Hands-on with the Apeman C860 dash cam: A nice-to-have camera in low-light conditions

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  • Editors' rating
    7.6 Very good
  • $119.99

Pros

  • Good image quality in low light
  • Rear camera included
  • Collision recording

Cons

  • No SD card supplied
  • No hard wire option
  • Delay in recording when car shaken

I am getting to be a dab hand at fitting dash cams to my car (I think this is No. 4 so far during 2018). Some are a little fiddly to install and configure -- but not the Apeman C860 dash cam.

Read also: Hands-on with the Thinkware F800 Pro

This dash cam comes with a front and rear camera. Fortunately, there is loads of wire to reach the back window of my station wagon. I need to make sure there is slack in the cable so it does not damage the cable when I open the tailgate door.

The C860 is a well-built, high-resolution dash cam with a 2.7-inch TFT screen and 960x240-pixel resolution. It records 1440p (2560 x 1440p at 30fps) at the front and 1080p if you use the front and rear camera simultaneously.

It has a 150 wide -angle view and an F2.0 large aperture lens and will loop in 1-, 3-, or 5-minute loops. Its WDR (Wide Dynamic Range) feature improves the quality of images in low-light conditions -- a really useful feature.

It has the ability to take up to 12-megapixel still images and record in-car audio. Fortunately, there is a mute feature in video preview or video mode if you do not want to be reminded of what was said.

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Inside the box is the camera, charger, and cable, a suction mount, which has stayed in its original place for over a week. It also has a sticky mount and extra sticky pads.

There is a rear camera and a really long cable to slot down the length of the car. You do need to provide your own formatted SD card (up to 32GB maximum).

Its collision detection feature will lock the video loop when it detects a bump. Unlike the Thinkware F800 Pro, the collision sensitivity is configurable, so it will not record every pothole or speed bump you drive over.

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Its motion detection feature will record incidents even when the car is parked if the vehicle is shaken.

The videos are crisp and clear and license plates are easy to read even in low-light conditions. Files are stored in two folders on the SD card: One for the front camera, and one for the rear. Each video has a time and date watermark, which you must set when initializing the camera.

The camera has warnings such as fatigue driving warnings, which can be configured to alert you after either one, two, or four hours of driving.

As my car switches itself off when I stop for lights, I hardly activated this feature at all. There is also a reminder to turn on the car lights when the ambient light is low -- unnecessary in most newer cars with automatic lights.

The camera has a parking monitoring feature that will record any incidents when the car is parked.

You do need to have power to the lighter socket when the car is switched off, although it has a 420mAh battery that will capture issues if you have no power to the camera for a short time.

I found that, unless I shook the car, or bumped into it, then it would not record gentle movements like opening the tailgate. It would record heavy shopping bags thumping into the car, although the rear camera was pointed at the sky by this point.

Read also: 5 reasons you need a dash cam (CNET)

The C860 also has front collision warning system (FCWS) and a lane departure warning system (LDWS). I never managed to get the lane departure warning to warn me -- even if I drifted across the lines regularly.

I liked how easily I could configure this dash cam; the settings were simple to understand, and the buttons were intuitive. However, I felt that the lack of a hard wire option -- for permanent parking monitoring -- made that feature unusable.

Most cars nowadays have sockets that switch off when the car is turned off, and, as a static monitoring system, you would be better off getting a dash cam that you could hard wire into the car.

However, if parking monitoring is not your primary concern, then this is a well-priced camera that has the main features you need to record traffic issues -- front and rear.

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Where To Buy

Apeman C860 Dash Cam

Part Number: CNETApeman C860 dash cam