Viofo isn’t a well-known name in the UK but the Chinese dash cams and action camera specialist is looking to take on the established brands with a new range of products aimed at drivers.
Its range starts at around £50 for the most basic units and rises to more than £200 for the feature-heavy A129Pro Duo Ultra 4K.
A few steps down from that you’ll find the A129 Duo, which offers full HD footage from its twin front and rear cameras.
Both cameras use Sony Starvis sensors and the front camera has a relatively wide 140-degree field of vision with a F1.6 aperture for decent low-light images. The main unit features a two-inch screen for reviewing footage and controlling settings, although both these can also be done via a wifi connection to the Viofo mobile app.
As with most recent dash cams, there’s GPS and parking mode support but, unlike many, this one doesn’t bother with advanced driver assistance systems like forward collision warning or lane keep assist. That’s no great loss as we’ve yet to find a camera-based system that’s accurate enough to be trusted.
A clever optional accessory is a simple dash-mounted Bluetooth button that allows you to lock a recording and prevent it being overwritten without having to fiddle with the camera.
The front camera is a slightly unusual shape in being long and narrow, with the screen mounted above the physical controls. It’s still compact enough to hide behind a rear-view mirror but not as unobtrusive as some units, especially as the mount is thicker to accommodate the GPS module.
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The rear camera is more of a problem. For a start, it’s a lot bigger than the rear unit from other systems, such as the Thinkware Q800 Pro. Making matters worse is that the cable linking it to the front camera goes in from the top, meaning you have to mount it a long way down the window and it obstructs your view backwards.
Installation and setup is straightforward but like other cameras with stick-on mounts rather than suction ones, you need to be careful to ensure the cameras are aligned properly.
Image quality is excellent from both units, with great clarity and stability, even at high speeds. In fact, its sharpness puts the performance of the higher resolution Thinkware to shame. It also handles low-light conditions well with strong reproduction of detail even in footage taken late at night.
At £129.99 the A129 is well worth consideration. It’s easy to install and use and most importantly, the image quality is excellent. The lack of ADAS means it’s not as feature-rich as rivals but these are largely a gimmick anyway. Its biggest failing is the badly designed rear camera so if you can live without this, a cheaper single camera setup is a better choice.