Viofo WR1 – A Good, Small and Heat-Resistant Dash Cam

After we fully tested the Viofo WR1, we think it’s a good choice for people who want a small, heat-resistant camera that can rotate 360°. The WR1 allows you to record police, road rage and pedestrians interactions stealthily. The WR1 lacks an LCD screen, so it uses WiFi and a smartphone app to stream videos and change settings.

The WR1 isn’t our first choice for most drivers unless you want its compact shape and full coverage. Read our section about our concerns below. You’ll also want to purchase it from an authorized retailer in your country should anything go wrong.

Instead, we recommend the Viofo A119V2 for its ease of use, better reliability, sharper video recordings, while lacking only WiFi and the 360-degree rotation. If you live somewhere cooler and don’t care about stealth, get the 2016 Yi Dash Cam for half the price.

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Specs

ResolutionFull HD @ 30fps (1080p)
ProcessorNovatek 96655
Image sensorSony Exmor IMX323
Bitrate12.5Mbps
Lens6G f/1.8 Glass Lens
Capacitor // BatteryCapacitor, RTC battery
Field of view160°
Operating temperature-10 ~ 65°C (14°F ~ 149°F)
Memory Micro SD max 128GB
WiFiYes
Size46mm x 51 mm
CountryChina
Warranty1 Year Manufacturer Warranty

The Camera

Body & Stealthiness
The WR1 is a well constructed, minimalist camera. It feels solid when squeezed and tapped and there’s a ton of small details like the ribbed plastic surrounding the camera lens or the brushed plastic on the sides. Compared to other cameras the body is much narrower and better allows it to be missed by potential thieves.

No Screen – One Button
Unlike many dash cameras, there is no LCD screen and only one large silvery button which is used for locking the currently recording video. Below are two status LEDs, red for power and green for WiFi. If you want to change settings and view videos, you’ll need an iOS or Android smartphone.

Mounts & Ports
On top, you’ll find all the connections: SD card slot, mount and mini USB port. The suction and adhesive mount slide in and securely attach to the top of your camera.

Mount & 360 Rotation
With a light twist even with the locking nut tightened you can rotate the camera 360°. This camera allows you to capture anything happening on the sides of your vehicle such as police encounters or road rage.

Packaging & Accessories

Unboxing

The WR1 comes well protected, there’s a thick double box for shipping protection, and the camera is held solidly in place using foam. Below the accessories are neatly enclosed in a cardboard box. Overall it wasn’t a super premium experience but certainly looks and feel nice and is better than many of the other $100 dash cameras.

Accessories

Camera • Suction Mount • Adhesive Mount • 5 Wire Clips • 10’ Mini USB Cable • Two Port USB Car Charger • 1’ Mini USB Cable • Manual

All the accessories are fairly standard for a $100 camera. I do like that Viofo uses a separate Mini USB cable and Charger instead of one integrated unit which fills up your car’s power outlet.

Video & Audio Quality

Video quality is good and will be enough for most drivers. We judge it to be slightly higher than our $60 A118 recommendation but worse than the similarly priced Viofo A119V2 and A119sV2. We think this is due to the smaller body size and complexity which limits which components can be used.

What this translates to is good sharpness during the day and night but you will lose some details in fast moving objects and when there’s a lot of contrasting like for example parts of the road at night that’s not illuminated by street lights.

The WR1 is more than enough to prove who is at fault and any added video quality is mainly for insurance purposes in hit and run incidents.

Audio Quality

Some people think the audio is too quiet [LINK] and while it is on the quiet side we didn’t have any problems hearing conversations once we turned up the volume a little.

Daily Use

Once setup we found the WR1 easy to use overall. The hardest part would be in connecting your smartphone to your camera for the first time. We talk about that in the setup.

OK Startup Speed

The camera takes around 16 seconds from ignition to recording which is a bit slower than we would like but should be enough for most people to not wait in their vehicles.

Good Startup & Failure Notifications

Since the camera doesn’t have an LCD screen, you’ll only know if your camera is working through a combination of LED and Audible notifications. We thought the WR1 met our standards for what we consider an essential feature.

When your camera starts up, you’ll hear three beeps and the RED LED will be a solid color. If there is an issue that prevents the camera from recording you’ll hear a constant beep and the recording status LED will flash. The audible beep isn’t as good as a spoken notification but it’s good enough to get your attention so you won’t keep driving oblivious to a camera that isn’t recording. Many other cameras get this wrong.

Successfully Passed Our Failed Card Test

We use four memory cards which we have confirmed to be write-locked. You can view the stored videos but they will not allow videos to be recorded. The vast majority of cameras have problems detected if there’s an issue with these four cards. The WR1 detected all four cards just fine and emitted a constant beep letting you know there’s an issue.

WiFI – Smartphone Required to Change Settings

While the default options work out of the box, you’ll need a smartphone to change camera settings. We found the app and process easy to use. We haven’t seen any compatibility issues online, but that’s because there are not many reviews right now.

We found the overall speed to be slower than the Anker ROAV and Yi at 1.29 Megabytes per second but it was fast enough to stream nearly in real time. It took around 3 minutes 45 seconds to download a 3-minute file. It’s not as fast as the ROAV at 2.55 MB/s but if you were on the roadside, you can find the file you needed and download it without wasting much time.

You can take out the microSD card and watch videos on your laptop but unlike premium manufacturers like Blackvue or Thinkware, they don’t have a PC program to change your settings.

Notes About Viofo

Viofo is one of the best budget dash cam manufacturers in the market. They design and manufacture their dash cameras, unlike some companies which sell rebranded cameras. Viofo has a history of producing reliable, high-value dash cameras while also continuing to support their cameras through firmware updates.

There were mistakes with Viofo’s handling of a power flaw in the original A119V1 design. They failed to properly communicate remedies to fix power issues. Still, our recommended retailers handled the situation to the best of their abilities and we’re happy to continue to recommend Viofo.

Predicted Reliability

The use of a capacitor makes this camera a good choice even for warm weather locations. Unfortunately, there are not enough reviews to determine the long-term reliability of this camera will be.

We do want to mention the ten reviews available have a significant amount of dissatisfied people. While we are keeping an eye on notification issues the remaining with hardware issues could have been dealt with if the users purchased from a retailer inside their country.

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The Good The Bad
  • 360-degree rotation
  • WiFi functionality
  • Good night video quality
  • Small and discreet
  • Withstands high temperatures thanks to the use of a capacitor
  • Great error notifications
  • Long-term reliability unknown
  • Not the best video quality at the $100 price range
Firmware updates

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