With all the chaos on the road these days, you can never be too careful. It's a good thing we now have dashboard cameras to give us an added layer of security and peace of mind when we sit behind the wheel. Of course, it's all for naught if the video quality is so poor that you can't tell if it was an SUV or a tricycle that sideswiped you. Enter the Polaroid E280GW.
We've discussed this camera before. It boasts an impressive list of features for its price. We got the chance to test it out for a few days to see if it lived up to the hype.
Out of the box, you get all the essentials you need to get started: the camera, a mount, an 8GB microSD card, a CD-ROM, and a cigarette lighter port adaptor. The camera records in either full HD or 720p.
Setting it up in your car is straightforward, though we would've preferred a suction cup attachment on the mount. The E280GW uses an adhesive that makes it hard to adjust the camera once it's set. The instruction manual shows you how to turn the camera on and guides you through a few basic functions. The rest you have to explore for yourself, which is easy enough with the simple and bright touchscreen interface. The 2.7-inch LCD screen can be a bit fussy though, so you have to be careful about where you touch.
The Polaroid delivers good quality and resolution in its photos and videos. Image captures are best when you're not moving, naturally, but the quality is still good even when you're on the move. We tested it out in daylight, in the rain, and at night. The quality stayed consistent throughout. The same goes for the video, which is captured through a super-wide 140-degree F1.9 lens. The camera records in a fisheye style that captures the width of your windshield. As an added bonus, the camera includes the time, the date, the vehicle speed, and your exact GPS coordinates in the photos and videos. This is a great thing to have in case of an emergency.
However, things get a bit tricky with the extra features. The Wi-Fi connectivity to your phone works great when you're parked, but drops in and out once you start moving. The Life Cam app also tends to freeze and crash sometimes when you export your videos and photos. It also stops downloading when you minimize the app, which can be a bit annoying. If you want to save your footage, your best bet is to take out the microSD card. The file sizes for the HD videos are quite big, so you'll probably want to upgrade from the miniscule 8GB card that comes in the box. Otherwise, your older files will get written over quickly.
Other features like the lane-departure warning system and the front vehicle move alert are inconsistent at best. It might have to do with our poorly defined roads, but we struggled to get the alarms going even when we were obviously swerving. We only managed to set it off twice. In bumper-to-bumper traffic, the front vehicle move alert only went off every so often. The forward-collision warning system didn't go off at all despite our mild efforts.
On the plus side, the speed limit alert feature works like a treat, beeping a second or two after you exceed your set limit, and turning off once you slow back down. The headlight warning surprised us as well while we were in the parking lot. The driver fatigue alert also worked fine, warning us when we had been driving for one hour. This function is useful on road trips, but pretty depressing when you're stuck in traffic on the way to the office.
Overall, the Polaroid E280GW is a decent purchase if you want good quality photos and videos from your dashboard. The working features like the speed limit alert, driver fatigue warning, and built-in GPS are great, especially for long drives. The inconsistent functions are bit of a let-down, and the camera is a bit pricey at P9,999.75. But if it's quality you're after, it's worth the price of admission.