Philips ADR 810 Dash Cam Review
Can Philips make a stand in the dash cam space?
You’ve probably heard a lot about dash cams in the past few months and years.You may have even seen some footage on the news or online. If not take a look at our recent blog post, talks a little more about them. You can also check out this link for some funny videos!
Over the past couple of weeks I have been testing the Philips ADR 810 dashboard camera. I’ll be honest it’s the first time I’ve ever used a dash cam so I’d consider myself a novice. That’s who Philips are aiming at – even though according to the RAC there are 2.9 million users in the U.K, that also means there’s a lot of novices like me too.
So this review will also be about my experience using a dash cam for the first time. I want to share my first impressions of the Philips ADR 810, the opinions of someone who may be trying new technology like you.
Key Specifications & Features
- 2.1 MP CMOS
- Full HD (1920 x 1080p) video resolution @ 30fps
- 156° super-wide angle lens
- 64 Mb SPI Flash
- 2.7” LCD Display
- MOV / H.266 video compression
- Micro SD card (up to 32 GB)
- Language support – English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish and Russian
The main reason many motorists are looking to buy dash cameras is so they feel safer on the roads. You may want to have evidence in case you’re the victim of a ‘crash- or flash-for-cash scam’.
Insurance premiums are on the rise for the average road user. Companies like Swiftcover offer a 10% discount if you have a dash cam – 12.5% for certain brands.
So the first problem I faced is that the Philips ADR 810 doesn’t come with an SD card in the box. This means you can’t use it straight away which is a little annoying.
I know many of you probably have an SD card somewhere but I don’t. I don’t take many pictures or stream my music, so I’ve never really needed one for my phones. Also the Philips needs a micro SD card – not the full size type.
Memory cards are fairly cheap now so I was expecting one to be bundled. Some manufacturers do include them but Philips has decided not to save a few pennies here. It’s not the end of the world however. I found myself a 32 GB card, the largest the ADR 810 supports, and cracked on.
I now needed to fit the Philips ADR 810 in my car and get some testing underway. Installing it was sooo easy. There are 3 parts to the camera; the camera itself, the mounting bracket and the power lead.
The mounting bracket has a small adhesive pad – just pull the cover off and stick to your windshield. Next clip the camera in and plug in the power lead. Finally adjust it to suit your driving position, screw the bracket tight so it doesn’t move and done!
On first starting it up I did have to enter the time. You can play around with the settings if you like but there isn’t much need. I was almost surprised at how easy it all was, this isn’t something you often hear when installing new tech.
The power cable is a micro USB 2.0 (the same as most modern smartphones). This is right-angled and faces upwards, so you can tidy up and hide the cable around the roof trim. There’s a button on the adaptor which lets you activate the emergency recording mode. This is useful so you don’t have to reach up to camera itself – a nice feature and a safer way of doing things.
Now you can get hard-wired versions of some dash cams which require a mechanic to fit, unless you’re very handy or good with cars. This is of course a more permanent solution. I’d only recommend if fitting into a car you know you’ll be keeping for a while.
The camera itself is very discreet, smart looking and wasn’t obtrusive at all. I did find myself glancing at it a bit too often for the first 5 minutes of driving. Very soon you forget about it though.
Where I installed mine it was almost completely covered by the rear view mirror. This made it much less annoying than some sat-navs plastered on your front windscreen.
Video quality and recording
I was very impressed with the video quality. I wasn’t too surprised – this is advertised at 1080p@30fps after all – it was the 156° wide angle lens that impressed me though. The lens captured entire roads at an almost 180 degree peripheral. This makes the footage look great and feel immersive as well.
The night mode recording is perhaps the biggest selling point with this camera. I must say it was very impressive.
On playing back the footage I had no trouble reading licence plates, even in areas where street lamps weren’t lighting the road. After researching some other cheaper dash cams and watching their footage, this is a feature that sets Philips apart and challenges the more premium space.
The camera records on a continuous loop mode. This means it always records as it simply wipes over the oldest footage on the card that you don’t need. A 16 GB memory card can hold 200 minutes of Full HD footage, more than most will ever need. Double that with a 32 GB memory card if you prefer.
Also if you choose to record in ’emergency record mode’, those files are secured and won’t be overwritten. The Philips ADR 810 stores these files separately to where normal looping footage is held. This makes sure you don’t wipe any footage you might need for an insurance company.
Will I keep using a dash camera?
Short answer: yes.
I am however looking at changing my car in the near future. Why does this matter you ask? The reason is I would prefer a hardwired solution. This would free up the power socket in my car for other things such as charging my phone. So right now I’ll install something like the Philips but won’t pay for professional installation – it would be a bit silly to do so and waste of money when I change car in a couple of months.
Talking of money, the hardwired solution costs around £50 from a local mechanic to me. There are services which come to your home, but then you’re looking at around £100, sometimes more. Please be aware these figures are just guides. It depends on your car and the mechanic you use but as a rough estimate it shows the affordability of getting it done.
Overall I found the Philips ADR 810 dash cam to be a very handy piece of tech. Once installed it just sits in the background and gives you peace of mind. It almost becomes another part of the car doing its thing, expect this one will save me about £60 on my insurance every year!
So getting a dash cam seems like a no brainer to me really. They pay themselves off with cheaper premiums, make your life easier with insurance companies (a sentence very rarely used) and don’t get in the way of your driving.
For just £139.99 it’s a very sound investment. You can also save money on the £99.99 ADR-610 version. This has the same recording quality with a slightly narrower 100° angle lens