ASUS line of business has mostly been computer hardware and accessories. So it came as a surprise that ASUS has launched a car camera in Singapore. I requested for a test unit and they promptly delivered for my review.
I have a car camera for about 3 years and the video quality has deteriorated. So the RECO Classic Car Cam comes at a good time for me to determine if it is a good candidate for replacement.
Key Selling Points of the ASUS RECO are:
– Full HD recording in HDR resolution with bright F/2.0 lens
– 140-degrees wide viewing angle
– Driver safety features like collision warning, lane departure warning
– accessories for DIY setup
The RECO comes with DIY installation kit including adhesive clips to stick the long USB cable around the windscreen. It is thoughtful of ASUS to include them, for consumers who do not want to visit a car workshop to conceal the cables for a small fee.
The retail unit for Singapore comes with 2 mounts: one is the suction one with GPS module, the other is adhesive without GPS module. Again, very nice of ASUS to provide extra.
It is a good thing that the RECO uses the same mini-USB port and voltage as my current car cam so I can use back the power source during the review period.
The RECO is capable of recording video in the following formats:
– 1920×1080 30fps HDR
– 1920×1080 30fps
– 1280×720 60fps
– 1280×720 30fps
The full HD HDR consumes about 532MB per 5 min file. I do not see any difference with HDR and non-HDR except file size, so I guess it’s safe to leave it to non-HDR mode to conserve file size. A 64GB memory card can record about 840-1200 mins of Full HD 30fps footage, or 750-1100 mins of HDR footage.
The normal HD 60p uses 307MB while the 30fps is about 200MB. The 60fps produces crispier video due to higher frame rate, so this should be the preferred mode if you want to save space. With a 64GB memory card, you can record 1000-1500 mins when recording in 60fps, or 1500-2200 mins in 30fps.
The RECO starts recording the moment you start the car, and shuts down automatically when you turn off the car power. Scroll to the end of the review for sample video footages.
The RECO comes with a GPS unit built into the dashboard mount. A short external cable is required to connect the GPS to the RECO. Once connected, the recording will capture the vehicle speed and GPS coordinates. When you install the RECO software and playback on your computer, the GPS information will be displayed, as well as speed, directions, G-force meter. The software also lets you save footages as still images.
Monitor Mode and Motion Detection Mode
Other than recording while you drive, you can also record while the car is stationary (parking mode). However, you would need a separate power source or else the RECO will shut down once you turn off the car. Most car workshops would plug a power bank which in turn connects to the car battery so that the power bank will power up the dashcam when the car engine is turned off. When you start the car, the car battery will recharge the power bank.
The motion detection mode will auto record only when motion is detected. The monitor mode will record 1 frame per second when no motion is detected, and records in normal fps when motion is detected.
While it makes sense to record video in full HD, the normal HD footages are very usable thanks to the bright ASUS lens. If you enable monitoring or motion detection mode to do full day recording, your memory card will be filled up within 24 hours.
In addition, RECO has a feature to auto-save a separate video file if it detects collision. The emergency record footages will not be overwritten. You can also manually invoke emergency record feature by pressing the first left button on RECO, which can be useful when you notice some undesirable road users behaviour and want to store them for future reference.
Wide Angle 140-degree
The camera captures the complete view of the windscreen thanks to the wide-angle lens. When wide-angle is disabled, there is less distortion with a slight reduced angle of view.
Lane Departure Warning System
The LDWS will detect whether you are veering off the lane marking. When activated, the RECO will trigger a audible beep and on-screen graphic. The LDWS only works when the vehicle travels above 60km/h. It is a good feature if you have a problem keeping in lane, but seasoned drivers might find it annoying as the cam does not know if you are changing lanes or falling asleep on the wheel.
The LDWS only works when recording in Full HD.
Forward Collison Warning System
The FCWS will detect whether you are getting too close to the front object. Similar to LDWS, the FCWS works only when travelling above 60km/s. If you travel on expressways, you might get one warning too many as you manoeuvre in the busy traffic or tail gate. The FCWS only works when recording in Full HD.
It would be better if both warning systems provide different warning tones, as I was not able to tell the difference: was I veering off-lane or driving too close?
Speed Camera Detection System
The ASUS RECO can support speed camera detection as well as road speed limit warning, but this feature is not available for Singapore roads.
Sample Recording Footages
1. 1920×1080 HDR
2. 1920×1080 30fps
3. 1280×720 60fps
4. 1280×720 30fps
If you research hard enough, there are a lot of inexpensive car camcorders, though the quality can be questionable. Even Andy of SengkangBabies Blog was researching for a dash cam recently, and eventually settled for one that is below S$100.
While the recording quality is good even at night, the ASUS RECO falls short to be the perfect car camcorder. The GPS module could have been built into the main unit so that there are fewer cables. It should come with built-in battery to allow short recordings in the event of power failure.
The RECO Classic retails for S$199 in Singapore.
Main Chip: Ambarella
Display: 2.0 ” LCD
– 140° viewing angle
– HDR(High Dynamic Range)
– G-Sensor(3-axis accelerometer)
– LDWS(Lane Departure Warning System)
– FCWS(Forward Collision Warning System)
Storage: Micro SD SDXC, Class 10 (8GB – 64GB)
– Full HD 1080P (1920×1080)
– HD 720P (1280×720)
– file format：MOV (AVC/ H.264)
– file length：5 min/ per file
GPS: External GPS sensor
Power: Car Charger (four meters)
Ports: mini USB port, mini HDMI port, GPS port.
– Operating : 0 ℃ to 60 ℃
– Storage : -20 ℃ to 70 ℃
– Car Camcorder
– Car Charger
– 3M Adhesive Mount Holder
– GPS mount holder
– Quick Start Guide
– Self-adhesive cable clips