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RAC Digital CarCam 02 review

Barry Collins
10 Apr 2015
RAC Digital CarCam 02
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
109

The RAC Digital CarCam 02 is a great little dashcam that’s let down by a clumsy external GPS add-on

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Specifications

1080p dashcam, 2.7in 960x240 display

The RAC’s premium dashcam is curiously cumbersome. The main camera unit is a perfectly compact, 2.7in widescreen device that slots easily into its equally slender suction mount. If that’s all there was to it, we’d be talking about a Best Buy contender, but for reasons best known to itself, the RAC has decided to make the GPS facility an external add on. 

RAC Digital CarCam 02 back

This comes in the form of a 35x40x10mm block that has to be stuck to the windscreen and plugged into the main unit. This creates two problems. First, the reusable sticky patch that clings to the windscreen kept coming unstuck while we were driving, which is both distracting and often results in a loss of GPS signal. Second, the receiver comes with a ridiculously long lead, which coupled with the unit’s charger cable means there’s an ungainly jumble of wires sprouting from the CarCam 02. You might be able to tuck these out of sight around the perimeter of your windscreen, but given that the Mio MiVue 518 and 538 have integrated GPS and are smaller than the CarCam 02, we can’t help wondering why the RAC couldn’t build its own GPS receiver into the camera.     

Daytime footage

The CarCam 02’s ungainly setup is a shame, as it’s an otherwise decent performer. Footage is captured in Full HD at 30fps and is clear in both daylight and when driving at night. The lens’ 170-degree field of view gives you a wide sweep of the road, catching cars emerging from side roads that other cameras we've tested might miss. Detail is sharp – even when driving at high speed you can freeze the frame and read the number plates of cars coming towards you on the other side of the road. Like the CarCam 01, the CarCam 02 does struggle with areas of high contrast, but it’s not a major problem. Footage taken at night is certainly grainy, and you do get the same shimmering windscreen effect we saw with the Roadhawk DC-2, although the CarCam 02 does show less overall distortion. 

There’s no software provided with the camera. GPS co-ordinates are embedded into the video itself, and each clip is accompanied by a text file containing the GPS data for that specific clip, although Google Maps and Google Earth refused to import the data in that format.  

Night-time footage

The camera's bright little screen is perfectly visible even in beaming sunlight, and it’s sharp enough to help you make out the details of vehicles if you need to, for example, show a police officer a recording of an incident at the roadside. The Mini HDMI port on the side of the device will let you play back footage on a TV, but you'll need to provide your own Mini HDMI to HDMI cable. We couldn’t find an option anywhere to switch the screen off when driving, however.

RAC Digital CarCam 02 front

The CarCam 02 makes a reasonable stills camera, too. There’s none of the shutter lag that we experienced with its cheaper sibling, although the unit is so small and light that it’s easy to introduce camera shake if you don’t take great care to keep the device steady as you’re shooting.  

If you’re not bothered about the GPS tracking, the RAC CarCam 2 may be worth a place on your shortlist. However, when the Mio MiVue 518 offers more features for £10 less, the CarCam 2 is hard to recommend. 

HARDWARE 
Max video resolution1080p
Max fps (at max resolution)30
Field of view (degrees)170
Max photo resolution 2,592x1,944
Memory card formatmicroSD
Supplied memory card4GB
Screen size2.7in
Screen resolution960x240
GPS Yes (included external add-on)
Speed camera alertsNo
Crash sensorsYes
Battery capacity250mAh
Stated battery life30 mins
Dimensions (WxDxH)82x37x50mm
Weight60g
ConnectionsMini USB, Mini HDMI
ACCESSORIES 
Supplied mountsSuction cup
Also in boxCigarette lighter charger, USB cable
Supplied softwareNone