Our latest dash cams test is proof that price is no indicator of quality when it comes to picking the right products.
Of the nine models we reviewed, seven cost £100 or more, and one of these ended up being a Don’t Buy – meaning it scored 45% or less. There was a Don’t Buy among the two cheaper models as well, but with such similar specifications and marketing hype it’s nearly impossible to know which ones to avoid without taking the plunge and giving them a go.
Luckily, we’ve experimented with them in our lab so you don’t have to. Below you’ll find a quick round-up of the models we tested in order of price. Click through to the full reviews to get the full scoop on them.
Best Buy dash cams – these are the models that are worth buying.
The premium dash cam options
Garmin Dash Cam 65W, £200
Yes, the price tag is eye-watering, but the expansive list of features goes some way to making up for it.
Most notable are the lane-departure warning system and warnings for speed cameras and red-light cameras – designed to keep you safe and free of penalty points respectively (although we’d always recommend you pay attention to what you’re doing yourself). Oh, and it has voice control, too, for safe hands-free operation when you’re behind the wheel.
It’s a name you’re probably inclined to trust, but outside of these extra features the Dash Cam 65W doesn’t seem to be terribly different to most other dash cams – even ones that cost a third of the price.
Is this dash cam worth the enormous outlay? Read our full Garmin Dash Cam 65 review to find out.
Asus Reco Smart, £160
Asus is a pretty big name in the world of home computing, but this is the first time we’ve encountered it in the dash cam sector. Can it be trusted to successfully make the transition?
It looks the part, but at this price you’d certainly hope for as much. The Reco Smart takes advantage of its manufacturer’s computing heritage by offering a free year of cloud storage for all of your captured footage. It’s also got built-in wi-fi so you can view footage on, or transfer it directly to, your smartphone.
Should you pony up for this model? Click on the link to read our full Asus Reco Smart review.
RAC 210, £160
Another name you’ll doubtless be familiar with, but not for its dash cams. The RAC is one of the UK’s largest breakdown and roadside assistance providers – a service that requires a fair deal of trust between both parties. So surely you can trust it to make a dash cam… right?
For the same cost as the RAC 210 dash cam you could get a whole year of the RAC’s most comprehensive UK breakdown cover, which is nothing to be sniffed at. If it’s the dash cam you’re after, the 210 is a feature-packed Full-HD dash cam (it includes speed-camera alerts and wi-fi, for example) with some advanced bespoke companion software.
Could this dash cam prevent you from needing roadside assistance in the first place? All is revealed in our RAC 210 review.
Transcend DrivePro 230, £140
We actually tested the Transcend DrivePro 230 twice, because you can purchase it with one of two different mounts: a suction cup or a sticky adhesive pad.
While that may not seem like a big deal, our Test Lab noted a definite preference for one of them over the other. Enough of a preference for one model to score ever so slightly worse than the other. If that intriguing titbit hasn’t drawn you in, perhaps some of its special features will.
It has two of the more uncommon features we’ve ever seen on a dash cam: the first is a ‘headlight warning’, which automatically detects when it’s dark enough that you should be switching on your headlights (useful, we suppose, if you’ve been on a long journey and you haven’t noticed it getting darker around you). The second is a ‘driver fatigue alert’, to notify you when you’ve been on the road for a while and should consider taking a break.
Interested? Find out how we rated this model by reading our full Transcend DrivePro 230 review.
Garmin Dash Cam 45, £130
Not to be confused with the 65W mentioned earlier, the Dash Cam 45 is Garmin’s ‘cheapest’ dash cam, offered at £130. You still get plenty of bang for your buck, though.
It’s definitely one of the more handsome dash cams on the market (as is the 65W), and it’s nice and compact too. It doesn’t have the voice-control functionality or wide-angle lens of the 65W, though, which is where the slight reduction in cost comes in. It uses the same 1080p lens, body and software – but is that a good thing?
To see for yourself, click the link to our Garmin Dash Cam 45 review.
Ring RBGDC200, £100
The last of our models to feature in the £100-and-up club is the Ring RBGDC200. The brand name may not be familiar to many, but Ring specialises in vehicle components and accessories, so it’s no stranger to drivers’ needs.
It’s the first of the company’s models we’ve ever tested, so we were keen to see how it fared. The 140-degree wide-angle lens is certainly promising, while the official product page on the Ring website claims ‘exceptional low-light performance’.
You can find out exactly what we made of the Ring RBGDC200 in our full review.
The more reasonable dash cam options
We also tested two cheaper models, if only by dash-cam standards. They still both cost over £50 – could they be too good to be true?
Motorola MDC400, £80
We’re all familiar with Motorola, but dash cams see the American firm travelling in a new direction. The MDC400 definitely has a layer of polish to it that you’d expect from a major smartphone manufacturer, but does it have the performance to match?
The massive 3.9-inch display on the rear is a promising start, and the 1080p filming quality is just what we’ve come to expect from any dash cam worth its salt. At £80, it is a very reasonable price for any dash cam that performs to a good standard – could the MDC400 be an unexpected favourite?
Click the link to find out with our full Motorola MDC400 review.
Motorola MDC100, £60
The cheapest dash cam of the lot is another Motorola. Despite the name, the MDC100 is a completely different dash cam to the MDC400, not just the same model with a few tweaks to the specs.
It still looks very slick, but the screen on the rear is reduced in size. The most noticeable omission, though, is the lack of GPS. This means that the MDC100 is incapable of tracking how fast you’re travelling or the route you’re taking. Not the most promising of starts, but it does still feature a 1080p Full-HD sensor and motion detection, so perhaps it’s a sensible budget option.
Don’t take any chances – before you buy it read our in-depth Motorola MDC100 review.