BMW Advanced Car Eye dash cam review

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Skeletor
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BMW Advanced Car Eye dash cam review

Post by Skeletor » Wed Mar 29, 2017 9:26 pm

When I was researching dash cams, there was very little information on this particular one, so when I decided, through expediency, that I was going to get it, it was a bit of a leap of faith. As a result I thought I'd write a summary of my thoughts so far. Bear in mind that unlike many on this forum I am not very technically minded so I am pitching this post at people like me, who have never had a camera before and might be looking to get this one. So if what I write seems overly simplistic to anyone then that's because you know more about this stuff than I do.

I've only had my car a week and I had the system, including front and rear cameras, installed by the dealer, for £400. They initially wanted £600 and I suspect I still got slightly ripped off at the price I got it for but I'm not especially bothered. On the plus side it looks near OEM, with the wires perfectly hidden within the trim. I have seen complaints about the size of the front camera but I have to say that I don't think the size is an issue, it isn't that big. What may be an issue for some is the shape. It basically looks like a micro photo camera complete with zoom lens stuck to the windscreen. This may or may not be a good thing depending on your point of view - on the one hand there's no mistaking it for anything other than a camera, possibly providing a deterrent to thieving scrotes. On the other hand, there's no mistaking it for anything other than a camera, possibly attracting thieving scrotes to your car. Either way, sleek it is not. The rear camera is much more discreet. Or it would be, if it weren't for the fact that it houses a bright blue LED that can't be switched off, so much like the front camera, this is either a plus or a minus depending on your view.

The system is hard wired to the car, which means it switches itself on and off in time with the ignition and will keep recording whilst the car is on. It also has a parking mode, whereby it will go into standby when parked (for I believe up to 6 hours) during which time the system will record if it detects any movement in front of the cameras or if it senses (via a built-in G-sensor) that the car has been jolted (e.g somebody drives into your parked car). It records from 10 seconds before the incident/movement and continues for 10 seconds after. I believe the system will switch itself off if there is a danger that it might start depleting the battery. What this means is that if you habitually park your car for long periods of over a few hours regularly, the parking mode will not necessarily cover the whole period of time it's parked and it will be next to useless if you plan to park it say, for a fortnight at the airport.

The system records data onto an SD card, a 32GB variety comes included. On the move the recordings are consecutive files 1-minute in length. The recordings can be played back on the device itself, which has a small LCD screen facing you (from which you can also control camera functions with your finger) but naturally you'll want to play video on something a bit bigger. The kit comes with a USB adaptor which allows you to stick the thing into the appropriate port on your PC. No Mac compatibility unfortunately. The appropriate software can be installed onto your system easily and painlessly, though it doesn't look like Windows 10 is supported. The video itself looks good - clear and crisp enough to provide evidence if necessary - details like number plates and faces of folk in the car behind are easily discerned. The front camera gives full HD 1080p resolution and the rear is 720p. I guess that the camera includes a GPS because when you play back the video you get a representation of your position on a map and your speed is displayed too.

Before I summarise a disclaimer: I have no frame of reference. The relative usability and picture quality of this camera might well be terrible, but I have nothing to compare it to (the corollary of course is that it might be excellent). What I will say is that it does everything I need it to - it provides clear images front and rear, both on the move and when I'm parked at work. It combines this with being well integrated into the car such that I don't expect to get (and haven't got) error messages or battery errors. Nor do I ever have to remember to plug it in or switch it on. I am therefore happy with my purchase.

If anybody is interested I can post pictures at some point when light allows.
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Re: BMW Advanced Car Eye dash cam review

Post by moulin12 » Wed Mar 29, 2017 9:40 pm

Not seen many personal write ups on the BMW oem cam, so thank you.

400 seems to be in keeping with other prices I’ve seen for this fitted set-up, so I think you did okay. Can't you cover up the blue light with a small strip of black insulating tape? (I’ve done this with the leds on my particular cam).

The set up for parking mode sounds sensible, as precaution to putting a significant drain on the car battery, and as its oem you will be covered for warranty issues. Indeed, when I first looked at cams (for which I did a lot of research), I was tempted to go oem, just that I decided I rather go with another form factor.

I think you made a good choice.

BTW, the camera appears to be a Korean Mando BF100, rebranded. Most dash-cams are Korean (least, the decent ones).
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Re: BMW Advanced Car Eye dash cam review

Post by Skeletor » Wed Mar 29, 2017 9:55 pm

moulin12 wrote:
Wed Mar 29, 2017 9:40 pm
Not seen many personal write ups on the BMW oem cam, so thank you.

400 seems to be in keeping with other prices I’ve seen for this fitted set-up, so I think you did okay. Can't you cover up the blue light with a small strip of black insulating tape? (I’ve done this with the leds on my particular cam).

The set up for parking mode sounds sensible, as precaution to putting a significant drain on the car battery, and as its oem you will be covered for warranty issues. Indeed, when I first looked at cams (for which I did a lot of research), I was tempted to go oem, just that I decided I rather go with another form factor.

I think you made a good choice.

BTW, the camera appears to be a Korean Mando BF100, rebranded. Most dash-cams are Korean (least, the decent ones).
Thank you moulin.

I had thought about physically covering the LED but I haven't decided whether it's a good thing or a bad thing yet. That's certainly the only solution which is a bit weird since the blue LED on the front camera can be switched off.

I had made my peace with the cost of the thing, but it's good to hear I may not have done too badly on the price.
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Re: BMW Advanced Car Eye dash cam review

Post by midlifecrisis » Wed Mar 29, 2017 10:48 pm

Nice review there Skeletor. Thanks for that.

I'd spent goodness knows how long searching for a dashcam and finally opted for a Nextbase one earlier this year, having exhausted myself trying to comprehend all the bluff and bluster that normally accompanies varying reviews of these little gems.

I found I was caught between the devil and the deep blue sea with trying to make a decision, in that the prices range from almost pennies to bizillions of pounds and to add to the confusion, sometimes the more expensive ones are considered less efficient than the far cheaper ones.

Eventually took the plunge with the Nextbase one, as Halfords had a lump of dosh lopped off it. They fitted it for me also, but therein the initial problems began, although I've now accepted it for what it is and have given up trying to remedy the situation.

Basically, mine has the capability to work with the engine switched off, but obviously has to be properly hard-wired. I discovered you then enter into another world of requiring other bits and bobs to stop the car battery draining. Straightforward enough ..... if you understand these things, but not for techno thickos such as I ..... I had discussions and disagreements with both Nextbase and Halfords in trying to get them to understand that if I purchased a camera with a given capability, I actually want that capability to function. I gave up in the end, as I became tired of their intransigence and lack of intention to budge even a jot!

Apart from all that, like you, I'm quite pleased with it now I've put that debacle behind me. Glad you're pleased with yours too; cost is probably irrelevant if the end product lives up to expectations I think. Mine was in the region of £200+ all told.

Wouldn't mind seeing some pictures of your set up when you get the time and inclination.

Thanks
Paul



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Re: BMW Advanced Car Eye dash cam review

Post by mouse140i » Thu Mar 30, 2017 8:50 am

Have got this as well. Supplied and installed for less than £400 but then I also had the M Perf LSD done as well.

The installation looks good and the camera works as you'd expect. The software allows you to watch the front and rear footage at the same time or just the front or rear. GPS and speed overlay on the software is also there. However, if you were to play the footage in a typical video player then you don't see the speed. Might be of interest to some...

Negatives I have :
  • The blue LEDs. One on front - visible from the outside. Two on the rear - one visible from the outside, the other not as bright but visible in rear view mirror. None can be turned off.
  • DAB interference. It's not bugging me enough (yet) to see if some ferrite beads would help
  • Software being Windows only
Overall I'm happy with it given it's hardwired in, battery protected, warranty friendly and video quality is good enough if needed.

Just one note of caution. Make sure the tech (or yourself) removes the protective film from the lenses on the cameras otherwise your footage might be a little blurry.....

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Re: BMW Advanced Car Eye dash cam review

Post by Gary_LB » Thu Mar 30, 2017 10:37 am

Thanks for taking the time to write the review I found this useful as I am changing jobs soon and due to the fact my mileage will increase have been thinking of getting a dash cam installed.

If you could upload some pictures that would be great as I am looking for something as intrusive as possible

I know very little about dash cams as i have not started my research yet however this is a great starting point!
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Re: BMW Advanced Car Eye dash cam review

Post by Skeletor » Thu Mar 30, 2017 11:04 am

I have an amendment to make. I've only had the car and cam for a week and naturally my perspective of the camera has been mostly from the drivers seat, from which vantage point it isn't too big or conspicuous.

However I actually took the time to properly look from the outside just now and actually, the front camera is massive! I described it above as a "micro photo camera" but in fact, it is the size of a compact camera. This will definitely be a deal-breaker for some, but if you're looking for something actively intrusive, then it's perfect.

I will try and post some pics later today.
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Re: BMW Advanced Car Eye dash cam review

Post by Gary_LB » Thu Mar 30, 2017 12:00 pm

I have googled it and wow its a big product! There are some reviews on Bimmerpost also

http://f80.bimmerpost.com/forums/showth ... ?t=1136633

I was hoping for something a little more subtle but will continue to look into this
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Re: BMW Advanced Car Eye dash cam review

Post by Skeletor » Thu Mar 30, 2017 2:12 pm

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Last edited by Skeletor on Thu Mar 30, 2017 3:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: BMW Advanced Car Eye dash cam review

Post by Gary_LB » Thu Mar 30, 2017 3:16 pm

Cheers for the photos.

It looks like a tidy install which is good however the camera itself looks pretty large!
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Re: BMW Advanced Car Eye dash cam review

Post by moulin12 » Thu Mar 30, 2017 5:00 pm

Does look larger than I'd imagined. I suppose it can't go any more central due to the interior mirror housing being caught in the fov? Was thinking it might look less conspicuous if it were nearer to the housing.
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Re: BMW Advanced Car Eye dash cam review

Post by Lewis150292 » Thu Mar 30, 2017 5:59 pm

I have this as well both front and rear set up when I had it fitted I wanted it as hidden for the driver as possible, mine is placed almost perfectly central in front/ behind the rear view mirror, I can't even see it from my driving position and almost forget it's even there. The only downside to haveing it more central is it's a pain to operate if I need to having to move my mirror but being hardware in I rarely have to touch it. Good bit of kit I think although a bit expensive.
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Re: BMW Advanced Car Eye dash cam review

Post by mickyb » Fri May 05, 2017 11:32 am

As I understand.. the camera records on to a SD card in AVI format. Apple do a converter to enable this format to run on a Mac. Has anyone tried this?

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Re: BMW Advanced Car Eye dash cam review

Post by spl23 » Fri May 05, 2017 3:14 pm

mickyb wrote:
Fri May 05, 2017 11:32 am
As I understand.. the camera records on to a SD card in AVI format. Apple do a converter to enable this format to run on a Mac. Has anyone tried this?
No need - just install VLC media player on your Mac, from http://www.videolan.org/index.html - it'll play pretty much any audio or video file, including AVI.
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Re: BMW Advanced Car Eye dash cam review

Post by mickyb » Sat May 06, 2017 8:34 am

Thanks..

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