I’ve been using the ASUS Dash Cam for nearly two weeks now so I wanted to share my full review with you. (You can read my initial thoughts here)
After my first trip, I played around with the settings a bit. You can adjust all sorts of things, like whether you record audio of yourself and what’s happening in the car. I’m not sure why you would want to use this function. I don’t know what good it could do but it’s there if you fancy it. (And it turns out we’d had it on all along without even realising it which made for some amusing video editing!) You can adjust the resolution which is helpful as a lower resolution means smaller file sizes and fits more on your SD card.
You can also access some additional features; Lane Departure Warning System (LWDS) and Forward Collision Warning System (FCWS). When you switch these on the camera must be placed in the centre of your windscreen. The display screen shows a horizontal red line. This must be aligned with the horizon of the road. There’s also a white box which appears in the centre of the screen just below the red line.
It doesn’t explain how these features work in the manual but what I assume is happening is when the LWDS is selected the camera ‘sees’ the white lines in the road, and if they are ‘seen’ at too acute an angle then it sounds an alarm and shows a warning on the screen.
The white box, I think, is for the FCWS. When something is too large within the box then an alarm sounds and a warning is shown on the screen. Again this works better in good light.
To be honest, the advanced driver aids don’t convince me. On a good day, clear conditions, good lighting, the cam being set up perfectly, they work approximately 80-85% of the time. However, if you move outside of the optimum conditions then reliability drops off rapidly. One morning I got in the car in a rush and shoved the cam in place. You can see where the suction mark has been on the windscreen so I had something to aim for and I thought I was pretty close. I aligned the red line with the horizon and set it to be pointing straight out the front but I obviously wasn’t in the right spot. The Lane Departure Warning went off constantly. When I was on straight roads. Granted it was dark, but it was quite annoying after a while. Even on a good day it’s sometimes caught out by a sharpish turn in the road.
The Forward Collision Warning alarm is unpredictable at best. The distance it allows you to have between you and the car in front varies quite a bit. Sometimes it goes off when you are way outside the “two second rule” range! Scientific I know! Other times you can be far too close to a car without it making a sound. This happened when people have pulled into my lane on the motorway rather than from me tailgating just to experiment! The dark and wet conditions also affect it’s performance.
To be fair to ASUS what they have achieved with the use of a camera is very impressive. There aren’t any lasers checking your distance from the car in front, or GPS coupled with incredibly detailed maps to tell you when you are leaving your lane. It’s really just the cam and some clever software. The problem is that it’s not reliable enough for you to really trust it to make the call on your following distance. It’s not a loud enough alarm to wake you if you’ve drifted off. It’s not clever enough to know when you are changing lanes on purpose so it sounds every time you do, which for me, is a lot of times a day. I switched them both off after a few days. I’ll wager that most people with the cam will do the same. That might sound like I’m being overly picky, and I am – you can just turn them off. But what is the point of these driver aids if they aren’t reliable enough to be used for their intended purpose, what are they there for? It’s a nice idea, but without them working properly, and they could only work properly when they are part of the cars wiring so they can ignore lane changes when you’ve indicated etc. They ultimately feel to me like they were added because ASUS wanted some new features to differentiate themselves from the rest of the market.
There’s one more fancy feature that I hadn’t checked out. You may recalled I mentioned GPS above. The cam records your position with GPS. This allows it to track your speed. The cam comes with a program you can install on your computer which allows you to watch the videos recorded, but also shows a map of your journey and statistics like average speed etc! I was quite looking forward to geeking over the details of my journey! Sad I know but simple pleasures for simple minds. To install the program on your computer you have to format the SD card in the cam, this puts the program onto the SD card. Tried that. Would not work. Tried, tried and tried again but it will not install. It just hangs. I’ve been onto the ASUS website to see if I could download the program from there but no joy I’m afraid. So I can’t tell you how it works of if it’s interesting which is a shame because I was looking forward to playing with it.
Final thoughts are pretty simple; overall I like the unit. Like I said, it’s solid and the camera quality is really good. Even in the dark it does well at picking out details when set to HDR (High Dynamic Range) mode. The mount is sold as well. I can’t see it breaking easily. I like that clips that are included so you can rout the extremely long cable around your car. It’s pricey but it’s a quality product and it might just prove you were not responsible for an accident.
* Disclaimer – We were sent the Asus Dash Cam free of charge for the purposes of review and we have been compensated for our time however all thoughts and opinions remain our own *