$ 399.95 at Cobra / Currently not available in Australia
While I may have gone for a slightly different style, the Cobra SC 400D is from experience one of the prettiest dash cams I have ever tested. It feels great in the hand, it has a convenient magnetic holder, and it supports three cameras.
You get the front and rear cameras in the base $ 400 package, but for $ 480 a direct-mount 1080p indoor view camera is included. It’s hardly a stupid change, but it’s probably worth it, given the SC 400D’s overall high quality.
Exceptionally, the SC 400D sports a light pewter color. Dash cameras tend to be dark gray or black, and by that I mean almost all of them. At first glance, I wondered if the lighter color might be annoying, but it wasn’t my actual use experience. In fact, it might have even been less distracting than his darker parents.
I really liked that the SC 400D was slightly heavier than your average dash cam. It’s still pretty light to handle, but it feels more substantial than most of the other models. The main unit uses a semi-permanent sticky mount that integrates the GPS unit.
If you want great captures, the SC 400D should be on your short list. Scratch that off. It should be the shortlist.
The front camera is a 4K (2160p) unit with a 140-degree field of view (FOV). The rear camera is 1080p with a 120-degree field of view and connects to the main body via a 3.5mm to mini-USB cable. It also uses a semi-permanent sticky backing. Semi-permanent can be a downside for some. For example, I leave the doors of my convertible unlocked to prevent the roof from being chipped to sink in. But then there’s that dash cam begging to be pilfered.
The main and rear cameras may not match the style or colors, but they take very good pictures.
The rear of the main body houses a crisp 3-inch color touchscreen. My only extremely minor complaint is that the touch icons could be larger. Beyond that, the menu system is easy to use and well thought out.
On one side of the main body you have the emergency backup and the SD card slot. On the other, the 3.5mm jack for the optional $ 80 FOV 1080p 120-degree indoor camera. At the top is the micro-USB power port and the 3.5mm jack for the rear camera cable. I would love to see dash cam vendors start to switch to Type C, but I guess there are still tons of older parts in stock. Soon I hope.
I wish the rear camera was closer to the style of the main body. But the superb video quality outweighs the styling concerns.
The Drive Smarter app provides mapping and access to your videos on the phone and in the cloud.
The Cobra is also connected to the wazoo. There’s Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, the Drive Smarter app (of course) with tons of warnings and mapping, plus local voice control (front video, video lock, etc.) and Alexa. The camera must be connected to your phone and the phone to the Internet for Alexa to work.
Video capture quality is where the SC 400D absolutely shines. The color is well balanced and the level of detail is simply exquisite. I could go on, but if you want some great captures the SC 400D should be on your short list. Scratch that off. It should be the shortlist. Look at the screenshots and tell me if you agree.
Daytime captures are no better than the SC 400D’s front camera. Of course, 4K quickly absorbs storage space.
The daytime photo above is very close to what I really remember, with slightly richer colors anyway. Right click and open the image in a new tab to view it in full size.
While the SC 400D’s rear camera is only 1080p, the details are excellent.
While only 1080p, the rear camera produces some really nice daytime captures, as seen above. Check the details on the license plate.
You can see even more detail in the nighttime capture if you clear it up in post-production.
While not entirely color faithful, the night before capture pictured above offers tons of detail. Details that are not readily apparent with the default setting appear if you use a brightening filter on the video or image.
Even a dirty window didn’t stop the rear camera from capturing the license plate of the car behind me with excellent accuracy. Pleasant.
Unfortunately, my rear window was dirty for the rear night shot (I didn’t notice it until I sat in the car), but the SC 400D captured some amazing detail anyway. Again, these captures are as good as anything I’ve seen from a dash cam.
The best video you can buy
I’m a fan of the Nextbase 422GW telephoto rear camera, and I keep it in my car for this reason. However, the sheer quality and exceptional detail of the Cobra SC 400D’s captures makes me consider a change. At least for the front part. I highly recommend it if you have the cash.