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Best dash cam 2021 comparison: We compare Navman, Supercheap Auto, Lanmodo and Nextbase dashboard cameras!


You’ve probably ended up here by searching “best dash cam 2021” or “dash camera Australia”, and there’s a good chance you’ve done that because you’ve been on YouTube watching dash cam Australia videos.

This affordable add-on technology is becoming more and more relevant to road users in Australia and other parts of the world, too. Dash cameras allow you to offer evidence of what happened in the event of an accident, and can even lower your insurance premium, too.

Plus they give some of us the chance to get an idea of how other people drive, what their reaction times are like, and just how much crazy stuff happens on the road - who would have known that the crash count was so high? And you can’t share your experience if you don’t have the footage.

That’s where this dash cam review comes in. We’ve assembled four new car camera systems - we mounted them on the windshield of a car and ran a test to compare how each functions and performs.

We’ve assembled four new car camera systems, mounted them on the windshield of a car, and compared how each performs. We’ve assembled four new car camera systems, mounted them on the windshield of a car, and compared how each performs.

In this dash cam comparison we have a budget player, the Supercheap Auto dash cam, as well as a more up-spec Nextbase dash cam and a Navman dash cam that also includes sat nav as part of it. The fourth player is a Lanmodo unit, which is designed to work best in the dark - and yes, we did daytime and nighttime testing with these dashboard camera recorders to see which worked best in what situation.

None of these models included a reverse camera, though the Nextbase had an optional rear-facing camera as part of the test. There are some other specifications and features that might sway you one way or another - we’ll get to the nitty gritty below.

So, which should you buy? The cheap one? Or should you spend a little more and get a better lens? This test will help you figure it out - watch the video above to see these action camera systems doing their work, or see the screenshots below for an at-a-glance idea of how they compare.

Supercheap Auto SCADVR18 - $109.99 RRP

The homebrand Supercheap Auto SCADVR18 Full HD 1080P dash cam offers a very compact unit with a suction cup mount. There are buttons on the side – it’s not a touch screen – and it was very easy to position in the car. Just be careful if you’re adjusting the angle, as the top clip section broke on our test unit without much pressure at all. 

  • The SCADVR18 shoots in 1080P high definition, and the lens has a 120-degree viewing angle. The SCADVR18 shoots in 1080P high definition, and the lens has a 120-degree viewing angle.
  • The SCADVR18 shoots in 1080P high definition, and the lens has a 120-degree viewing angle. The SCADVR18 shoots in 1080P high definition, and the lens has a 120-degree viewing angle.

It shoots in 1080P high definition, and the lens has a 120-degree viewing angle. That’s good for the money. But you miss out on features like GPS location logging and tagging on this unit, so you’ve got to know where you are in order to make a claim with insurance. There is no parking mode, but it has a G-Sensor on board that will capture an on-the-road event and log it. 

It uses a “continuous recording” setup so it will constantly override old footage, but it won’t override anything saved by the G-Sensor, which partitions to a different file. It is capable of using microSD cards between 8-gigabytes and 64Gb. 

Daytime impressions:

You’ve probably heard the old adage that you get what you pay for, and in the case of the SCA dash cam you’re getting a pretty decent little unit for the money. It’s cheap - there’s no doubt about it - but the quality of the image that you get during daytime driving is actually pretty darn good. There's a good wide angle to the lens and it’s easy to see your surroundings and even make out number plates when you pull up to park.

The quality of the image that you get during daytime driving is pretty darn good. The quality of the image that you get during daytime driving is pretty darn good.

During high-speed driving it’s possible to discern the signs on the side of the road to give you evidence if you need it, and even to pick up number plates on passing cars. There is absolutely no doubt that this little unit hits above its weight when it comes to daytime driving. It’s just when it comes to night time driving that it falls short.

Nighttime impressions:

As you can see from the screenshots of the footage, this camera makes it look like we’ve got gas lanterns on the front of the car, not some of the best LED headlights in business. The contrast is all out of whack and it’s very difficult to discern passes by pedestrians and even what makes all models you’re driving past in really dark streets

This camera makes it look like we’ve got gas lanterns on the front of the car, not some of the best LED headlights in business. This camera makes it look like we’ve got gas lanterns on the front of the car, not some of the best LED headlights in business.

It gets a little better when the streets are well lit, but even then with it set on its highest definition there’s a graininess to the vision that just isn’t competitive with the more expensive rivals. But I guess you are paying a fifth or less for this one, and that’s gonna be enough of an argument to buy wannabes over the others for a lot of people.

At traffic lights on well lit streets there’s enough detail for you to make out what’s happening around you just not as much detail as you might want.

It gets a little better when the streets are well lit, but even then there’s a graininess to the vision. It gets a little better when the streets are well lit, but even then there’s a graininess to the vision.

On the freeway again everything was just too dark.

Lanmodo Vast Pro: Night Vision System with Dashcam - $199-$599 RRP

Next up the price scale is the Lanmodo Vast Pro: Night Vision System with Dashcam – though the price varies depending on how you buy it.

  • The system is capable of HD 1080P recording, but has a very shallow field of view of just 45 degrees. The system is capable of HD 1080P recording, but has a very shallow field of view of just 45 degrees.
  • The system is capable of HD 1080P recording, but has a very shallow field of view of just 45 degrees. The system is capable of HD 1080P recording, but has a very shallow field of view of just 45 degrees.

That’s because Lanmodo has an Indiegogo startup page – a bit like a Kickstarter, asking for people to buy in – and the prices range between $199 and $599. At the time of reporting there was a $199 deal being done - that may not be the case if you hit this link.

The unit is large – much bigger than any of the others here. It has an 8.0-inch screen – four times the size of the Supercheap unit, but just like that cheapy, it’s not a touchscreen. The system is capable of HD 1080P recording, but has a very shallow field of view of just 45 degrees - the worst here by some margin.. It also lacks GPS location services, so you really must want a night vision camera first and foremost if you’re considering this unit.

Daytime impressions:

The main issue with the Lanmodo dash cam is the lens viewing angle – the fact that it’s too zoomed and shallow at 45 degrees means that you miss out on what’s happening in the periphery. You can see from the screenshots here or in the video at the top of the story that it simply doesn’t capture all that much that’s happening to the sides of the car – that that means that basically you could miss that critical moment in the event of an accident – especially if it’s a side impact crash.

The main issue with the Lanmodo dash cam is the lens viewing angle. The main issue with the Lanmodo dash cam is the lens viewing angle.

The footage is also rather grainy and the fact that it doesn’t have a very good mounting system means that it does tend to pick up a lot of the bumps in the road as well. It jiggled a lot more than it should, although there are two different amounts you can use – one that sits on your dashboard, and one that is a suction mount. I suction-cupped it to the windscreen in the car I was using, but it had to be upside down to make it fit best. That’s annoying.

There’s an issue with how overexposed the footage is in daytime driving, but that is the biggest strength of the Lanmodo system when you’re driving at night. 

Nighttime impressions:

Because it’s over exposed it shows a lot more of what’s happening on the road in front of you in dark driving. The company claims it can show you what’s on the road ahead up to 300 metres away - which is further than most headlights will throw their beam. 

The LED lights in the test car we used showed up that with low beam on, this camera was indeed impressive in the way it picked up things in the distance, while even at closer quarters it picked up pedestrians and other cars really quickly - provided they were within the narrow field of view. 

Because it’s over exposed it shows a lot more of what’s happening on the road, although the fuzziness indicates the lens could still be better. Because it’s over exposed it shows a lot more of what’s happening on the road, although the fuzziness indicates the lens could still be better.

Although again the fuzziness you can see you on the screenshots indicates the lens could still be better.

Honestly - unless your priority is a dash cam designed for night time driving primarily, this isn’t the best option of these four.

Nextbase 322GW - $279.99 RRP

The Nextbase 322GW is a neat little unit certainly exceeds the perceived quality standard for something costing this much, with a really solid feeling construction and a quality design to it. NOTE: An earlier version of this story stated the price as $329.99 RRP - that was a mistake on the company's website.

It’s small, yet its 2.5-inch screen is touch capacitive, and easy enough to use. It has some lovely features like magnetised attachments to make clicking things in and out a lot easier, plus there’s a 140-degree viewing angle for the lens, and it can connect to your phone via Bluetooth. It has GPS location technology to pinpoint incidents, too, and it can call emergency services if connected to a phone as well.

  • It’s small, yet its 2.5-inch screen is touch capacitive, and easy enough to use. It’s small, yet its 2.5-inch screen is touch capacitive, and easy enough to use.
  • It’s small, yet its 2.5-inch screen is touch capacitive, and easy enough to use. It’s small, yet its 2.5-inch screen is touch capacitive, and easy enough to use.

My favourite feature here is the parking mode with a G-Force sensor to record any unwanted bumps in car parks – and it doesn’t require hard-wiring to the car like most other cameras out there. It just uses its inbuilt battery to record those incidents because the G-Force sensor is designed to be super-low energy consuming. That could well be enough to get you over the line and buy this camera. 

Our test unit came with an optional $119 rear view camera that watches the cabin and, theoretically, out the back window, too – just be mindful of placement, because otherwise you might just see front seats or the back of a tablet media screen. It’ll do up to 128Gb MicroSD card capacity, too, and there are suction and stick-on mounts included.

Daytime impressions:

In daytime driving the Nextbase camera did a relatively good job. It was easy enough to discern street signs and road markings, while other road users and parked cars on the side of the road were also easily detected. 

It was easy enough to discern street signs and road markings. It was easy enough to discern street signs and road markings.

There’s a nice wide angle lens although the resolution isn’t quite as clear as it is with the Navman unit. It’s just a little bit more pixelated, as you can see from the video or these screenshots. But it does deal well with light changes during daytime hours. Nice one, Nextbase. 

Nighttime impressions:

It was good enough to pick up pedestrians walking by in dark streets, and while the darks around the edges of the camera were a little darker than on the Navman and Lanmodo, the most important elements were still reasonably visible. 

You can pick up number plates on the cars you’re passing by, and it’s easy enough to discern the makes and models as well - although it isn’t quite the best when it comes to night vision on dark urban streets. When the streets are well lit the camera copes better so this might be a good option for people who live in built-up areas.

It seems to do a better job on the highway than it does on dark urban streets. It seems to do a better job on the highway than it does on dark urban streets.

On the freeway did a pretty good job as well, easily picking up the line markings and street signs to ensure that you’ve got the evidence you need when you need it.

This is a pretty solid effort. The fact you get this quality for $330 - and you can add an easy fit rear facing camera to monitor the cabin of your car as well - makes it pretty attractive.

It’s plug and play tech, and I love that.

Navman MiCam GPS - $369 RRP

Finally we’ve got the Navman MiCam GPS, which is a new unit with a two-in-one design: it is a sat nav system and a forward-facing dash cam, and it has a very iPhone-like aesthetic to it. 

It features a 5.0-inch touchscreen which, if you’re using the sat nav, includes pinch to zoom controls. It records in 1080P like the others here, and has an 8-gig internal memory system – but like all of these dash cams, there is a Micro SD card insert too (up to 128Gb). The lens viewing angle is nice and wide at 140 degrees, and you can even log your trips to help with your taxes! Of course it has GPS tagging as well.

  • It features a 5.0-inch touchscreen and records in 1080P. It features a 5.0-inch touchscreen and records in 1080P.
  • It features a 5.0-inch touchscreen and records in 1080P. It features a 5.0-inch touchscreen and records in 1080P.

If you’re planning to use the navigation part of the camera a lot, there are things like speed alerts and traffic warnings, but I found both of those very annoying. Other bonus stuff you won’t get in non-navigation dash cams, like pin drop turn-by-turn instructions, live traffic updates, and even a “shortcut to the nearest coffee stop” button. Nice. 

It is certainly a lot of tech for your money… if you want a sat nav. But how does it go as a dash camera?

Daytime impressions:

Navman consistently makes a really good quality dash cam, although in the versions that combine sat nav and dash camera technology like this one, there can be some really annoying tendencies for the system to warn you of stop signs and traffic elements that actually aren’t anywhere near your route. It’ll even warn you of merging traffic repeatedly – we have sound of that too, but you’ll need to watch the video to get what I mean here.

Navman consistently makes a really good quality dash cam. Navman consistently makes a really good quality dash cam.

Having said that, the quality of the vision offered by the Navman is terrific, the wide angle to the lens offers a good view of the road and surrounds, and it dealt really well with changing light conditions in daytime driving.

There was enough detail to see the number plates or makes of cars parked on the side of the street, as well as make out clearly the street signs on your trip.

I don’t think this is the best dash cam that Navman makes, but it is a really decent option if you insist on having a sat nav system as part of it. Now what about at night time?

Nighttime impressions:

As you can see from the footage or the screenshots, it’s easy enough to discern other cars that are parked by the roadside although the number plates can still be a little bit hard to detect. The car I was doing this testing had good LED headlights although they were too bright in some situations for the camera to cope with.

On the freeway at night it was fine, but not terrific. On the freeway at night it was fine, but not terrific.

On stretches of well lit urban road the camera was very good. Signs and cars were easily discerned. On the freeway at night it was fine, but not terrific.

If I was buying one of these four dash camera systems, it would be the Nextbase 322GW. For the money it has a quality feel and operation that just sets it apart, and that non-hard-wired parking system is a really enticing element.

But that’s not to say these four don’t all have their positive attributes. 

The price of the SCA unit can’t be ignored, and for the money it offers great daytime vision, but the night footage was poor comparatively.

The Lanmodo was essentially the opposite, with excellent night vision but a grainy daytime image and a viewing angle that’s too narrow to offer a true full-time dash cam experience.

And if you just need a sat nav system which incorporates a really good quality dash camera, the Navman unit can’t be ignored. It’s good value for money, and operates very easily - though it prioritises navigation, as you might expect.

Tell us what you think in the comments section - would you choose one of these four dash cameras? Or is there a different brand you’d opt for? One that we should test next time around?