Today I have a tech review for you guys today. I have been reviewing dash cams for a while now and I finally decided to publish a review on a few dash cams. We are back with our list of top “cheap and budget” recommended dash cams for 2021.
We spent time on researching and reviewing cameras, though we haven’t personally used all of them. We are thinking to make full reviews on some of them. Out of those here we have picked the best dash cam under 100 based on price and features and how the dash cam would be used.
Best Dash Cams Under 100
Aukey Hot Climate Camera
Viofo A129 DUO
You can watch the video below or click here to visit the link if the video doesn’t play.
What is a Dash Cam And Why it is Useful?
If you don’t know what a dash cam is then here is a short summary for you:
A dash-cam is a camera which is planted on the dashboard and it continuously records video from the driver’s perspective (for evidence, vloging and reviewing purposes).
After being installed the dash cam works automatically and starts recording. These recording can then be transferred to PC or phone.
It is useful as if someone deliberately hits your car then you will have the proof and you can give the evidence in the court. Also, if the Police stops you for crossing the red light and you actually haven’t, then you can show the proof.
Best Dash Cam Under $100
If you have a problem in finding the best dash cam for your car, then here we have 5 recommendations for you:
Viofo is our top budget pick which has the best combination of performance and combinations for most drivers. In out review, it is the best dash cam under 100 and is available on amazon for you to buy and make your ride secure.
These features include great video quality of 1440p. Also, these cameras come with capacitors instead of battery, so they are more reliable in hot weather.
Apart from this the Viofo provides the best customer service in case your camera is damaged, and you apply for warranty. Also, the dash cam gives an error notification if there is a problem in recording.
Shape and Design
The V3 dash cam comes with a matte black plastic and a wedge-shaped design, so it doesn’t look like a camera, so its less obvious that there is a camera or something to steal.
This camera loop records and when power is received, it starts automatically. You will get everything you need in the box to install the camera which require no tools and takes around 10 minutes to plug into the 12V car adapter and stick the camera to the dashboard or windshield.
It has a better video quality as it records 1440P which is better than all the cameras we will review today. It can pick up car license plates and faces from far away. That’s vital if you experience road rage or get into a hit and run accident.
It will help police to prosecute as it will provide the face and number plate of the owner and car respectively. Also, it will ease the process of insurance to get your money back and prove to be the best dash cam under 100.
At night, the V3 has the best video quality than any dash cam tested right now. Also, it’s clear that the dynamic range of this dash cam has been increased which means you can now see a wider range of shadowed and brightly areas.
One drawback is that just like any camera it does not perform the best to capture license plates at night. No camera can. It is the last innovations which is required in field of dash cams.
It also comes with a built-in microphone which has a fair sound quality and good enough to capture conversations and street noise which is all you may need.
Its more durable than other cameras as it comes with capacitors instead of Li-Batteries. Capacitors are much more heat resistant and have a better lifespan.
In cold weather both types need to be warmed up. But Li-batteries are worse as they can be damaged if charged below freezing.
Let’s talk about the $50 ROAV A1. It’s out top cheap pick for it’s amazing features and its build quality. When compared to the V3, it is better in three cases:
- A much better Customer Support
- A solid and more beautiful design and nicer build quality
- Built-in Wi-Fi for file transfers
Although just like all cheap cameras you will have to give up somethings important. The A1 can record up to 1080P which is less than the 1440p of the V3.
Second is that it doesn’t show error notification and lack audio alerts, so you would need to check manually that its recording or not. The A1 uses Li-Batteries so I would not recommend it for hotter countries.
If your pocket is tight, then you can use A1 rather than V3 at a price of certain features but still it is better than other low-quality dash cams.
Structure and Design
Starting with the body, the A1 is a rectangular camera with a 2.4-inch LCD on the back. It feels quite solid when pressed and with its well-fitted surfaces the A1 looks and feels like a premium camera.
I found it simple to use it was fun to browse through the menus. This cam also has a Wi-Fi which lets you change settings and more importantly download saved videos.
ROAV did a great job here. The app is well-made and unlike other cameras, it is easier to connect with smartphones. ROAV app got well reviews on both Apple Appstore and Android Play Store.
There is a drop of sharpness in the recording of the A1 when compared to the 1440p A119V3 at daytime. At night there is a similar drop in quality. Details are less clear and objects in darker area are obscured.
To us it is big deal as a dash cam helps you get the evidence you need to get justice and a big reason for us to purchase a real 1440p camera if it can catch at night but here is the reason we don’t wanna trash the A1 as the video quality is good enough for the $50 price tag.
In last few years, bad video quality has gone away. The big reason for this is the Sony Image Sensor found in the A1 which has increased its quality and reduced its price tag. Many cheap cameras use it currently. But according to its price you can definitely call it the best dash cam under 100 USD.
Looking for error notifications the A1 doesn’t do a pretty good job. While it has a persistent warning message, there’s no sound alert when the camera has problem while recording.
You have to look at the screen to take actions and many who like to hide the camera behind their rearview mirror, there is a greater chance to miss until you get into a car accident or police ticket.
The A1 uses Li-Batteries which are susceptible to heat and in-general more likely to fail as compared to capacitors. Though, with the ROAV C1 some users complained about the bulging of battery that popped out the LCD screen which is awful.
Fortunately, there is a good customer service, if you got into a problem. ROAV is owned by Anker and they have offices around the world with a more streamlined service than the Viofo.
We think that local customer service is important. Even the good dash cams often break, and you don’t wanna send your camera overseas.
Though there is one upside. The A1 dash cam has a special battery-powered parking mode. When the engine is turned off, the A1 shuts down, but it can leave the G-sensor active. After detecting an impact, it’ll turn on after 6 seconds and record 30. Unfortunately, it won’t capture the impact but may get a license plate or face as an evidence.
It’s a good choice for those who want a smaller and heat resistant dash cam for their car. It used to be our top cheap pick, but we downgraded it as the users said it would be hard to use.
The main reason of its hard use is its clunky cellphone app. It’s very hard to change settings and format SD cards as the camera has no LCD screen. Connecting isn’t an intuitive as you have to disable data before connecting to the B1W’s Wi-Fi network.
Blue Sky did not or could not change the app for how modern smartphones will disconnect you from the network if no internet is detected (If smart Wi-F- option is enabled).
As a result, the B1 got many bad reviews from users having trouble connecting it to their phones.
If you get pass the lacking features above, the B1 is actually a fantastic camera. It records at 1080p resolution. Its video quality is about the same as the ROAV A1. Nothing special to mention here.
The error notifications are good. With an endless audio message, it lets you know what the problem is!
Blue Sky customer service has gotten much better since they started. They now have an office in Los Angeles with a local phone number to call. For other countries you may have to ship your camera out, but your cost may be covered depending on the circumstances.
The B1W has an 18-month warranty but you have to register the camera to get it. You might notice that the translations are rough, the overall experience is unpolished Though the B1W is solid, but it might not be the best option of everyone.
Aukey Hot Climate Camera
Moving on we have several Aukey picks for drivers in hot deserts and tropical environments. They are the only cameras under $100 which give a 2-years brand warranty and have capacitors.
Aukey has offices around the would with a reputation for fast customer service. So, these cameras aren’t technically built for super-hot environments, but you can choose them as other dash cams are more likely to fail.
Let’s look at our hot temperature picks starting with the $35 DRA1 which is also the cheapest cam we can recommend. Unfortunately, the video quality is just acceptable as it uses the junk sensor, but I think it’s good enough for its ridiculously low price.
The DR01 and DR02 have much better video quality which can record up to 1080p which quite similar to the ROAV A1 as they share the same sensor. The DR01 is $10 expensive but is a better option.
You can see a big difference between the cheaper DRA1 and these two cameras. These two cameras use the better Sony sensor. Besides the price point the only other difference is the body shape. The DR01 has a bigger 2-in screen but is more visible than the DRA1.
The next in this race is the DR02J which claims to record in 4k. Yeah on paper, they are right but that’s half-truth. The sensor they used is not of the best quality and the quality is much similar to the 1440p resolution. But yup it gives a 2-yr warranty.
Viofo A129 DUO
In case your budget increases and you want more protection for your car and some extra features, then we brought another dash cam for you which is priced a bit higher.
It like the Viofo A119 V3 but it adds Wi-Fi and remote control to lock video files and most importantly a rear camera for significantly better protection.
It’s a nice upgrade to the Viofo A119 V3 but it comes at a cost of lower video quality of 1080p resolution, but I guess for rear camera is worth that sacrifice.
Like the A119, A129 DUO also loop records and auto starts when power is on. No extra tools are required to mount this camera. Everything you need comes in box.
It starts recording with both cameras, rear and front automatically and also give error audio notification in case there is something wrong with the camera settings.
If your camera is damaged and stops working, the Viofo provides a warranty for some time, I think 18 months. Also, this company has a well-reviewed customer service in case you get into a problem.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How much should I spend on a dash cam?
We would suggest you to look for a dash cam which is between the range of $100 or £100. But incase you want for a more premium one, then you can go for dash cams up to $500 but remember don’t go beyond that as it would be just waste of money.
Is it worth getting a dashcam?
Of course Yes! A dash cam is very useful in both terms, it can save you from fraud cops and thieves who would want to steal something from your car as you can have everything recorded.
What do I need to know before buying a dash cam?
You have to know the general purpose for which you want to buy a dash cam. Moreover look for a dash cam which can record at night, have looping feature and having feature detect accident or when some is near.
I know, what you might think! That this review is sponsored by Viofo. No, and again this review is sponsored by no one. It was our list of best dash cam under 100 dollars. Our choices come from out extensive research and testing.
There are also premium level cameras which start from $250 which have better style and features. We could not bring them now, but we will provide you with another blog with premium dash cams as soon as possible.