20,000kb/s, which is a little on the lower side of acceptable. I’d love to see a higher bitrate mode in future firmware updates.
Video Quality – Night
Low light is supposed to be this cameras forté so I had high expectations for this camera. For the most part night video is very decent. Colour is excellent and things such as street signs and license plates are quite legible. Even though the daylight footage looked a little out of focus, the night footage renders a lot sharper and holds its exposure quite well on street signs and other reflective objects that are usually difficult to read. Sure it’s not as bright as a few of the cameras I tested, but objects are often sharper, easier to read and there’s less video noise overall.
Audio Quality – Night
In terms of audio quality, this camera does pretty well. It’s quiet, but not too quiet and the camera seems to filter out road noise meaning that voices are fairly clear. Here’s what it sounds like: [please skip to 3:15 in the video for audio samples].
The question is, which is more worthwhile: the added resolution of the A119 or the better night footage of the A119S? Well, my current opinion is that the A119 is a better value unless you plan on driving entirely at night. That opinion might change with future firmware updates and a refocused camera, but for now it is worth saving a few dollars.