Thanksgiving and Black Friday have passed us by this year. I didn’t do much Black Friday shopping this year, since I don’t think I need to give anybody presents, and there aren’t that many things that I want on sale. The only item I bought was a dash camera for my car. I picked up the Transcend DrivePro 100, and here is what I thought of it so far.
I decided to buy a dash camera because it would be good to have the footage in case of any accidents, and also I can use it for some cool driving footage on some road trips. This isn’t the first time I bought a dash camera, as I had bought one for my dad about two years ago. It was a cheap, Chinese no brand camera, and unsurprisingly it wasn’t very good. The video quality wasn’t great, but worst of all that camera had issues with heat and would cycle on and off repeatedly. Based on that experience, I decided to spend a few more bucks for something with a brand and a decent warranty.
After looking to see what’s on sale during the Black Friday weekend, I decided to buy the Transcend DrivePro 100. The camera has 1080p resolution, and it came with a 16 GB microSD memory card which means I didn’t have to buy a separate memory card. It has all the standard features that you would expect such as loop recording, and a G-sensor to trigger recording in case of your car getting hit. Transcend offers more expensive models with GPS-tagging, Wi-Fi and other bells and whistles, but I didn’t find those to be worth the extra dollars.
Now onto the unboxing: the Transcend DrivePro 100 came in a nice package. The exterior box has a picture of the camera and lists the features. Inside that is a white box that holds the camera and all the goodies. The DrivePro 100 package includes the camera itself, a suction cup mount, the 16 GB microSD (no SD adapter included), a mini-USB to 12V cigarette lighter power cable, a quick-start guide and various warranty info and reading material. A mini-USB data cable is not included in the box, so if you want to connect the camera directly to the computer you’d need your own cable. Luckily, I have a mini-USB cable and a microSD to SD card adapter, so no worries there.
The DrivePro 100 is not the smallest or most discreet dash camera out there, but it’s reasonably compact. The front of the camera features the lens. The back has a 2.4 inch color screen and four buttons to access the menus and settings. The left side has a red button for emergency recording, and the right side has the mini-USB port.
After turning on the unit, you can access the menus to change various settings, such as the video lengths for each recorded file, the G-sensor sensitivity and such. The menus are pretty straight-forward and easy to navigate.
Now it was time to install the camera and take it for a little test run. Like most dash cameras, the DrivePro 100 is meant to be installed near the rear view mirror. The power cable is pretty long, so after spending a bit of effort I was able route the cable to and down the front passenger door, down below the glove box and down to where my 12V socket splitter is. The suction cup mount works pretty well, although I don’t know how long that will last. The problem with my car is that I can’t use the suction mount on the darkened part of the wind shield in my car, as that area of the glass is not flat. I ended up buying a mount to secure the camera to the rear view mirror stalk, and I think that’s a better solution that will last longer.
Below are two three-minute clips I recorded with the DrivePro 100, one during the day and other during night. Make sure you select 1080p on the YouTube video settings. As you can see, the daytime footage is pretty good, and it’s not too hard to make out license plates of nearby cars. The wide-angle lens on the camera means pretty much everything within the forward field of vision is recorded. The night time footage is not as good. All the headlights and traffic lights cause a lot of glare, so it’s not as easily to pick out license plate numbers. Still, it was a lot better than the dash camera that I bought for my dad, and the quality is reasonable given the price of the DrivePro 100.
Thus far, the DrivePro 100 has worked as expected. It turns itself on when there is power at the cigarette lighter socket, and turns itself off when there is no power. The unit does have a small internal battery that allows it to record a little bit of footage after without external power. The looping and rewriting over old files seem to work. The DrivePro 100 also has a microphone to record in-car sounds. My experience so far is that the microphone doesn’t pick up radio music very much, but it does pick up my voice when I speak. I suppose that’s a good thing. Finally, the G-sensor on this unit on medium or high settings is very sensitive. I triggered emergency recordings via the G-sensor when I went over a speed bump a little fast on those settings, so I decided to put the sensitivity on low from now on.
My first impressions of the Transcend DrivePro 100 has been positive so far. The video quality is decent, and it seems to be built pretty well. Hopefully this dash camera will last a long time.