The evolution of the dash cam has been a fairly rapid one. In just a few years we’ve gone from chunky, single-lens affairs with low-resolution sensors and virtually no other features, to twin camera affairs with smartphone connectivity, timelapse modes and even some embarrassing attempts at driver assistance system.
But progress marches on and the obvious step once you’ve gone from 480p to 1080p and one lens to two is to up the resolution and camera count, which is exactly what Viofo has done with the A139.
Designed with professionals such as taxi drivers and minicabbers in mind, the A139 features the usual outward-facing front and rear cameras along with a rear-facing interior camera to monitor what’s happening inside the vehicle. The front camera uses a 1440p quad-HD Sony sensor while the other two are 1080p HD sensors, also from Sony.
Features-wise, it has the usual GPS tracking, time-lapse and motion-sensitive parking mode as well as an enhanced night vision mode and dual-channel wifi, and comes packaged with a polarising filter to aid image quality in bright conditions.
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The A139 is only the second triple-camera system we’ve tested but scores points over the Zenfox T3-3CH immediately thanks to a more user-friendly design. While the Zenfox’s main and interior cameras are integrated into a single bulky unit, each of the Viofo’s are separate. The main unit is a slimline affair that’s smaller than a deck of cards, while the internal and rear cameras are neat 7cmx3cm lozenges. Keeping them separate and compact makes it easier to mount each camera in a safe, unobtrusive place and ensure best coverage.
As with many modern dashcams, the main unit doesn’t feature a screen but relies on a smartphone app for playback and detailed settings control. It does, however, feature buttons for basic actions such as starting and stopping recordings and write protecting clips immediately. The sometimes fiddly app includes a far broader wealth of settings, ranging from image settings to sensitivity controls for the parking mode G sensor, as well as live view and playback of recordings.
The main camera’s image quality isn’t quite as sharp as the best Viofo cameras we’ve tested and the drop in resolution from 4K to 2K is noticeable. However, it’s still crisp enough to easily read registration plates and road signs and the sensor adapts quickly to changing lighting conditions, aided by an included polarising filter for the lens.
Both the rear and interior cameras are “regular” HD, with the interior camera using an infra-red sensor and six IR LEDs to capture footage. In both cases the footage produced is clear and accurate and more than good enough should you ever need to use it as evidence in any incident.
At £279.95, the A139 is more expensive than a lot of other dash cams, some which offer more features or higher-resolution images. But for buyers who would benefit from an internal camera it’s a simple one-package solution that covers all their needs. While it’s more expensive than the Zenfox T3, it’s also more flexible and offers better quality footage, particularly from its main camera.