In the time that’s passed since we reviewed a number of dash cams last year, the essential use of an in-car camera hasn’t changed. Dash cams record footage of the road in front of you (and sometimes behind) while you drive, ensuring you have a video account of any incident that occurs while you’re in or around your vehicle. But dash cams haven’t really caught on in the United States as much as they have in countries like Russia, which is often the country of origin of most of the dash-cam videos you’ve seen. The benefits of dash cams are clear: they can prove what really happened if you’re in an accident, some can monitor activity around your car even when the car is off, and your insurance provider may offer a discount for having a dash cam installed in your car.
But most of the benefits of these little black boxes may never reach you if you never end up needing their footage, and this lack of instant gratification is likely a big reason why Americans haven’t bought into them yet. Some companies are trying to change this with dash cams that do more than just monitor your driving, or are designed to fit into your vehicle more discreetly. We’ve tested a few new dash cams to see how companies are setting their devices apart from others, and what extra features we could see dash cams provide for drivers in the future.