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RAC Digital CarCam 01

Barry Collins
2 Apr 2015
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
80

The RAC Digital CarCam 01 is a reasonably cheap, no-frills dashcam that struggles once the sun sets

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Specifications

720p dashcam, 2in 320x240 display

The Digital CarCam 01 is one of the cheapest action cams we've seen. Although it’s nominally £20 more expensive than the Nextbase In-Car Cam 101 Go, the CarCam comes with a memory card (albeit a limited 4GB model) which means it’s ready to go right out of the box.

It’s not quite as compact as the 101 Go, thanks to a bulbous barrel at the bottom of the device. This houses the rotatable camera lens, which makes it easy to adjust the angle of the camera without having to fiddle with the suction cup mount.  

The camera starts recording as soon as it’s plugged into the charger, and there are easy-to-access buttons on the back to stop and start recordings manually and to switch off the internal mic. We would prefer an option to switch off the distracting screen while driving, though. The 2in display is pretty dim, too, making it hard to see what’s going on in broad daylight and to ensure that the camera is lined up correctly before you set off.  

Daytime footage

The CarCam 01 doesn’t have built-in GPS, but it does have a collision sensor that will prevent any files recorded during an accident from being overwritten. There’s a File Lock button on the top of the device to manually protect recordings, if your car isn’t directly involved in an accident, for example, or you simply want to make sure that certain footage will be retained.

The CarCam 01 doesn’t come with any software. You simply plug it into your PC with the supplied USB cable and access the recorded video files directly from its memory card. Like the 101 Go, the CarCam 01 is limited to 720p footage at 30fps, whereas most dashcams we've seen, such as the Mio MiVue 518, offer Full HD 1080p recording. Footage captured in daylight showed a reasonable level of detail, but it’s difficult to make out the number plates of cars in adjoining lanes on the motorway, for example. The CarCam also struggles with contrast, when part of the road is in the shade and the rest is bathed in bright sunlight, making it very difficult to make out what’s happening in the darker areas. However, that’s nothing compared to its problems after dark. Footage is extremely murky in all but the most brightly lit roads, making it hard – if not impossible – to work out what’s going on.  

Night-time footage

The CarCam takes still images, which could be handy for recording damage for insurance accident reports, especially as they’re automatically stamped with the date and time. However, there’s a notable lag on the shutter button, which means you can easily introduce camera shake by moving the unit before the photo’s even been taken. We weren't particularly impressed by the CarCam’s menu system, which we found needlessly fiddly to navigate, despite there being six different buttons on the device itself.  

With the Best Buy-winning Mio MiVue 518 costing only £10 more, we can find little reason to put up with any of the CarCam 01’s numerous shortcomings. 

HARDWARE 
Max video resolution720p
Max fps (at max resolution)30
Field of view (degrees)120
Max photo resolution 2,592x1,944 
Memory card formatmicroSD
Supplied memory card4GB
Screen size2in
Screen resolution320x240
GPS No
Speed camera alertsNo
Crash sensorsYes
Battery capacity300 mAh
Stated battery lifeNot stated
Dimensions (WxDxH)90x19x59mm
Weight73g
ConnectionsMini USB, 2.5mm AV out, GPS module connector (not supplied)
ACCESSORIES 
Supplied mountsSuction cup
Also in boxCigarette lighter charger, USB cable 
Supplied softwareNone