Overall rating: 7/10
Value for money: 9/10
Pros: Cheap, good transition from light to dark, Full HD and capacitor instead of battery
Cons: Shiny silver ring on front, too many buttons, mount a bit cheap and lacking all hardware the box
After witnessing a particular spate of bad driving, including being cut up by a lorry (I was in the slow lane in order to come off at the next exit and he hadn’t finished overtaking me before he began to move back to the outside lane, luckily the person behind had quick reactions as we both slammed on the brakes to avoid colliding with the lorry), I decided to purchase a dashcam to give me some evidence if I did end up being hit. I looked at many models and watched all of Techmoan’s excellent videos before deciding on the G1W.
The price is very reasonable and the camera sensor is great at recording in low or variable lighting situations. The software is better than some cheap chinese cameras in terms of navigating the settings and I had it set up in around 5 mins using the cable attached to my computer for power. It only comes with a USB cable and a car charger – there is no battery (the “-C” designation marks it out as a capacitor version) – so you need external power in order for it to turn on. It’s this capacitor, however, that is the reason I bought this over a battery powered one. The capacitor will extend the lifetime of the unit and is more suitable for car use due as batteries can be upset by the very high and very low temps that a car’s interior can go through.
So with a separately purchased Micro SD card in the slot (it doesn’t come with one and I advise against getting a kit that does as many will use low cost fake cards in the kits), the settings as I wanted (loop recording over 10 minutes) and the time set correctly, I set out to install it in my car. The included mount is sturdy enough but you need to position it well as mine only had adjustment left/right and up/down with no rotation to make sure the camera is horizontal. The mount wasn’t the same as that pictured in the listing and didn’t have a ball joint. I got it placed properly eventually and plugged it in. It was then that I learned that my Ford Fiesta supplies 12V to the cigarette lighter point at all times. This wouldn’t work for me as I only want to record when I’m driving. Instead I had to buy the hardwire kit and fuse piggy back wire in order to connect it up to a 12V switchable feed that I found supplying my under-seat heaters.
I spent a fair bit of time hiding the wiring under the trim of the car to make the camera as inconspicuous as possible. I don’t want my car windows smashed and broken into just for the sake of a £35 camera but equally I know that if I have to take it out, plug it in and put it on the mount each time I will likely stop using it and then it becomes pointless. This wasn’t enough though as for some reason the manufacturers decided to make the front lens mount out of shiny silver. This shone out like a beacon on a sunny day but some matte black spray paint applied with a small brush took care of this and, with the camera now tucked nicely behind the rear-view mirror, it is as if it wasn’t there.
The camera starts as soon as the ignition is turned off and films in 10 minute clips until power is removed. The capacitor provides just enough power for the last clip to be saved before the unit turns off. When the SD card gets full it deletes the oldest files and continues recording over the top. I’ve had it for 9 months without issue and have been very impressed with the quality of footage it takes.
The SD card is a little hard to remove without taking the camera off the mount and there are too many buttons. There is a button to lock the current video clip to prevent it being overwritten but due to the excess of buttons (two on top and four on the back) I can never remember which one to press when something happens in front of me that I think is worth saving.
In conclusion this is a great little low cost dashcam that everyone should fit in their cars. Be aware that you may need to buy the extra wiring kit if your 12V socket isn’t ignition switched but other than that it is a small price to pay for the piece of mind that comes with having indisputable evidence to give to insurers. Some insurers will even offer a discount to customers who fit dashcams but check whether they have an approved list or not before buying on this basis alone.