20
Dec
13

Mini 0801 Dashcam Review

The previous dashcam I reviewed was very good, but the Mini 0801 is even better. This is the smallest dashcam available with an LCD display, GPS, G-Sensor and 1080P recording. It can hide discretely behind the rear view mirror without being disruptive. For example, the WS300W I reviewed would not fit behind the mirror on my Audi, but this one fits in there with room to spare.

  • Records 1080P HD Video at 30fps & Audio
  • 5MP CMOS Sensor
  • Accurate GPS Data Logger
  • 3 Axis G-Shock Sensor for Accident Data
  • 1.5″ LCD Viewing Screen
  • 120 Degree Viewing Angle
  • Records Time and Date Stamp
  • MicroSD Card Slot (32GB max)
  • Ambarella A2s Processor

I’ve had this on my car about 2 months now and the video quality is very clear and  sharp both day and night, better than other dashcams I’ve tried. At night the image is very clear and noise free thanks to the 5MP sensor and Ambarella A2s processor used on more expensive cameras.

This camera is very small, easily fits behind most mirrors and can hide discretely without anyone knowing it’s there. In my Smart Car, it is not visible from the drivers seat and partially visible from the passenger seat. My only complaint is it has a bluish LED to tell you it’s on but not bright enough to be seen past the mirror. If it’s distracting to you, a small piece of black tape will take care of that.

The camera uses 3M double-stick take to attach the mount to the windshield.  The power cable connects to the mount, not the camera making it easy to unclip the camera without lose camera position. What’s also nice is that it’s very small, maybe 1″ square make it less conspicuous. The mount is sturdy, does not move and the camera stays in place quite well.

The windshield mount also contains the electronics for the GPS. The GPS is used to not only track location but also logs speed. It takes under a minute to acquire a satellite signal. You have the option to display the speed on the recorded video, but may work against you in an accident, so best to let it store the information separately.

It also has a G-sensor that logs if you are turning, accelerating or stopping and how hard your are doing so. For example, it can show that you did try to avoid an accident.

You will need to get a MicroSD card. The manufacturer recommends at Class 4 or 6 card and to avoid Class 10. What I found with a Class 10 card is it worked fine, but occasionally when the card was full, it would stop recording. With a Class 4 or 6 card, it worked consistently all the time. It could be that a firmware fix is already in place that resolves this, but to be safe, use a Class 6 card.

Inside the box you get a CD with software, a manual, an extra double stick tape pad, a USB cable, a 12V adapter with a very long cable, the windshield mount and the camera. I had no problem running the cable through the headliner, down the a-pillar, under the dash for a clean install.

I tried the software that came with the camera, and it worked OK, but not as well as Registrator (free) which seamlessly played clips together, showed Google maps with the video and had a nice graph of speed travelled. As you can see, the camera is shorter than the 12V adapter.

Videos

To see them at the full 1080P resolution, you must click on the icon with 4 corners to see the video full screen and then it should automatically go into 1080P viewing, if not click the gear icon and select 1080P. Word of warning, some browsers have issues with embedded YouTubes. If you click on the heading, it’s a link the YouTube page with the video.

Day Video

Night Video – Hollywood and Vine

Registrator Video

Camera Configuration

Now onto the technical bits, how to configure the camera. You turn the camera on or off by pressing and holding the large button on flat end of the camera for a few seconds. It chimes to let you know it’s there and turning on or off. Reassurance that it’s working. When the camera is plugged into power, it powers itself on automatically, like when you start your car.

The first screen you get is the recording screen with the image the lens sees, in this case black because I set it down on table to take picture of the screen. The upper left is a large blue dot, that means the camera is on but not recording. If it was recording, it would be red. You can turn recording on/off with the top button on the right.  There’s other information showing you what resolution you are recording at (FULL HD means 1080P), what date and time is, how fast you are going and that the SD card is place. The number 3 means it’s recording in 3 minute segments, this is configurable.

If you hold the upper right button for a few seconds, it goes into the setup screen. There’s nothing really to change here, the defaults are setup as most would want, like FULL HD. You use the top and bottom buttons on the right to scroll up/down and you use the center button to select an option.

Scrolling down there’s more options, again nothing that I changed here.

Scroll down more and there’s menu options you should change like Time Setup and Auto Power Off. Auto Power Off is where you specify the amount of time to record after you turn the car off or unplug the device.

Time is pretty self explanatory, you set the time you want to see on the video. Use the up/down buttons to scroll to the number you want and then press the center button to take you to the next field.

Viewing the Recordings

The files are stored on the microSD card as .MOV files and can be played back using the included software. What I would recommend that makes this easier is a free program called Registrator Viewer that I show in the video above. It lets you open a series of files and then gives you a timeline to make it easier to find recordings and displays Google maps along side the video. It also lets you view videos that span separate video files and then export a selected start/end points as one video file. Videos that span a file do not lose any frames and the transitions are invisible.

Conclusion

I’m very impressed with this little camera. It’s incredibly small, especially when you consider it has a color LCD screen. It hides well behind the mirror in all my cars and not visible from the drivers seat and barely visible from the passenger seat. From outside you see light gray 3M pad. Some people found black double-stick tape that is less visible. Some people say you can see the white letters that say 1080P and put black tape to cover it. I find that it’s not all that visible. I had it running for 2 months and never even thought about it or noticed it was there other than the chime when it first powers up.

It also reduces my stress levels driving because people cut you off and do stupid things and I think to myself, I have this all being recorded, they won’t be able to talk their way out of this one.

The pluses for this camera are;

  • Price – good HD quality for the price
  • 1080P  resolution at 30fps
  • GPS Logger
  • G-Sensor
  • 12V adapter has a very long cord to allow you to hide the wire

Price – currently $109 shipped from Wrightwood Surveillance. Click HERE for the link.


59 Responses to “Mini 0801 Dashcam Review”


  1. 1 Ron
    December 21, 2013 at 6:09 am

    Buell, didn’t see it in the review, and a quick google search claims battery life is about 10-15 minutes. Is that what you found?

    • 2 networkcameracritic
      December 21, 2013 at 7:18 am

      Sorry I missed that, but yes, about 10 minutes is what I get. Not camcorder territory but enough to capture pictures or video from an accident scene.

      • 3 Ed
        December 21, 2013 at 10:22 am

        Keep in mind that the battery is only there to power the camera for the short length of time that the camera continues to record after the car is shut off (1, 3, or 5 minutes), or, in the event of an accident, the camera can be easily removed from the dock and carried around to record the accident scene. The camera runs off the car battery at all times otherwise.

  2. 4 Ed
    December 21, 2013 at 10:17 am

    I have owned one of these for several weeks now and absolutely love it…but…some of these cams, mine included, have a problem when recording audio with the video. When the card became full after 5 or so hours, there would be a Low Speed Card error that would cause the camera to shut off every couple of minutes. Re-formatting the card would eliminate the error, until the time that the card became full again. Some microSD cards were better than others in eliminating this error. It was found that the recording error could not be duplicated with merely filling up the card with a static scene at home…the recordings had to have motion and include the audio portion to re-create the error. The most recent firmware revision (20131202 as of today) has corrected that problem. What firmware revision are these cameras shipping with? Mine was shipped with 20131026 and I had to upgrade the firmware (a very simple process…the firmware is copied to the root of the microSD card and the camera recognizes it at bootup). Again, not all of the cameras have this problem (I have read that there are at least 4 companies manufacturing this camera in China). There is a huge thread about this problem at DashCamTalk.com.

    Also, the clip length setting can be set to 1, 3 or 5 minutes. It is suggested to record in 1-minute clips in the event of an accident where the camera is damaged and unable to record…at the most, only 1 minute of video would be lost.

  3. 6 Carlton
    December 21, 2013 at 11:58 am

    This looks like a much more compelling camera compared to the previous dash cam you reviewed. Thanks for the review.

  4. 7 Mark
    December 21, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    There have to be more settings that that. I assume there is an accelerometer threshold for starting recording, a pre-record buffer setting (record the ten/fifteen/thirty seconds before a shock event), resolution settings, etc.

    Also, is that correct that it’ll have the camera running but not recording? Or is it continuously recording, but won’t write protect a recording until a certain G threshold or manual panic button press? There is a manual “panic button” recording mode, isn’t there?

    Is the LCD the only visual output? No LEDs, just onscreen indicators? Is the LCD on continuously? Rather, is it showing a camera view all the time? That sounds like it would be distracting while driving at night.

    Are there any screenshots of the desktop software like you have with the IP cam reviews?

    • 8 networkcameracritic
      December 21, 2013 at 7:16 pm

      No settings for pre-record that I’ve seen and g-sensor has a calibration setting. When you start your car and power is applied, it starts recording within a few second. The only time you power it on manually is on battery.

      The LCD is the only visual output other than the indicator light that shows it’s on in blue and then changes to red when charging. It’s pretty faint, so not distracting. The display turns off after a preset time in a menu item called Power Off Screen. You can set it to Off, 1, 3 and 5 minutes. I have mine set to 1 minute. Touch a button and it comes back on.

      I did a video on the desktop software I recommend, it’s the 3rd video. I figured a video would be more interesting than screenshots because really there’s only one screen. The software that comes with it looks very similar but was not that good, mostly because it had long delays between clips and was not able to export pieces of clips.

  5. 9 Big D
    December 24, 2013 at 12:09 am

    What size microsd card(s) did you use? The 32gb? And did you fill a card(s) to full? How many hours were you able to capture for that or those cards? Was there difference in the file size used day vs night recording?

    • 10 networkcameracritic
      December 24, 2013 at 8:11 am

      This will surprise you but each 3 minute segment, regardless of time is 389,120KB. I started with a class 6 16GB card I used for months, but then I dropped inside the dashboard when removing it, so I put in a class 10 32GB card I had lying around which worked, but did not work consistently. So back to a class 6 card.

  6. 11 KK
    December 24, 2013 at 8:21 pm

    Crap. Just ordered the other one from Wrightwood on Black Friday as a Christmas gift. Didn’t even see this one available. Wonder if they’ll let me upgrade.

  7. 12 bricor
    December 29, 2013 at 7:46 pm

    May have missed it but does it record over the old footage or just stop recording when the sd card is full?

  8. January 1, 2014 at 12:42 am

    Hey NetworkCameraCritic,

    Long time reader of your blog, I have purchased cameras based on your reviews: HDB3200CN and the Hikvision 3MP bullet. However I noticed you never tried Geovision? I have the GV-CAW220 and it is quite good.

    Another reason I am writing this post is because I found something new that you all might be interested in, Its a mini wifi doorbell with built in IP Camera. Its called SkyBell WiFi Doorbell. Looks cool, but at $200 its a hard purchase for me right now. Would be more attractive at $100-$150. Don’t know if you can contact them for a sample and let us know how good it is. http://www.skybell.com/product/skybell-device/

    Thanks.

    Onlinetechadvice

  9. 15 Rick
    January 2, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    I’m interested in purchasing a camera like this for my car. I do have a question, can I leave it on all he time? What I don’t want to do is, get in my car, start it up, then turn on the camera to start recording. Is it automatic? Will it turn on and start recording when power is applied? My cigarette lighter does cut power off when the car is off. So, I assume I would get about 10 minutes of video of my garage wall before the internal battery dies?

    Thanks,
    Rick

    • 16 networkcameracritic
      January 2, 2014 at 3:24 pm

      Yes, the camera powers up and starts recording when power is applied and you can set the camera to turn off immediately when power is turned off or you can chose to have it stay on a few minutes after as you exit the car.

      • 17 Rick
        January 2, 2014 at 5:59 pm

        Sweet! Thanks!

        • 18 TOM.
          January 30, 2014 at 6:54 am

          This is not correct. I own this camera and it is set at the factory to always turn off after 10 seconds when you turn your car off. The setting you’re talking about just tells it when to go off if you have it out of the car and in standby mode. Hope this helps.

  10. 19 Hal Lasell
    January 4, 2014 at 11:11 pm

    Hi. I’m not quite sure how I stumbled across it, but I’ve really enjoyed and appreciated your blog.

    You’ve made several positive references to registrator, so I found and downloaded it. However, prior to running software from an unknown site, I always run Google safebrowsing diagnostic. Check out the results (run it as follows, substitute any site name you wish):

    http://www.google.com/safebrowsing/diagnostic?site=registratorviewer.com

    …the last time suspicious content was found on this site was on 2014-01-04.
    Malicious software includes 8 trojan(s).

    FYI, Google says it hasn’t visited your site in the past 90 days. Perhaps some external links might drag the search engines in?

    Anyway, thanks for the effort and a very happy new year to you.

    • 20 networkcameracritic
      January 5, 2014 at 9:46 am

      I have anti-virus software running and nothing was detected while running Registrator. Also, this software is not installed, you just run it. Alternatively, you can run the software that comes with the camera, it’s very similar.

  11. 21 Max
    January 5, 2014 at 7:01 pm

    Hi networkcameracritic,

    Thanks for the review! I found that there was another, release 2.0, of this camera.
    The info sheet says it has an improved night recording due to the new sensor OmniVision OV2710 as well as 140 degrees view angle. The internal memory has increased to 8GB.

    I was wondering, maybe this improved device was worth your time for another great review?

    Thanks!

    • 22 networkcameracritic
      January 5, 2014 at 7:59 pm

      That’s the sensor they have been using, the 5MP OV2710, same as what I tested. 8GB internal memory is optional but I find it’s better to just rely on the microSD card as you can easily remove it and play it on a PC. For example, I can put in my PC to look at something and put a different microSD card back in the camera.

  12. 23 Kent
    February 14, 2014 at 9:44 am

    Anyone ever use these things to face the other way ? . . . . to record if and when someone breaks into the car ?
    I’ve been thinking of rigging something like this up, perhaps a RaspberryPi based system, something that would perhaps alert me by wireless of a break-in. It’s have to be very discreet and have some kind of motion detection.

    • 24 networkcameracritic
      February 14, 2014 at 9:57 am

      They actually do make dashcams with forward and rear facing sensors. The issues with them is they tend to be bulky and lower resolution, many times 720P out front and VGA or 720P facing back so not something I looked at, mostly because I don’t want a camera recording me being distracted just before an accident ;). The Mini 0801 can be mounted anywhere in the car, so you could have it facing inside and set it to record on motion. Of course if they steal the car, so goes the camera and recordings. I don’t know of any dashcam that can connect to a WiFi or 3/4G connection to do an alert. You could install an IP camera with 3G built in like Brickcom, but that may be a pricy alternative to a car alarm with a remote alert fob.

  13. 25 Mike
    February 23, 2014 at 7:38 am

    Hi
    I have had my 0801 for a few months now and I still have a problem with the camera not over recording files when the sd card is full.
    The camera came with the firmware 20131026 and when the sd card was 3 quarters full I got the error messages. I read up on this and did an upgrade(3 or so weeks ago) but was 20130924, this weekend the same has happened again, after reformatting the sd card,(card wiped all files) the camera records as it should, no issues, travelled about 100-120 miles.
    Will the 20131230 update firmware sort this ?
    The camera has been recording fine as it should with no issues with the sd card when up to 3 quarters full.
    Card used is Samsung class 6 32g and recording on full HD with 3 min loop files.
    Mike

  14. 26 Steve King
    March 1, 2014 at 4:17 pm

    I recently purchased this camera and have two issues, when the camera is running the blue light flashes blue and red. Is this normal? It’s very distracting. Secondly, I can’t review any recordings on my computer. Wat am I doing wrong?

    • 27 networkcameracritic
      March 1, 2014 at 5:20 pm

      Yes, it turns one color when it’s charged, the other when it charging, forgot which is which. Put a piece of black electrical tape over the light if it bothers you. Mine is behind the mirror so not bad. I take the SD card out and put it in an adapter that came with the card and stick it in the computer. I use “Registrator” which is totally free to view the clips, works great or you can use the software that came with it on the cd.

  15. 30 David
    March 17, 2014 at 6:43 am

    I’m using 20131202 firmware.
    Has anyone else had a problem with motion sensor at night? Often, AT NIGHT ONLY ,recording stops until there is a more dramatic “change of scenery” ahead. Then it resumes recording. Other than that, I think this camera works great, but this is of concern to me.

    Thanks,
    David

  16. 31 Dave
    April 2, 2014 at 6:41 pm

    I have a curious question that might be off the wall :-)
    about the mini 0801 dashcam

    Is it possible to plug a 1TB mass storage device to the USB port and record continuously
    for weeks worth of recording

    Or option number 2
    I have a HD 4 channel mobile dvr, If plugged into the av, will it still record in HD from the av
    out with all the screen display options (speed, location, time, date) ?

    0

    • 32 networkcameracritic
      April 2, 2014 at 8:00 pm

      No, the USB is for power and connecting to PC, can’t plug a data drive into it. About option 2, don’t see how it’s going to feed video through that USB port as it basically looks like a USB disk drive to your computer when you plug it in. For what its worth, Samsung had a nice mobile DVR solution with 1080P and 3MP SDI cameras writing to a 4 channel DVR. This is designed for busses.

  17. 33 Eric
    May 16, 2014 at 9:17 am

    I have the Mini Dash Cam 0801 and it was working absolutely fine until I changed cars purchased a new GPS base unit stuck it to my windscreen then got my local garage to wire it direct so that it operates when ignition turned on but for some unknown reason it either just stops recording or it might say on the wee screen “restore files “Yes – No”
    The other thing that happens when I am viewing the files on my Lap Top when it comes to where it stopped recording a notice comes up the Car GPS Player saying “Error No Corresponding GPS File”
    Has anyone any idea what this is – is it a dodgy base unit or a fault in my camera unit

    Cheers

  18. 34 Eric
    May 16, 2014 at 9:26 am

    Mini Dash Cam 0801 – Problem my one just stops recording since I changed cars and bought a new GPS base unit
    Could it be the Base Unit is faulty or The Camera has packed up – when watching on the Car GPS Player it comes up ERROR NO CORRESPONDING GPS FILE where it stops recording

  19. 40 Eric
    May 17, 2014 at 10:56 am

    I have a class 6 & 10 32g which sd card would you recommend

  20. 41 Paul
    May 22, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    I have one of these in my car, but seem to have a problem with the time. i set the correct time on the camera before putting it into the GPS Dock in the car. as soon as the camera gets power from the car the time changes on the camera. not sure what is going on, anyone else found this

    other than this the camera works great and picture quality is good even on the lowest setting.

  21. 42 Joshua
    May 25, 2014 at 7:27 pm

    I just purchased this camera on eBay, after reading a few reviews and seeing the videos on YouTube.
    I think the video + audio are great. The LCD is gray also.
    No issues with mounting or hiding behind my front mirror.
    Wires tucked along headliner, pillar and still have another foot slack.
    My question or issue is with the GPS and Mph.
    I purchased the GPS option and have set to GPS Data and MPH in the respective menus but when I playback using the default player I get an error. (ERROR NO CORRESPONDING GPS FILE)
    On the SD I see a folder called GPS and many files with lat and long coordinates so I’m pretty sure the GPS tracker is working. I’ve formatted the SD, and defaulted the cam. (Then set back mph and GPS settings.) another drive around the block and then checked sd on my PC. Same error.
    I have not tried the registrator software .. Yet.
    Has anyone had this issue as well.
    Wondering if I should return and ask for a new one.
    My firmware data is later than anything I’ve seen on this blog.
    (Firmware:20140414)

    Any replies are welcome and thank you.

  22. 43 david.michaels@comcast.net
    May 26, 2014 at 3:49 pm

    Definitely use the Registrator software. I had similar problems with the supplied software. Mine showed my location as somewhere in the Middle East. It was resolved with Registrator.

  23. 44 Eric
    May 27, 2014 at 10:40 am

    I purchased my 0801 from Amazon and it did not have a disk with it but it worked fine until I changed my car, purchased another GPS base unit and now it stops recording and also shows this error (ERROR NO CORRESPONDING GPS FILE)
    I am also not sure what you guys mean by REGISTRATOR SOFTWARE or where to find it and instal it so could you please enlighten me

  24. 46 Andy
    July 3, 2014 at 11:09 pm

    Have you heard of any problems with using the car charger for power? I set my camera up and all was fine, but within 24 hours the car charger stopped working and now I can’t power my cam until I get a new charger. Just wondering if its a bad charger or something with the camera.

  25. 47 KINGSLEY
    July 8, 2014 at 6:16 am

    Is it possible to track this mini 0801 or 0803 from the google map once it is on without having access to the device or memory card?

    • 48 networkcameracritic
      July 8, 2014 at 8:44 am

      Don’t see how. It’s the Windows software that marries the geo coordinates captures by the camera with Google maps.

  26. 49 Garrett
    July 24, 2014 at 1:02 pm

    Have you had any further experience with this dash camera or any others? This one appears to be the most discrete out of the two you’ve reviewed. I’m really interested in getting this one (mini 0801), however, I would love to hear your current review/thoughts on this camera after having used it for several months now (or your thoughts on any other dash cam you’ve been able to test since then).

    I’m really looking for 1080p resolution and being small/discrete. Something that would be able to record to an external box elsewhere in the car would be a plus. For example, not recording directly onto the camera in case someone tries to take/yank the camera out of the car. Any thoughts?

    • 50 networkcameracritic
      July 24, 2014 at 1:35 pm

      It’s sort of transparent, don’t think about it. It does it’s job silently behind the mirror. The only thing that I would do different and maybe I can’t because I have convertibles, is to put one facing out the back window.

  27. 51 Patrick
    August 1, 2014 at 11:26 am

    I’ve had the unit for a week and I’m quite impressed. Reading the comments made ,e check – and despite setting the date and time to my location, London, it comes up as about 7 hours later on the video – that’s China time – so I wonder if there’s a Made in China issue here?

    I want to power directly from the battery – I’ll wire through an LED switch on the dash. I can get 12V to 5V car adaptors which are 3Amps but I’m told this will blow the camera as it draws 1amp. Has anybody done this?

    • 52 Patrick
      September 7, 2014 at 11:43 am

      I have no issues … Seems the time issue was user error….oops. I’ve hard wired the power using a Dashcam unit
      http://thedashcamstore.com/dashcam-installation-kit-5-volt-usb-plug-mini-fuse/
      It’s dead easy to install and I’d guess it took me maybe 5 minutes. I run a Jeep Wrangler, so needed to cut a hole in the fuse box under the hood for the fuse adaptor cable, and seal it…which took maybe 1/2 hour. Most cars have their accessory fuse box under the dash somewhere, so it’s an easier install.
      Issues so far: none

  28. 53 mark davidson
    August 5, 2014 at 12:45 am

    hi I have just bought 0801 with gps set it all up, set loop for 3 mins
    but after being out for a test after the first 3 min it stopped recording I’m using a 32gig class 4 Kingston card has a 4 on the card but on website I bought it from it says 8 so either 4 or an 8 also firmware ver:20140604

    • 54 networkcameracritic
      August 5, 2014 at 6:53 am

      Many of these devices that take SD cards are a pain. I had compatibility issues with a Sandisk 32GB card in a camera that specifically specified Sandisk as preferred. I switched it to the cheapest card I can could find and it worked. Sorry it’s a PITA, but try a different brand card.

  29. 55 DavidC
    August 31, 2014 at 4:04 pm

    Been using the cam for a few months now and am very impressed. I believe I’ve discovered a bug today that is not too serious as long as you’re aware of it… As designed, when the vehicle is turned off, the camera continues to record for 10 seconds, then shuts off. Should you restart the vehicle after the 10 seconds have gone by, it will begin to record again. The problem is if you restart the vehicle before the 10 seconds have passed – let’s say after 8 seconds. Within 2 seconds the cam will shut off … even as you drive away! It will stay off until the next vehicle off/on cycle.

  30. 57 Ron
    September 6, 2014 at 10:54 pm

    Can you provide more details about the “Motion Sensor”? If the camera is, for example, hardwired to stay on the whole time, does the camera start recording when it detects movement?

    • 58 networkcameracritic
      September 7, 2014 at 9:29 am

      Have not tried motion detect feature on this camera as it would have to be powered on when I’m not in the car to use this but the theory is it records when it detect motion until motion stops. Motion is determined by changes in video, so a shadow, car lights driving by, rain may cause false alerts, just the nature of the beast. May be good to set if you are having car vandalism issues in your area.

  31. 59 Alan Lloyd
    October 22, 2014 at 1:11 pm

    I have set my 0801 camera in motion detection mode. So now when I switch it on it is recording. This means that I cannot get back into the menu to change anything. Any ideas?


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