Dash cam

Vantrue S1 Dash Cam Review

Vantrue S1 Dash Cam: Specifications

Field of view: 170° forward, 160° backward
Resolution: 1080p front and rear or 4K front only
GPS: Yes
Display: 2″ LCD

The Vantrue S1 is a neat little package, with separate camera units, GPS, 4K recording and two adjustable cameras.

Despite some dodgy nighttime recordings, the S1 is a reasonable effort from Vantrue. However, if it had more uniform functionality, it would be much more competitive with its top-tier peers for its price.

Vantrue S1 dash cam review: Price and availability

You can buy the Vantrue S1 from Vantrue, Amazon, and other major electronics retailers for $179.99.

Vantrue S1 Dash Cam Review: Design and Features

Take the Vantrue S1 and you might find its chunky build distracting. Indeed, its wide and angled design can seem intrusive, especially in small vehicles.

Fortunately, Vantrue’s build quality has improved for the S1. Although it’s not going to compete with the likes of Garmin and nextbase, the S1 features higher quality plastic and a clearly labeled button system.

Vantrue S1 Dash Cam Monitor

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

On the functionality side, there is good news. This mid-range system packs some great features, including 4K recording when using the front camera alone (it’s 1080p with recording from both cameras), GPS and a Sony Starvis sensor – something that would offer a clear recording no matter what the conditions. More on that later.

Another welcome sight is its adjustable camera, which operates on a swivel, opening up options for where you want the device on your windshield.

Vantrue S1 Dash Cam

(Image credit: Vantrue)

Of course, the S1 is also equipped with all the standard dash cam features, such as an incident detection system and parking protection, both of which start recording after a collision or incident. As usual, the 24/7 parking attendant requires a wired connection. There’s also a timelapse mode to offer a quick highlight reel of your road trips, but I’d bet that won’t be used frequently.

At its price, the S1 sits just below similar brand cameras. However, I think its case could be stronger if it included easier to use features like WiFi connectivity, voice control or a companion app.

Vantrue S1 dash cam review: Setup

The Vantrue S1’s “lazy L” shaped unit is designed to be mounted parallel to the windshield using a sliding mount on a sticky mount. However, there is no suction cup option – once the adhesive is applied, that’s it.

Vantrue S1 Dash Cam Lens

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

This “L” shape isn’t ideal either, angling the screen away from the driver. Sometimes I had to awkwardly crane my neck forward to check. The design will also not work for those with vertical windshields, such as in buses or trucks.

Vantrue S1 dash cam mounted in the car through the rear view mirror

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

Its wiring system is also faulty. The rear camera and power cable sockets rub against each other when connected to the device, making them difficult to insert. It could also lead to additional wear on the wires and connectors.

Fortunately, the S1’s menu system was a pleasant surprise, with a simple drop-down menu and labeled context buttons throughout. My only real complaint is that it’s white text on an orange background, which is hard to read, especially at the sharp angle of the screen.

Vantrue S1 dash cam review: Video and audio quality

During the day, the S1’s rear and front cameras perform well. Images are often clear, crisp and detailed, with the right color saturation.

Vantrue S1 Dash Cam Front Video

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

You also get a good view of the road with its wide-angle lenses. Sometimes contrast can become an issue, with sunlight increasing image blur.

Vantrue S1 dash cam rear footage

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

At night, things predictably get blurrier, especially with the rear camera, which can struggle to deliver clear, well-lit images without other light sources. Streetlights can also be a problem, creating large, prominent lens flares in front.

Vantrue S1 dash cam rear footage

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

Also, at certain angles, the headlights can make it difficult to see a vehicle’s labels clearly. However, while many low to medium dash cams struggle at night, this is a commendable effort.

Vantrue S1 Dash Cam Front Video

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

Sound is also generally solid, although vocals and playback are slightly thinner than they actually are.

Vantrue S1 Dash Cam Review: Verdict

It’s by no means best in class, but the Vantrue S1 offers a decent front and rear dash cam system for a little less.

Had it come with a few extra features, it might have set it apart from its rivals and earned itself another half star on that rating in the process. However, as it stands, with generally crisp and clear image quality, the S1 is a decent mid-range contender.