Review: Shishuo Ultra HD Driving Recorder

Whether it’s to act as a extra set of eyes in case you get into an accident, or if someone hits your car and drives away, or you just want to capture the stupidity of other drivers for posting on YouTube, you have to have a dash cam for your car. My wife and I have discussed getting one for the car for some time. Which made an email from a company called Shishuo handy as they were offering up the Shishuo Ultra HD Driving Recorder which you can get from Amazon in the UK, Canada and the US.

For starters this dash cam is a two channel dash cam. That means it records everything in the front and rear. Let’s walk through the hardware that this comes with.

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There is a front camera that has a huge glass lens on it which also….

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…. Has a 4″ IPS LCD screen on the back of it. It is bright and readable in most lighting conditions.

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There is also a rear camera that you put in your back window as high as possible. As you can see, mine is located under the brake light.

Both cameras are connected together by a set of cables that are easily hidden within the trim pieces or weatherstripping within your car. To make things easier, there’s a tool that comes with the dash cam that allows you to get the cables into those places. It’s all powered by a cable that runs from your 12V outlet to a mini USB connection on the front camera. The fact that Shishuo decided to go with a mini USB connection could be a problem as micro USB is pretty much the standard these days and finding a mini USB cable to allow you to download video could be a bit problem should you not have the one that comes with the dash cam handy.

The way that the dash cam works is that it continually records everything from the front and back with audio in 1080P resolution (1920 x 1080P @ 30 fps) with a very wide angle of vision (170° for the front and 120° for the rear). It comes with a 16GB MicroSD card (it will accept anything up to 32GB) which records the front and the back video in separate 1 to 5 minute files. The oldest files are automatically erased unless you press the menu button at the bottom right side of the front camera. That will lock the current clip that is being recorded. You can also tap the OK button which will snap a still picture.

The dash cam also has a couple of extra features that you should turn on. One is a shock sensor which will turn on the camera if it is off and start recording video which is handy for dealing with people who hit cars and drive away, or it will automatically lock a video recording should you be hit by another car while the camera is on and you are driving. The second feature is a motion sensor which turns on if the front camera detects motion within roughly 3 meters of the camera. Now to help with recording videos in either of those use cases is the fact that the dash cam has a built in battery. But the catch is that this battery isn’t intended for extended use. Thus you need to ensure that it is fully charged by going for a long drive which will charge the battery as strangely I couldn’t get the camera to charge any other way. Should you need to get video off the dash cam, you can pop out the micro SD card or plug the entire camera into your computer using a micro USB cable and have the camera go into mass storage or PC Camera mode. I’d suggest using the cable method because the micro SD slot on the unit that I got had a couple of gaps in it that allowed the micro SD card to not go in properly and get stuck. Thus I had to get a replacement unit. Shishuo told me that this is being addressed by improving the design of the slot, so it is likely that this will be a non-issue for you. But regardless you should be careful when inserting the micro SD card.

So, here’s the big question. What’s the quality of the video that’s recorded? It’s shockingly great assuming that you turn on HDR (HDR=High Dynamic Range which is best described a technique to heighten a picture’s dynamic range – the contrast between the brightest whites and the darkest blacks) which I strongly suggest that you do. To test this out, I drove in a variety of lighting conditions and all the videos were very clear, bright and sharp. At this point, I’d like to show you a video that I captured just before dawn which shows a close call between a pickup truck and a transport truck westbound on Highway 401 in Mississauga near Pearson Airport. This is an area that is notorious for accidents and it is not surprising to me that this near miss happened.

Here’s what the rear camera saw:

The back cam isn’t as sharp as the front cam. But I suspect that has to do with the fact that it has a much smaller lens to work with. But the quality is still very good. You also hear the radio playing inside the car. And if you listen carefully, you can hear me say that I have to grab that video when I saw the close call happen in front of me. That alone highlights why you need a dash cam.

Gripes? Other than the mini USB port and the need to be careful while inserting the MicroSD card into the slot, there’s really nothing to speak of other than the fact that the instructions could be a bit better written. But I won’t let that take away from the fact that it’s a well sorted piece of kit. And given that in Canada you can get this camera from Amazon for $56.99, it becomes a very compelling value proposition. If you’re looking for a dash cam for your car, the Shishuo Ultra HD Driving Recorder is worth a good hard look.

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