After using the A118 for nearly 2 years, I had to look for a new dash cam when I sold my previous car. One of the reasons why I did not want to remove the camera is that I had to remove back the wire running from the cam, across the top of the windshield and under the dashboard till the cigarette lighter. Hence the decision to go for another unit and a newer model. A hell lot of dash cam models are available on the (online) market and it can indeed take much time to go through them, read reviews and assess the pros and the cons. So, if you missed that dash cam introduction and review, do have a look here – Really important stuff that I won’t be discussing in this post.
Today’s post gonna give an overview of the Chortau (yeah, weird name) dash cam and also, the main additional feature to look for.
New dash cam feature – WiFi
When I started looking for a new dash cam, there was one additional criteria to look for : Built in WiFi connectivity in the dash cam. Plenty of new models now allow you to connect directly to the camera to view the clips, download, edit and share them through your mobile (iOS or Android). That’s pretty cool stuff as you don’t need to remove the memory cards or the dash cam itself to copy the videos to your computer. You can still do that if you have to copy the whole set of video clips on the external memory card.
Whenever I have to copy a video, I need to switch on the WiFi on the dash cam, open my mobile app, browse through the cam’s video gallery, select the clip and click the download button.
Overview of the Chortau dash camera
Having a similar wedge form factor as the A118 / B40, the camera is barely visible from the outside and also from the inside since it is well hidden and concealed behind the rear-view mirror.
Other features are quite standard ones, namely:
- Video : 1080p
- Photo : 12 MP
- Sony IMX323 Sensor
- Wide angle view (170°)
- 2 inch screen
- G Sensor
- Built in battery
- and of course, WiFi connectivity
Points I like :
- Video quality is very good during the day as well as at night
- The camera also allows you to zoom in / out so that when you can have the optimal area to record in case your dashboard is largely visible in the video footage.
- You can switch off the camera’s display screen so that it does not distract you when driving. Very practical feature : My screen is always off.
- You get 2 extra 3M stickers for the plate which needs to be fixed on the windshield
- You get a tool (the blue one) to easily install the wiring
I have been using this Chortau dash cam for the past 6 months now and I’m pretty much satisfied despite the areas of improvement mentioned below
Points I don’t like :
- WiFi speed
It literally take ages to download a clip through the WiFi. A 300mb video can take more than 5 minutes
- Recording while connected to mobile
When the camera is connected to your mobile while you are downloading a clip, the camera stops recording. So, you might miss important things.
- No emergency lock button
Unlike the A118 model I owned previously, this Chortau unit does not have a dedicated lock function whereby you can instantly prevent mark a clip so that the camera does not overwrite a specific footage. This lock feature also normally moves that video in another folder. I miss this feature!
Installing the dash cam
No need to look for a technician to install the dash cam. You just stick the camera’s holding plate using the provided 3M sticker glue and then, you run the wire from the camera to your cigarette lighter. So, no wire will be hanging around since it will be neatly hidden on the edge of the windscreen and below your dashboard. It might just take some 15-30 minutes to get this job done.
Built in battery?
Yes, you read it right. I had carefully chosen my previous dash cam because it had a capacitor instead of a battery. This normally means that camera stays on for a few seconds when disconnected from power but the advantage is that the camera should last longer since it doesn’t have a battery whose performance will deteriorate over time. The Chortau’s product specification does mention a lithium battery but strangely, it lasts only a few seconds, just like a camera with a capacitor.
When I reached out the email support recently to clarify this point, they did confirm presence of a battery but of very small capacity.
You can watch a short sample file with day and night recordings here :
Despite that a dash cam’s function is rarely used for taking pictures, nevertheless, here is a sample of picture shot :
My real struggle
I may sound silly but I really struggled with the dash cam for several months.
Going to the menus was really a pain as the menu button did not work. I repeatedly had to use that button for several times, and press everything else before being able to go to those menu to switch on the WiFi or change settings. I even contacted the seller who told me that he does not have such problems and it might probably be a humidity issue.
Then, exactly 2 weeks back, I got in touch with support to figure out if there was an issue. Well, they replied back to tell me that you first need to press the “Ok” button to stop the recording and then, press the “Menu” button to go to those screens. And you know what? It worked! I was like… so stupid for months!
The mobile application
Depending on dash cam models, you might need to use specific free apps in order to connect to the device. This information is normally available in the user manual. I did try numerous apps but none other work except the one specified. This Chortau model connects to an app called RoadCam.
Screenshots of the app :
Now that I have gone quickly through the main features of the Chortau dashboard camera and also, the dedicated iOS / Android app, RoadCam, it is now time to give a final verdict. Overall, I like the camera despite it lacks the emergency lock button. WiFi speed is also an issue but at the end of the day, it does the job slowly. I guess that we cannot expect much from such devices. I would love to review or get feedback from another similar dashcam with WiFi connectivity. I did not experienced any lag while going through the camera’s menu or even in the mobile RoadCam application. I also loved the responsiveness of the Chortau support through email. They reply to all queries and they are very helpful to clear any doubts you may have regarding the camera.
I did not mention the price yet. I paid the unit GBP 50 + GBP 18, amounting to a total of GBP 68 (Approximately Rs 3200). And it took less than 2 weeks to be delivered after being shipped from the Great Britain. FYI, I paid around $70 for my previous camera 2 years back. I just hope that this Chortau unit will last for some time and it won’t disappoint me.
That’s all for today.