It seems to be the sweet spot for car dashboard cameras is about 100 dollars. This lets you get a great amount of features for a reasonable price by avoiding overpaying for features that you may never use. This is not to say there aren’t some great dashcams for less, but 100 dollars just seems to be the tipping point.
Personal opinion for the best car dash camera under 100 dollars is:
The Spy Tec G1W-C
Why would we consider the Spy Tec G1W-C to be our pick for the best car dash camera under 100 dollars?
A lot of it actually comes down to a few things, one of which is ironically simplicity. My personal favorite reason is the toughness of this little unit. Whether the heat of the California desert, or the cold of a Vermont winter, the Spy Tec G1W-C won’t fail you. This is mainly due to the C in the name…
The C is for Capacitor. Basically what that means is instead of using a battery that tends to fail in extreme temperatures as a power source, a capacitor is used that can stand up to the abuse. A bonus to the capacitor is it has a much longer usable life as opposed to a battery. Just look at your cellphone. It seems that about 1 year into use of the phone that the battery tends to lose it’s ability to a long charge. I’ve seen it in my multiple Samsung phones, battery life seems to be cut to about 60-75 percent of what it was new after about a year. You would not have to worry about an issue like this with the Spy Tec G1W-C since there is no battery used.
I also love the simplicity of the unit. You are just paying for the features you would normally use. No need to spend 400 dollars on a camera with a plethora of added features that honestly most likely never get used. Spy Tec keeps the price affordable by not including things like night vision, which tends not to work out as well as hoped.
Features of the Spy Tec G1W-C
There is a nice 2.7″ color screen on the back of the unit for reviewing footage, adjusting settings, etc. The small size of the unit also allows it to be discreet. This helps in 2 ways. First, is being as it small and goes unnoticed, that also means it is not a target for thieves. Many people think dash cams are expensive (and some are) which could lead to the vehicle being broken into. This is less of a problem with a smaller camera. The second reason is, if an altercation etc. should ever occur (and I hope it never does) the odds the offending party will see your camera and try to cause a problem over it. That way you can just casually bring up your footage to insurance, police, etc.
The features that are standard around this range of camera are also present.
- An micro sd card slot for saving recordings. No card included, but up to 64gb cards supported. Footage is stored in MOV format.
- A G-sensor that allows footage to be saved in the occurrence of increased G-force. This could be a collision, sudden hard braking, sudden hard acceleration, etc. Any of the usual times you could want a recording, but may not have the ability to manually catch happen.
- Loop Recording. The loop recording allows the oldest footage to be overwritten automatically with new footage when you run low on storage space.
- Full 1080p Video recording with Audio. The video quality is crystal clear through the 120 degree wide angle lens.
There are a few cons to the unit to be fair. First is that the manual is just terrible. Not laid out very well and not clear. The camera is simple to use though however, so if you have used a digital camera before then you can use this. Second the unit may be set to Chinese when you get it. Again a little fumbling around and this can be corrected. other than than, it is a great little dashboard camera.
Here are some runner-ups to check out also:
Black Box B40 A118
This is another good little camera, and it actually has a wider angle lens than the Spy Tec at 170 degrees. However it falls shot in the storage area by only supporting up to a 32gb micro sd card. Also it is a battery powered camera, so it will not stand up to extreme temperature as well as the Spy Tec. This one does have a night vision mode also but I have yet to find one that works great.
Black Box DV2 Dual Lens
Another camera by Black Box, the DV2 is also a good dash cam. It has 2 lenses, on faces forward as standard, the other faces backward to see out the back window. This would also be great for someone with a Taxi or drives as an Uber. Leaves the same issue with being battery based, maybe it is just a personal preference, but I like the added security of knowing my camera will function in extreme temperatures. Also the DV2 car dash camera is stated to support up to a 64gb microSD, but I was never able to get more than a 32gb to work, I have also came across the same concern when I was trying to look it up online.
In conclusion, this is just my opinion of the best dash cams for a reasonable price. There are plenty of great, and also not so great units above and below this price point. If anyone has any opinions for other dash cameras in this segment, I would love to hear them in the comments below