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Mio MiVue 538 Deluxe review

Barry Collins
4 Apr 2015
Mio MiVue 538 Deluxe
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
150

The MiVue 538 is a good-quality compact dashcam with built-in speed camera alerts, but the cheaper MiVue 518 is better value

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Specifications

1080p dashcam, 2.4in 320x240 display

If you’re going to append the word Deluxe to your product name, it better have something worthwhile to back it up. In this respect, the MiVue 538 has a feature that’s unique among the dashcams in this test: speed camera alerts.  

Mio promises the camera will be given free safety camera updates for “the lifetime of your device”, and in our tests it certainly gave us plenty of advance warning of all the cameras we know of in the Brighton area. The device’s screen shows your current speed as well as the speed limit, giving you plenty of time to slow down if you happen to have strayed over the limit. One word of warning: the default volume level on the device is pretty low, and unlikely to be heard over a radio, so turn up the volume setting to make sure you hear the warning pings. The speed camera warnings sensibly override the setting that blanks the screen during recordings, and the screen goes blank again when the warning is no longer relevant. 

Indeed, those speed camera alerts will almost certainly mean you want to keep the MiVue 538 Deluxe in view, rather than tucked behind the rear-view mirror. The compact camera and suction cup cause minimal obstruction to the driver’s view – certainly much less than most satnav units or smartphones do when they're stuck on your windscreen. However, the USB connector on the supplied charger juts out upwards from the unit’s right-hand side, making it awkward to put the device low on the windscreen, as the cable can dangle in front of the device's display.

Physically, the MiVue 538 Deluxe is almost identical to its cheaper sibling, the Mio MiVue 518. It has an all-glass front rather than a plastic bezel, and there’s a Mini HDMI port for connecting directly to a TV or monitor to play back your footage, but otherwise there’s little to choose between them. Recording performance is, unsurprisingly, very similar. If anything, the MiVue 538 Deluxe showed a little more distortion than the MiVue 518, with bright sunlight creating blocky artefacts on the screen, but there’s little to choose between them: both perform well in both day and night conditions and show high levels of detail.  

Night-time footage

Like the MiVue 518, the 538 can be set to automatically blank its screen after a few seconds to avoid distractions. The camera's 2.4in screen is reasonably bright and just about sharp enough to make out detail if you need to replay incidents at the roadside. The battery inside the MiVue 538 is weak, however, barely giving us a minute to snap some photos before conking out. That’s partly because the Mio devices don’t have a dedicated stills camera mode - they simply allow you to take freeze frame snaps as the video rolls, consuming a large amount of battery. The photo quality is good enough for basic damage shots, but the MiVue 538's images aren't as high-resolution as pics from many others dashcams we've tested.

The only other nods to the “Deluxe” qualities of the MiVue 538 are a supplied 8GB memory card (absent from the MiVue 518) and a soft, rubbery carry pouch. Frankly, we’re not sure the MiVue 538 Deluxe does enough to justify the extra £46 over the MiVue 518. We could easily live without the case, and memory cards of this capacity are less than £10. It's a good camera, but only if you’re desperate for the speed camera alerts should you spend extra on the MiVue 538. 

HARDWARE 
Max video resolution1080p
Max fps (at max resolution)30
Field of view (degrees)130
Max photo resolution 1,920x1,080
Memory card formatmicroSD
Supplied memory card8GB
Screen size2.4in
Screen resolution480x234  
GPS Yes
Speed camera alertsYes
Crash sensorsYes
Battery capacity240mAh
Stated battery lifeUp to 10 mins
Dimensions (WxDxH)67x32x62mm
Weight85g
ConnectionsMini USB, Mini HDMI
ACCESSORIES 
Supplied mountsSuction cup
Also in boxCigarette lighter charger, soft case
Supplied softwareMiVue Manager