I bought a copy of Carcorder last week, having looked at a few options. I’ve been using it for a few days now, so here’s my first impressions…
Firstly, I found it a bit unintuitive to use. This isn’t helped by the complete lack of any documentation or help. The app doesn’t appear to have a website and there isn’t even much that comes up on forums etc. Also, there is no help within the app itself. The app itself is reasonably simple, but at first, it didn’t appear to work the way I thought it did. This turned out to be a problem with the settings for my specific setup.
On my first test, I set up my phone on my windscreen and pressed the record button. So far so good, the record button and the info bar at the top of the screen turned red, indicating that it was indeed recording. All was well, until after a few minutes I noticed the info bar had turned black again and it seemed to have stopped recording. I pressed the record button again and it started recording, but again, after a few minutes stopped. I looked in the settings when I got home and found a setting for “Video Recording Time” which was set to 3 minutes and thought that must be it. I was a bit annoyed at this point because I thought it was supposed to record continuously and I didn’t want to have to keep telling it to record again every 3 minutes:
I went for another test drive with the video time set to 10 minutes, but had the same problem as before – after a few minutes, the recording stopped. When I got home, I again went through the settings, trying to understand how it works. The way it actually works is as follows:
- You set the amount of space you want to allow the app to use to record. I set mine to 4GB initially.
- You set the Video Recording Time to the length of time you want each recording segment to be
- The app will then record continuously, creating files 3 minutes (or whatever you set it to) long, then starting another file until you stop the recording. If your allocated space (4GB in this case) fills up, it starts overwriting clips starting with the oldest first.
I found another setting for “Shake detection handling”:
This seems to be a setting where you can tell it to stop recording if it detects a shake, from which it determines you’ve been in an accident. You can also get it to automatically call an emergency number in such a case. My car (a Honda S2000) is fairly stiffly sprung and I wondered if the app was thinking I’d been in an accident every time I went over a bump. I set the shake detection handling to “Continuous recording” and went for another drive. Sure enough, it recorded continuously the whole time, without stopping once. Problem solved!
You can view the recorded videos in the clips list and from there, you can choose to export a video to your camera roll. It takes 30 seconds or so to convert the video and you can choose whether or not to overlay speed/location data. Annoyingly, if you do overlay the data, it will show your speed in km/h, even if you’ve set your speed units to mph. For my tests, I’ve been using a 640×480 resolution and 3 minute clips. With these settings, each clip exports with speed/location data at around 110MB. I’ve got my app configured to use 4GB of space, so I should get around 30 minutes of video with those settings before it starts overwriting, assuming the video isn’t compressed as it exports to the camera roll. Over the coming days, I’ll play with higher resolutions and giving it more space to play with.
Carcorder also has a map/navigation feature, where you can have a little picture-in-picture window in the corner with a map, or vice-versa, with the map full screen and the video in the corner, or just full screen video or map. It’ll do navigation too, either via Apple maps, or Google maps. I’ve not played with those features yet, but it’s nice to know they’re there. I’d like to use my phone for navigation, but Apple won’t allow video recording from an app when it’s in the background (for obvious enough reasons). This means that if I had Google maps open for navigation, I wouldn’t be able to use Carcorder in the background. By incorporating navigation into the app, Carcorder gets around this quite nicely.
Also, when playing back video, you have the option of a little map in the corner, showing the location of where the video was recorded:
If you’re a user of Carcorder, or another dashcam app, I’d be interested to hear what you think in the comments.