Budget Camera with Expensive Features
Following the popularity of the A118 (or known as the B40), the A118C has now been introduced to the world. The A118 was an already reliable dash cam with a unique design to help it look like a factory installed dash cam. The A118C improves on its reliability by replacing its battery with a capacitor, a feature normally reserved only for higher end dash cams.
Opening The Box
Open up the box and you’ll first see the manual. This manual has a good-sized font, concise and pretty good translation into English compared to other Made in China dash cams we’ve seen.Under this manual is the A118C itself, sitting in protective foam. The "foam throne" as we like to call it isn’t as nice as the BlackVue DR600GW, but we’ll take it.
Looking at the A118C, the exterior is exactly the same as the battery version, which is perfect. The design keeps it small and discreet while fitted into your car, but we’ll get more into that later.
At the bottom of the box, you’ll find the power cable, wire clips, mount, a long plastic piece, and a piece of string. The long plastic piece is what helps make the A118C different from any other dash cam. It’s actually the cable router that helps you hide the power cable from the dash cam until it reaches the top of your windshield, so you can slip it right into your headliner for a clean install. The piece of string is used to help you remove the dash cam if you ever need to, but we’re sure this dash cam will last you quite a while before you’ll want to upgrade.
Installing the A118C is a breeze, just remember to see if you need the cable router, which most cars do if you have a blue sun-blocking strip (or black dots) at the top of your windshield. This allows the dash cam to be fitted lower, but still achieve the factory installed look. If you don’t have the strip, just install the A118C itself as high as possible. The A118C is mostly stuck flat onto your windshield, so it looks like a dash cam that came with your car instead of hanging down. This is ideal if you're afraid of having a dash cam that someone would want to steal.
Unlike a battery based dash cam, the A118C doesn't hold a charge, so you won’t be able to turn it on while unplugged to a power source. The capacitor only holds enough charge to properly save the video file before it runs out. The dash cam takes a few seconds more to start up, but we don't think it's a big deal as most people don’t drive off immediately after they get into their cars. The most important to note is that capacitors will have a much longer life span than batteries, especially in hotter environments.
Once powered on, you are able to get into the settings menu by holding the menu button. The only confusing thing about this dash cam is how to navigate the menu with the buttons since there are a total of 5 under the screen. They aren’t labeled as to which one is up or down. It took a short while to figure them out, but it’s just the two buttons on the right to move up and down, and the middle button to select. However, if you want to get into the secondary video menu, you have to exit completely out of the settings menu before you can switch to the other one. It’s still a little confusing and inconvenient, but since you only need to set it up once, we can forgive it.
Video quality is very clear and the wide angle lens is extremely wide at 170 degrees. The upside with an angle this wide is that you’ll be able to record almost everything you can see yourself with your own eyes. However, the downside of a lens this wide is that there is more distortion on the sides and objects look further away compared to more popular 130 degree lenses. The lens angle is really based on user preference as there are upsides and downsides of different lens angle. We like it though because it really captures everything in our sight.
The A118C comes with all the basics you need to use the dash cam including a usually high-end dash cam exclusive feature like a capacitor. Although it is confusing to explore the menus with its numerous buttons, we still think it’s a fantastic budget dash cam with clear video quality and rock solid reliability.
Interested? Buy the A118C here.