Viofo A119 Review – Amazing Value Dash Camera

Viofo_A119_Banner
By Andrew Lam on August 1st, 2016
The Viofo A119 is the best value dash camera on the market today. It’s the first time I can recommend a camera to most drivers with no major drawbacks. It has great video quality, warning notifications, stealthy design and uses capacitors – all for under $100.

The manufacturer, Viofo has a great reputation for quality and taking extensive community input to create an excellent product. The A119 isn’t the right camera for every driver but it’s an excellent starting point for most.

Updates
Dec 6: Circular polarizer now available for purchase

Video Review

See this video first to learn everything you need to know about the Viofo A119

The Camera

Viofo was the original creator of the A118 which we recommended in a previous review. Unfortunately the design and tooling were copied and multiple factories started producing the A118 which resulted in lower quality units coming onto the market.

Viofo launched the A119 as its successor in July 2016 and greatly improved the hardware in conjunction with feedback from the community at Dash Cam Talk. It has a similar wedge profile but otherwise everything else has been changed. It looks nicer and less industrial.

Specs

Date ReleasedJuly 2016
Max Resolution2560 x 1440P @ 30FPS
ProcessorNovatek NT96660
Image SensorOmnivision OV4689
LensGlass f/1.8 Lens
Capacitor // BatteryCapacitor
LCD2.0″
Diagonal FOV160°
GPSYes
WifiNo
Bitrate20 mbps
Memory TypemicroSD
Operating TempMax 65°C
Size8.5 cm x 5.2cm x 3.6cm

Box Contents

A119 Dash Camera • Non-GPS Mount • GPS Mount (Optional) • 11.5″ Power Cable • 3.1 Amp Dual USB Port Car Adapter • 6 x Cable Management Clips • String to Detach Mount • USB Data Cable • English User Manual

Update: Jan 2017. A119 and A119S now shp with a black adhesive

Video Quality & Raw Videos

Viofo_A119_Video_Quality_Banner

Viofo’s A119 has excellent video quality. It’s not the absolute best but it ranks amongst the top cameras we reviewed. There are some tradeoffs such as having worse low-light performance and reduced dynamic range. It’s much better the popular and similar looking Rexing V1 or KDLinks X1.

We directly compared the A119 against a few cameras:

A118: Our $50 budget camera recommendation.
Yi: Our former budget pick for functionality/video quality but it’s worse than the A119 in everything but having WiFi and being cheaper
Dome D201: A camera we recognized as having the best video quality for $100 but has many flaws so it’s not a recommended pick.
Vicovation OPIA2: A $300 premium camera with the same excellent video hardware as the Dome D201 but the video quality is better.

Daylight Videos

Sharpness vs Older A118

Against the older A118 it holds up quite well during the day. Details are the same if you look at the builds and foliage in both cameras but is noticeably different in the license plate of the white truck.

Download Raw Videos: A118A119

Dynamic Range Comparison

Surprisingly the Yi had the worst results, it’s very dark under the hotel vestibule even if you increase brightness. The A119 and A118 were again tied in performance. Finally the OPIA2 had the clearest performance. The A118 was taken on a different day but the conditions were similar and we drove in the same position.

Download Raw Videos: A118A119Vico OPIA2Yi Dash Cam

Comparing Exposure in Rapidly Changing Lighting Conditions

When we compared how quickly the cameras responded to bright and dark we found it paled in comparison to the OPIA2. There’s a small period of time where you can’t see anything before the contrast fixes itself.

Download Raw Videos: A119Vico OPIA2Yi Dash Cam

Motion Blur Comparison

The Yi has very little ability to grab license plates once again due to the resolution and very wide angle. The OPIA2 is better but probably because of the angle it’s filming at.

Download Raw Videos: A119Vico OPIA2Yi Dash Cam

Dusk

The A119 is comparable to the Dome D201 when rendering license plate while moving. It looks fuzzier but has slightly better sharpness. Again sharper than the A118.

Download Raw Videos: A119 Vico OPIA2Yi Dash Cam

Nighttime Videos

In general the A119 excels at more brightly lit scenes but falls behind when the light drops off. That’s why the Yi which has a smaller pixels has better quality.

Sharpness Under Brighter City Lighting

Download Raw Videos: A118 – A119Vico OPIA2Yi Dash Cam

Low Light Sharpness

Slightly blurrier than the Yi and OPIA2 even though they have a wider angle than the A119.

Download Raw Videos: A119Vico OPIA2Yi Dash Cam

Ultra Low Light

Under ultra low lighting conditions where only your headlights can be seen the A119 is blurrier but does a respectable job in bringing out the details.

Download Raw Videos: A118A119Dome D201Yi Dash Cam

128GB Cards Accepted

OK to use.

OK to use.

On Viofo’s website it states that the A119 only takes up to 64GB cards. I have confirmed with Viofo staff that it does indeed take 128GB cards. Here’s their quoted answer: “You can say the 128GB cards are compatible, we released an action camera based on NTK96660 last year, so know it works.”. If you’re wondering what card to pick (and it makes a big difference in reliability) see our guide on SD cards.

A119S Sony Exmor Model

Viofo has launched their low-light A119S in December 2016. The A119S uses a Sony Starvis IMX291 sensor, a faster f/1.6 glass lens and a new lens housing which does not allow side to side movement. We purchased a production unit and tested it against the A119 (firmware version v2.0). Overall Video Quality

The A119S has worse sharpness and more motion blur compared to the A119 even under low light situations. The A119S does have better dynamic range which means you can see more at night but in my opinion isn’t a significant improvement. The A119S at 60FPS runs close to natively and there’s not much reduction in quality compared to other cameras.

The A119S has much less distortion in the corners due to the reduced field of view. From what I understand the A119S’ Sony Exmor IMX291 firmware is still new and image improvements are coming. As well I want to do a number of tests I listed at the bottom.

Videos


Original comparison which includes a very low light test.


The A119S was moved to the left hand side which is less blurry compared to the original video.

Recommendation:
While the A119S in my opinion does NOT have better video quality it may be the better camera in the future depending on firmware improvements. We’ll keep this section updated with the latest information.

Circular Polarizer

a119_cpl_difference_banner_2 Now officially launched the circular polarizer will reduce glare from your windshield. There are two versions available with drawbacks for both. As it’s just released there are no comparisons yet. You can follow the discussion on DashCamTalk.

Official Viofo Clip-On

viofo_cpl_1 This version clips onto your lens and allows you to perfectly adjust the polarization angle for best performance. Unfortunately the A119 lacks the detent slots and you’ll need to use tape or blutack to make sure it doesn’t fall off. On the A119S there are handy slots so no extra effort is needed.
See the Price on Amazon

BlueSkySea Adhesive Version

blueskysea_cpl_1 Made by a very well known retailer this version is smaller and sticks onto your lens. This allows you to continue using the side to side adjustment of your lens but you won’t be able to remove the filter often the as the adhesive will wear down.

See the Price on AmazonSee the Price on eBay

Summary

Viofo_A119_The_Camera_Banner_Heading

Overall: Expect a camera that delivers on the major features with a few shortcomings that’s easily looked over.

The Good The Bad
  • Great video quality
  • Uses Capacitors for increased reliability
  • Stealthy design
  • Well constructed GPS Mount makes it easy to remove/attach
  • Nicer design compared to the A118
  • Great warning notifications help you keep your camera running
  • LED notification lights are in a good position and easy to understand
  • 128GB SDXC compatibility
  • Viofo is constantly improving their camera’s firmware
  • Difficult to press the emergency button as it’s surrounded by other functions
  • Likely counterfeit adhesive pad isn’t as strong as other camera’s mounts
  • Parking mode is annoying to use as it must be activated through the menu
  • Once recording the camera is rather sluggish to respond

Firmware Updates

Viofo released v2.0 in Oct 31, 2016 which fixes a number of bugs with the camera. Since the original version Viofo has improved the image quality, added imperial units and customization for your speed and location stamp on the video. You can download and read more about it here: https://dashcamtalk.com/forum/threads/a119-firmware.22223/

Optimal Settings

Resolution – 1440P: Lower resolutions have much worse video quality.
Loop Recording – 3 Minutes: Anything but off will work. 3 Minutes is a good compromise between too many video files and discoverability.
Exposure – 0EV: If it’s overly bright or dark you can change this number
WDR – Off: WDR does nothing but worsen night quality for minimal gains in dynamic range
Time Lapse Record – Off
Motion Detection – Off
GPS – On
G-Sensor – Off: No reason to turn this on
LDWS/FCWS – Off: Too many false warnings
Date Stamp – On
Record Audio – Depends: Make sure it’s legal where you live. Otherwise it’s your choice.
Screensaver – 15 seconds:
LED – On: Turns the status LED on/off. Helpful in checking for problems.
Date/Time: No GPS, adjust date/time here.
Time Zone: If you have a GPS your camera will calibrate time/date to the set timezone
Beep Sound: On Disabling this will disable audio notifications. Keep it on.
Frequency: Depends on your electrical grid. 60HZ in North America, 50HZ in Europe.
Format Warning – 30 Days:
Car No – Optional: Some people put their license/name here

Where to Buy It?

Viofo has a number of authorized retailers listed on their webpage. We’ll list them below and talk about the sellers. It’s worth paying the additional $10 for the GPS mount as it improves convenience but it’s not necessary.

United States

Spy Tec Logo

Spy-Tec is a well known USA retailer and has been serving the dash and surveillance industry for many years. They are based out of New York and have a great reputation for customer service.

Get it From Spy-Tec’s Amazon Store Get the A119 From Spy-Tec Directly
Capture_Your_Action_Logo

Capture Your Action is newer and primarily focused on dash camera. They have been working hard at finding good products and have been spending lots of time on Dash Cam Talk and interacting with the community.

Buy From Amazon Get it From CaptureYourAction.com

Canada

Updated: Sept 17th

BlackBoxMyCar_2013_Logo Sold by BlackBoxMyCar, they are a Vancouver based business who has an excellent reputation. Included is a 16GB card and 1-day nationwide shipping. I highly recommend them, great service.

Use coupon code “carcamcentral10” for $10 off your order of $80 or more
Get the Viofo A119 from BlackBoxMyCar
amazon_logo

On Amazon the most reputable seller is Baiklov and fulfilled by Amazon.ca (Canadian Warehouse). Baiklov is the very reputable seller “estore009” on eBay. To differentiate their products they use the “BlueSeaSkyBrand”. It’s not different than other products but it does help if there are counterfeits on the market. But, if you have problems after 30 days you may have to ship the product back to China.

Get the GPS A119 from Amazon.caNon-GPS A119 from Amazon.ca

Australia

DashCamsCentral is your only local choice. I have seen them mentioned but I haven’t done any research on them.

Buy it from DashCamsCentralAu

International

Outside of the above countries there are no other local retailers so you have to buy from online retailers which makes warranty more difficult:

eBay_Logo

Sold through eStore009 who we’ve been recommending for years and is a great seller. Highly recommended.

See the Price on eBay (estore009)
GearBest_Logo

GearBest is a well known China-based retailer for having low prices. They are consistent with shipping out genuine products but their customer support ratings have been mixed. Use coupon code “A119GBC” on the GPS model to get it for $90 and “A119GB” on the non-GPS to get it for $80.

Grab the Non-GPS A119 for $80 (Coupon Code: A119GB)
Grab the A119 GPS (Coupon Code: A119GBC)
Foxoffer_Logo

Foxoffer is a Chinese based electronics retailer who happens to owns Viofo. As with most Chinese internet retailers they have a spotty record but they probably want you to have good service on their own product.

Buy it from FoxOffer

Leave a Reply

78 Comments on "Viofo A119 Review – Amazing Value Dash Camera"

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MIHA PECEK
Guest

can i use a119 cam attached to car lighter socket to work as motion detector when car is on parking lot. I need also for car anti vandalism

Casper Sand
Guest
Casper Sand

Hello there, good review.

I got the version with GPS. I mounted the GPS module and inserted the powerline into the GPS mount. On the GPS mount I “massaged” one of the 4 pins, so It would come out. The camera works fine, but it says “NO GPS” on the screen. Any idea how to troubleshoot this?

Best regards

Casper

Vinh
Guest

Thank you for your review. How long does the battery last without charging ?

Brandon
Guest

How long can the camera be powered off and keep the correct time? Do you know if a separate battery keeps the time going? Or if you have the GPS unit, I wonder if the time is updated from that.

Thanks.

Chuck
Guest

Andrew has some of the best reviews out there. Recently bought 2 Viofos, an A119 and A119S. Great video quality. However, weak spot seems to be GPS mount. Both cameras quit working within 1st week and had to plug power cables into the camera itself bypassing the mount plug-in to get them to work.

joms
Guest

When do you think will they release the successor of the A119? Is it a good time to buy the A119 now or will something new be coming within the next 2 to 3 months? What is the usual life cycle of dash cams before they release a new unit? I’m kinda looking at the A119s because it is newer and has more potential to be better with firmware upgrades. (or is there any new product down the horizon which I should wait for? I can spare 3 months but if there isnt then I would rather get the A119s now).

Thanks

Alessandro
Guest

Hello! Where should I put the camera? Behind the mirror I would not be able to see it and to press the buttons comfortably. Perhaps it makes more sense to the left, next to the mirror and over my head? Thank you

eddy g
Guest

awesome review. i ended up buying this cam corder based on this review. i have it hard wired to the battery now. I have a 64gb card roughly how long do you think i can record at the max res? id like to get 8 hours anyways. thanks again !!

Louis
Guest

Thanks for the excellent review! What hard wire kit would you recommend? I see that many people have had issues with the Spy Tec kit but I wasn’t sure which kit would be best that wouldn’t cause issues? Thank you!

vlad
Guest

Hi, I have a little problem with my cam, I have installed the GPS and doesn´t work, the gps is on in the configuration cam, thanks for you help.

Shawn
Guest

What is the maximum heat the a119 can withstand? I live in texas and the camera will be in a black car, so it gets quite hot!

Cam
Guest

If you were to remove the camera from the vehicles power, as in to walk around outside to document damage, how long will the camera stay recording running just of the capacitors?

Thanks, great review!

Alessandro
Guest

Hello! Should I buy the A118-c for 45 € or the A119 for 95 €? Thanks a lot!

Juan J. Arenas
Guest
Juan J. Arenas

Can you playback video on the device itself? on the small screen?

Fritz
Guest

Yes, you can playback the videos.

Drake
Guest

I have a question regarding the Vifo a119. I have a car that has constant power to the 12V port even when the engine is off. The user manual says to turn off the dashcam manually if I have this feature on my car.

I plan to buy another camera to record from the rearview of my car but I wouldn’t be able reach the power button to turn it off since it’s too far. So I think it would be easy if I can turn it off (while it’s recording) by unplugging the connector from the 12V port.

But…

I want to know if anything negative happens to my dashcam or memory if I inplug the 12V connector to turn off the camera (instead of manually holding the power button for 5 sec). I don’t want to test it on my current one because I don’t know what will happen.

Can you tell me if I can safely turn it off like this?

Btw. Your video on the viofo a119 was really helpful and was the main reason I bought the camera.

Janaka
Guest

I have a question about this. I bought a Mini 0903 / Nano Q that didn’t have GPS, and it was a nightmare. I’m not sure if it was because it was a capacitor-based camera, but after a day or two of not driving, the date would reset to 1/1/16 and it would start loop recording over / deleting the most RECENT video file instead of the oldest. It was unusable as a dash cam because of that. I need a dash cam that works, and I don’t want GPS. Does this have that problem? If it sits for a few days, does it forget the date and start deleting the most recent files instead of the oldest? Thank you for the helpful review; I just need to understand that one feature better. For all I know all capacitor cameras do that.

Geoff Southern
Guest
Geoff Southern

Each time I look at your summary of this dashcam, I think about new dashcam users who know little or nothing about dashcams and see your comment about the 1-second screensaver making the dashcam impossible to use. It must be confusing without any explanation. Why even mention it? It would be much better to just delete that comment.

John
Guest

Can I remove the USB plug from the cigarette lighter adaptor and insert it into the cars USB port? This way I can use the cigarette lighter plug for other devices.

Karen
Guest

Hi Andrew
What did you mean by “1-second screensaver mode makes the camera nearly impossible to use”?
Does this mean you can’t see what is recording?

Thanks for a great website
Karen (Australia)

Dan IVANCIU
Guest
Dan IVANCIU

A119 it’s a very, very good Dashcam for 100$! I have had bad experiences with the Mini 801 and 806 (which I don’t not recommend anyone), Dod Dashcam I find them very good, still working well after three years, but but the last model LS460W it is quite expensive, and for several months I bought A119, which is a very good camcorder to date.

Fritz
Guest

Hi Andrew,

How do you transfer the files from the A119 to the PC — do you need to physically take off the memory card and insert it to the PC/Laptop? OR you can just transfer files directly from the device to the PC using the USB cable?

If it’s the former, it might just turn me off from buying this as I don’t have a memory slot on my PC.

Warren Hudson
Guest
Warren Hudson

I believe it is best to keep the card in the device & connect to PC to avoid format warnings when you put the card back in the cam.

Joe
Guest

I am a total newbie , also wondering about this same question.

I currently only have a smartphone and a tablet. No PC.

Would it be difficult to manage the files without a PC? For instance, once the memory card filled up, does the camera just write over the existing files or do you need to delete some/all the files on the memory card to have clear space available? On the same note, is there a “delete all” option on the camera to clear the memory card or would I have to delete dozens/hundreds 3 of minute video files one by one through the interface?

Obviously if there was an accident or incident I would need to get the video file off of the memory card but for General use I won’t be planning to save any of the day to day videos. This might be my first dash cam!

Andrew, you have a great YouTube channel and I appreciate you having this website separately as a more detail resource. Thanks for all your enthusiasm and work

Fritz
Guest

The nice thing about the Xiaomi Yi dashcam is that it has a Wifi and smartphone app where you can watch and transfer videos over your phone. It is the form factor of the A119 I like the most compared to the Yi.

Also, the reason I asked about the process or options to transfer files to the PC/laptop is because I noticed on Andrew’s video review that he takes off the memory card and inserts it to his laptop. He didn’t mention that you can use the USB cable to transfer the video files.

fefefef
Guest

Just connect it with the usb to a PC and it works like any other storage device with drag/drop and playback.

Fritz
Guest

Thanks for the info.

Paul Chan
Guest

One more question, I click the link of Amazon.ca (Get the GPS A119) in this page and it goes to a page with Blueskysea VIOFO A119 by Blueskysea

However in Amazon.ca page as shown in below link, it has another product name “Official VIOFO® A119 Car Dashcam” by Viofo

https://www.amazon.ca/Official-VIOFO%C2%AE-A119-Car-Dashcam/dp/B01KARPKF2/ref=sr_1_2?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1474141577&sr=1-2&keywords=viofo+a119+gps

Are they the same?

What is the difference between “Blueskysea VIOFO A119” and “Official VIOFO® A119”?

Paul Chan
Guest

Great comment. Very helpful especially “Optimal Settings” section.

You suggest us to turn LDWS/FCWS “off” because they have too many false warnings. Are they caused by changing lane?

One reason I like A119 is because of their LDWS/FCWS features. Appreciate if you can help to elaborate the false warnings in greater detail so I know if this product suits me.

Meanwhile, is there any dashcam which have good video quality and great LDWS/FCWS.

Bob
Guest

Hello,

Can you please update all of your Canadian links of Amazon.ca? All are re-directed to amazon.com site.

Thanks

Angel
Guest

Hey Andrew, just wanted to say thanks. I’ve been looking into dash cams for several months and couldn’t pull the trigger on which one to get, but your reviews gave me the push I needed. I bought the A119 and paired it with a Transcend 64GB. I installed it following your guide and set it up. Looks great, now I just need a dash cam for the back and ill feel better if I ever get rear ended.

JASON
Guest

Why would you need to put the format warning at 30 days, rather than off?

Chen
Guest

I live locally in China and I am wondering if this cam can be purchased locally? All I found is international links.

Alex
Guest

Great review, thank you for your hard work. I was wondering if you have any advice on how to run the mini usb cable from the unit on the windshield to the cigarette lighter which are often at the bottom of the passenger well or even in the center console, with minimal inconvenience? Also I noticed on your A118 review there is a wire hide, but I’m guessing there no such accessory for the A119 with GPS? Thank you again.

Harry
Guest

Great review.

Any word on when the next model after the A119 will come out (A119S?) with presumably a better chip (“s” for Sony)? And it’s late August, although there are a few days left — hoping to see that polarizer soon!

Thanks!

Mark
Guest

Can you please clarify the maximum card size useable in the A119? You write here that the biggest card is a 128GB, and Viofo’s own website say the maximum card size is 64GB. What really works in the camera? Thank for the great reviews!

Warren Hudson
Guest
Warren Hudson

If you need to re-format the card to FAT32, a free program called GUIformat makes it easy if Windows won’t do it.

Larry
Guest

Excellent review! Thank you for taking the time to put these videos together as they are very helpful to dash cam newbies like myself.

Is the A119 available on Amazon yet? I did a quick search and couldn’t find it for sale there.

Anonymous
Guest

Thanks for the great review. Where to buy in Canada?

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