Posts Tagged ‘car’

Hot off the heels of the Mio 658, we now have the pleasure of testing the Mio 638 Touch which is equally as impressive as its bigger brother.

In my last review I started off by not being that persuaded by the whole dash cam revolution. After testing the 658 and now living with the 638, I am a dash cam believer.

I strongly believe that these will either be part of future cars or be something that will be required by law or at least your insurance company.

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Let’s start off with the fact that these Mio devices are so easy to set up. I literally took this out of the box, plugged it in and stuck it on my windscreen and I was away. Of course you do need to plug in a micro SD to get going and maybe tweak a few of the settings, but apart from that their is nothing else to do.

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The 638 looks to be exactly the same body as the 658 but with a few different features. This model has two micro SD card slots allowing for a capacity of 128gb (class 10 recommended). I will say that you do not need two SD cards for this to function as we have also tested with just one. When I first looked at the technical spec I thought this would be for huge capacity but this is not the case and really would not have been necessary for this reason. Instead the second slot is for backup, taking footage from the first just in case. I suppose its bigger brother does this via WiFi straight to the phone which is a very cool feature, but we won’t always have our phones at hand in the car or connected, so this way probably makes more sense for most people.

The Full HD 1080p camera records your journey as soon as you start the car. It takes a few seconds for the GPS to pick up satellites but this wasn’t an issue at any point.

The 638 has a button on the side of the screen very much like the majority of Mio devices. When pressed it takes a copy of the latest event, storing it for you under the “Events” folder for later viewing in the software. The filesystem is very easy to understand separating all necessary events into folders.

This dash cam comes with speed camera notifications which others in its field do not include so it is a welcome addition. The camera itself sits on the windscreen, best placed under the rear view mirror. When recording the screen shows your current speed instead of what it is recording in front of you. I have seen other comments on the web with people saying they would have liked to have seen the footage and cannot understand why you would need a speedometer when you car has one already, but I think that seeing what I am recording in front of me would just be off-putting where as not a lot of people know that the speed shown by GPS devices is actually more precise that your cars own.

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The speedometer can be changed from kilometers to miles but the 638 does seem to suffer with the same software issue as the 658 along with its very own. Firstly shared with its bigger brother is the fact that for some reason when a speed camera notification is displayed on screen it shows 2mph lower than the actual limit. For example, if I was driving up to a speed camera in a 30mph zone, the 638 shows a big traffic sign on screen with 28 in it…I really am perplexed as to why the devices are doing this.

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Secondly, although I have changed kilometers into miles in settings and it happily shows me my speed in miles on the main screen, when the safety camera notification comes up it insists on telling me in kilometers and I see no way of changing this. I am sure this can be easily fixed via a software update…..come on Mio pull your finger out.

Although the safety camera alerts need a few little tweeks, this doesn’t stop them from being a seriously good feature of this device. Not only will it alert within a certain distance which you of course can amend, you can even add cameras that you come across to the database so that it will come up in future for you.

The dash cam can be used to take pictures at any point by touching the little camera icon on screen. This would primarily be used to take pictures of your car when damage has occurred or while mounted on the windscreen if you want to take a picture of anything in front of you.  Here is an example of the picture quality at night.

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Night picture

 

Along with the GPS, Mio have included a G-Sensor inside to pick up any collisions or hard braking that may occur. I tried with a little bit of emergency braking and the system worked well. The device notified me with a “ting” sound that it had saved that recording to the SD card for me to look at later.

Now I know if you are reading this then you are technically inclined and would want this stuffed with every bit of tech available to man, but really their is no point to this camera if the footage is not very good, so here it is in full glory;

Day Footage:

Dark Footage:

 

The device allows you to decide whether you want sound recorded in the car, we have toggled this feature off.

I do like this camera and think that pretty much everyone will get on with it. The instructions are not the best, but we come across a lot of devices like that nowadays. This wouldn’t sway me from recommending it or buying it as it is so easy to set up out of the box.

If Mio can sort out the software issue concerning speed units, then we will have ourselves an almost perfect dash board camera.

If you are looking for a Dashcam for your car, this is one of the best I have reviewed.

TheTechSpy Rating: 7/10 (8.5/10 if they get the units updated)

Currently around £149 in the UK.

 

 

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Fresh in for review today from Satechi is the Bluetooth Button Series.

The series consists of three buttons, the Shutter Button, Media Button and Home Button.

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The Shutter Button, as you might expect, is for taking remote photos on your smartphone and is ideal for tripods.

The Media Button allows you to control your smartphone video or music apps.

The Home Button is simply a clone of your home button.

All three of the devices have a solid industrial design with what looks like brushed aluminium edging.

So, let’s get on with the review…

Shutter Button

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This will probably be one of the easiest things I’ll ever have to review. By pressing the button when you have the camera app open on your phone, it will take a photo for you. Simple and effective. It’s also responsive enough for you to hold the button down and take burst photos.

Media Button

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The Media Button is what had me most excited. It’s a simple enough device, using the Bluetooth AVRCP protocol to access Play/Pause, Previous / Next track and Volume Up / Down.

Many devices have the same AVRCP functionality as the Satechi but nearly always as part of an audio receiver set. What I mean by this is that audio is redirected over the Bluetooth A2DP protocol away from the source device, usually to a headphone socket on the media remote.

Take a look at the Sony SBH-20 which at first glance looks like a competing product. It has the same media controls but the unit is both an AVRCP and A2DP device using what’s called a ‘Bluetooth Audio Sink’. This means that all audio is redirected to the headphone jack on the SBH-20 the moment you press a button.

The thing that gets me about the Satechi Media Button is that this kind of device is so rare and yet it’s perfect for parties. Let me explain:

Let’s say you have a few friends over for a BBQ.

You have an iPhone connected to your home stereo via a headphone > auxiliary connection, a couple of the speakers placed near the windows and you’re playing your favourite music through Spotify.

You’ve started playing a playlist and left your phone in the house with the stereo out of harms way.

You could take the Media Button out into the garden with all the food and drink and just leave it on the table. Skip a track? No problem. Turn the volume up? You got it.

You cannot do this with something like the SBH-20 or any other AVRCP device I’ve found online for that matter. The second you press a button, the music from the stereo would stop, re-routed to a device that nobody is listening to.

It really is as far as I can tell, a unique product.

The price of it also means it’s not the end of the world if your mate knocks his beer over it. Until all phones are waterproof, I’d much prefer this scenario.

Home Button

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The Home Button is simply a remote ‘Home’ button. On my test iPhone 6 Plus, it does exactly what the normal home button does – a short press exits applications, a long press activates Siri. Double tapping takes you to the app switcher.

The only use I’ve found for this is in my car. I mounted it to my dashboard using the supplied adhesive pad and can now dictate to Siri and keep my eyes on the road. For this one purpose, I’ve found it invaluable.

The Shutter Button and Home Button are normally available for £19.99 at Amazon, with the Media Button priced at £23.99.

However, Satechi have provided Amazon discount codes of 15% for readers of TheTechSpy, valid until 24/07/2016.

Media Button: 88EWX7F8 
Shutter Button : X9E6I4CR
Home Button : Z7HQ2TVZ

-pc