By Paisal Chuenprasaeng
DOD’s RC500S is a vehicle dashcam doing double duty, with topnotch cameras watching both front and rear
Motorists who want to boost their safety with “an extra pair of eyes” will have no complaints with the RC500S from Taiwanese firm DOD, with dual-sided cameras recording Full HD at 1080p resolution.
The builtin GPS will record your location data as well.
DOD, founded in 2008, is partnered in Thailand with RTB Technology, a leading distributor of IT products.
The RC500S is well regarded because it’s made of premium components. These include a Starvis CMOS image sensor, Sony’s latest top-of-the-line sensor for enhancing visibility in low light and even deep darkness.
DOD is quite proud of being the first dashcam maker to use this sensor, which gives the RC500S an expanded ISO range – up to 12,800 – because the sensor improves sensitivity so much.
The wide aperture allows more light through to the sensor. DOD says the aperture is 66 per cent larger than what’s found in most other brands.
The six-layer lens, made in Japan, ensures bright and clear pictures at all times without the worry of lens deformation in high heat or sunlight.
The RC500S boasts WDR (Wide Dynamic Range) technology to help balance exposure. This makes night shots brighter and reduces strong light exposure to achieve extremely readable images.
Dual video recording takes place both front and rear, the cameras soaking up Full HD 1080p quality – at 145 degrees (wide angle) up front and 140 degrees behind.
A polarising system reduces reflections from the wind-shield while increasing colour saturation.
A 10Hz GPS chip allows data to be updated up to 10 times per second. It reports your speed and route while recording video with precise driving information when synched to a DOD player.
Parking Surveillance Mode can automatically detect objects approaching your car fast when it’s parked. It can be set to automatically begin recording or be activated by impact. That will give you peace of mind when you leave your car unattended.
The mode is disabled in the default settings because it can drain and even damage your car battery. DOD recommends installing its DP4 kit to maintain low-voltage protection if you want to use this mode.
Unlike most dashboard cameras you see around, the RC500S has no monitor. The DOD worried that the tiny screen is too distracting for drivers, diverting their attention from the road, which could lead to accidents.
Instead, a passenger using the DOD Cam app can watch what the two cameras are recording, which is certainly safer practice. The passenger can also use the app to record video or capture photos for instant sharing.
With two cameras to install at the base of the front and rear windows, you might need a technician’s help. They have to be connected using the cable provided.
I had the folks at the Toyota Onnuj service centre install the system in my Toyota Altes Esport and was pleased how neatly the cable was hidden. One line ran from the cigarette lighter to the main camera and the data and power cable went back to the rear camera, concealed inside the ceiling liner.
Once you’re rolling, the system starts recording automatically, and once you reach your destination and switch off, the dashcam shuts down. No need to press any buttons. A voice tells you when recording has begun or paused.
The package comes with a 32-gigabyte microSD card, the unprotected data on which can be overwritten once it’s full. The RC500S can handle a microSD card up to 128GB for longer recording time.
On the main front camera is an SOS Emergency File Lock button that, when pressed, blocks the current recording from being overwritten.
There’s also a GSensor Automatic Trigger system for file protection. It kicks in when there’s an impact or emergency braking or when the car tilts, so you have a recording of what happened that can’t be inadvertently overwritten.
Another button – a toggle switch – launches and halts voice recording as needed. Still another toggles the Wi-Fi when you connect a smartphone or tablet using the DOD Cam app. The connection is just like connecting to a a Wi-Fi router, and a password is provided.
With the app and a phone or tablet, you can monitor the video being recorded by either camera. The rear camera feed appears in a window inside the main camera’s display.
I found the video feeds from both cameras crisp and clear, with no blur, even at night.
RTB Technology sells the DOD RC500S for Bt13,900 at Lazada.co.th, Jaymart, Power Buy, leading auto-accessory shops, www.WeMall.com and www.GadgetThai.net.
KEY SPECS: DOD RC500S dashcam
– Sensor: Sony Starvis CMOS both front and rear
– Wide-angle lens: Front 145, rear 140, aperture f/1.6 for both
– ISO sensitivity: Up to ISO 12800
– Video format: H.264 .mov
– Recording media: MicroSDHC/SDXC card (up to 128GB)
– Audio: Microphone and speaker (mono)
– Battery: Super-capacitor both front and rear
– Power input: 5V 1.5A
– Size: Front 112.6×61.5×33.4mm; rear 75.2x26x38.8mm
– Weight: Front 120g; rear 41g
– Operating temperature: Minus20 degrees C to 65 degrees