Owning a dash cam has its benefits and its drawbacks. While there are an overwhelming amount of benefits, there are some aspects of dash cam ownership that are a nuisance. One is having a dash cam with a screen. For newer dash cam owners, having a screen signaled that’s probably a high end device. You can easily navigate through the menus, settings and reposition the camera to exactly capture the road.
- Front and Rear Dash Cam filming at 1080P @ 30 FPS
- Built-in WiFi so no need for Screens
- Built-in Battery to utilize Parking Mode
- Crystal clear image quality and F/1.8 lens for high quality low light images
But sometimes screens are annoying. There are certain scenarios where they aren’t necessary and can even put your vehicle is an unwelcome scenario. There are tons of reasons why you may not want a screen for your dash cam varying from security, comfort or discreteness. Whatever your reason, there is a dash cam out there for you. If you are looking to purchase a dash cam for the first time, I will be going over the most common reasons why people opt out of having a display.
Reasons Why You Want a Dash Cam With No Screens
Screens are distracting
The first time I installed a dash cam with a screen, I couldn’t help but notice that I was peeking at it a lot while driving. I don’t know why, maybe because of my ADHD, but I’d glance over at the dash cam screen to make sure it was recording and had everything in frame. This led me to be distracted as I was constantly analyzing the screen’s footage.
I realized that all screens, whether that be phones, tablets or even dash cam screens can be a major distraction while on the road. In order to combat this, I had to place the dash cam behind my rear view mirror in a way where it was blocking it. There was no way for me to turn off the screen while driving.
If you are the type of person who gets distracted easily, then going without a screen might be your best bet.
Screens means a larger form factor
Depending on how it is designed, a screen can naturally increase the size of the dash cam unit itself. A dash cam cannot be smaller than it’s screen, so if your main priority is small form factor dash cams, then you should opt out of a screen. Without a screen, most dash cams include a WiFi option that will allow you to do all of the changes via smart phone.
The smallest dash cams have no screens and are often as small as a car key. This is perfect if you are looking to hide the dash cam so no one can see it.
Screens attract unwanted external attention
Dashboard cameras are supposed to provide additional security to your vehicle. And for the most part, they do. But having a device, particularly an expensive device can cause some unwanted attention. It’s unfortunate, but if someone is breaking into your car, they might see your dash cam and steal it regardless if it has a screen or not.
But having a screen can signal it’s high value to someone and it the screen can stand out in the inside of a car. For outside lookers, when a screen correlates with the dash cam size, it might give them an incentive to break in. And here we are in a catch 22, you want to install a dash cam to better protect your asset, but realize it could potentially make your car a bigger target. Often people will take the dash cam on and off when they leave the car for errands or are parking it for long periods of time. This can get annoying pretty fast.
That’s a path you will have to cross on your own. If you are a little bit paranoid about that happening, choose a discrete and wireless dash cam that decreases that probability.
And finally, you may not want a screen because you realize that accessing the smartphone wirelessly is the best method to have full control over your dash cam. Accessing your dash cam by WiFi is a relatively newer feature where any settings or changes you want can be done through your smartphone. Firmware upgrades and any modifications can be pushed through your phone and most importantly your dash cam doesn’t have a screen.
Not only does it not have a screen, often times, there’s less buttons as well because everything can be accessible on your smartphone.
Best Dash Cam Without a Playback Screen
When you are looking for a dash cam without a playback screen, look no further than the VAVA Dual Dash Cam 1080P. The VAVA dash cam is one of the highest rated dash cams on the market now. Not only does it have tons of features packed into the device, it comes at a great price point.
The VAVA is a dual dash cam that films at 1080P @ 30 FPS. Image quality is top notch and it performs well at night. The lens includes a Sony sensor with an aperture of F/1.8 ensuring low light capabilities.
Notable highlights include having a VAVA Dash App that utilizes WiFi and your smartphone to modify settings or see a live view. It also includes G-sensor which will detect shocks or collisions and automatically record video of the incident.
I really like that it has a built-in battery for Parking Mode. While not a huge battery, it does the job for occasional Parking Mode incidents where you aren’t in the car and the dash cam is recording.
Some downsides of this dash cam is that it sticks out on your windshield. It doesn’t have the best form factor, but it loses the screen and includes a bunch of useful features.
Smallest Dash Cam Without a Screen
If you are looking for a dash cam that is small in size and doesn’t have a screen, then the Garmin Dash Cam Mini is your best bet. This dash cam is smaller than your car key. Yes, how crazy is that? This is perfect if you are looking for a hidden or discrete solution that won’t draw attention to your car. On top of that, I’m confident that most passengers won’t even notice the dash cam either.
The Garmin Dash Cam Mini films in 1080P and has a respectable 140 degree wide angle lens. All of the functionality can be controlled via WiFi and even Bluetooth, if you so please.
Besides the main functions of the dash cam, we are disappointed on Garmin’s Parking Mode. You need a proprietary cord from Garmin if you want to enable 24/7 Parking Mode. Unfortunately it is a little bit expensive, but if you are looking for a very discrete setup, we cannot recommend the Garmin Dash Cam Mini enough.
Best Front and Rear Dash Cam Without a Screen
The BlackVue DR750S-2CH is a front and rear option that doesn’t have a screen, but has pretty much every other feature available. It is a dual camera 1080P setup that is known in the dash cam market as an advanced setup. The front camera can record in 60 FPS while the rear in 30 FPS.
As it has no screen, it connects to your smartphone via BlackVue App and WiFi. Here a bunch of settings can be changed or altered. This cam has cloud functionality enabled, meaning with a mobile hot spot, you can view your dash cam’s feed at any point from anywhere in the world. It will also send you notifications if someone is breaking into your car. GPS information is also available to view whether it be on the actual footage, or if you are trying to find the location remotely.
Image quality wise, we do appreciate the 60 FPS front camera. The exposure does shift around while driving depending on how the light hits the lens. White balance also changes quite frequently. The rear camera doesn’t have the greatest quality, so you won’t be reading license plates anytime soon but the detail is enough to know what exactly is happening in the rear.
Best Dash Cam With WiFi and No Display
We’ve covered a lot of dash cams that have no display, thus have WiFi, but we wanted to call out the Nexar Light 1080P Dash Cam. This dash cam only comes with a front unit and relies on your smart phone to operate. All footage is streamed to your smart phone where it can then be uploaded to the cloud or reviewed at any moment. What’s great about the cloud aspect is that Nexar provides no fees for cloud storage. No need it taking up space on your phone or on a microSD card, it’s a lot safer to have it backed up in the cloud.
If you happen to get into an accident, the dash cam uses information from your phone such as GPS and G-Sensors to help the dash cam understand what exactly happen. Essentially, it relies on your smart phone for several features. While some may like this as the dash cam comes at a cheaper price point, the trade off is that you have to give Nexar full permissions to run in the background of your smart phone which may feel to invasive.