Anker has proven itself to be a go-to brand in the phone accessory space over the years, but what about as a device maker? They've gone so far as to create a whole brand for their line of dash cameras called Roav, and I got the opportunity to try out their latest addition to their line, the Anker Roav Dash Cam C1 Pro.
There are several things that make the Anker Roav Dash Cam C1 Pro a fantastic dash cam, but three standout features earn the C1 Pro the title of best dash cam ever: 1. The form factor 2. the set-and-forget nature of the device, and 3. Roav's great software.
2. The Set-and-Forget nature of the device: Every single dash cam I've tried before the C1 Pro has been impossible to silence. They seem to have bleep-bloops and chimes maxing out the internal speaker anytime they do anything. Even once you manage to turn off most of them, the power on/power off chimes are not mutable. Enter the Roav C1 Pro: in settings, there's one switch that turns off all the sounds. This is huge for me. I want my dash cam to be completely out of the way and silent. The form factor adds to this too, when positioned behind the rear view mirror, it's possible to completely hide the device from my view, making it literally set-and-forget. The option to have a one minute or thirty second screen timeout are also there, and even enabled by default, which is perfect since you don't want glare to be created by unnecessary screens when driving.
3. Roav's great software: I downloaded Roav's app and the first time I connected to the device, it informed me that a new firmware was available for the camera. While I geared up for a giant headache, the process was even simpler than upgrading the firmware on my phone and worked flawlessly. But that's only the beginning of my praise for the software. Roav's app takes a simple dash cam and makes it a true IoT device. Once connected, you can review all recordings and download them to your phone. The playback optionally has an overlay with all kinds of useful info like speed, time, even x and y g-force levels (from the internal accelerometer on the camera). You can zoom in on the video EVEN WHILE IT PLAYS, which kind of blew my mind. Thanks to the on-board GPS, You can literally "navigate" the videos using a map display. just click the place on the map, and the software finds that spot in the video for you to review. This is a killer feature. You can also adjust all the settings, which is awesome because it can be awkward to navigate them through the small LCD screen using the capacitive buttons.
Additional "Pros" I should mention:
- The inclusion of a 32GB Samsung memory card and Anker's own 2-port USB charger are much appreciated. No cheap accessories included here.
- The inclusion of a long micro USB charging cable allows wiring of the camera all the way on the top of the windshield without a cable hanging down. I was able to run my under the trim pieces and all the way around the dash for a virtually invisible installation. It just pops out around the charging port.
- The ability to set the length of video files that are saved and have them loop (deletes the oldest files as space is needed for new files) works great. At 2K 30FPS, or 1080P 60FPS, each minute of recording uses about 140MB of space, so that Micro SD card will fill up faster than you realize.
- The blinking red light is reassuring because otherwise, you wouldn't even know it was on. Additionally, the light is small and subtle enough that it's not annoying at all, and you have to willfully look to see it rather than have it beaming all over your car.
Some minor things I would change:
- When the firmware is upgraded, all settings are set back to default and I was instructed to format the Micro SD card, which was slightly inconvenient.
- There are some compression artifacts in the video, making 1080 and 2K resolutions slightly less crisp than I expected.
- Transferring files from the device to the phone wirelessly can be slow when a 3-minute file is 500MB, it can take up to 15 minutes depending of the quality of the connection.