Testing and Results
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. Since 32GB is the specified maximum capacity supported, I recommend a fast (UHS1/C10 speed) Micro SDHC memory card like the Transend TS32GUSDU1E or SanDisk SDSDQU-032G-AFFP-A, both of which include adapter cards.
All testing was conducted using the Genius DVR-FHD568 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.
Snellen Video Camera Tests:
The Snellen chart is a common eyesight test used to determine level of visual acuity. Benchmark Reviews has adapted the Snellen chart for the purpose of testing video camera clarity. This is important for reading a vehicle’s licence plate number and identifying text.
Standard license plates measures 6″ tall by 12″ wide, with 3″ block letters and numbers. Our test was conducted two car lengths away from the chart, which we’ve determined to be the edge distance away for all cameras to accurately display standard size license plate text.
Optimistic that these dash cams would clearly display plate text beyond two car lengths, our adapted Snellen chart skips the first line that would have displayed a 3″ letter simulating full-size license plates and begins with 1/2 size (1.5″) letters (“F” and “P”). Unfortunately, we later discovered that none of the cameras would read beyond 1/3 size (1″) text.
Genius DVR-FHD568 Results:
First up was the Genius DVR-FHD568, which utilizes a 2.0 megapixel camera resolution and 140-degree wide angle lens. The unit features a 1/2.7“ CMOS image sensor that yields 21.70 mm2 surface area. This dashcam offered the largest view, but sacrificed fine detail quality as result. The wide angle lens undoubtedly helps the camera ‘see’ more, which can be helpful for catching events that aren’t directly front and center of the camera lens. Additionally, the large image sensor allows more light to reach the surface to aid in low-light recording.
A standard 3″ license plate number could be read from two car lengths away, but at four car lengths away the 1/2 size (1.5″) text was very difficult to read (100% is actual size). Enhancing the image to 200% did not yield significant improvement. Depth is the inherent sacrifice any wide-angle lens will make, at the benefit of larger field of view.
Papago! P3 Results:
Next up was the Papago! P3 dash cam, which we reviewed back in March (2014). This camera features an Aptina 3.5 megapixel camera resolution and 130-degree wide angle lens. The unit features a 1/3″ CMOS image sensor that yields 17.30 mm2 surface area identical to Apple’s iPhone 5S. Like DVR-FHD568, this camera has a large field of view and captures a large picture. Although the angle is 10° less than FHD568, the fine details are similarly lost.
Standard 3″ license plate numbers could be read from two car lengths away, but at four car lengths away the 1/2 size (1.5″) text was quite difficult to read, matching FHD568. Enhancing the image to 200% did not yield any improvement. Also note that the Papago! P3 dashcam suffered from poor color replication, producing a green hue to the picture.
Genius DVR-FHD590 Results:
Finally, we tested the Genius DVR-FHD590, which was first reviewed back in May 2013. This dashcam features a 5-megapixel camera resolution and 128-degree wide-angle fixed focus lens (f/2.4, f=3.0mm). The unit features a 1/3.2″ CMOS image sensor that yields 15.50 mm2 surface area identical to the Apple iPhone 5. According to the specifications, FHD590 captures 12° less field of view than FHD568, also 2° less than the P3. However, according to our results it appears that FHD590 has a much smaller field of view that offers greater fine detail quality.
Both 3″ standard license plate numbers at two car lengths away and 1/2 size (1.5″) numbers four car lengths could be read, which makes this higher-priced dashcam move valuable for those looking to capture this information. While difficult to read, 1/3 size (1″) license plate numbers could still be identified. Zoomed in 200% did improve the picture, but only enough to confirm previous results. This camera favors details over field of view and light sensitivity.
Other Test Findings:
There are several obvious uses for the Genius FHD Vehicle Recorder, such as recording traffic events that might defend you in an accident, but there are many others that also serve equally-important purposes. For example, the DVR-FHD568 could be used as an autonomous co-pilot for monitoring the behavior of inexperienced drivers, or as a co-witness for driving instructors. Commercial drivers, such as those who operate limousines, shuttles, taxi cabs, moving vans, and buses, could benefit from the footage DVR-FHD568 records… especially in an emergency. While less obvious, the Genius vehicle recorder could also aid drivers who use a company vehicle, or high-risk operators who transport critical cargo.
Each video clip segment (configured in 1-, 3-, or 5-minute segments) is saved to the Micro SD memory card in .AVI container format. 3-Minute clips weigh approximately 200MB each, but if you elect to save in 5-minute intervals the file size increases to 350MB each. On the 32GB memory card used for testing, over 7-hours of recordings at 1080p could be saved before the DVR-FHD568 would automatically overwrite older files.
An integrated 3-Axis G-Force sensor in DVR-FHD568 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.