The question of whether to buy video recorder or Appendix for DVR for a phone, comes down to price and convenience. Dedicated DVRs tend to be more convenient, but these devices cost more. Dashcam apps are cheap, but difficult to install in front of every drive, which can compromise your phone’s space and performance. The right choice for you depends on your circumstances and intended use. We’ve taken a deep dive to help you decide.

Dash cam vs dash cam app

General conclusions

Dash Cams
  • Saves video to microSD card, continuously replaces the oldest clip with the new one.

  • There is no need to replace or remove the microSD card unless you need access to its contents.

  • Many can be set to record when the car is on.

  • More expensive than dash cam apps start at $100.

Dash Cam Apps
  • Saves video to phone memory in the same way as a dash cam, but may reduce phone memory and performance.

  • Significantly cheaper than a DVR, most cost around $5 or free.

  • Tuning issues before each disc.

Most DVRs use loop recording . The camera continuously records to the microSD card. The channel is divided into a series of three-minute clips, with the newest clips replacing the oldest clips. Since the new data replaces the old data, the amount of space on the card remains the same, and there is no need to purchase new cards. Dash Cam apps work the same way, but have some limitations that you should consider.

Storage space: Dash Cam apps take up space on your phone

Dash Cams
  • Install it and forget it, no more storage space needed.

Dash Cam Apps
  • Use the processor and space on your phone.

Even though both DVRs and DVRs record short cycles of videos and replace old ones as new ones are recorded, the issue of available storage can be a problem. Dash cameras have a «set it and forget it» design where you remove or replace the microSD card only when you need to access the recorded clip.

With a dash cam app, any space allocated to that app will take up free space for other apps, pictures, videos, music, and anything you carry on your phone. It may also reduce the functionality of other applications during use.

Convenience: Dash Cams work on their own

Dash Cams
  • Automatically start recording when the machine starts.

  • No need to take your camera with you or set it up before you travel.

Dash Cam Apps
  • Not automatic, must be installed in front of each drive.

  • If you take a phone, you need to use it before every drive.

GPS and G-sensors (accelerometers) are found in most smartphones, putting smartphones in closer competition with medium price chambers with the same characteristics. High-end DVRs often include multiple cameras, more robust memory systems, and high-definition video.

It’s usually easier to prepare the dash cam than it is to put your phone in the cradle and open the dash cam app. For some, this convenience is worth the cost of the dash. For others, the $100 price tag is too steep when a decent dash cam app costs less than $5 or is free.

Availability: Smartphone apps are cheap and sometimes free

Dash Cams
  • Price range from $75 to $250.

Dash Cam Apps
  • Free or at most a few dollars.

DVRs, even the cheapest ones, cost more than DVRs. Most dash cams start at $100, and dash cam apps can be downloaded for free or a few dollars at the most. If you are on a budget, choose a dash cam app. Just be careful with restrictions. You will need to use your phone and launch the app with each drive. Some apps also prevent other apps from running in the background. So if you rely on your phone to listen to music or podcasts while driving, you’re missing out on entertainment.

Final Verdict: Dash Cams Are More Reliable

The only benefit of dash cam apps is affordability. While this may be attractive to some people, dedicated dash cameras are more reliable. Once installed, you don’t need to launch the app or use your phone. You can also keep the dashboard in your car when you are not there. And with additional features like accelerometers and GPS tracking, you’re sure to get more data in the event of an accident, theft, or other incident.

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