Aukey DRA1 Dashboard Camera Review


The Santa Clara County is home to over 2 million residents with even more committing daily from over the hills to come work in Silicon Valley, with all those cars crammed into the 3-4 main arteries that feed Apple, Google, Tesla, AMD, HP, Cisco, Nvidia, Intel, Netflix, Facebook, etc. The stress level of drivers is at an all time high with hit and runs, road rage, and the occasional crazy pedestrian and cyclist it’s becoming more qndore evident that if your driving, you need to be recording every action possible, for not only your safety but others.

I have one my cars covered but the other needs coverage as well. That’s where the Aukey stepped up with thier #TeamTECHEKY program and allowed me to check out their DRA1 Dashboard Camera.

First let’s check out it’s specifications:

Specifications:

  • 2.7” LCD
  • FOV: 140°
  • 2MP CMOS sensor (GC2023A | 1/2.7″ ) with f/2.4 Lens
  • Recording Resolutions: 1080p (30fps), 720p (60fps), 720p (30fps), WVGA, VGA
  • Recording Modes: Loop, Motion Detection, Time-Lapse, and Emergency Recording
  • 128GB Max MicroSD
  • Input: DC 5V 1A
  • Dimensions: 80 x 50 x 31mm / 3.15” x 1.97” x 1.22”

Whats Included

  • Camera
  • Car Charger with 13ft USB Mini-B Cable
  • Suction Mount
  • Sticker Mount with Two extra 3M Stickers
  • Six Cable Clips
  • Trim Removal Tool
  • User Manual
  • Warranty Card

Initial Impressions

As i open the box my first impression the design is nice, the black on black has a nice stealth look to make sure it doesn’t stand out too much for those thieve that will steal anything. The Polycarbonate and ABS housing has a very light feeling that I typically feel is a bad thing in electronics, but I think in this case having a light case is a positive with something that will be hanging off of a windshield, i have had too many devices release from their suction cups or adhesives because the weight was too much to hold it up on hot days. Although the black case could be a worry during summer months, there seems to be plenty of passive vent openings for air to flow through and cool the sensor off with. The lens seems a bit large for a 1/2.7″ sensor but should allow for plenty of light to soak into the sensor during night driving.

Thoughts and Notes during usage

  • Audio off as default
    • So during my first use it had the audio turned off, i had to look into the manual to figure out that i had to long press the ⯅ arrow to enable Audio recording.
  • Alternative uses – i think it would be possible to use such features outside of vehicle use with the aid of a MiniUSB cable and an external power bank.
    • Time-Lapse mode- This mode could be neat for trips, however i don’t know if i would want to sacrifice the safety of having the camera recording Loop Recording to create a time-lapse, i think i would rather keep that duty to a second, dedicated camera for just that use and keep this camera for dash cam use.
    • Motion detection-  Such uses could be good for security use to monitor rooms or areas that you want to keep an eye on and only record when you see movement, however i could not figure out how to get it to only record on movement, This mode could also be usefully for a parking lot monitor if your car has a power port that stays on when the car is off to monitor for car thieves and vandals.
  • USB power connector location
    • if your not running the cable up and around your windshield the mounting of the power plug on top of the device can be a bit of a strain on the cable as it has to bend to go back down, right now i am not testing this on the car it will be installed into so for now it will be going down into the dash and directly into the power plug. I only bring this up as i know a lot of people i know don’t bother with installation of devices like this and it is more likely they would plug in the camera and stick it up and just have the cable dangling down without installing it proper, so this could be a concern on the longevity of the cable bending down and wearing out over time.
  • GPS Input
    • there is an option to connect a 4 pin Phono Jack (the kind that used to be on cellphones…) that connected to an optional Accessory the Aukey GM-32 GPS module which would then display speeds and position data on the videos, this is a neat addition but i have not found the GPS for sale on Amazon, but i did see a third party alternative that might work for under $20.

Snapshots and photos

In camera Photos using the photo button

Snapshots using VLC

Video Samples

Due to the rain in the bay area most of my videos have been during the rain in pretty crummy weather quality for filming, but i guess its a good measure of suboptimal filming situations. I will try to add some non rain videos when it stops.

Night Driving in the rain Sample
Daytime Driving in the Rain Sample

Final Thoughts

The camera performs really well in the harsh filming conditions we have had with all the bad weather in the bay area, but i can still make out most license plates of cars in front and to adjacent to me which is very important to me for record keeping in case of an emergency. The lights at night get a bit hazy with the rain but there is not much you can do with a windshield covered in water droplets and bright lights.

The camera currently lists on Amazon for $33.99 after a $6 coupon is applied which for what your getting I think is a steal of a price for a really solid camera.

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