It finally happened – and I didn’t even see it. After years of rather (thankfully) uneventful driving with various dash cameras, I finally captured something worth hitting the “save” button. I had stopped to drop off some donations during the COVID outbreak and while chatting with the donation center attendant, there was a screeching of tires and the unmistakable crunch of metal and the shattering of glass.
Like I said, I wasn’t driving at the time, but I had left my car running and the Vantrue OnDash N4 dash camera system, which features three cameras, had captured the scene with the front-facing camera. Upon review, the clear 1440P front camera had recorded a red car crashing into the driver’s door of a BMW Z3 convertible – and then driving off. And I had it on video.
I ran over to check on the BMW driver, who was not injured, but was understandably angry. As crashes go, this was pretty minor as by the time the red car had hit the BMW, it wasn’t going that fast, but the BMW was still badly damaged. Another witness had jotted down the license plate of the hit-and-run driver, and I gave the driver my information so they could get a copy of the video (which they did). The police eventually arrived and viewed the video in my car. I have no idea if the driver of the red car was ever found, charged or otherwise, but driving off after hitting another car usually means something more than just the fight-or-flight reflex was at work. I hope things worked out for the BMW driver – at least they have solid evidence from the incident.
The incident highlights what I’ve been telling family and friends for years: Get a dashcam. Just, anything. In an a crash, it can pay for itself very quickly, or help someone else out. And it helps if it’s as nice a system as the $259 Vantrue OnDash N4, which features those three cameras and a cool form factor.
Vantrue OnDash N4 tech
I’ve been on the lookout for interesting and innovative dash cam systems and the tube-shaped N4 fits the bill. It features a cylindrical housing that includes two cameras, a sensitive f1.4 1440P front-facing main camera with a 155-degree field of view, and a 1080P interior camera with a 165-degree FOV plus four built-in infrared illumination LEDs for recording the inside of the cabin of your vehicle. The interior camera rotates for simple adjustment, and the suction cup mount allows for a wide range of installation options. The 1080P rear camera, which also rotates for optimal positioning, has a 165-degree FOV and is attached to a 20-foot tether that uses a USB-C connection. Vantrue also included their optional $22 suction cup mount that includes a GPS receiver. A power cord that plugs into a standard 12-volt powerlet is included and features a USB port for charging your phone, etc.
Installation of a three-camera system is a bit more complicated than just sticking the camera to the windshield, but instructions are included and it took about 30 minutes to run the power cable and the wire to the rear camera, and get then get the cameras up and running. A memory card is not included but the system will accept a card up to 256gb in size, which incredibly, can be had for about $35, or you can get one with the camera system in a bundle. Settings complete, the system is unobtrusive while in operation, starting up and recording whenever I started my car. It records three data-heavy video files at the same time, one for each camera, so be sure get that spacious memory card. The files are looped, so the oldest files are deleted to make room for new footage unless you protect the file by pushing the “M” (memory) button. A file will also be auto-locked if your vehicle is an an accident thanks to a built-in impact sensor. The Vanture N4 also has a 24-hour parking monitor mode that will keep the system operational while you are away but that requires installation of a $16 hardwire kit and some install time.
Overall, I like the Vantru N4 system very much. The form factor is less obtrusive than the typical “wedge” style dash cams and the video it captures is clean and clear, including at night thanks to the bright f1.4 front lens. Operation is pretty simple but I do wish it had wifi built in to simplify file transfer to my phone. As such, to view files, it’s easiest to take the card out of the camera and pop it into your computer card reader. Simple enough. Files can also be played back in-vehicle on the 2-1-inch LCD display.
Should You Buy It?
Overall, I recommend the Vantrue OnDash N4 system. It’s a great choice for any driver but it’s an especially smart pick for rideshare drivers or anyone needing to record activity inside a vehicle as well as activity in front and behind while driving. The low-profile form factor, excellent video quality and ease of use make it winner.