VAVA is a dash cam manufacturer that produce innovatively designed, user-friendly dash cams.
With the VAVA Dual range of dash cams, they’ve managed to achieve great build quality at a reasonable cost with fantastic usability.
In this dash cam review, we’ll be looking at some of the features that make this dash cam unique and some of the reasons you might want to consider getting one for yourself.
(N.B. – The camera we will be looking at specifically is the VAVA Dash Cam VA-VD009 Model)
What’s in the Box
- 1 x VAVA Dash Cam (VA-VD009)
- 1 x Car Charger
- 1 x Windshield Mount
- 1 x Snapshot Button
- 1 x Charging Cable with GPS Module
- 5 x Cable Clips
- 1 x Trim Tool
- 1 x User Guide
- Simple Unibody Design
- Two Dash Cams In One
- Magnetic Mount (Easy Rotation + Removal)
- Built-In Battery
- Excellent Video Quality
- No SD Card Included
- Inline GPS Module Is Bulky
Ease of installation is one of the VAVA Dual’s strongest selling points. Once you’ve unboxed the VAVA dash cam, it’s a straightforward process to getting your VAVA dash cam up and running.
Unlike other dash cams on the market, the VAVA Dual is two cameras in one. The front camera faces the road, whilst the rear camera faces inwards towards the vehicle’s cabin. Whilst the cabin-facing camera doesn’t provide as much coverage as a dedicated rear camera would, it’s good enough for most driver’s needs.
The benefit of this 2-in-1 design is that you won’t need to run any long cables to a secondary camera. This will save you a lot of time and effort.
You also won’t need to worry about installing a hardwire from your vehicle’s battery. The VAVA Dual has a built-in 320mAh battery that will allow you to use parking mode when your vehicle is unattended. The rest of the time (i.e. when you’re driving) it will be powered by a Micro USB cable from your car’s USB outlet or cigarette lighter.
Installing the camera is simple. Find an unobtrusive spot in the centre of your windshield and attach the suction cup mount. The camera itself will snap on to this mount using magnets and stay firmly in place.
Next, you’ll need to run the Micro USB cable from the camera, around your windshield, and down to the power outlet. This is the most difficult part of the installation but makers of the dash cam, VAVA, have included some cable clips and a trim tool to make it easier.
Once your USB cable is plugged in both ends, you’ll need to power it on and you’re done. All that’s left is to configure the dash cam settings to your preference, though the defaults are usually fine. You can do this by connecting to the dash cam’s Wi Fi and using the companion app from VAVA.
There is also a snapshot button included with this package. You can attach the snapshot button to your steering wheel to manually take photos and videos. You pair the button to the camera by keeping it pressed for five seconds. An audio notification will confirm pairing. You can take manual photos and videos.
The internal battery is the most unique selling point of this VAVA dash cam. It’s not a particularly large battery, at only 320mAh capacity, but it is large enough to mean you won’t have to hardwire your vehicle to use parking mode. Hardwiring your VAVA dash cam will cost you time and effort, or money if you get it done professionally.
Once you turn off your engine, the magnetic mount makes it easy to remove you camera if you’re worried about it getting stolen. But if you are wanting to use the parking mode on your dash cam, you can leave it where it is.
The battery gets charged via the USB cable while your engine is switched on. However, when you’re engine is off, the dash cam will go into parking mode. Using its built-in G-sensor, the dash cam will stay in standby mode until a jolt or an impact is detected. Once the G-sensor detects one, it will wake up and begin filming, capturing the cause of the impact on camera.
This won’t affect your vehicle’s battery, unlike some hardwired setups. However, the battery is small and will only have enough power to turn on and record once, possibly twice, in between charges. You would have to be unlucky to experience more than one incident within 24 hours, but nothing is impossible. If you’re worried or you live in a particularly at-risk area, you could consider an external battery pack to keep your dash cam charged.
It’s also worth noting that the 320mAh capacity is only enough to use the dash cam in parking monitor mode. It can’t be used to power the dash cam all the time.
(N.B. The G-sensor in this dash cam is quite sensitive. You may find it triggers for no visible reason on your footage. You can adjust the G-sensor sensitivity in the settings.)
The image quality of this VAVA dash cam is another fantastic selling point. This dash cam will hold its own in any A/B comparison with much more expensive dash cams.
The front-facing camera uses a Sony IMX291 (Starvis) image sensor. This sensor is used widely in high-spec dash cams because it records excellent quality footage, day and night.
In terms of actual video quality, it depends on how you’re using your dash cam. The video stats are as follows:
Using the front dash cam only:
- Front Cam – 2560 x 1440 @ 30fps (Frames Per Second)
- Rear Cam – n/a
Using both cameras simultaneously:
- Front Cam – 2560 x 1440 @ 30fps
- Rear Cam – 1920 x 1080P @ 30fps
Better quality dash cams do exist, but past a certain resolution, there is little difference in the usefulness of the footage. This dash cam will capture video where license plates are clearly visible and the video files are not prohibitively large, as with some 4k cameras that record at 60 frames per second. This appears to be the sweet spot between video quality and file size.
The internal camera is less impressive, however, it has a shallower depth of field to focus on so it doesn’t really need to be much higher. This camera is best suited for taxi drivers or delivery drivers who are wanting to capture footage of their cabin. Despite this, it is adequate enough to prove fault in the event of a rear collision.
Both cameras have a 155-degree wide-angle lens that provides a clear, full view of the road. The interior camera also has infrared night vision, which allows for fantastic low light capabilities.
You can review everything the cam records on the built-in screen, or over Wi Fi via the companion app.
(We recommend you check out some example footage on YouTube before purchasing a dash cam, such as this video here.)
It’s worth noting also that this VAVA dash cam uses loop recording. This means that when your SD card is full, the oldest footage is erased to make space for new footage. The amount of footage you can store will depend on the storage capacity of your microSD card. Files can be managed from a computer or the app.
The audio recording quality on dash cams is generally unremarkable. In the case of the VAVA Dual dash cam, it’s actually better than average.
The microphone is located on the underside of the cam and is the prime position to pick up and speech from inside the vehicle. It will probably pick up speech outside the vehicle, but it may be unintelligible if there is heavy traffic.
This is very useful in the event of a road traffic incident or a police traffic stop. There are no published stats on the quality of audio encoding that the VAVA Dual uses but it sounds sufficient for most intents and purposes.
Design and Mount
Another feature that can be useful is the 360 degree swivel design of the mount. By using magnets, the dash cam is easily rotated so it can capture what is going on through the side windows. Traditional mounts don’t allow for this kind of flexibility.
The magnets design also means that dash cam is easily removed at night if you don’t wish to use the parking mode.
As well as a rotating mount, the interior dash cam itself can rotate up to 70°. This allows for perfect positioning during installation and is great for quick changes depending on the situation.
The only flaw of the VAVA Dual’s design is the small block in the power cable that houses the GPS module. Whilst GPS is one of the cam’s most useful features, it could have been better placed so that it doesn’t get in the way. However, this is a very minor issue with an otherwise excellent design.
Is it worth it?
The answer to this question is a resounding YES.
The VAVA Dual is a fantastic dash cam that offers premium quality features in an affordable, simple to use package. There is very little to dislike about this dash cam. From the design through to the performance, it feels like VAVA have considered everything.
The price is not unexpected, considering what’s on offer. You could pay less and get the same image quality without the features. You could also pay less for the features, but you probably wouldn’t get the same image quality. Due to the fact that this dash cam doesn’t come with a MicroSD card, you will need to factor this into the cost.
The ease of installation is a huge draw for first-time dash cam owners. The hardwiring process is daunting and this camera represents a near-perfect alternative to getting your hands dirty. Even experienced dash cam owners might be put off by the thought or cost of hardwiring.
For a dash cam that’s as easy to remove completely as it is to install, that records great quality footage for a good price, grab the VAVA Dual VA-VD009 and we promise you won’t be disappointed.