You can’t be too careful these days, it is absolutely impossible. There are a lot of crazy people out there, and the ones who aren’t are certainly capable of making some impactful mistakes. Of course, this is true of all life, but it’s even truer on your average roadway. Ever dealt with someone that has a severe case of road rage?
Even when there’s nothing nefarious going on, it helps to have a strong, verifiable record of events and how they might have unfolded. In an accident, for example, it helps out a lot to have a video recording of who and what was involved.
That’s where dash cams come into play. More recently, we’ve seen a ton of them crop up from brands like Roav, VanTrue, Aukey, Yi Technologies and many others. Once installed and positioned they get a front-row seat to everything that happens in your vehicle. The idea is to record your trips, short and long to gather a record of events or encounters in case it’s needed later.
We’re going to take a look at the VanTrue OnDash N1 Pro dash cam, which I had the privilege to use over the course of the last few weeks.
What Is It?
The VanTrue OnDash N1 Pro is a small, windshield mounted dash cam that can be used to record your auto trips. It comes bundled with everything you need, save a microSD card for storage. In the box you’ll find a mount, a DC adapter for charging, an AC adapter, and plenty of manuals.
Why Would You Need a Dash Cam?
Like any smart technology, it makes sense to first address why you would want to use it. Dash cams fall into a strange category — not unlike wearables and smartwatches — where you don’t actually need them, yet it’s always convenient to have them. The funny thing about dash cams, however, is that when you do need them, you really need them. The recorded video can serve as irrefutable evidence about a particular event or accident. Because many include a wide-angle lens they can also capture events that happen in front of a vehicle when it’s parked too — not just when it’s on the move.
For reference, here are some quick reasons why you might need a dash cam:
- The videos offer verifiable, irrefutable evidence and can be used to settle an insurance claim or offer evidence during a legal battle
- They promote safer driving habits
- Some insurance companies will reduce premiums with the kind of information collected by a dash cam, like average speeds, behaviors and GPS location
- You can use them to monitor a family member or spouse’s driving habits
VanTrue OnDash N1 Pro Specs
- Processor: Novatek NT96658
- Camera Sensor: Sony Sensor IMX323
- Display: 1.5″ TFT LCD at 16:9
- Lens: 160-degree F/1.8 with six-layer glass lens
- Video: H.264 compressed, MOV
- Resolution: 1920×1080 (1080p) at 30fps, 1280×720 (720p) at 30fps
- Image: JPEG
- Battery: 130mAh
- Audio: Built-in mic and speaker
VanTrue OnDash N1 Pro Review
VanTrue OnDash N1 Pro Gallery
|VanTrue N1 Pro Dash Cam Review|
|Video Quality: (4/5)|
If you just want a quick rundown, the N1 Pro works and it records high-quality video that is more than enough to serve as a reference. Not to mention, it’s really easy to install, you use the included mount to stick it to the upper part of your windshield — inside the car obviously. To backup or view the recorded content, you can also remove the camera itself from the mount.
Unfortunately, it does not come with a microSD card which is absolutely necessary to store recorded footage. It doesn’t have any internal storage either, so you need a card. That’s not such a big deal as most people likely have one or two lying around from an old phone. You don’t need much space, as you can overwrite old footage or delete it to make room. And since you can both remove the card and detach the camera, you have plenty of opportunity to backup any footage you need or want to save.
It’s a capable device, one that is certainly worth the money. When comparing it to some of the other dash cams I’ve used in the past, the N1 Pro definitely stands above most. What makes it even better is VanTrue offers their cams at great prices and they tend to run frequent deals and offers.
Design and Build
We’re not talking about an action cam here, so it doesn’t have to be too durable. Even if you get in a bad accident the microSD card should be just fine, so in reality, it doesn’t matter if the camera works afterward or not. It would be unfortunate if the camera broke, but it’s definitely strong enough to keep the storage card secure.
As for the overall design, the display is a bit small but you don’t want anything too big because it will be distracting at times anyway. The buttons are also a bit wonky, as it can be finicky when trying to stop a recording that’s started. Generally, though, the design is fine as-is and it’s fairly simple to work the device using the buttons. Once you have it plugged-in and setup, it should automatically turn on and start recording when you start your vehicle. Just remember to stop it and unplug the power adapter when you’re done, or you’ll wear down your battery like I did with my car — which was a mistake on my part not the cameras.
The N1 Pro comes bundled with everything you need, including the mount. The car charger has a super long cord (10 feet), which is great because you can run it along the floor and up the side panels, hiding it as much as possible. The camera is meant to be mounted in the center of your windshield, just in front of the rearview mirror. The suction cup works well, and does a great job of securing the entire system to your vehicle. It remains relatively stabilized when you’re driving, as well, so the video also looks plenty clear when you need to review it.
Additionally, there’s a regular wall-charger which is necessary if you want to bring the camera in your house and charge it up.
This is also mentioned elsewhere in the review, but there is an optional GPS location tracking module you can buy if you want to attach location data to your videos and images.
The camera shoots at full-HD in 1080p at 30 frames per second. The actual resolution is 1920×1080. It looks great, and the wide-angle lens means it can capture a great deal of what’s happening in front of your vehicle. You can record the video with sound, which includes what’s happening inside your car. If you have private conversations you don’t want anyone else to hear — like my wife and I do — you can turn the audio recording off.
The camera also has a night-vision mode which means you can still see everything that’s happening at night, or even in low-light conditions. It works well too, and leaves plenty of detail intact in case you need to make out faces, license plate numbers, or the make and model of another vehicle.
Again, this is a dash cam we’re talking about here so the added features really aren’t a selling point. Some of the more notable additions are:
- The camera has a high heat-resistance up to 158 degrees Fahrenheit or 70 degrees Celsius which is good to know because vehicles get hot in the sun
- There’s a 24-hour motion activated parking mode if you have your car parked in a shady area or just want to keep an eye on it
- It automatically stops recording 20s after it detects a crash and locks the video so it cannot be deleted or overwritten by accident
- There is a seamless and loop-recording function so once the limit of your storage card has been reached it will automatically overwrite old footage — never locked or protected footage
- The camera is triggered by motion, shakes, collisions and more thanks to a built-in G-sensor
- You can activate a GPS function but you need an optional attachment
The Little Dash Cam That Could
Look, the bottom line is that the N1 Pro is a dash cam which isn’t all that exciting, at least when it comes to comparable tech. But it works, and it records excellent HD quality video that would serve as a great reference if and when something happens. You don’t realize what kind of peace of mind it offers until it’s installed in your vehicle and recording. That feeling is exacerbated even more when you need to use it, like when you need to show an officer you were cut off, or when you need to provide evidence in court.
The N1 Pro comes with everything you need — minus the storage card — it’s priced competitively, and throughout my time with it I was continually impressed. It’s also super convenient that you can set it up and just leave it, as it will turn on and off with your vehicle.
Where Can I Get the VanTrue N1 Pro Dash Cam?
You can buy the N1 Pro from Amazon.
Expires Jan. 31, 2019: Use coupon code POY7P8MW at checkout to get the N1 Pro for $65.99 + free shipping.