Most might not ever consider such but a typical hardware review is usually completed after a very short period of hands on with a product, followed by a report describing the specs and maybe, if you are lucky, the writer’s opinion. This is not a typical review.
Our report of the Transcend DrivePro 520, not only follows that of our last write-up on the Transcend DrivePro 220 but also, was tested during our road trip of just under 9000km across the US and Canada with some incredible video and pictures. This is how the Transcend DrivePro 520 looks in our 2015 Corvette Z06 test vehicle; click on the picture for a much higher resolution:
TRANSCEND DRIVEPRO 520 FEATURES
Built on the success of the Transcend DrivePro 220, the 520 Car Video Camera is a dual lens camera that allows full 1080P (30fps) video to the front at a 130 degree viewing angle, and also provides in-car video with a 180 degree swivel 720P rear facing camera. The camera is based on the Novateck NT96655BG processor and Aptima AR0330 CMOS sensor.
The cameras front lens captures a vast array of varying lighting conditions with incredible detail through its 6 glass lens f1.8 aperture composition while the rear of the camera contains 4 LEDs for ultra low light recording of the inside of the car. As the rear facing camera has a 180 degree swivel and is on the left side of the camera closest to the driver’s door, it can be turned to face out the side window for any legal interactions one may encounter. Here is a screen capture of one of our night video’s during our trip, a shot taken during complete darkness with the infrared’s facing more to the driver than passenger:
On the back of the DrivePro520, we have its large 2.4” LCD screen which has ‘live view’ , along with 4 buttons on the bottom that are used for Power/Wi-fi, Browse, Setting and Snapshot. These buttons change depending on the function in use, the power button being able to continue record for 30 seconds post shut down, and Wi-Fi enabling Android and IOS Apps that allow quick and easy viewing and download of video clips or pictures taken.
Perhaps some of the best qualities of the Transcend DrivePro 520 are those less considered though. This camera starts and stops automatically with the vehicle and even has an adjustable ‘G-Shock’ feature that throws the cameras video into protected mode in case of sudden car movements such as an accident. There is also an emergency button on the bottom of the unit that accomplishes same. We found that the G-Shock feature could be a bit finicky at times, throwing the camera into Emergency mode from a typical bump in the road. One should consider of course that the bump is being crossed by a very low to the ground Corvette that doesn’t have the same suspension as most typical automobiles.
The Transcend 520 ships with a 32GB MicroSD card but we can validate that we have had it running without difficulty on our 128GB cards. Typically, we could get two full days driving out of the larger card before it would start writing over files. It also includes a suction swivel mount and a self adhesive mount was also available upon request.
As the camera records in 1080P, quality of recordings is amazing, but we did find something to grumble about…and maybe it is just a ‘Vette’ thing. The included mount held everything in place tight, however at times, the video seemed just a bit shaky in result, once again our acknowledging that this could be similar for any similar sports car.
We decided to include this video as it demonstrates the exact reason behind having such a camera. It starts and stops with your vehicles engine and deletes and adds should the card get full so you never have to remove or replace the car until something key needs to be saved. This was just that. Fortunately, nobody was hurt in this accident and the video played an integral part of both the police and insurance investigations.
Considering the camera is mounted within the car, this can make up for some glare if you are facing the sun. Nevertheless, the quality of the shots is very good as can be seen here:
REPORT SUMMARY AND FINAL THOUGHTS
If the final determination as to quality of the Transcend DP520 lies in its current use, it is deserving of our Editor’s Choice Award. It is as much a part of our Corvette Z06 as if it were installed by the factory. It remains there through travel and shows, and is recording each and every time we are on the road.
It is presently priced at just under $200 at Amazon and worth every penny. Quite frankly, we cannot recommend the transcend DP520 highly enough.