Dashboard cameras, since their inception, have been known to help drivers, as well as passengers, get out of many a sticky situation. Be it unwarranted lawsuits, expediting insurance claims, or combating insurance fraud, a dash cam can provide irrefutable video evidence to protect drivers and passengers.
As such, it is in every driver’s best interest to invest in a quality dash cam.
If you have been looking into purchasing a dash cam for your vehicle, you may have come across the name Vantrue.
Vantrue has been providing premium dash cam services on a budget for some years now. Using modern technology and a premium look and feel, Vantrue designs dash cams with drivers’ safety in mind. It offers well-rounded feature sets, making it a favorite among drivers the world over.
In this article, we will be looking at three of Vantrue’s most popular dash cam models — the N4, the N2 Pro, and the S1. We will be comparing these models based on their features, usability, functionality, and the overall value that they provide.
So, if you are considering purchasing a Vantrue dash cam, read on to learn about your options.
Vantrue offers dash cam options across several different price points so that there is something for everyone regardless of their budget.
The N2 Pro is the cheapest of the three options that we are looking at. It offers a pretty comprehensive set of advanced features that is more than sufficient for most use cases.
The Vantrue S1 is the mid-range option that offers a few upgrades over the N2 Pro in terms of features. The battery configuration is changed completely in this model which makes it more compact and boosts the overall performance.
The N4 is the more premium option of the three providing a number of added features and upgrades over the other two models. It’s also the best dash cam pick by CNET, Wirecutter, Business Insider, and so on. The N4, due to its added features, makes for a more well-rounded experience for drivers that is certainly worth the extra price.
Overall, the three models are fairly consistent in the ease of use, functionality, and quality of performance that they provide.
Camera and Display
If your dash cam captures video that is too grainy or blurry to be discernible, then it is pointless and will not serve its intended purpose. So, it is crucial that the dash cam you invest in captures crisp, high-definition footage.
Vantrue seems to recognize the need for clarity and high resolution in dash cam footage and, to that end, equips its products with high-res cameras that can capture detailed video in and around your vehicle.
The N2 Pro comes with a front and cabin camera.
The front camera uses an OV4689 image sensor and captures a 170-degree view of the road ahead. When running on its own, it can be set up to a resolution of 1440p at 30fps or 1080p at 60fps.
The cabin camera uses a Sony IMX323 sensor and captures a 140-degree view of the interior of the vehicle. When working simultaneously, the front and cabin cameras can go up to 1080p at 30fps.
The cabin camera makes the N2 Pro ideal for rideshare drivers since video footage of the interior of the vehicle is especially important for them. It also comes with a 1.5-inch TFT LCD display for added convenience.
The Vantrue S1, also a dual dash cam, comes with a front and rear camera.
The front camera has a 170-degree field of view and captures 4K video using a Sony IMX327 sensor; in single-camera mode, it can be set to a resolution of up to 2160p at 24fps or 1080p at 60fps.
The rear camera uses an IMX323 sensor and captures a 160-degree view of the rear of the vehicle. Working simultaneously, both cameras can go up to 1080p at 30fps.
This model comes with a slightly larger 2-inch LCD display that makes it easier to read.
Lastly, the Vantrue N4 definitely takes the cake as it features 3-channel recording — front, cabin, and rear.
When using all three cameras simultaneously, the front camera goes up to 1440p and the cabin and rear up to 1080p at 30fps. You can also utilize the dual recording mode to record the front in 4K and the interior or the rear up to 1080p at 30fps.
In single recording mode, the front camera captures crisp footage in 4K, recording the smallest details.
The field of view of the front camera is reduced to a 155-degree range, but the cabin camera captures a 165-degree view and the rear, a 160-degree view.
The N4 comes with a much larger 2.45-inch IPS LCD display that makes going back over your footage significantly easier.
All three models come with a built-in microphone and speaker to capture crisp, distortion-free audio. The mic can be easily deactivated with the push of a button when audio recording is not required.
Camera/Display Winner: The N4 wins with its 3 cameras, 4K capability, and over-sized display. However, you also pay a premium for these features. The real “winner” is the model that has the views you need without overpaying for cameras you don’t need.
Power and Battery
The Vantrue N4, N2 Pro, and S1 all require a connection to the car power via the included power cable in order to run.
All three models do, however, come with small built-in batteries so that they can store your settings without car power.
If you want to keep these dash cams running 24/7, you will need to purchase a hardwire kit. The N4 uses a USB hardwire kit, N2 Pro uses a mini USB kit, and the S1 uses a mini USB kit, so you will want to verify compatibility before purchasing a hardwire kit. Also, continual usage drains your car battery, which can even lead to a dead battery in some instances.
While the N2 Pro comes fitted with a 3.7V lithium-ion battery, the S1 and N4 both come with supercapacitors instead. This gives them an added advantage over the N2 Pro as supercapacitors have a significantly longer lifespan than lithium-ion batteries, are smaller in size allowing for the unit to be more compact, do not overheat easily, and allow for smooth operation in unusually high or low temperatures.
None of these models are exempt from battery issues, with some users complaining of failed batteries early in the life of the product.
Power/Battery Winner: Tie (even the “supercapacitor” models have complaints on battery life, and none includes a built-in battery that can power the device without constant power)
Vantrue dash cams require a microSD card for storing video footage and have support for a Class 10 microSD card of up to 256 GB.
Stemming from this, the microSD card does not come included with the product and has to be purchased separately.
The loop recording feature ensures that new footage continuously overwrites old footage chronologically once memory is full. This makes for a seamless experience as you do not constantly have to go back and manually erase recordings to clear up storage space.
- Because these cameras all record in high resolution (1440p & 4K), a microSD card will fill up quickly. 4K cameras are quite demanding when it comes to storage. For our guide to the best micro SD cards for 4K recording, see here. (Remember that 256 GB is the largest card that is supported by Vantrue dash cams).
- The write-then-delete storage cycle of dash cams is very destructive to SD cards, so you want to purchase a high quality, “Endurance” micro SD. See here for our guide to the best micro SD cards for dash cams.
The G-sensor in all three models is a useful addition. It auto-detects collisions and immediately saves the relevant clips to the “Event Folder” to prevent them from being overwritten and make sure that you have them handy when needed. We have all seen Better Call Saul, you never know what’s going to happen.
Storage Winner: Tie (no significant differences between the models)
The Vantrue N4, N2 Pro, and S1 stand out in terms of their unique and advanced feature sets.
While the main and most obvious difference between the three models is their camera capabilities, with the N2 Pro recording the front and interior, the S1 recording the front and rear, and the N4 recording the front, interior, and rear, each model also brings certain other unique features to the table.
Right off the bat, all three models come with a 24-hour Parking Mode—a feature that provides round-the-clock protection to your vehicle. If the dash cam senses no motion in 5 minutes, it will automatically switch to Parking Mode and begin recording if it senses a motion or collision event. Pertaining to this, in order for this mode to operate, the dash cam needs to be hardwired or connected to an external battery pack when parked so that it has a source of constant power supply.
The infrared Night Vision is another neat detail that helps capture clear footage even in low-light environments. The HDR video system in all three of the models adjusts the light and dark areas of the video and the 4 IR LED lights facing the interior of the vehicle in the N2 Pro and the N4 guarantee vivid and crisp recordings.
The Vantrue S1 comes with a built-in live speed display GPS that embeds useful information such as the location, driving route, speed, date, and time stamp on the recorded footage. With the Vantrue GPS Player software, you can also access this data on Windows PCs. For the N2 Pro and N4, however, the GPS is optional and can only be used by purchasing an external GPS module.
The loop recording feature enhances usability; new recordings constantly overwrite old ones sparing you the hassle of having to manually empty storage space. The G-sensor detects collision events and instantly locks the footage into the “Event Folder” so as to keep it from being overwritten.
All three dash cam models come with a nifty time-lapse feature. This enables the dash cam to compress long operational periods into smaller file sizes, saving storage space on the SD card and also making it easier to go over long recordings in a short span of time. This is particularly useful to document long road trips.
Features Winner: S1 for the included GPS without purchasing an extra GPS module
Maintenance & Lifespan of Dash Cams
Taking care of your dash cam and ensuring its long lifespan is just as essential as choosing the right model. Just like any other gadget, dash cams require regular maintenance to keep them in the best shape possible.
This includes regularly checking the lens to ensure it’s clean and free from dirt or smudges that could affect the video quality. Using a soft, non-abrasive cloth can help keep the lens pristine.
Moreover, make sure to keep your dash cam out of direct sunlight when not in use as prolonged exposure can harm the device’s internal components, especially the battery. Always remember that extreme heat or cold can affect your dash cam’s performance and lifespan.
Another crucial point is to regularly update your device’s firmware. Manufacturers often release updates to fix bugs or enhance performance, and ignoring these updates could mean missing out on improved functionality. This is also an opportunity to check if your dash cam is functioning properly. Any glitches or irregularities should be addressed as soon as possible to prevent permanent damage.
Last but not least, always handle your dash cam with care. While they’re designed to withstand daily use, rough handling can lead to damage.
Dash Cam Etiquette & Legalities
While dash cams are largely legal and widely accepted, it’s worth noting that there are specific rules and regulations about their use in some areas. For instance, in some places, it’s illegal to record someone without their consent, and this might extend to recording passengers in your vehicle, especially if the footage is used inappropriately.
Also, while most laws allow for recording in public spaces (like roads), private property is a different matter. If you’re recording on private property, you’ll need the property owner’s permission.
Moreover, dash cams should not obstruct the driver’s view. This means you should position your dash cam in a way that it doesn’t distract you while driving.
In some jurisdictions, it’s illegal to touch your dash cam while driving, so it’s recommended to set your dash cam before you hit the road, or pull over safely before making any adjustments.
Always remember, while dash cams can provide valuable evidence in case of an incident, they must be used responsibly and ethically. When in doubt, it’s always a good idea to familiarize yourself with local laws and regulations regarding dash cam use.
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Vantrue dash cams provide the perfect blend of affordability, ease of use, and advanced technology.
They are compact, discreet, and a breeze to install even for first-time users.
The above options incorporate the best of the best in terms of features and overall value provided by Vantrue.
Based on this, whichever model you decide on, you are sure to walk away with a fantastic dash cam solution that provides all-around protection to you and your vehicle. Just make your purchase decision based on your budget and the location of cameras you need (front, rear, interior, or all 3).
Can I use my dash cam in any vehicle?
Yes, dash cams are portable and can be used in any vehicle. However, they need to be properly installed to ensure the best video quality and safe use. Power sources may differ depending on the particulars of your vehicle.
How long does the battery of a dash cam typically last?
Most dash cams are designed to be powered by your vehicle’s power supply and have a small built-in battery for saving settings and emergency backup. These internal batteries typically last a short time when not connected to the car power.
Can the dash cam drain my car’s battery?
Yes, if your dash cam is hardwired to your vehicle’s battery for Parking Mode, it can drain the battery over time. However, many dash cams come with a feature that shuts down the camera if the battery voltage drops too low to prevent this.
Does a higher resolution in dash cams mean better video quality?
Higher resolution does generally mean better video quality as it captures more details. However, other factors such as sensor quality, lens quality, and software also play a crucial role in the overall video quality.
Do all dash cams come with a memory card?
No, most dash cams do not come with a memory card, and it has to be purchased separately. Make sure to check the maximum card size your dash cam supports.