We’ve been running the A129 PRO in one of our company vehicles for the last month. The A129 welcomes back the same form factor and accessories, but now with a 4K sensor up front.
Thus far, we haven’t seen 4K being worth the extra money. We’ll have to look at the existing generation of “true” 4K dash cameras on the market to compare— The BlackVue DR900S and the Thinkware U1000.
The biggest down side of these two cameras were the bitrate, with the DR900S averaging ~25mbps, and the U1000 doing about ~28mbps.
The A129 PRO does ~60mbps.
In broad daylight, with the lower compression in the A129 PRO, we noticed much better textures (especially when driving in wooded/forested areas), and higher preservation of details in the extreme corners and shadows of the frame.
Processing power should be very similar in all 3 cameras, but we assume the Korean dash cams use a higher compression to compensate for their other features. To compensate for a lower bitrate, you need to have aggressive sharpening, which results in a “crunchy”, overly sharp video.
Lower light settings is where a 4K camera will fall short compared to its 1080P counterparts. With a 4K sensor, you have to cram 4x as many pixels in the same sensor size. This results in less light intake into the sensor. You’ll find that all 4K cameras will have to force a higher exposure time to achieve the video quality you’d like— The caveat is you’ll notice more motion blur and much more noise. The A129 is no exception here, so if you’re looking for the best night video possible, stick with something with 1080P video such as the regular A129 Duo.
The A129 has some of the most accurate color reproduction on the market at the moment.
Nothing new here, as the outer shell is the same. You will notice the camera is actually almost double the weight as the previous A129 due to the huge heatsink that’s now inside the camera.
We do, however, wish that the rear camera cable was thinner. The one that VIOFO chooses to use is a much larger diameter than what you typically see. During the installation, expect to need to remove panels to properly tuck away excess cable.
The WiFi feature is easily accessible, with just a simple hold of the Picture-in-Picture button. With 5GHz WiFi, we saw an astonishing peak of 15mbps transfer speeds! Other cameras we tested typically peak at 10mbps, and not to mention unstable.
The A129 PRO also allows for H.265 HEVC encoding. This is a relatively new codec, but translates into half the file size when compared to H.264 (typical for most, if not all cameras). It’s a bit of a hidden option at the moment, but all you need to do to enable H.265 is to stop your recording, and hold down the “mic” button on the camera. You’ll notice a new SD card symbol on the left side of the display pop up.
NOTE: Ensure whatever device you’re using to playback video, whether it be your PC, MAC, iPhone or Android device supports H.265 before switching over!