Saturday, October 31, 2015

Dad's Review - Primeguard G1W Dashcam from Kimstore

I have been searching on net for a cheap but dependable dashcam for quite some time. When I say dependable it means it can provide the sole purpose of recording my trip and at the same time withstand the rigors of the road.

As one of my "Liked" FB pages, I have noticed Primeguard G1W Dashcam being offered by Kimstore at very affordable price of around 2600 pesos. I read a few reviews of the said dashcam and it seemed this unit was perfect for my basic need.

Upon arrival from my work abroad I ordered Primeguard Dashcam from Kimstore on Sunday evening; payment would be by credit card. The following day I received a confirmation email from Kimstore and another email asking a copy of 2 valid government issued ID before my order would be processed; I sent the required documents on the same day and received my dashcam with freebies (anti-sleep alert and memory card) on Thursday. My unit comes with six month warranty on labor only. This is my second smooth transaction with Kimstore; the first one was a meet-up.

See: Sony Xperia TX from Kimstore

Upon receiving the unit I have noticed the cheap plastic material. Well, I got my money's worth. I tried to play with it inside our room. It would take almost 3 sec before it starts recording. When I played the uploaded files on my laptop I realized that the audio recording was very poor if not utterly useless; there was a strong and continuous static noise overpowering the audio recording. More so, don't expect a crystal clear video recording even if you have set the resolution to maximum or HD but considering its price the quality is fairly acceptable. The built-in rechargeable battery lasted for around 30 minutes during playback. It wasn't a big deal since it would be connected to my car's power source whenever I am using it. I got the protect mode activated when I accidentally shook the unit while recording; you need to disable the protection first before you can delete the file. Thumb up for this function. Finally, I set the Loop Recording at 5 minutes.

I had no option but to install my dashcam on rear view mirror

I tried to install the suction cup on my windshield but it kept on falling on slight movement. I was initially frustrated due to my eagerness to try my new toy. However, when I tried installing the suction cup on my rear view mirror it attached itself flawlessly. Even when removing and installing the dashcam, the suction cup remained stuck to my rear view mirror. Now I could start playing with my new toy albeit a partially block rear view mirror.

Connecting it to cigarette lighter port, the dashcam starts recording automatically in day mode once you put your car key in ON position; you have to press the power button to change it into night mode. On the other hand, removing the car key will leave the dashcam running for about a minute. Now, I have learned the purpose of its back-up battery.

At past 3 pm and while the sun was peeking through my windshield the video quality as expected deteriorated but when the ambient lighting becomes ideal the quality of video recording improves as well. In addition, there was a noticeable bouncing effect on the video recording even when the car was immobile. See snapshot below:

the whole shot appears to be over exposed due to sun position

Driving back to our home at past 6 pm I set my dashcam's Motion Detection to ON and in Night Mode. The 5 minutes loop recording kept on resetting whenever it detects its danggling power cable; my fault. I ended up having multitudes of short duration files sometimes having a few seconds of recording up to several minutes making file viewing an arduous task since you have to open them one by one. At least, I have proven that this function is working.

Night mode inside the parking area, pardon my dirty windshield

still in night mode, plate number is readable but any light sources are washed out

The following day we left our house before 12 Noon. The sun was at its zenith thus the lighting was ideal for recording. However, the bouncing effect remains. See snapshots below:

with ideal ambient lighting the quality of the recording improves

another good recording

Here is the thing about this dashcam - if you are after a pure video recording minus the blings being offered by other more expensive dashcams then Primeguard G1W is for you. However, if you prefer better video and audio recording then stay away from this dashcam. Trust me; my windshield could be dirty, as can be seen on the unedited snapshots above but definitely the contrast and clarity of the video recording leave a lot to be desired. Not to mention its intermittent bouncing effect. By the way, my VLC player couldn't play the MOV files; I have used another video player. Maybe my techie kid could explain why.

So, to all Dads out there, if there is one thing that this affordable dashcam can satisfactory achieve, that is protection from extortion by some unscrupulous traffic enforcers, assuming you haven't committed an actual violation. It might even save you money if it can prove that the other driver is at fault during an accident.

Update: July 2016

I have recovered my investment for this dashcam. A few weeks back I was apprehended by a traffic enforcer at the intersection of Pedro Gil St and Taft Avenue. My violation was beating the red light. The enforcer told me that I would be paying 2,500 pesos for reckless driving. Aside from that my license can only be claimed from Manila City Hall after 5 days. Without his knowledge my eldest son was recording our conversation using the dashcam. Upon noticing that he was being recorded the enforcer lost his temper and started cursing my eldest son up to the point of shoveling his arm inside our car. In short, we had a heated argument. When I emphasized that he broke the law by shoveling his arm inside the car and I have proof he returned back my license ID and bid me goodbye and safe travel. Surprisingly, the video recording and our conversation were clear and audible. I have saved money and time because of this dashcam. By the way, it still functioning until now.

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post but merely an actual experience of a Dad.