For the vast majority of drivers, the AUKEY DR02 would be our first dash cam recommendation. It offers basically everything one could want from a dashboard-mounted camera, with a wide field of view, full HD video, a large screen and intuitive interface, and a fairly small overall form factor. Really the only strike against this camera is that it doesn't have a built-in Wi-Fi network, which means you can't wirelessly send clips stright to your phone. However, having to plug a microSD card into a computer when you want to export a clip seems like a small sacrifice for getting the DR02's incredibly crisp video at a very reasonable price.
AUKEY DR02 Review
Pros: Very good video quality, relatively inexpensive, very slim profile
Cons: No built-in Wi-Fi, no rear or interior camera
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Our Analysis and Test Results
For most people that just want footage of what goes on in front of the car, we think the AUKEY DR02 is the best dash cam around. If you're a rideshare driver that wants footage of the interior of the car as well, it would be worth spending a bit more for the Vantrue N2 Pro Uber Dual.
Though the AUKEY DR02 didn't quite reach the top of our overall scoreboard it was close, and ticks pretty much all of the boxes of what most people need in a dash cam.
The DR02's video is clear and crisp enough for sharing on social media and reading license plates, earning it one of the highest scores in our video quality tests.
Field of View
The DR02's camera sports a very wide, 170˚ field of view, which easily covers pretty much everything of interest in front of the car. Some cameras that opt for a very wide angle lens introduce a lot of distortion and a narrow depth of field to the image, but the DR02 manages to keep things looking quite clear with very little distortion, even around the edges of the image. Sure, narrower fields of view, like the 106˚ field of the Garmin 55, do tend to make distant objects look a bit clearer, but in the case of the DR02 we would gladly trade that distance clarity for a picture that covers much more area.
Daytime Video Quality
The DR02's 1080p full HD resolution shines particularly during the day, creating very clear images that provide you with all the detail you could want of your daily driving happenings. In general the colors look good, though we did notice a slightly unnatural blue tint on bright days when driving towards the sun. We also had very few issues with identifying license plate numbers, the only problems arising again on bright days when the camera was pointed towards the sun. This is a common issue, however, and the only cameras we've found that can better handle overly birght conditions is the Vantrue N2 Pro Uber Dual.
Nighttime Video Quality
At night the DR02's video looks great, with good resolution and quite crisp detail. It also tends to make the most of any light around, so we had a very easy time reading license plates on all but the fastest moving cars. In fact, in this regard it outperforms the Vantrue N2 Pro Uber Dual, which tends to blur license plates a bit when in close proximity to a bright street light.
The lack of built-in Wi-Fi definitely hurt the DR02 in this metric, but A plus features in every other way kept its score above average.
Like all of the other cameras we selected for testing, the DR02 met the minimum video capture standard when our deep dive into user reviews found no evidence of the G-sensor failing to identify a crash or other driving incident and protect the resulting footage. It also automatically starts recording video when you start your car, a feature whose absence would be a non-starter (no pun intended).
Once the DR02's G-sensor detects a crash (or something like it) it will automatically save the current video clip as one that cannot be overwritten. You can set the clip length to 3, 5, or 10 minutes. This is more options than most cameras provide, and lets you go a bit shorter if you want to save space on the memory card, or longer if you want more of a guarantee that a protected clip is going to contain all of the footage you need. Some models, like the Vanture N2, offer shorter 1-minute clips for those that really want to save space.
The DR02 can also start and stop protected recordings. Simply press the emergency button when you want to start recording, and press it again when you're done. This is great if you come across an amazing sunset and want to make sure a recording of it gets protected from overwriting. This is one of the few features the competing Vantrue N2 Pro Uber Dual lacks. It lets you take a single "snapshot" picture that can be saved, but you can't start and stop protected video clips at the push of a button.
The DR02 has a timelapse feature, where it takes a picture every second and then plays those back at 30 frames per second to create a time lapse. Similar features are available on other cameras, with the Vantrue N2 Pro Uber Dual notably offering different picture intervals so you can choose between a faster or slower time lapse. This is a nice feature for recording long, scenic drives, but it does turn off the video function, so if you end up in an accident you'll only have pictures of it, no video.
No Built-in Wi-Fi
This, as we said, before, is pretty much the only major downside to the DR02. Most of the other high-quality cameras (like the Vantrue N2 Pro Uber Dual and the Roav A1) offer this feature. However, in the grand scheme of things we don't think lacking the ability to instantly and wireless beam clips to a phone will be that much of a limitation for most people. The main purpose of such a feature is quickly sharing clips on social media, but unless your morning commute takes you through the Serengeti, it's likely the instances of your dash cam capturing an instagram worthy clip will be few and far between. Having to find a computer to plug a microSD card on the few occasions this doesn't happen won't be too laborious. However, if your social media game is on point and your legions of followers want timely updates of what's happening in your life, you are going to want built-in Wi-Fi.
Like the Editors' Choice winning Vantrue N2 Pro Uber Dual, the DR02 gets an A+ for control and menu design, but a C for screen size.
The DR02's control panel keeps things simple with 2 buttons for scrolling up and down through menus, and a button for selecting options. There is also an emergency recording button that can start protecting footage at the push of a button. These spartan controls, along with well-designed menus, makes it very easy to change settings and manage footage. The only thing we don't like is the small 1.5-inch screen. If you don't need to change settings often the screen is fine, but it can start to feel annoyingly small
Thanks to a clever design, the DR02 is the least conspicuous of all the cameras we tested. If you tend to be annoyed seeing objjects in your periphery while driving, this is the camera for you.
Employing a unique curved body and adjustable camera angle, the DR02 is able to hide most of its frame into the slope of the windshield. And that frame isn't large too begin with, as its largest dimensions measure at just 3" x 2". Impressively this camera somehow looks smaller when installed than the even tinier Garmin 55, which measures just 2.2" x 1.6".
The DR02's slim profile is also helped by the use of an adhesive mount. Adhesives allow the mounts to be small while still providing the same amount of stability as a much larger suction cup mount. The camera easily removes from the mount if you don't want to display your camera in the windshield while the car is parked. We know some people may not like the idea of putting a semi-permanent fixture on their windshield, and if you want to be able to move the camera quickly from car to car an adhesive mount certainly isn't ideal. However, after removing multiple adhesive mounts from our testing car we can attest that, while not exactly easy to remove, they don't leave any unsightly markings on the windshield after the application of some mineral spirits.
Considering the AUKEY DR02 offers field leading performance in almost every category for a middle-of-the-road $70 price tag, we think it is one of the best values on the market right now. For the vast majority of people we think it is the best use of their dash cam budget.
The AUKEY DR02 is both one of the best performing and most reasonably priced dash cams currently available, and would be our first recommendation to most people shopping for a dash cam.
— Max Mutter and Steven Tata