Eye on the Road – Hands-On the Pioneer ND-DVR100 Dash Cam

With the number of insane drivers in the city who have seemingly obtained their drivers’ licenses from Cracker Jack boxes, driving have become a frustrating ordeal. After years of witnessing a countless number of illegal stops, U-turns, and instances of texting while driving, I started to install dash cams in my car.

I have tried various dash cams over the years, but usually run into issues like limited dynamic range, unclear (moving or otherwise) or flashing images, and failure of the camera to handle extremely cold and/or hot weather. These include units costing $100 all the way up to $300. My most recent dash cam went kaput last November, so it was due time to try something new.

Using the Pioneer ND-DVR100 Dash Cam

Coincidentally, Pioneer just entered the dash cam market with its ND-DVR100. It comes with the typical G-shock sensor, loop recording, snap-shot photo, and 114-degree lens. What’s not typical, however, is the use of 27.5 fps recording to match the LED lights refresh so you won’t see flicker in your recordings.

You can install it yourself, as it’s extremely easy. Mount the unit to the windshield, positioned behind or next to the rearview mirror using the adhesive. Then route the power cable neatly to the cigarette lighter adapter. But since I wanted a super clean installation, and was already upgrading the audio in my car for another review (April 2019 edition of WiFi HiFi Magazine), I brought my 2018 Golf R to Ultra Auto Sound Design in Mississauga.

The camera records in full 1,080p, and you can set the compression level. I suggest use the smallest compression (largest file) and use a 32GB microSD card. Don’t cheap out on that either. Use something like a SanDisk Extreme, as the card will have to handle all kinds of weather condition, especially heat during the summer months.

Unlike most dash cams, the unit can be slid out of the bracket in case you need to take photos of an accident scene, or show the video/camera to the officer on the spot. When you’re ready to put the camera back into its bracket, just slide it in, versus having to fumble with positioning a unit at the proper angle in a suction cup-mounted unit.

Time stamp, location coordinates, and driving speed are all automatically recorded as part of the video and photo metadata. The picture quality, while not top notch, is still better than other dash cams I’ve tried; but my expectations for top-notch picture quality is in the GoPro range, so I may just be expecting too much from the unit.

Bottom Line

For $200, it’s a no-brainer to install one of these dash cams in your car. In fact, having a good dash cam is actually a requirement in order to be covered by insurance in many countries (though not in Canada). Whether your insurance provider will give a discount or not, at the very least, having an effective dash cam like this one will eliminate any he-said-she-said situations in the event of an accident.

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