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AUKEY DR02 Review

The best performance and value for those who only want to record the road in front of them and don't need a second, rear-facing camera
AUKEY DR02
Credit: AUKEY
Editors' Choice Award
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Price:   $100 List
Pros:  Very good video quality, relatively inexpensive, very slim profile
Cons:  No built-in Wi-Fi, no rear or interior camera
Manufacturer:   AUKEY
By Max Mutter and Steven Tata  ⋅  Jun 17, 2021
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76
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#2 of 8
  • Video Quality - 40% 8
  • Video Capture - 25% 7
  • Interface - 25% 7
  • Visual Footprint - 10% 9

Our Verdict

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, intuitive interface, and a fairly small overall footprint. 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 straight to your phone. However, having to plug a micro SD card into a computer when you want to export a clip seems like a small sacrifice for getting incredibly crisp video at a very reasonable price.

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Price $100 List$200 List
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Pros Very good video quality, relatively inexpensive, very slim profileGreat video quality, second cab-facing cameraStellar video quality, low profileLow profile, 180-degree field of view, exterior and interior camerasUser-friendly, inexpensive
Cons No built-in Wi-Fi, no rear or interior cameraPricey, relatively bulkyVideo quality suffers in the dark, small screenVideo quality suffers in the dark, no screen, low-quality interior videoAverage video quality
Bottom Line The best performance and value for those who only want to record the road in front of them and don't need a second, rear-facing cameraCurrently the best rideshare model due to its great video quality and second cameraA powerful dash cam with excellent video quality and a low profile that will quickly become your favorite road trip buddyA dash cam that offers great video quality, a low profile, and will record both inside and outside your vehicleThis user-friendly model features a nice interface and a reasonable price tag
Rating Categories AUKEY DR02 Vantrue N2 Pro... Garmin 56 Garmin Tandem Roav A1
Video Quality (40%)
8
9
8
8
5
Video Capture (25%)
7
8
7
7
8
Interface (25%)
7
6
6
6
8
Visual Footprint (10%)
9
5
8
8
6
Specs AUKEY DR02 Vantrue N2 Pro... Garmin 56 Garmin Tandem Roav A1
Field of View 170 degrees 170 degrees 140 degrees 180 degrees 140 degrees
Resolution 1080p 2.5K 1440p 1440p 1080p
Event Detection G Sensor Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Cabin Camera No Yes No Yes No
Camera Dimensions 3" x 2" x 1.5" 3.8" x 1.5" x 1.5" 2.2" x 1.6" x .8" 2.2" x 1.6" x .8" 3.3" x 2.2" x 1.3"
Built-in Wi-Fi? No No Yes Yes Yes

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 something with dual cameras. Otherwise, the DR02 ticks pretty much all of the boxes of what most people need in a dash cam.

Performance Comparison


For the everyday driver that doesn't require an interior camera...
For the everyday driver that doesn't require an interior camera, this one is hard to beat.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Video Quality


The video on the DR02 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 camera sports a very wide, 170˚ field of view, which easily covers pretty much everything of interest in front of a 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 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 1080p full HD resolution shines particularly during the day, creating very clear images that provide you with all the detail you could want. 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 very few other cameras handle it better than the DR02.



Nighttime Video Quality


At night the video from the DR02 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.



Video Capture


The lack of built-in Wi-Fi definitely hurt the DR02 in this metric, but stellar features in every other way kept its overall score above average.


Like all of the other cameras we selected for testing, the DR02 met the minimum video capture standard. 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.

The DR02's footage looks great, with only some minor issues in very...
The DR02's footage looks great, with only some minor issues in very bright light.
Credit: Steven Tata

Once the G-sensor on the DR02 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 many other 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 offer shorter one-minute clips for those that really want to save space.

Emergency Recording


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.

Timelapse


The DR02 has a timelapse feature, where it takes a picture every second and then plays those back at 30 frames per second. 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 other high-quality cameras offer this feature. However, in the grand scheme of things we don't think lacking the ability to instantly and wirelessly 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 in a micro SD 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.

Interface


The DR02 gets an A+ for control and menu design, but a C for screen size.


The control panel keeps things simple with two 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, make 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

We found the DR02's controls fairly easy to use, and its shape...
We found the DR02's controls fairly easy to use, and its shape allows it to almost disappear behind the rearview mirror.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Visual Footprint


Thanks to a clever design, the DR02 is the least conspicuous of all the cameras we tested. If you tend to be annoyed seeing objects in your periphery while driving, this is the camera for you.


Employing a unique curved body and adjustable camera angle, the DR02 can hide most of its frame into the slope of the windshield. And that frame isn't large to begin with, as its largest dimensions measure at just 3" x 2". Impressively this camera somehow looks smaller when installed than even tinier models.

The slim profile of the DR02 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. 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.

Four simple buttons and well-designed menus make for a good user...
Four simple buttons and well-designed menus make for a good user experience, though we do wish the screen were a bit larger.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Value


Considering the AUKEY DR02 offers field-leading performance in almost every category for a middle-of-the-road 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.

Conclusion


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