Aukey DR02 Dash Cam Review and Install Guide

Aukey DR02 Dash Cam Review and Install Guide

aukey cam

Full Product Name

AUKEY Dash Cam, Dashboard Camera Recorder with Full HD 1080P, 6-Lane 170° Wide Angle Lens, 2" LCD and Night Vision

Intro

The Aukey Dash Cam model DR02 is a 1080p dash cam that has all the standard features of a dash cam in a sleek low profile design with an easy to use interface. With a 2.2 megapixel Sony camera, the video quality is among the best for the price, which at the time was $70.

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Key Features

  • 2 year warranty
  • Equiped with a Sony Exmor IMX323 2.2megapixel CMOS sensor
  • Can record at 1080p at 30fps, 720p at 60fps, or 720p at 30fps
  • Equipped with an internal super capacitor
  • Support for up to a 128gb class 10 micro SD card
Rating
%
Great

Watch the video review of the DIYPC Silence or keep reading the full article below.

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A Little History

a couple years ago I got what is basically a knock-off of the very affordable CarCam Corder, so you can probably imagine how good it is.

Video quality is what you expect for a super cheap dash cam and any kind of visibility at night is nonexistent.

Of course, there are a host of other issues

  • Even though it says 1080p on the screen it actually recorded in 720p, surprise surprise
  • The 300milli amp hour battery stopped holding a charge after 5 months
  • The mount broke, more like melted.
  • The screen was ruined after a year.
  • Finally in the last few months an incredibly annoying electric buzz started. This was continuous from the moment it turned on

It’s only two redeeming qualities are that it was dirt cheap and the fact that it actually is still operational in the technical sense of the word.

Next Step

Needless to say, it was time for an upgrade but this is no small task, especially as popular as dash cams have become there are hundreds if not thousands of options available. To narrow the search down a bit I chose to focus on two traits.

A price point between $40 - $100 and a discrete design.

I chose the price range because, as has been proven, sub $40 dash cams fall under the, you get what you pay for category. Any more than a $100 and I don’t see the point. The need for a discrete design is just that, something that won’t catch the attention of a sticky-fingered passerby. It’s sad I have to worry about such things but this the world.

After weighing a bunch of options I settled on one that not only ticked all the standard dashcam feature boxes but also the two I really wanted.

At $70 the AUKEY Dash Cam Model DR02 was right in line with the price point, I wanted and its low-profile what they call ‘stealth’ design sets it apart from the other ‘look at me’ dash cams currently available.

The Aukey Cam

In the box, we find a plethora of pieces.

  • Of course the Aukey Dash Cam
  • 2 windshield mounts, one with 3M double-sided adhesive already applied, and one without
  • 6 cable management mounting hooks, each with a piece of 3M adhesive on them
  • 2 extra pieces of 3M adhesive for the mounts
  • 1 car charger with two USB ports. With an output of 3.1amps there is plenty of power for the camera and to charge a phone. There nice rubber grips on the side to easily remove the charger if need be. It’s the little things that add up, did they have to put 2 ports on it? No, did they have to put the little rubber grips, no, but they did, thank you!
  • A 4 meter or 4.37-yard long power cable
  • A fancy warranty card
  • Lastly, the owner’s manual that’s actually readable.

Installation Guide

  • Step One

    Clean the area well and make sure it’s dry.

  • Step Two

    Next I chose to go ahead and attach the mount to camera. I think it’s easier this way to properly align the whole camera when adhering it in place as opposed to just the trying to place the mount on its own.

  • Step Three

    Remove the adhesive backing and carefully attach the camera and mount to the windshield while trying to keep it level. I placed mine directly below the rear view mirror mount so that it’s out of sight while I drive. Of course you can put it lower, or in a corner, or where ever suits your fancy.

  • Step Four

    Now the fun part, running the power cable. Go ahead and plug the cable into the camera. I first ran the cable over the arm that holds the rear view mirror.

  • Step Five

    Depending on the make and model of your car this part may be easy or difficult. In my car, a 2013 Honda Fit, I can easily tuck the cable over the edge of the headliner and run it across the top of the windshield completely concealed.

  • Step Six

    Bringing the cable back down was a little weird because of the peculiar design of the A-pillar. I had to use 3 cable loops to first fasten the cable in the corner of the windshield, then a little further down and lastly in the corner of this small window. The provided cable loops are easy to use, just place the cable between the loop and press down on the tab until it snaps in place.

  • Step Seven

    You’ll probably want to empty your glove box before this next part. Now to access the space behind the glove box all you have to do, for most cars on the market, is to simply push the side panels of the glove box inward until the stoppers can slip by the frame, which then allows the entire glove box to flip all the down.

  • Step Eight

    Next, we want to drop the cable down and go underneath the dash. On the Fit, there is a perfect access hole between the glove box and the side of the dash. We can loop the cable through here and behind the glove box.

  • Step Nine

    Now you can feed the cable behind the dash to another gap in the panel between the center console and the glove box compartment. 

  • Step Ten

    Now you can feed the cable behind the dash to another gap in the panel between the center console and the glove box compartment. 

  • Step Evelen

    Plug in the charger then the power cable.

  • Step Twelve

    With both ends connected it’s time to organize the slack left in the power cable. Luckily for me, all I have to do is bundle up the cable, tie it up, and pack it into the same access way on the right side of the glove box.

  • Step Thirteen

    Lastly, remove the protective film from the lens and the screen, now we can call the installation complete.

Install Completion

Once adhered the camera is easy to remove from the mount for storage. I only do this when I have to park in direct sunlight. While it says the operating temps can go as high as 167 degrees Fahrenheit 75C I still don’t think sitting in the sun on a hot summer day is good for it.

One thing I noticed when looking at it from outside of the car is that the standard gray 3M adhesive does stand out a bit so I may try and find the black variant just to have it better blend into its surrounding.

Now it’s time to power it up. Turning on the car will automatically power up the camera. On initial setup, the first screen asks for you to choose a language and then enter the date and time. Also if you didn’t format the micro SD card like I did you will be prompted to do so, which only took seconds to complete.

Even though the screen is only 1.5 inches the text and menu icons are sharp and very legible which makes it really easy to navigate through all the settings and confirm the resolution, loop timing, etc. The buttons themselves have a satisfying and quality feel to them.

Footage and afterthoughts

Now it’s time to see how good the footage looks. Needless to say, it’s night and day compared to my old dash cam. Putting the footage from both sides by side it’s a clear win for the Aukey in every respect. Simply trying to read a license plate is near impossible on the old cam but clear on the Aukey.

You’ll have to excuse the reflection of the dash on the windshield; it’s another peculiarity of the Fit.

To focus on the Aukey I tried driving around in a few different conditions

  • At dawn driving into direct sunlight, the camera compensated for the overexposure well. I was more blinded than the camera was.
  • In the middle of a slightly overcast sunny day, the camera performs at its best with the clearest image and ability to read tags from a good distance away.
  • During the standard afternoon shower, it’s the same story.
  • In near twilight conditions, the picture isn’t as crisp as in the daytime but still enough to read road signs like this one.
  • Driving around on a moonless night it’s not exactly what I would call night vision but with the only source of light coming from my headlights and the occasional street lamp I can still see ahead of me very well.

For all you that may be curious, after I downloaded all these footage I noticed that 5 minutes of footage takes up about 500MB of storage. So with a 64gig SD card, you can get roughly 10 hours of footage or about 20 hours on a 128 gig card, which is the max that the Aukey supports.

I’m very happy with the mounting system. Compared to the cameras with a locking ball and socket mount, I didn’t see this one moving on its over time from the vibration of driving which is what happened with the old cam.

The Conclusion

Overall I think the Aukey performs very well, it’s not 4K but it’s everything you need in a perfectly sized package at a reasonable price. I would highly recommend it if you are looking for an upgrade or even your first dash cam.

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