During the snowy months in Wisconsin, people appear to lose the ability to drive like normal, well-behaved human beings. The white, slippery powder that falls from the sky and lies on our roads has little effect on drivers as they drive as if it were a summer’s day.
There will always be drivers who believe they are unstoppable in the snow. They will slide about with their bald tires, wait to stop the car until the last possible minute, and drive around as if they own the road.
Driving is dangerous enough and when you introduce snow into the equation it becomes a train wreck. Videos show up all over social media and on news stations all winter long of highway backups where tens or even hundreds of cars all crash into one another.
Let’s say you are driving to work one snowy morning and as you are carefully driving along, another driver doesn’t come to a complete stop towards the intersection. Their bald tires and lacking ABS slides them right into your lane.
As fast as you can react you attempt to slow down, but, alas, scrape by them and your bumper and their car have some damage. The police show up to create their report. In the United States, if the damage is done to the front of your car, you are liable.
Unfair indeed; you didn’t do anything wrong. However, without any evidence, the police need to create their report on the statements from you and the other driver. This is where a dash camera becomes so important.
Dash cameras are an expense and a product that is not needed until it’s needed. You hope to never use a dash camera and never need one, but if you do need it, you’ll be glad you bought one.
I call dash cameras the car’s all-seeing eye as it never tells a lie and always helps you prove your innocence.
Over the years, I have used and reviewed a lot of dash cameras. Different brands, styles, and shapes, but their underlying purpose is always the same for me. How does it protect me and my car?
Today, we take a look at a newcomer to the dash camera market, one that labels itself as the world’s smallest dash camera.
With the width of an iPhone, containing an internal battery, LCD display, and the ability to record in 1080p, Conbrov is offering a real contender dash camera at a competitive price
Welcome to my review of the Conbrov Starlight Dash Camera.
I’ve eaten potato chips that have more surface area than the Conbrov Starlight. Measuring in at 0.28 D x 1.97 W x 1.38 H inches, the Starlight is small enough to fit in a T-Shirt pocket.
It’s seriously small. Placed next to my computer Corsair mouse, the Starlight is dwarfed and yet I am still amazed at how they fit in an 85mAh internal battery for standby operation.
A physical tour around the Starlight reveals a small, yet vivid and clear 1.5-inch LCD display that is a real-time live feed of exactly what the camera is seeing. For as small as the LCD display is, it’s amazing to me how much detail it still shows. Far away objects are lacking and are very difficult to make out, but objects closer than ten feet can be seen clearly.
Found next to the LCD display are four clickable menu-controlling buttons. From the top down, the first brings up the Starlight’s menu options, with OK being used as a selector. Below the OK button is a MODE button to change the Starlight’s recording options. Pictures and video can both be taken with the dash camera. Lastly, there is a power button that with one tap will turn on or off the display.
To navigate the menus, the Starlight is equipped with two side-mounted up and down arrows. Include the OK button and navigating through the on-screen menus is a breeze.
Speaking of which, the menus on the Starlight are well designed and straightforward. Everything you need in a dash camera is within the menus. More on what you can do with the menus later on.
For ports, the Starlight takes a micro USB connection for power and charging the internal battery. Then, for storage, there is a slot for a microSD card that supports up to 32GB.
Stealth in all black with a silver ring for the lenses, the tiny camera is concealed well when placed on its included windshield mounting bracket.
About the same size as the dash camera itself, the windshield mounting bracket uses a suction mount for mounting the entire unit to the windshield with the camera attaching to the mount using a plastic clip.
Due to is small mounting bracket and its tiny size, the camera is easily setup or moved from car to car. In my case, I professionally installed the Starlight in just under 10 minutes. It just needs one quick power-lead cable ran and a quick suction to the windshield.
Included in the box is a lengthy micro USB charging cable that terminates in a standard car cigarette lighter plug. This length will be more than enough for any car or truck where a cigarette lighter socket is in the front dash. What’s nice is the cigarette lighter plug contains a full-sized USB slot which you can use to charge your phone.
I have to give Conbrov credit for their user manual. It’s well written, all in one language, and explains every detail of the Starlight camera.
Annoyingly, Conbrov does not include a micro SD card for the Starlight camera. They do include a USB adapter so you could plug one into a PC, but to include an adapter and not the SD card itself is a real annoyance and disappointment here.
It’s expected that when you buy a product, it’s ready to go out of the box, unless otherwise stated. For the future, I would recommend that Conbrov ditch the USB adapter and include a micro SD card, even if it were a cheap 8GB micro SD card.
Getting started with the dash cam is incredibly easy. You practically mount it using the suction cup mount and plug it in. Afterwards, it does the rest and starts to record to the micro SD card.
If you want to tinker with the camera before getting started, the menus let you do that. You can make adjustments to resolution, loop recording, audio recording, exposure, and whether or not the time stamp is shown on the video.
For settings that change the Starlight itself, you can change the power settings, screen saver, beeps, and flip the lens if you mount the camera upside down.
With your SD card inserted, the camera will constantly write new video footage in five-minute video segments. This helps parse through the video files when looking for a specific event. When the SD card is filled with storage, the camera will begin to overwrite the oldest video with the latest.
To prevent accidental deletion of event footage, the camera is smart enough to use its internal G-Shock sensor and identify driving events. Events will be locked from deletion until you choose to manually delete them.
The camera is also smart enough to use motion to know when to record and to not override your footage of an idling/not moving car.
Amazingly, this little camera records in 1080p 60Hz and it does so with a decent sensor. To begin recording, you need to turn on the car and make sure the camera is already plugged in. When it detects power, it begins automatic recording.
The camera creates an .AVI video format and a 2-minute video recording was only 300MB. Not bad for a 1080p recording of moving objects, but the compression should be a little more aggressive in my opinion. That said, I would choose quality over quantity.
In viewing the recording, objects can generally be clearly made out, but fast-moving cars can be somewhat of a blur. This camera won’t save you from a hit and run as it doesn’t capture license plates too well, but it will show that you weren’t at fault.
During the day, the camera performed flawlessly and got a good view and look at things. Night recording was what I would consider passable. It wasn’t perfect, nor was it awful, but unless the accident happens right in your immediate headlight view, you won’t be seeing much.
See for yourself:
Overall, I am impressed at how the world’s smallest camera captured such a telling video. Plus, since the little guy has an internal battery, you can detach it from the mount and use it to take still pictures of the accident. Everything will be saved to the SD card.
My Final Thoughts
Priced at a reasonable $42.99, the Conbrov Starlight dash camera is a great tiny device that has so much potential and can protect you and your car in an accident. A micro SD card should be included with the Starlight dash camera and with that, it would be a complete package.
For this price and for this decent video quality, I am happy with the Conbrov and would happily recommend it to those looking for an inexpensive dash camera. Additionally, its portability and built-in battery/screen make it a great option for a first dash camera.
© 2018 Justin VendetteFiled under Reviews
Tagged camera, Conbrov, dash, Starlight.