Well, if you own a chauffeur-driven car, you need an in-cabin camera to know what he is up to at all times. And even if you own a family driven car, you should keep a tab on who is using it, especially if your kids tend to take it out for a spin. Well, not only for spying on their activities, it is definitely good to know if they are safe and in good health. Having an in-cabin camera can help public transport vehicles have a footage on their passengers (and drivers) so that it can be used whenever the need arises.
Having a dash camera on your vehicle’s windscreen is a must-have accessory today. While it can save you from untoward incidences when on road, it can also be a great help when it comes to insurance claims. Dashcams come in various types — from single cameras that peek outwards to multi-camera setups that can capture footage from all around the vehicle. Some dashcams also have an in-cabin camera that records what happens inside the cockpit, which is best for all chauffeur and family-driven cars or for transport vehicles and alike.
While there are numerous such dashcams available out there, Z-Edge is a camera comes in for a reasonable price, while still doing what it can best — keep a record of what happens inside and outside. So if your chauffeur drove into another car because he was snoozing on the wheel, or if that passenger acted smart and began a quarrel, your camera has the proof.
The Z-Edge F1 is a well-built dashcam that sports an in-cabin camera too. It can record up to 1080p FullHD videos from both cameras simultaneously, or at 1440p when using the front camera only. While the front camera is stationary, the rear camera can be moved around for a proper placement, whichever place you mount it on your car’s windscreen. The rear hosts a good 2.7-inch LCD display with a few control buttons towards the right and the rear camera on its left side. The front sports an OV4689 image sensor with WDR that allows better light intake for darker environments.
The interior camera sports a Sony IMX323 sensor with four IR LEDs to ensure that the cabin is well lit to capture videos in the dark. Additionally, the F1 also sports a GPS antenna that is attached to the mount and connects to the camera using the mounting connector. The dashcam gets its power using a good long mini USB cable that connects from the car’s cigarette lighter to the camera. Lastly, the device is 4.3-inches wide and 1.57-inch tall, which ensures a small footprint and won’t block your sight to the outside world. Powering the camera internally is a supercapacitor that replaces the conventional Li-Ion battery since conventional batteries cannot bear the heat when your car is parked out in broad sunlight. This Supercapacitor makes also makes it safer when your camera gets extremely hot during broad sunny days.
The Z-Edge F1 dashcam can record at different video resolutions so that you can choose between longer footages or better quality videos. Choose between Dual recording 1920x1080P @30FPS + 1920x1080P @30FPS for both cameras or use the front camera only with 2560x1440P @30FPS, 2304x1296P @30FPS or 1920x1080P @60FPS. Lastly, both cameras can record a wide field of view of 150-degrees so that you don’t miss anything on the outside or the inside. The camera also has a microphone for voice recording, a G-Sensor so that it can capture emergency footages during a car crash or an accident, and a GPS that shows you the speed while still tracking your location and embedding it within the videos. This GPS track can be seen on a special video playback software that you can download from the brand’s website. To close this section, you can pop in micro SD cards from 8GB to 128GB to ensure you have maximum footage available when you need it. The footage works in a cyclic manner and can be chosen between 1minute, 3 minute and 5 minutes for each video being captured. On an average, you can have more than a week’s footage (depending on the resolution and storage capacity) at your disposal.
Installation is pretty simple and straightforward. The kit contains all you would ever need in it. Out of the box comes a long mini USB cable, a 5V car power adapter, a smaller mini USB cable for data download and suction cup GPS mount. Install the mount on your windscreen, attach the camera to the mount and run the cable via the roof, down to the cigarette charger port. Power on and drive off. The default settings are good enough to get you started. Tweak around with the settings, play around with it for a few minutes and you should be good enough to get you satisfied with what you have. All you would need to do is move the internal camera around till you see every seat in your car, clearly. Drive away...
The camera starts recording the moment you turn your car keys. Whether the engine is running or not, the camera will keep recording, but will depend on how your car is wired to keep the power in that cigarette lighter port running. The display will be on for a few minutes and then turn off to save power and reduce the heat produced, but will continue to keep recording in the background. You can change that timing, but be careful, you could be distracted if it’s left on. We suggest you keep it at 5 mins max. The video footage is stored on the micro SD card and names as ‘A’ and ‘B’ for front and in-cabin videos respectively.
As for the performance, we were surprised to see the quality of the videos. Pretty sharp and detailed, both the in-cabin and outside videos were clear during the day time. Night time videos take a minor hit, but in comparison to other dashcams we used, this one seemed brighter than usual, even without the need for IR LEDs lighting up the view. Thanks to the WDR technology that kicks in to ensure that your low-light driving is perfectly caught on camera. Your car headlights will also add to the video capture, making the footage pretty good. Video stabilization is good too, and the video footage is pretty clear during bright days. Head into the evening and you will see grainy videos, but they too were pretty nice with good details. However, we did note that there were some areas that get pretty difficult to capture — brightly lit skies, oncoming traffic lights, etc. But this is a usual case with most cameras that face oncoming lights. However, the Z-Edge F1 does manage to focus and correct these washed out areas as quickly as possible.
The in-cabin camera is also pretty good. The IR LEDs help light up the cabin for a better view, even if you are riding in the night. However, there is a bit of a barrel distortion (like a fish-eye look), but nothing can get better than this. The footage is pretty clear and you can definitely view all your passengers — the one beside and the ones behind — pretty easily. Both the in-cabin and front camera has options to timestamp the date and time on it, apart from GPS and car license plate numbers.
The onboard GPS also makes life better. While most dashcams at this price don’t offer GPS functionality, the F1 carries a GPS time stamp that logs your vehicles location, speed, and route. This data can be reviewed on Google Maps when footage is played back with a compatible Windows and Mac compatible video player, and can be downloaded from the Z-Edge website.
Lastly, the supercapacitor inside the dashcam is a relief to most car owners around the world. Standard batteries fail in the sweltering heat and even in extreme cold, but the supercapacitor has no problems. It will ensure that your camera’s last recording was well saved, while even allowing it to wake up and record an emergency video in case your car gets hit when parked. Thanks to that G-Sensor within, the impact of the hit will awaken the camera, record the footage for a minute, save and shut down so you can know who hit your car when you were away.
The user interface is not the best we have seen here. It is pretty standard to almost all dashcams we have seen till date, especially the ones that are built in China. From that boot-up sound to the internal menu system, is pretty standard. Using the control panel could get tedious since the OK button is on the top of the camera rather than on the rear panel with all the other buttons. The menu operation is pretty simple and straightforward, but could have been better. However, this would be the last thing to worry since you would setup the camera only once in its lifetime and the camera keeps running doing its job without any other needs.
Z-Edge F1 Dashcam Verdict
If you are looking for a dashcam for your car, you should consider a recorder that gives you better resolution video, in-cabin video recording and safer internal battery options. The Z-Edge F1 ticks all the boxes when it comes to the above and we would give it a thumbs-up to put that high on your list. WQHD resolution with a good 150-degree field of vision, built-in GPS and a supercapacitor power backup on an affordable price tag is where the Z-Edge F1 gets a recommendation. The F2 is priced at $149 (Approx ₹10,600) on Amazon (UK, US, DE) and can be shipped into India for an additional small price.