Best Dash Cam Of 2016 – DP220 Review

Here we go then. The best dash cam 2016, revealed!

I'm a huge technology geek, so when I decided I'd add a dashboard camera into my car I was super excited. I'd done a lot of research before making my purchase, and on using this for a while now I can safely say that this is the best dash cam of 2015 and going into 2016. And I'm basing that opinion on 4 main factors:

  • Cost. It's a biggie. Unless you drive an Aston Martin or Ferrari, you'll want your dash cam to come in on budget.
  • Quality. Whatever car you drive, and whatever your bank balance, quality is not a compromise. This dash cam has a lot of quality.
  • ​Ease of use. You won't need fingers the size of french fries to operate the damn thing. Yes sausage fingers, I'm talking to you.
  • I personally own and love using this dashcam in my Audi A5!

As I say, I personally own the dashcam below, and have it fitted to my personal vehicle. It was incredibly easy to set up and the instructions were easy to follow. It took me about 15 minutes to set the whole system up, and then go for a drive and watch a replay of my driving on my laptop.

There is also an app that allows you to replay your driving on your iPad or iPhone (can be downloaded or streamed over WIFI), which is very easy to use and offers crystal clear video every single time.​ (Android equivalent also available but I am unable to test that as I only have an iPhone and iPad).

In fact, if you have someone in the passenger seat, you can actually stream what the camera is seeing to their phone also (though not sure why they wouldn't just look out of the window themselves - but a nice feature nevertheless).​

Based on those simple factors then, we have a winner...

BEST DASH CAM 2016

Here's my personal pick then. In my opinion, it's the best dash cam money can buy in 2016. If you're looking for a dash cam that does everything, like record in crystal clear high definition, ​is fully adaptive in low light conditions and has additional features like lane discipline assist and proximity assist, then this is it.

It offers a huge amount of features, it is small, lightweight and incredibly easy to operate.​

It's the Transcend DrivePro 220 Dashboard Camera with Built in GPS and WIFI.​

My summary and then a full review can be found below, but for quickness here are the links to the product at Amazon Uk and Amazon USA:

QUICK LINKS:

UK LINK: Full specs and prices on Amazon.co.uk

USA LINK: Full specs and prices on Amazon.com

It's sturdy, it's well build and it has a feature list as long as your arm. This is the best dash cam going into 2016 has offered so far, and for a smudge over a £100/$150, it's a real steal.

At the time of writing, this dash cam is £129.99/$149.99, but by the time you read this, prices may well have changed. Latest pricing from Amazon can be found by clicking the relevant button below:

Why Amazon? Simply because they offer a superior service (including returns) than any other online retailer. And they deliver super fast.

WHY THIS IS THE BEST - COMPARISON CHART

We regard this as one of the best dash cams​ money can buy because its features outweigh other similarly priced models considerably.

For example, against the older DrivePro 200 model​, you are also getting the built in battery (which kicks in if the power source is suddenly shut down for example), GPS (which is absolutely essential in my opinion - without GPS, your unit will not record time, location, and crucially, speed), lane departure warning (when on motorways over a certain speed) and forward collision warnings (alerts you when going over a certain speed that you are too close to the vehicle in front).

Below is the comparisons between the DrivePro range.​

comparison dash cams

Now, considering the difference in price between these models is nominal then the DrivePro 220 wins hands down.

GPS - A MUST HAVE​

One thing I would recommend to anyone who is buying a dashboard camera for their vehicle - you need GPS. The above comparison shows that the DrivePro 100 and DrivePro 200 does not have GPS, making the 220 a complete no-brainer.

dash cam with gps

During my own research when I was purchasing a dash cam, I was going to buy one without GPS (for the simple reason they are cheaper). However, I opted for a GPS enabled unit because in the event of an accident, bump or crash, things like date, time and most crucially - speed and location are all recorded.

Here's an example. Let's say a car pulls out on you on a roundabout​. The police turn up and you go through insurance etc, but the other driver claims you were speeding excessively over the roundabout. If you had a dashcam unit that didn't have GPS, your speed would NOT be recorded, making it a 'you said, they said' type of scenario.

There would be no proof (apart from visually estimating speed from the footage) of the speed you were doing.

With this unit, it records your speed in MPH, because the unit is fixed on a number of satellites that give precise details on location and speed. Therefore, any claim like this would be easily settled because the data would be there for all parties to see.​

LANE DEPARTURE & FORWARD COLLISION DETECTION​

One thing we are all guilty of, especially when driving on long, monotonous motorways, is losing concentration.

Sometimes, I become zombie-fied when driving. You know the feeling, when your eyes just become transfixed on the car ahead, and your mind floats off to another field of thought. For me, it's a pointer that I need to stop and get a Costa Latte with Fruit & Oat biscuits. Or just have a rest altogether at the services.

dash camera lane departure

But sometimes, this type of driving is really dangerous (especially when travelling alone). Because when you get into this mode of zombie-fied driving, you tend to get too close to the vehicle in front. And you tend to lose some lane discipline.

And that is where this unit comes into play.​​

When you get too close to the vehicle in front, an audio clue pipes up and warns you that you are too close.

When you start to drift outside of the confines of your lane, again, an audible warning pipes up telling you that you are close to the white lines.

dash cam forward collision

Now, in my experience, these warnings are about 95% correct. In other words, it does give false alerts when you are moving out of lane slowly for example, or when another annoying driver pops into the space in front of you and the car in front.

But overall, it is a great feature to have - especially for those of us who travel on the motorways regularly. The 220 has these features built in (and you can disable them by the way on the settings menu), whilst the other, older models do not come with these features.

​OTHER DASH CAMS

The Transcend Drive Pro 220 is my choice for the title of best dash cam 2015 has produced so far, but if it is over your budget, take a look at look at these links for some other dashboard cameras which are popular - but a little cheaper:

Do remember though, as with anything, you get what you pay for. A couple of friends of mine have extremely cheap dash cam units installed in their vehicles, and while they do a job, they lack the quality and reliability of a well known, trusted brand like Transcend.​

If you are looking to buy a cheap dash cam for your car, forget it. You get what you pay for. If you are looking at spending just a few pounds or dollars, then all we can do is direct you to some extra strong gaffa tape - and tell you that you might as well tape the camcorder that you bought in 1992 that's still in that plastic see-through box at the back of your wardrobe to your windscreen and use that instead.

Camcorders taped to your windscreen aside, if you are looking to put down a little paper on a quality dash cam for your car (it's £129.99 / $149.99 at the current time of writing, but may well be cheaper when you read this)​ then the Drive Pro 220 is just the job.

REVIEW - DRIVE PRO 220 DASHBOARD CAMERA

Below is my review of the Transcend DrivePro 220 Dashboard Camera.​

WHAT MAKES THIS DASH CAM THE BEST?

Where do I start?

Perhaps when can I finish would be the better question. You see, the Transcend Drive Pro 220 has got everything. Absolutely everything. The only thing missing is the mute button for your WAG sat next to you in the passenger seat (sexism police​, relax, have a Malteser).

Like I said, relax, there's no mute button for your WAG or HAB, but it does have everything else. Let's start with the official Transcend promotional video.

IN THE BOX

What's in the box, Des? On opening the box, you will find:

IN THE BOX - DRIVE PRO 220 DASHBOARD CAMERA

best dash cam 2016

· Drive Pro 220 Dash Cam unit

· Mounting bracket (adhesive in the UK, sometimes the suction mount in the USA. Please check)

· Power adapter

· Video cable

· 16GB Memory Card

· Quick start instructions

One of the things that strikes immediately is the quality of the box.

I always think the quality of the packaging has a direct relevance on the quality of what's housed inside that packaging. So already, we are off to a flyer with this unit because the box is strong and glossy and doesn't in any way feel cheap.

DASH CAM VIDEO AND BUILD QUALITY 

While it feels 'plasticy' (yes, it's made of plastic), it still feels like a quality product that has been well made and designed. It's lightweight, it's small but still feels sturdy with a great build quality.

drivepro 220 review dashcam

I've actually dropped my dashcam on the kitchen floor when I first purchased it - even before it got anywhere near my car. Fortunately, it is so sturdy that it still worked fine the first time I switched it on.​

And video quality. Well, It's boss. Recording is done in High Definition, 1080p recording at 30fps. Meaning the video is crystal clear and sharp - sharp enough to read street signs, number plates and even see the V sign the Wiggins wannabe just flicked at you after you just didn't sandwich him between a bus.

​With the F/1.8 aperture, you are also guaranteed a clear and vivid video stream at night as well as in daylight.

GPS​

Not all dash cams come with this feature (in fact, surprisingly, very few do), but you'll be glad to know the Drive Pro 220 does.

One thing I would recommend to anyone who is buying a dashboard camera for their vehicle - you need GPS. The below comparison shows that the DrivePro 100 and DrivePro 200 does not have GPS, making the 220 a complete no-brainer.

During my own research when I was purchasing a dash cam, I was going to buy one without GPS (for the simple reason they are cheaper). However, I opted for a GPS enabled unit because in the event of an accident, bump or crash, things like date, time and most crucially - speed and location are all recorded.

dash cam with gps

Here's an example. Let's say a car pulls out on you on a roundabout​. The police turn up and you go through insurance etc, but the other driver claims you were speeding excessively over the roundabout. If you had a dashcam unit that didn't have GPS, your speed would NOT be recorded, making it a 'you said, they said' type of scenario.

There would be no proof (apart from visually estimating speed from the footage) of the speed you were doing.

With this unit, it records your speed in MPH, because the unit is fixed on a number of satellites that give precise details on location and speed. Therefore, any claim like this would be easily settled because the data would be there for all parties to see.​

As well as displaying coordinates (helpful if you somehow don't know where you are and are involved in an incident), it also comes good when used with the Transcend ToolBox software. Here, you can see data such as time, date and speeds for different portions of your journey.

An extremely handy feature to have.

SPEED ALERT, LDWS & FCWS​

Speed alert is exactly what you may think it is. Set the speed alert limit to a speed of your choice, and the dash cam will alert you when you go above it​with an audible alarm.

LDWS - Lane Departure Warning System. This is a nice system to have in place. The video picks up lane markings on the road, and alerts you if you are deviating from the lane through audio and a display on the LCD screen. It's good, but not foolproof. Occasionally it will give you false alarms ​

FCWS - Forward Collision Warning System. ​This system alerts you through an audible alert and an on screen alert when you get too close to a vehicle in front.

So, why are these features useful? Well, sometimes I become zombie-fied when driving. You know the feeling, when your eyes just become transfixed on the car ahead, and your mind floats off to another field of thought. For me, it's a pointer that I need to stop and get a Costa Latte with Fruit & Oat biscuits. Or just have a rest altogether at the services.

dash cam forward collision

But sometimes, this type of driving is really dangerous (especially when travelling alone). Because when you get into this mode of zombie-fied driving, you tend to get too close to the vehicle in front. And you tend to lose some lane discipline.

And that is where this unit comes into play.​​

When you get too close to the vehicle in front, an audio clue pipes up and warns you that you are too close.

When you start to drift outside of the confines of your lane, again, an audible warning pipes up telling you that you are close to the white lines.

Now, in my experience, these warnings are about 95% correct. In other words, it does give false alerts when you are moving out of lane slowly for example, or when another annoying driver pops into the space in front of you and the car in front.

But overall, it is a great feature to have - especially for those of us who travel on the motorways regularly. The 220 has these features built in (and you can disable them by the way on the settings menu), whilst the other, older models do not come with these features.

OTHER GENERAL OBSERVATIONS

What I like about the Transcend Drive Pro 220​ is that it really is a high quality recording device. It seems to record exactly what your eyes see (i.e from left pillar to right pillar), and the lens has an adaptability second to none; whether you are driving into bright sunlight or along a poorly lit night time road, the lens adapts to give the very best picture every single time.

And some of the other things that we haven't even touched on:

1. Parking mode. Set this up and the in built motion sensor will record when it detects motion. A couple of drawbacks with this. First, it seems to also detect light changes. Which isn't good. Second, it will drain the inbuilt battery quickly (imagine setting this up in an area with high footfall). It's still a useful feature, but in some circumstances it is not ideal. (This feature can be turned off).

2. G Sensor. The G sensor is for impacts. So an impact occurs and the device is sent into emergency mode, recording 30 seconds ​after the impact. However, a hard braking maneuver or hard cornering can also set this off. (This feature can be turned off).

DRIVE PRO 220 FEATURES​

Really, where do I start with the features? It has absolutely EVERYTHING. Let's make a start.

· 1080p, true HD. Crystal clear video recording

· 130 degree wide recording angle

· Inbuilt GPS

· Lane Departure Warning System

· Forward Collision Warning System

· Speed Alerts

· WIFI and app connectivity

· Parking mode

· Day/night mode

· Emergency recording for when power is cut in accident

· Built in battery (30 mins)

· Snapshot feature

· G Sensor technology (stabilises video)

PLAYBACK VIA PC, TV & APP

If you are one of the unlucky ones still struggling with that sluggish Windows machine, then it's probably worth noting that Windows Media Player does not like the file format that the 220 records in. An alternative that works well is the VLC player (Windows and Mac). However, Transcend also has it's own software (DrivePro Toolbox) which is simple, clean and easy to use. More information here.

Apart from that, playing back recordings is a pleasant experience. Playback on a HDTV is surprisingly high quality and the app (free download) is easy and intuitive to use.

So plenty of options on playback. And plenty of video evidence in different formats for the insurance company should the unthinkable happen and you're involved in an accident.​

IN ACTION

The below video shows what the recording capability is like on the DrivePro 220. ​It's extremely clear, even picking up the reflections on the bonnet of the car!

RECOMMENDED ADDITIONAL PURCHASE​

I highly recommend that you add an additional product to your basket when purchasing the Drive Pro 220.

In the box, the adhesive mount is supplied. Adhesive and car windscreens in our opinion, should never be mixed (Think sticky residue, think hot/cold temperatures playing havoc with the sticking ability).

The suction mount is cheap, but sturdy and works well. And it allows easy movement of the whole unit when you want to remove it from your windscreen for whatever purpose you may need.

However, before you do add this to your basket, do check the contents on Amazon as some editions of this model come with this suction mount and some don't.​

Here's the links:

UK: Suction Mount for DrivePro 220 Amazon.co.uk

USA: Suction Mount For DrivePro 220​ for Amazon.com

VALUE FOR MONEY

But still, at a couple of clicks over​ the £100 mark, this dash cam is an absolute steal owing to its comprehensive features list, build quality, ease of use and of course, its crystal clear, quality HD video recordings.

​I'm a keen believer that those that 'do cheap' actually end up spending more money on the same products than if they'd just chosen the more expensive option in the first place. And there's no exception here. The Drive Pro 220 represents exceptional value for money and will last you for many years to come.

DRIVE PRO 220 RATINGS

The Drive Pro 220 Dash Cam has got everything, and all for a very reasonable price point. You can be assured that in 6 months time, you won't find yourself saying 'I wish it did this, I wish it did that'.

Everything you need a dash cam to do, the Drive Pro 220 does it, and does it extremely well. For latest prices and availability, the links below take you to the Amazon product page.

Check the Amazon.co.uk price if you're in the UK, or check the Amazon.com price if you're in the USA.

QUESTIONS? COMMENTS?

Comments are open below - if you have a question about this model, ask away and I'll be sure to get back to you. Maybe you already have this model? Do you agree with my review? Have you found it as good as I have found it? Just let me know below!

Thanks, Richard.​

  • December 23, 2015
Richard Martin
 

I'm just a normal guy, earning money online, hoping to help you do the same.

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