The VSTARCAM GPCV5168 dash cam is a dashboard camera designed to monitor your driving (and other cars) around your while driving.
In today’s review we’ll be showing you the pros, cons, as well as data from our road test, to see how the VSTARCAM camera performs in the real world.
Additionally, we will take a look at the design, usability, and features of the VSTAR. So with that said, let’s get started.
July 14, 2019 Update
I’ve been using the VSTARCAM for about 6 months. It has been mounted to the front windshield of my car.
After 5 months of use a piece of plastic on the suction mount had become weakened or broke off (wasn’t entirely clear). But after 6 months a catastrophic break occurred, rendering the camera unable to mount to the suction cup mount.
Bear in mind, I don’t drive very much. I work from home, so the only times I drive are on the weekend and a few times out to lunch and back each week. During a year I typically put around 3,000-4,000 miles on my car.
Suffice to say, this is incredibly disappointing. While the camera itself is pretty good this is a deal breaker. A dash cam that cannot mount on the dash isn’t much use to anyone.
As a result, we are revoking our recommendation of the VSTARCAM. We’ve also updated our score below to reflect this design / quality issue.
VSTARCAM Camera Design
First and foremost, this dash cam is not a large unit. In fact, it is almost small enough to sit entirely behind the rear-view mirror in my car, going virtually unnoticed.
The VSTARCAM dash cam is mounted on the inside of your windshield, via the attached suction cup mount.
After it is mounted, users will see the 3″ IPS LCD screen, which will show what is being recorded.
This dash cam is compact. The all black color scheme is a nice touch, but the biggest pro is the smaller size. After several weeks of testing I hardly noticed it anymore.
Camera Recording Specs
There is a 6 layer lens capable of recording at 1080p resolution. This lens has the ability to capture an angle of 170° outside of your vehicle.
The wider angle lens is ideal for ensuring you’re able to see cars, pedestrians, or other objects / obstacles that may be relevant to the driving situation.
The VSTARCAM GPCV5168 can also be used to take still photographs with up to 12 megapixels of resolution.
Buttons & Controls
The camera is easy to use and control, with physical buttons buttons on both sides of the camera body.
These buttons include:
- OK – Confirms video recording and picture taking
- Mode – Switches between camera, snapshot, and playback
- Hold – While recording this button can be pressed to save the video file
- Power – Turns the camera on and off
- Up & Down – These buttons can be used to scroll through the menu
- Menu – Brings up the settings and other features
Using the VSTARCAM Camera
The VSTARCAM dash cam works by recording video footage while you are driving. This footage is recorded and stored on a micro SD card. To get the footage you can plug the entire unit into your PC or just insert the card into a card reader.
Setting up the cam is pretty easy.
- Go through the interface and select the settings appropriate to your car (how you want to record, recording settings, motion / g-sensor, etc.)
- Install your micro SD card (you do have to buy this separately)
- Install the suction mount on your dash or glass
- Slide camera into the mount
- Plug the power cord into your cigarette lighter
Once it’s setup you can basically ignore it.
The camera will turn on / off as you turn the car on / off. This is INCREDIBLY nice, as you can basically plug it and then forget about it.
This dash cam also has a few nice extras, including:
- loop recording
- emergency g-sensor lock (in the event of an accident, automatically locks to secure the file)
- wide angle lens, 170°
- night vision
- parking monitor (includes a motion detector to watch if someone starts messing with your car)
Next, we’re going to walk through the features.
1. Loop Recording
First up, loop recording. This feature will automatically overwrite the oldest unlocked file stored on the memory card, when the memory card is full. By doing so, the camera is still able to record.
This is an ideal (and almost essential) feature for a dash cam. It would be incredibly annoying to have to constantly delete old footage.
This way, old stuff gets automatically deleted and your camera is always recording.
2. Emergency Lock
The emergency lock feature will lock footage when a sudden collision or shake of your car occurs. This ensures that footage from accidents is always saved.
The VSTARCAM camera uses a g-sensor to detect collisions.
3. Wide Angle Lens
Next up, the wide angle lens is a big plus.
By being able to see and record at 170°, the VSTARCAM has the ability to capture a wider field of view. This helps to make sure you can always see what you need to.
4. Night Vision
Being able to see and record clearly at night is a definite plus.
The night time footage definitely wasn’t perfect, however, it’s not bad at all.
You can clearly see most of what you would need for an accident. However, making out license plates is more difficult (they need to be very close). That said, for a camera as inexpensive as this one is it’s really hard to ask for more.
5. Parking Monitor
Last but not least, the parking monitor.
The VSTARCAM can automatically start recording when people, cars, or other items come close to your car, even while parked.
While this is a great feature, it’s kind of moot, in my opinion. In order to work, you have to have a separate external battery or hardwired included to power the unit (neither of which are included).
I’m glad they added the parking monitor, but I think it’s sort of crazy they wouldn’t include a battery that can power this feature.
Should you buy the VSTARCAM dash camera?
As of July 14, 2019 we are revoking our recommendation of the VSTAR dash cam. The camera mount broke after only 6 months of light driving, rendering it unable to stay mounted on the dash.
While this isn’t bleeding edge tech, it’s not bad, and more than suitable for most car owners.
The VSTARCAM GPCV5168 dashboard camera is best if:
- You want a basic dash cam – this has most of the essential features that you’d want in a camera. It’s attaches easily, is powered by a cigarette lighter, has loop recording, and records wide angle at 1080p. That checks all of my boxes.
- You want an inexpensive camera – true, it’s not bleeding edge tech and it’s not smartphone compatible, but it’s cheap. More than that, it’s cheap, and it works.
- You want good usability – the camera automatically turns on when you turn on the camera, turns off when you turn off the car, and deletes old files when it needs space for new stuff. It’s more or less self-maintaining. You can set it and forget it, and you only really need to look at it after an accident.
For more information or to buy the VSTARCAM dash camera please click here or ask us a question down below.
- July 14, 2019 – added notes about the the camera mount failing after 6 months of use. Updated the score to reflect this quality issue. Score reduced from 90% to 71%. We are not recommending this product any long.
Cheap, Average Quality, Good Usability
The VSTARCAM dash cam is an inexpensive camera with most features you’d want. Easy to setup and mount, includes loop recording, and automatically turns on / off as you turn your car on or off. I wasn’t blown away with the overall quality, but hey, it’s cheap and it does what it’s designed to do. If you need something basic as a way to protect against insurance fraud or protect yourself in the event of an accident this is an inexpensive way to do it.