July 4th, 2017: This article is still under construction. We want to get the video and audio comparisons into your hands. There are many details we want to cover about the budget and premium cameras. For now please ask detailed questions in the comments below and we will get back to you.
Our Video Reviews
Our Top Pick – Transcend DrivePro 520 – $200The best combination of features and reliability for your money
Released two years ago and we don’t have a better choice. Transcend is a mainstream brand that delivers the best features and protection for a camera under $200.
Our Cheap Pick – Dome GS65H~$90 USD
If you’re tight on cash the Dome GS65H is the cheapest taxi camera we could find that delivers wht the essential features for taxi and ridesharing drivers to capture the video evidence they need. Night clarity isn’t as strong and there’s less features than DrivePro 520 but at less than half the price, you’ll be satisfied.
Upgrade Pick – Thinkware F770 2CH-IR$400 USD
The Thinkware F770 takes the 520 and improves on everything. It’s heat resistant as it uses capacitors. The video quality is better and has better coverage at night. WiFi is faster and the camera is smaller and less noticeable for passengers and to pedestrians. It also has a proper parking mode so you can capture anyone who hits your vehicle while you are away.
Janus V2 HD – Theft & Robbery Protection$500 USD
The Janus V2 isn’t a direct upgrade as the video quality, installation experience and other features are harder to use or worse than the Transcend 520. The V2 instead has one unique feature – it makes a simultaneous copy of the recorded video onto a separate USB stick. If someone tries to steal your camera you can rig the SD card so it stays in your vehicle. You’ll pay a large price for this feature at $500 for the camera.
What Is A Taxi Dash Cam?
It’s a A Dash Camera – Records on a Loop
This might be obvious but there are two main features that are essential. First it has to record on a loop which means the oldest videos are automatically overwritten when the card is filled. You’ll have hours before this happens or you can press the file lock button found on all our cameras to save the file.
Turns on and Starts Automatically
The second dash cam feature is that when the camera receives power it will turn on and record. Otherwise it may be too inconvenient to use.
Has a Passenger Facing Camera with Infrared Lights
Whether it’s attached to the camera or on a separate wire there should be a way to film your passengers. Infrared lights illuminate passengers at night without being very visible to human eyes. When you have cameras without infrared lights, you can’t see anything at night unless you are in a bright city or turn on the dome lights. Infrared lights are actually in the near-infrared spectrum and the versions used by dash cameras are slightly visible if you look at the LEDs.
Having a record of what was actually said is important. During testing we found there was a difference in audio quality in four recommended cameras. But, it had no impact in figuring out what was actually said.
Who Should Buy A Taxi Dash Cam?
While it may be obvious we are targeting drivers who pick up passengers professionally, we also think it’s not a good choice for the typical consumer driver. For professionals there’s many situations where a dash cam recording the inside your vehicle is helpful.
If you are attacked or robbed you’ll have a video showing their face and what actually happened.
Discourage Bad Behavior
Having a dash cam may make people think twice about doing anything stupid.
Some passengers may try to extort you or say you stole their items.
Other unusual behavior you can document so you have a record if they come back to you at a future date.g
Video Quality Comparisons
External Day Quality
We compared the dual lens camera against the Viofo A119 which is our top $100 single lens dash camera. While the A119 is much sharper, the Transcend 520 is surprisingly close in quality. The Falcon F360 is noticeably worse.
Dome vs Transcend
You can see there’s not a big difference between the two cameras
Transcend & Premium Cameras Compared
Transcend F770 has the best quality, followed by Blackvue, Transcend and last Janus V2 which only has a 720P resolution.
External Night Quality
Premium Cameras Compared
Passenger Day Quality
Transcend vs Dome
Premium Cameras vs Transcend 520
Passenger Night Quality
IR Light Quality Testing
We drove with only one camera turned on at a time so you can see how powerful each camera’s IR lights are.
Falcon F360 – IR Lights Aren’t Always On
Here’s a video showing the moment immediately before the IR lights are turned on.
We tested the camera at 59°C to see what the effects would be on focus. The Dome’s front camera had significant blurring whereas Transcend was only midly affected.