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Vantrue Ondash R1 Pro Dash Cam review: This dashcam records your crashes, but lacks location

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One-minute video

Putting the R1 Pro into a test car, the suction cup easily clamped to the windshield, just ahead of the rear-view mirror. However, the power cable, plugging into the bottom of the device, would take some work to get cleaned up and out of the way. A top-mounted plug would be better, making it easier to run the cable along the top of the windshield and down to a 12-volt power point.

Turning the ignition, the dashcam turned itself on automatically and started recording. Its LCD showed the camera image as I drove, which could be distracting. Stopped at a traffic light, the R1 Pro stopped recording, only resuming 53 seconds later, after the light had turned green and I was already in motion. This gap is troublesome, as any number of incidents worth recording could have happened in that time.

First setting its shock sensitivity to normal, then bringing it up to high, I drove over rough streets and speed bumps, intentionally slamming on the brakes more than a few times. None of this harsh driving triggered the R1 Pro's event recording, and I wasn't willing to get in an accident to see if it would work. On the plus side, that means no false positives, but it also leaves me wondering if it would record a minor collision.

Vantrue Ondash R1 Pro dashcam
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Footage from the R1 Pro looks good, but lacks speed and location, which could be crucial evidence in a collision.

Screenshot by Wayne Cunningham/CNET

Even with no events captured, the R1 Pro did record continual footage of my driving, saving files in one minute video segments. To watch it, I had to pull the micro-SD card and put it into a computer. The resulting video, on the R1 Pro's HDR setting, was sharp and wide, clearing showing my driving progress.

However, as I mentioned above, there is no telemetry information with the video other than the time and date stamp. If I wanted to find a specific moment of driving footage, I would have to dig through many, many video files to find the exact moment I needed.

With the car parked, the R1 Pro's motion sensor triggered readily, making it work for stationary surveillance.

In sum

While the Vantrue OnDash R1 Pro dashcam produces sharp, wide-angle video clearly showing the road ahead, it also shows some serious problems. It seems too ready to shut down at a long stoplight, and in my testing did not immediately turn back on when I started moving again, potentially missing crucial moments.

If you want to actually record your speed and location, the R1 Pro can't help you. Look to the Thinkware Dash Cam X500 for this capability.

The parking and motion sensor may come in handy, but you won't want to leave the R1 Pro on your windshield in areas where people might break into your car, which is just about everywhere. With its silver trim and big lens, the device is pretty noticeable.

Ultimately, dashcams are not all that necessary in the US. Every state either has a financial responsibility law, requiring drivers to have insurance, or a no-fault law, which basically serves the same purpose. If you get in a collision, the insurance companies work out the payouts among themselves, then raise everyone's rates. With such a legal climate, the video from a dashcam is unlikely to be called for.

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