Vehicle Recorder Final Thoughts
Dash cameras are nothing new, but the lens/sensor technology and convenience features help elevate the Genius DVR-FHD590 to a level above previous offerings. There’s no doubt that vehicle recorders will ease fears when dealing with insurance claims or law enforcement, and based on my short time testing DVR-FHD590, I’m confident vehicle recorders will contribute to numerous online videos that capture road-rage and other driving un-pleasantries. With just under eight hours of footage recorded, there were two close calls and at least five times where other drivers were captured behaving dangerously to the point of nearly causing an accident.
The only perceivable downside to having a vehicle recorder is the obstructed view caused by the camera. I was able to alleviate the distraction by hiding it behind the far side of my rear-view mirror, but ultimately I would have preferred to keep it at the bottom of my dash out of my peripheral view. Ideally, the camera’s profile would be smaller (shorter) and the mounting hardware would be much more compact so that it does not interfere with my vision. The mounting hardware that came with DVR-FHD590 did not permit this, since it must attach to the top or bottom of the camera and either hang from above or below.
Genius DVR-FHD590 Conclusion
IMPORTANT: Although the rating and final score mentioned in this conclusion are made to be as objective as possible, please be advised that every author perceives these factors differently at various points in time. While we each do our best to ensure that all aspects of the product are considered, there are often times unforeseen market conditions and manufacturer changes which occur after publication that could render our rating obsolete. Please do not base any purchase solely on our conclusion, as it represents our product rating specifically for the product tested which may differ from future versions. Benchmark Reviews begins our conclusion with a short summary for each of the areas that we rate.
When it comes to cameras, performance is paramount. The 5-MP 1/3.2″ CMOS image sensor enables full-HD 1080p resolution on Genius DVR-FHD590, which is output in H.264 at 30 FPS. Although my example footage is considerably clear despite processing done by the host, actual .MOV footage is noticeably better during playback and when paused. Although I would have appreciated a slightly wider field of view from the wide-angle lens, I understand that this would reduce overall detail quality as a result of increasing the aspect ratio. That being said, it seems like a 32GB memory card should have been the starting point for storage capacities, not the limit.
Appearance is a much more subjective matter, especially since this particular rating doesn’t have any quantitative benchmark scores to fall back on. The Genius DVR-FHD590 offers a black on blue finish that is imperceivable to contrasting dark cabin interiors. This color combination helps hide the camera from conspicuous view, so to avoid drawing attention to itself. The camera unit measures 2.6″ square, so it’s easy to find a spot that fits somewhere on the windshield.
The Genius DVR-FHD590 is built solid, and offers a very durable construction. A reinforced plastic camera housing protects the lends and LCD screen, so the most likely causes for failure would be liquid submersion or electrical damage. This device is designed to endure crashes and provide video evidence, so it’s not surprising that no damage occurs if the unit falls from the windshield or is accidentally dropped.
As I explained in the test results section of this review, there is tremendous potential from the Genius DVR-FHD590. It functions exactly as advertised, with many automatic features intuitively starting or stopping when needed (without being prompted). The auxiliary LED lamp is a huge help, but can also reflect back into the cabin on some windshields. Alternatively, the automatic emergency recording feature that uses the units 3-axis G-Force sensor for collision detection offers peace of mind that you’ll capture the most critical events. If an accident does occur, the unit also doubles as a 2592 x 1944 pixel digital camera.
As of May 2013, the Genius DVR-FHD590 Full HD Vehicle Recorder (model 32300018100) is sold online for $104 (Amazon | Newegg). Compared to similar dash cameras, the Genius DVR-FHD590 certainly offers a value-priced edge over the competition. This camera does not include a (required) Micro SDHC memory card, so I recommend a fast (UHS1/C10 speed) product like the $23 Transend TS32GUSDU1E or $26 SanDisk SDSDQU-032G-AFFP-A – which both include adapters.
The Genius DVR-FHD590 Full HD Vehicle Recorder belongs to a popular genre of consumer electronics, and based on my experience with the camera I expect it to do well in the marketplace. This is truly one of the few win-win products I’ve tested in my time, where there’s absolutely no downside to having it installed in your vehicle. I plan to continue using the Genius DVR-FHD590 in every vehicle I drive, since it’s been proven useful with every close call and near hit. This is an outstanding product with many great features, and I highly recommend it to all drivers.
+ Outputs H.264 full-HD 1080p quality video
+ Automatic emergency recording for collision detection
+ Motion-detecting IR receiver
+ 5-MP 1/3.2″ CMOS Digital Image Sensor
+ Built-in high-power LED assist lamp
+ Integrated microphone and speaker
+ Features 3-Axis G-Force sensor
+ Doubles as a 2592×1944 pixel digital camera
+ Long-lasting 470mAH Li-polymer rechargeable battery
– Does not work out of the box: requires Micro SDHC
– Mounting brackets may obscure view
– Auxiliary LED lamp may reflect on windshield
Final Score: 9.0 out of 10.
Excellence Achievement: Benchmark Reviews Golden Tachometer Award.
COMMENT QUESTION: How would you use a product like Genius DVR-FHD590?