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Halfords’ new dash cams are cheap but are they any good?

The HDC range scales in price from £39 to £103, with features and specs varying dramatically between models

Halfords’ new dash cams are cheap but are they any good?

After years as the UK’s leading dash cam retailer, Halfords has finally released a dash cam range of its own. It contains four main models, ranging in price from £39 to £103. There’s also a rear-facing unit that can be bought as an optional extra and connected to the two most expensive models.

Exclusively available from Halfords, you have the option to pay an extra £30 to have the camera hardwired into your vehicle when you buy it.

It’s easy to be sceptical when a retailer releases its own range of a popular product, as it can often seem like a quick attempt to cash in on a trend. However, one look at the new Halfords dash cam range and it becomes clear this isn’t the case here – it has the potential to be a genuine competitor.

We haven’t put them to the test just yet, but read on to see our first impressions and click on the links below to find out more.

Dash cam reviews – see which models we’ve tested rank the best.

Halfords HDC-100, £39

First, let’s address the elephant in the room: dash cams priced at lower than £50 are, almost without exception, rubbish. Those low expectations could play into the HDC-100’s hands, though, as on paper it looks like a decent bargain. It has a two-inch display on the rear, which is always a bonus, and to see wi-fi connectivity featured at this price is practically unheard of. Using the Halfords MyHDC app you can view and download footage to your phone, as well as change the settings of the cam itself.

It has a 120-degree field of view, which is a little below average but nothing disastrous, and a 720p resolution. That means it’s HD, not Full HD. This is less than we would normally hope to see in a dash cam, however, it’s not unexpected considering the price. There’s no GPS, which we consider one of the most important features for a dash cam – without it captured footage has no location or speed information stamped on it.

To find out more visit Halfords HDC-100 dash cam.

Halfords HDC-200, £55

One step up from the HDC-100 is the imaginatively titled HDC-200. Unlike its more basic sibling, this model records in 1080p Full HD – considering it only costs £16 more we’d say that already makes it worth the extra. It also increases the viewing angle to a more respectable 140 degrees and increases the size of its display to 2.7 inches.

It also features wi-fi to make viewing and saving footage easier, and also lacks GPS. Still, a Full HD dash cam at near the £50 mark is a tempting rarity, and the inclusion of wi-fi makes it more intriguing.

One, more cryptic, specification is what Halfords describes as ‘four-star night vision’ (that’s one more star than the ‘three-star night vision’ seen on the HDC-100). We have no clue what that means in realistic terms – plenty of dash cams claim to have excellent footage at night, but very few live up to this. It’s unclear as to whether or not the HDC-200 has actual night vision, or if that language is simply Halfords’ way of trying to sell the quality of this device’s night-time recording.

For more information go to Halfords HDC-200 dash cam.

Halfords HDC-300, £79

Incredibly, the second-most expensive Halfords dash cam in the range but still coming in at under £80, the HDC-300 ticks almost all the boxes. It takes the solid foundation of the HDC-200 and builds on it, adding GPS, widening the viewing angle to an impressive 150 degrees and increasing the display size to  three inches.

While it still records in 1080p, just as the HDC-200 does, the increase in viewing angle leads us to believe the lens is different and potentially more advanced. That said, the difference in price is so minor it’s likely to cover just the extra screen size and the inclusion of GPS. It’s also the cheapest model in the range to be compatible with the HDC-R – the Halfords-branded rear-facing camera. It costs £26 and, when connected properly, allows you to record the road behind you in conjunction with the road ahead.

Could this be a great bargain dash cam? Click on the link to read more about the Halfords HDC-300 dash cam.

Halfords HDC-400, £103

Finally, we’re left with Halfords’ one truly premium dash cam effort. The HDC-400 is kitted out with impressive specs that wouldn’t look out of place on a dash cam made by one of the market-leading brands: it films in Quad-HD 1440p, has a wide-angle 180-degree lens and features dynamic range for enhanced night vision, all in addition to the features listed for the HDC-300 like GPS, wi-fi connectivity and rear-facing camera compatibility.

We’ve only seen a handful of Quad HD dash cams to date – they have a resolution of 2560×1440, which means four times as many pixels as traditional Full HD. In theory that should mean a much sharper and clearer image, although a large part of that rides on the software behind it. The very best Full HD models are still better than the lacklustre Quad HD ones. The price may seem steep, but just over £100 for a dash cam that can boast all these features is actually a very good deal.

Our one concern is the design of the device itself. The other three models in the range all have displays and all utilise lever-locking arms with suction cup mounts for sticking to the windscreen. Conventionally we’ve found these to be the most effective and easy-to-use mounts. The HDC-400, though, doesn’t have a display and attaches to the windscreen via sticky pad. This means it’s tricky to adjust once mounted, and the lack of display means you have to use the app to know whether it’s pointing at the right spot on the road or not. It’s an odd choice, but it does at least mean it’s considerably more compact and less intrusive than the other models.

Sound too good to be true? To read more visit Halfords HDC-400 dash cam.

We’ll be testing these dash cams in the Which? test lab soon, so be sure to check back to read our full verdicts and find out whether these are worth your money.

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