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Elinz DCMAX 4K dashcam review

THERE ARE many options to choose from when it comes to selecting a dashcam, which makes it hard for the many newcomers to stand out. One way to garner attention though is to offer plenty of features at a competitive price, which is exactly what we have here.

Elinz is an Australian-based online electronics store offering both third-party and its own Elinz branded products. As you’d expect, these are made in China to be priced competitively, much like some other online stores such as Kogan. To be honest, we hadn’t heard of Elinz before, but found that it had been operating since 2005 and has a long list of solid consumers reviews on the internet… so we thought we would test out its latest dual-camera dashcam which touts some impressive specs at a sharp price.

Disclaimer: Elinz provided the camera to Practical Motoring for review, however, we have not been paid and are not being sponsored to review this product, and in no way earn any money through affiliate sales.

What does it cost and what do you get?

Pricing for the Elinz 4K ultra HD dual-camera dashcam is $185 with free shipping (online only, this is not a physical store). Our unit from Elinz arrived promptly and was well packaged.

In the box, you get the main (front of car) camera, the smaller rear camera, a 3.5 metre long car charger and cable for the main unit, a 6 metre long cable for connecting the rear camera to the front camera, 3M adhesive pads for mounting the cameras, a user manual, and electrostatic screen protectors that don’t leave a sticky residue.

Elinz dashcam package contents review

It shoots in 1080P dual camera mode, 4K in single camera mode, has motion and collision sensors, GPS positioning, 140-degree lens (both cameras) and a 3.0-inch touchscreen.

What’s the build quality like?

It’s a solid feeling unit, particularly the main front camera. Shaped like a cigar the camera adjusts its angle by rotating around the end of the unit, and it’s solid and tight in operation. Of course, you will probably only do this once or twice and then set and forget it. The charger and cables are fine, with a reasonably thick sheath protecting the wires to protect in case you accidentally shut a door on them.

The 3M sticky pads are great, really sticky and a tight fit. But if you’re planning on moving the camera from car to car occasionally this poses an issue, as they don’t like being pulled off and on again. There were no suction mounts available but would likely also provide a looser fit compared to the sticky pads.

Rather than use a battery the system has a capacitor inside that stores energy. Elinz says this is more reliable and less prone to issues such as rapid capacity degradation and risk of explosion due to heat. That makes sense given the camera is mounted against the windscreen, and particularly interesting when driving in the outback. The operating temperature range provided is from -10 to 60 degree Celsius.

The chipset is a Novatek NTK96660, which is known to be reliable and often used for upscaled 4K image quality rather than native. The image sensor is a Sony Starvis unit for both cameras, which is a CMOS sensor with good known low light capability, and the front camera touts a 6 element glass lens with f1.8 aperture that should be good for low light (night vision).

How do you install it?

So the main unit is mounted at the top of the front windscreen pointing out, and the rear camera on the rear window looking back.

The front camera plugs into a car charger (supplied) with a 3.5-metre long cable that should be more than enough length. It draws 5V 2.5A, so you can use a USB cable too.

As is, you can opt to only use the front camera and can connect the rear camera for recording vision out the back when driving, or as a reversing camera.

To do this, there’s a 12m long cable which connects the rear to the front unit. This is a pain of a job to do well as the cord flaps about unless you tuck it into the roof liner or under the floor, so leave a good amount of time to get this part right, as you don’t want it to pop out while driving and be a distraction.

Along with the long black cable to connect both cameras, there’s a shorter red wire which is optional. You connect this to the reverse light lamp so that the camera can automatically show you the rear vision when reversing. You don’t have to do this, particularly if you already have a reversing camera.

With automatic on and off, the camera turns on when you turn the car on, and off when the ignition is off. Once fired up, the image quality on the 3.0-inch OLED screen is good and the touchscreen responsive. The English menus all make sense too, which not all of the more affordable Chinese units are capable of.

Essentially, the camera works in two different ways: the front camera only, and the front and rear camera together (or perhaps as only a reverse camera). In the latter, you have two video files, one of the front, and one of the rear. But in this mode, it can only capture 1080p if both cameras are recording. In single cam mode, it captures the headline 4K (2160p/24fps in settings).

Is it any good?

The image quality is quite respectable for a unit at this price and important details such as number plates can be made out in any quality setting. The quality at 4k is certainly better than 1080p, though. The colours are a bit more vibrant, and the sharpness and clarity better. We found 1080p fine, but 4k is better for picking out smaller details. The rear camera vision is nice to have and not as great as the capability of the front unit. It does do the trick though.

4K/24fps
1080p/30fps

The settings available for recording on the front camera only are 4K at 24FPS (this is the 2160p settings), 1440p at 30FPS, 1296p at 30FPS, 1080p at 60FPS. With the rear camera, you can run 1080p at 30FPS + 1080p at 30FPS on each system. Quality in dual-cam mode should be more than enough for most, and the 140-degree lens view is good, though better units (costing more) offer 180-degrees.

The recorded footage can be reviewed on the back of the screen quickly or on an Apple or Android phone using an app and its own Wifi hotspot. The microSD card pops out for loading it onto a computer, and with a Mac or Windows machine you can also look at the logs for GPS coordinates, including driving route, speed, longitude and latitude and location. The output file is H.264 MP4 at around 260mb in size at the length is 3:00 minutes long, with seamless loop recording.

If you are in a collision the camera will detect the incident and protect the footage from being recorded over. It also features a motion sensor that can detect objects in the camera and automatically start recording.

Nighttime video quality is reasonable but the detail breaks up in 1080p mode. But ultimately, it captures enough detail to be acceptable for seeing the information you need, though like most dashcams night vision is not as good as the daytime, looking slightly washed out.

Beyond video, it also takes JPG stills which are ok though the quality isn’t great.

Anything else I need to know?

As far as limitations, it doesn’t have voice recognition, though we have found this to be hit and miss on more expensive units.

The maximum SD card size is 128GB, and though our package didn’t come with one ($185), you can buy it with a 32GB card for $199 at the time of writing. That would be a plug and play solution.

Finally, there is a 12-month warranty and 60-day money-back guarantee offered.

Would we buy one? Sure, at the price point it offers plenty of good features and they work. What we like is that the screen looks good, the menu is slick and easy to use, and the 4k footage looks quite clean once downloaded. It doesn’t offer the same quality in dual-cam, and that’s about the only thing we’d like to see – 4K for the front cam in dual mode.

For more information: Elinz Dashcam


Camera

Elinz 4K (Sony sensor)

Field of view (FOV)

140 Degrees

Dash Cam Auto Sync

Yes (up to 2 cameras)

Recording format

4k (single camera), 1080p (dual and single cam)

Micro SD Card

Optional

Power source

5v 2.5amp

Processor

Novatek NTK96660

Sensor

Sony Starvis

Lens

6 layer, f1.8

Voice Control

No

Price

$185

Editor's Rating

Build quality
Image quality
Features and value

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