Blaupunkt, a famous name in car audio accessories, also features digital video recorders (DVRs) in their product portfolio.
If you drive a car, you should definitely have one of these units installed on your dashboard. The device can assist you when driving and definitely safeguard you in unwanted circumstances. A car DVR (digital video recorder) is something that we have been using for years now, and we are still unsure why the government is not making this device mandatory for use in all vehicles. A DVR can record your journey with a full view of the front area. It captures a video and saves it on the storage for later analysis, if needed. The device also comes in different variants — single camera, dual camera, multiple cameras. A DVR can record videos of your journey from all angles if you wish. Many DVRs come with additional features such as GPS, Wi-Fi connectivity, night vision, crash detection, parking sensors, theft standby and reverse parking assistance and also in full HD too. It all depends on how much you spend.
Having a DVR attached to your dashboard can help in many ways. While learning to drive, you can go over the video clips to know your weak points and mistakes. When regular driving, you can use it as evidence in case you meet with an accident. While driving around, you can help use it as evidence if you are a witness to an accident too. With additional features, you can use it to track your vehicle’s movements, or use it for creating personal videos too.
Blaupunkt, a famous name in car accessories, especially the audio segments, also features digital video recorders (DVRs) in their product portfolio. The Blaupunkt Digital Video Recorder BP 3.0 FHD GPS is a tiny DVR for all vehicles. The DVR is almost the size of a pager (if you remember one of these communication devices that was wiped off in the last decade). Bundled along with the BP 3.0 is a suction cup holder that attaches the DVR to the dashboard or windshield, a USB cable for data transfer, a lengthy USB charger for the cigarette lighter point, and a CD with the necessary software.
The BP 3.0 sports a rugged build quality. Black in colour, the plastic body is robust, but the dual-tone glossy-matte finished can get scratched and collect dust, especially on the glossy area. However, if you have a personal garage, you may not witness these issues since you would be keeping it in the car itself, the whole time.
The BP 3.0 features five buttons on the rear panel, below the 2.7-inch LCD display. The buttons are for navigating through the menu and for basic operations. The right side sports a power button along with a mini HDMI port, should you want to connect it to your in-car entertainment system or home television for a larger preview of the video. The left side features a microphone hole, a reset button and a micro SD card slot for storage requirements. The DRV does not have any built-in storage, and you will have to invest on an SD card (up to 64GB max) during purchase. Lastly, the unit has a micro USB slot on the top, which is conveniently placed for mounting on the windscreen. The USB port can be used for charging the device and to transfer your videos to the PC. The rear panel sports the camera, which protrudes by almost an inch. The BP 3.0 looks similar to a compact camera being placed on the dashboard, which also reveals to intruders that they are under surveillance. What we found lacking is an LED flash or IR LED array for night mode use. However, the night mode or low-light mode is efficient enough, and you won’t be needing a flash or IR unless you are driving in pitch darkness — which is definitely impossible.
The BP 3.0 has some great and interesting features that one could use every day. The videos can be captured right from standard 480p to full HD 1080p at 30fps. The 2MP CMOS sensor can also capture stills if you want to use it for photos. The camera lens has a 140-degree wide-angle view, which is good enough to cover your entire front view from end to end. The BP 3.0 has a built-in 600mAh battery, which is just sufficient enough to save the videos and shut down. The battery is only meant for saving the videos to prevent loss of footage. The unit runs on the car’s battery power.
The BP 3.0 also features a built-in GPS, which operates without the need of any GSM SIM or internet. It uses the satellites directly to get basic details such as location. The GPS is basically ideal for those who keep chauffeurs for home or office. The DVR videos can be played back on the bundled software which gives out important EXIF information details such as GPS, date, time and more. Each BP 3.0 unit can also be numbered for unique identification within the settings itself, and this info is also watermarked to the videos. The unique identification numbers are meant for those who deploy multiple units in the same car or who have multiple cars with the DVR installed. This number, also tagged as driver identification, can be used to differentiate between users and cars.
Moving on, some important features of the BP 3.0 include the following:
Motion detection: This is very helpful as it starts capturing videos when there is any activity in the video frame. This can be used for surveillance. However, you would have to tweak your car electrical circuit in case you need to use this feature as you would need constant power.
Built-in G-sensor: This feature helps in automatically recording the videos when the car is in motion and stops when at a signal or when parked.
Parking sensor: This feature is useful when you are using the EXIF information to find out where you parked your car during the drive.
Installing the unit to your DVR is super simple. All you need to do is attach the mount to the glass and place the DVR on it. You can loop the power cable from your roof or simply let it hand around (which is irritating and ugly). Setting up the device is easy. Set your recording mode to your needs — settings for resolution, audio, motion, GPS, and other sensors need to be set up initially. Lastly, you are ready to go. When the unit receives power — when you turn the ignition key — the BP 3.0 senses the input voltage, switches on and starts recording automatically. When you turn off the car completely, the DVR saves the video and switches off automatically. During use, the onboard battery is automatically put to charge, so you don’t have the hassles of charging the unit separately. Removing the device is easy as you just need to slide it out the front. However, the mount bracket is not a generic one, and if you damage it, you would find it difficult to mount the DVR in any other brackets available out there. Blaupunkt should provide a standard mounting option or have the option for alternative mounting in case the mounting bracket is lost or damaged.
The BP 3.0 records videos in wide angle. Day-time videos are great, sharp and detailed. Low-light or night mode videos are also surprisingly clear, even when shot against the bright sun. The videos are well lit and night videos are very clearly legible — thanks to the 1 LUX low illumination CMOS sensor that does not need a flash or IR light source for night mode. Video playback is also smooth, and the audio is very clear too. Connect the DVR to your PC and run the software bundled with the device. It will give you details such as the number of videos, date, time, size, start time, end time, length, and location on map, speed and direction. You can also grab snapshots from the video for your requirements and lock files/videos so that you can store important ones, and they don’t get overwritten or deleted accidentally.
Check out the video samples for day and night captured with the BP 3.0 in full HD. Increase the quality of your video resolution in YouTube (under settings) to 1080p.
Drawbacks: Although this isn’t complaining, but probably a few shortfalls were noticeable. As mentioned earlier, the mount bracket needs to be redesigned well. Though you can simply slide in/out the unit for quick mounting, it would have been better if there was a universal mount option in case the original mount bracket gets damaged. Secondly, the storage option for maximum 64GB seems too little. This can force you to go through your recordings and delete the unwanted ones to save space. However, since we usually would store the ones during an incident, we could probably overlook this tiny problem. Blaupunkt should also work on a different design for the charging cable. Since the cable comes with its own cigarette charging unit, you would have to remove your existing accessory from the cigarette lighter slot to use this one. Which means that you could only use the DVR and would have to sacrifice your mobile charger or ioniser, or any other gadget that uses the cigarette lighter port in your car. Else you may have to get another cigarette slot unit installed to use the other devices. The DVR’s charger could have implemented a USB Type A connector so that one can use it with an existing car charger too. Else, Blaupunkt could give an equally longer USB data cable along with the unit. Lastly, the video size is pretty large — a simple daytime full HD 30fps video footage of around 36 minutes took up almost 3.75GB of space. Going by this value, a 32GB storage card would give you a maximum of four hours of footage and a 64GB would end up with a maximum of 8 – 9 hours of recordings, in case you need to store it completely. Anyways, the loop recording with delete the older recording and replace with a new one, and you will never have to stare at a ‘disk full’ message for sure.
The experience with the Blaupunkt BP 3.0 FHD DVR was great. The ease of use and simple operation will benefit first-time users. We would recommend using the DVR for your car/vehicle on a daily basis. The Blaupunkt DVR is priced at Rs 12,490, which is pretty expensive considering it as an additional investment for your vehicle. However, the quality of the videos and importance of the video footage in case of an accident will definitely make sure your investment fruitful.