Dashcams are a great way to protect yourself on the road from dangerous driving, providing evidence to accidents and showing dangerous drivers, and although cheap dashcam options are there on the market, many of us are left wondering why we can't just video with our smartphones instead.
You can use your smartphone as a dedicated dash cam, all you need is a dashcam app and a smartphone holder to keep your phone's camera steady and out of vision as you drive. However, there are some cons to using your phone as a dash cam which you would need to consider.
So to help you figure out whether or not you want to use your smartphone as a dash cam or buy the real thing, we have put together a short guide as to how you can use your smartphone for this and the pros and cons of doing so below as you can get an idea of whether or not it is a viable option for you.
To use your android phone or iPhone as a regular dash cam, you will need two things; one is a dash cam phone app that will effectively turn your phone into a dashcam for the road, and the other is a smartphone holder that can be mounted either as smartphone dashboard holder or onto your windshield; this placement can be trickier and is not legal if it obstructs your view.
You will additionally need a charging cable for the phone that stretches to the cigarette power outlet on your car, as your phone will need to stay with power at all time to record hours of video like a traditional dash cam.
A dash cam app will allow your phone to have the feature specs of dashcam such as loop recording, GPS, time/date, estimated speed and even adjustable video quality.
These apps tend to only cost £1 or a little more and have some pretty neat features which will make you wonder why you would need a genuine dash cam at all.
Like normal dash cams they will also save your footage to your phones SD-memory card or cloud storage service for review later, so you would need to ensure you have enough storage for all the video feed.
Now, if the dashcam apps are so good, you might be wondering why anyone is buying a real dash cam at all if you can just use a smartphone dash cam and avoid spending any extra money.
Well, dash cam apps aren't all so accurate as they miss out on useful legit dash cam features such as parking mode which watches your car when your not around and g-force sensors which support collision detection and impact sensors, turning the dashcam on automatically when they sense motion.
Dash cam apps additionally are only as good as the quality video camera which is on your phone, so if your phone has a bad camera, the video coverage will also be poor. Some apps may also shut off when receiving a text or call which can interrupt video files, and worst of all, you will have to remember to switch it on every time!
So in terms of the app acting as an actual dash cam, they are not very accurate at all.
If you still want to go ahead and use your dash cam phone to protect you on the road and help with insurance claims, then you will need to make sure that your phone is set up correctly and in the right position to avoid it obstructing your view or having a poor coverage of the road ahead.
We have listed some short steps below that will guide you on how to set your dash cam phone up.
Now we know how to set our smartphone as a dash cam and more about dash cam apps, we can round up our article by comparing the advantages and disadvantages of making your smartphone into a dashcam, and whether or not they match up to high-quality dash cams on the market.
One of the first advantages to using your phone as a dashcam is that the footage is already uploaded on your phone, making it easy to transfer via apps such as we transfer and more, these apps also save you money rather than forking out for a real dash cam, where popular dash cams can even cost up to £400.
A smartphone dash cam is also more portable than a hardwired dash cam, allowing you to take it in and out of the car to avoid it being stolen.
Unfortunately, there are quite a few drawbacks to using your phone as a dash cameras lens, one of the first negatives is that you have to remember to switch them on every time, you also can't use your phone for navigation such as google maps at the same time.
Phone mounts are not as secure as dash cams too, this means the dash cam footage can appear shaky, and there is also a risk of the phone flying out of its mount if you have to brake hard during potential collisions.
Your phone is more of a target than a dashcam for thieves too, meaning you have to remember to dismount every time you leave your car, it's more susceptible to overheating and the angle its records will not match the coverage of a dash cam.
As a whole, the functions of a dashcam cannot be compared with a smartphone, as a dashcam is designed to record the road with no interference needed, while a smartphone is designed for multi-functional use, not solely a camera.
Only use your smartphone as dashcam if you have to, but we would always suggest using the real thing for the best video capture and dash cam duties.
Overall, you can use your phone as a dashcam with a dashcam phone app, a long USB charger and a sturdy phone mount, however, they are not as convenient as real HD dash cams and need a lot of setting up to match the functions of dash cameras.
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