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Genius DVR-FHD568 Vehicle Recorder Review

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Dashboard Camera Final Thoughts

Dash cameras are nothing new, but the lens/sensor technology and convenience features help elevate the Genius DVR-FHD568 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-FHD568, I’m confident vehicle recorders will contribute to numerous online videos that capture road-rage and other driving un-pleasantries.

There have been several close calls recorded, and far too many times where other drivers were captured behaving dangerously to the point of nearly causing an accident. In one incident this year a driver got out of his vehicle to confront another motorist beside me, but when I pointed directly at the dash cam high on my windshield the angry driver returned to his vehicle. It’s possible he changed his mind, but it’s more likely the camera changed it for him.

The only perceivable downside to having a vehicle recorder is the minor obstruction caused by the camera. I was able to alleviate this distraction by hiding it behind the far side of my rear-view mirror, but this still exposes the USB cord that hangs below the camera. The camera’s profile is smaller (shorter) then others we’ve tested, and so is the mounting hardware. The compact size reduces the chance of this dash cam interfering with my vision.

Genius-DVR-FHD568-Vehicle-Recorder-Angle

Image Sensors and Resolution

Most consumers are not also camera experts. Manufacturer’s know this, which is why they tout the devices resolution before mentioning the image sensor size. If you’re taking photos with a camera, which typically has a flash or uses staged light sources, then resolution is very important. But if  you’re recording video using the available ambient light sources, typically either sunlight in the day or street lights and headlamps at night, then the surface area of the image sensor becomes critical.

We tested three different dash cams in this review, and each utilized a different size CMOS image sensor. Making matters worse, each image sensor was classified by a misleading representation of its size. For example, the Genius DVR-FHD568 vehicle recorded featured in this article used a 1/2.7“ CMOS image sensor that yields 21.70 mm2 surface area (the largest offered) but only delivered a 2-megapixel resolution (the smallest offered). The Genius DVR-FHD590, which gave us the best detail quality due to less angle in the lens, featured a 5-megapixel camera resolution (very large) with a 1/3.2″ CMOS image sensor that yields 15.50 mm2 surface area (very small).

In a perfect world, you’d have both: high resolution effective pixel capture for sharp detail clarity, and an image sensor with large surface area to collect light in dim/dark environments.

My Wish List

Genius has come very close to perfection with DVR-FHD568, but I’m convinced they could do better (especially if they marketed their resolution and image sensor sizes more clearly – something none of the manufacturers do). After testing the 128° wide-angle Genius DVR-FHD590 back in May 2013, I was convinced that the lens could be wider. Later it would be compared against the Papago! P3 dashcam, which is 400% bigger and heavier, but featured a 130° wide-angle lens that seemed ideal… right up until the point where I needed to read the license plate number on a car only a few lengths away.

If I had the opportunity to design my own dash cam, it would first include on-board memory for internal storage. Memory is cheap these days, and there’s really no excuse for any of these products not to include their own 8GB integrated chip. That being said Micro SD is the format of the day, so large and obsolete SD cards should not be found on any modern camera (l’m looking at you, Papago!).

Next on my design checklist would be a high-resolution camera for capturing fine details. Something 8.0-megapixels or better would do nicely for most motorists. We’re trying to read license plates, not the frame surrounding it (although having both would be nice, if not too unreasonable).

Then we’d address the CMOS image sensor, which would need to step up to at least 2/3″ to yield either 58.10 mm2 surface area. Of course, I wouldn’t complain about a or 1″ image sensor offering 116 mm2 surface area and nearly capable of night vision. Still, size is a consideration, and I don’t want another 1-pound dash cam coming unattached from my windshield and scuffing the face on my nice new stereo receiver (a la Papago! P3).

Lastly, I want only enough battery to finish writing the file if the power source is turned off. I’ve discovered half-hour lengths of video recorded after I exit the vehicle, just because the motion sensor captures somebody walking nearby. The large battery adds to the size, cost, and heat output by the unit.

Features such as GPS are nice, if not trivial. Unless the unit is going to offer voice navigation, nobody is using an LCD display smaller than their phone’s screen to read while they drive. It’s not safe, nor reasonable. Additionally, the device should offer frequent firmware updates. This is important for proper GPS functionality, as maps are constantly being updated as changes occur.

These are not impossible requests, and they’re all using technology already presented in other products. If a smartphone can do this and much more, the next generation of dash cam certainly should be capable of my list.


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7 comments

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  1. John Naylor

    In future reviews one of the “features” I think would be welcomed if the Dash Cam’s ability to record encounters with law enforcement personnel and the units ability and how easy it is to reorient the field of view to record same along with

    1. Olin Coles

      I’m not sure I understand your request. These cameras will record whatever they’re focused at, so long as they have power to remain operational. As far as reorienting that focus, I think this would be subjective to the individual and their placement of the device. A camera situated under the rear-view mirror of a car is easily turned, whereas a camera set off in far corner of the windshield would not be reachable.

  2. glenn

    John, check Youtube for some great video of day and night recordings of this camera. This cam I bought for myself. I also purchased a Cobra 820 dash cam for my wife, another excellent choice. I wanted to buy the two cameras and compare them myself. They are both very good cameras. I will buy an extra one, either or and toss it in the closet encase one of them fail me.

    I kept buying the cheap ones from Asia. They are garbage.

  3. Malc

    I am having problems opening the menu to set the cam, no matter what I do it will not open.

    1. Olin Coles

      Plug it into your computer or a USB wall charger for an hour, and then try. The battery might be dead, the adapter might not be working, or the unit itself is broken.

  4. Ashley

    Thanks very much for writing this review.
    I’ve been looking for a camera to place in my school bus to capture vehicles that run my stop sign while kids are boarding and leaving the bus (happens way too often, sadly). Of all the features I’m looking for in a camera, being able to capture the license plate is the most important thing. This is the first review I’ve read that actually specifies that the 590 is able to do this. Thanks again.

  5. seabear

    The quick guide does not explain very well. Is there a slow guide? (Like for old farts.)

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