Dash cam

Vantrue Element 2 Dash Cam Review

In a world where people use cameras every day to document, exploit, and protect themselves and others, having a dash cam in your car makes perfect sense. The vehicle is the last frontier for the things you use every day that don’t contain a video recording device. And you’ll be hard-pressed to find a dash cam with better image quality than the Vantrue Element 2’s dual-camera system.(opens in a new tab)which offers 1944P (Ultra Full HD) quality recording capabilities from its front and rear cameras at a relatively reasonable price of $250.

Unboxing the Vantrue Element 2 quickly reveals a sleek design that’s full of bells and whistles. Although the installation process can take a bit of time, we have found that the product holds up even after a few months of daily use.
Credit: Riley Eubanks/Mashable

Perfect image quality out of the box

Immediately after opening the Element 2 box, the efficiency and effectiveness of the camera was on full display even before I plugged in anything. The camera design is sleek, featuring a touchscreen center console that allows the user to map Dash Cam specs.

I decided to mount the camera on top of my car and the adhesive held up well after almost three months of use. I’ve found that keeping it top mounted keeps it out of my sights and I hardly notice it anymore.

Two glaring flaws with this camera are the lack of a printed manual, which makes setup much more difficult, and the lack of internal storage, which requires a microSD card sold separately.

Luckily, the Element 2 seems to be compatible with any microSD that holds up to 512GB of storage after formatting it. That seems like enough storage for at least a few weeks of driving depending on how often you’re behind the wheel.

I decided to do it myself and tried to configure the camera without looking at the manual, without much success. I couldn’t figure out how to set up the rear camera until I looked up the manual online. It’s entirely possible that these cameras started shipping with a printed manual when they hit the market in July, but my early release camera didn’t come with one.

You will be able to set up the camera regardless of whether you have working USB ports in your vehicle, as the dash cam can operate entirely from the car’s auxiliary power outlet. The cord is also long enough that you can mount it wherever you want in your car.

screenshot of dashcam view with timestamp, positioning and car speed

The camera automatically timestamps a wealth of useful information as it records, which means you can clearly see me successfully passing a yellow light while driving at 42 mph in a 35 mph zone near Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. on my way to my friend’s apartment on June 30.
Credit: Riley Eubanks/Mashable

Optimization features for days

Menu options are plentiful, from recording quality to audio options to basic optimization functions depending on whether the camera is mounted on top of the car or directly on the dashboard.

My favorite feature is the multiple loop configurations, which allow you to continuously record your ride in automatic clips ranging from seconds to minutes at a time depending on your preference. If the microSD is full, the oldest video in the file will automatically be deleted unless marked for saving.

This feature is especially beneficial for drivers in the gig economy, both for their own protection and their liability in the event of a disputed delivery. I used it myself when delivering food this summer when I was between jobs. And I imagine that would provide great peace of mind for gig economy drivers who choose to work night shifts.

For people who like to use voice control features, there’s a toggle button you can mount near the steering wheel and when you press it, you can tell the dash cam to start a recording, among other features. .

You can also toggle a setting for the dash cam to record audio in addition to video. I enabled this option, but my recordings had no sound, so I’m not sure why this is the case.

night shot of cars on a road from dashcam view

Although not good enough to clearly depict license plates in low light situations from most distances, the camera is able to clearly capture the surroundings based on the brightness of your headlights. .
Credit: Riley Eubanks/Mashable

Whatever the time of day, the cameras go by

Finally, let’s talk about these cameras. Designed to be effective in ultra-bright and low-light situations, these cameras capture just about anything you might expect from a dash cam. The wide-angle lens captures more than you might expect from a dash cam, providing a complete snapshot of what’s ahead and behind you.

The cameras also adapt appropriately to various weather environments, capturing just about anything you can see behind the windshield at all times.

When you’re ready to offload your records to send the crashes you capture to your insurance company or post them to social media (because what would you really want to keep from what you see while driving), you can either connect your phone to the Element 2 via WiFi or follow the old method of inserting the microSD card into a computer.

On iOS, dash cam recordings and images aren’t automatically synced to the phone’s camera roll (we can’t expect that feature to exist either), meaning you’ll have to download everything what you want to offload from the dash cam to your phone via a downloadable smartphone app.

The app and offloading process can be a little clunky and slow, but as long as you’re going to use it, I can’t find much reason to complain too much. For a simplified offloading process, I recommend just putting the microSD card in a computer.

I found that the actual recording process tended to crash and hang periodically unless you manually adjusted it, which can be problematic and cause you to miss recording an important moment. However, these crashes are rare and may have already been fixed with a post-launch update.

Is the Vantrue Element 2 dash cam worth it?

Granted, I’m no expert on aperture settings and camera frame rates. A one-hour credit photography class was the only class I had to take twice in college because I’m just not a very photogenic person, in any sense of the word. However, even I can see the difference in image quality between what the Element 2(opens in a new tab) product compared to other dash cams. This camera is clearly among the best dash cams at its current price on the market and would be a great companion for any driver looking for a camera to put in their vehicle.