Testing & Results
All testing was conducted using the Genius DVR-FHD590 Full HD Vehicle Recorder suction-mounted beside the rearview mirror inside a sports sedan, with a 32GB UHS1 (Class-10) speed Micro SDHC memory card installed. The Genius DVR-FHD59 was operated with the USB charging cord connected, and disconnected on battery mode. Recordings were made while driving during the day, and at night – with and without the auxiliary LED lamp.
Upon consideration of purchasing this vehicle recorder, the very first thing you’ll want to ensure is that you’ve got a class-6 (or faster) Micro SDHC memory card available for storage of multimedia recordings. Neither the packaging, nor product website suggested this item, so I had to order one after I had already received the DVR-FHD590. Since 32GB is the specified maximum capacity supported, I recommend a fast (UHS1/C10 speed) Micro SDHC memory card like the $23 Transend TS32GUSDU1E or $26 SanDisk SDSDQU-032G-AFFP-A – both come with adapters.
Before you install the vehicle recorder in your vehicle, there are several settings you’ll want to customize. This first option is enabling the auxiliary lighting LED, or leaving it disabled (default). You’ll definitely want to set the date and time, so that in the event you ever need to use footage as evidence it’s correct. I choose to extend my battery life, and turn the LCD screen off after 30 seconds of starting. Motion Detection is disabled by default, so make sure to turn this feature on to ensure auto-start recordings. If enabled, you can expect less then an hour of battery life. Finally, if you live in North America you’ll want to select NTSC as your TV format option.
As mentioned earlier, the core concept behind DVR-FHD590 is that it acts intuitively on your behalf, without requiring user interaction. To my surprise, Genius pulled this off nicely. If you operate DVR-FHD590 with the USB cable plugged in, then it begins recording when you turn the ignition key or accessory power is started. If you’re running off of battery and the unit has been powered on and left in standby, then the infrared IR receiver is designed to detect your presence behind the wheel and start recording. DVR-FHD590 also allows you to manually begin recording activity, which might be useful for unattended parking lots or when stranded at roadside.
Each 3-minute video clip segment is saved to the memory card in .MOV format, and weigh approximately 200-210MB apiece. If you elect to save in 5-minute intervals, the file size ranges from 340-350MB each. On the 32GB memory card used for testing, a total of 7.3 hours could be saved before the DVR-FHD590 would automatically overwrite older files. Out of 150+ recordings, at least two were unreadable for unknown reasons.
An integrated 3-Axis G-Force sensor in DVR-FHD590 automatically triggers the device to record whenever an event forces it past the menu-selected sensitivity threshold. This creates an audio/video file that cannot be overwritten, unless you specifically delete it from the menu. At the ‘normal’ sensitivity, at least one recording was preserved as an Emergency file due to suddenly stopping…
I learned early on that camera placement is key if you’re planning to run from battery (operate without USB cable attached). At the beginning of my tests the Genius DVR-FHD590 was positioned to the right and slightly behind the rear-view mirror, pointing slightly left toward the road’s center divide. However, when I wanted to use the vehicle recorder without the cable (on battery), the infrared receiver could not detect me because it was obscured by the mirror and faced the passenger seat. To alleviate this, I moved the camera to the left side of the rear-view mirror so it could point straight ahead.
After nearly eight hours of recording from battery, the Genius DVR-FHD590 had filled the 32GB memory card but still indicated remaining battery life. The amount of battery life will depend on many factors: LCD screen usage, auxiliary lamp usage, recording time, and age of battery. I found it most practical to drive without the LCD screen remaining on, and without the aid of an auxiliary LED lamp in low-light driving. Your mileage may vary.
UPDATE: After several additional weeks of testing, I have discovered that driving quickly across circular freeway on/off-ramps will trigger the camera to save that video segment as an emergency clip. Upon review of over fifty segments, there were numerous times with the camera would continue recording after the vehicle was shut down. Often times this would continue for over fifteen minutes, which may make it worthwhile to confirm your camera is shut off if you have a low-capacity memory card.