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Akaso Trace 1 Pro: Overview
In my last review, I took an extensive look at one of Akaso's higher-end action cams. While it had its weaknesses as well as its strengths, that action cam left quite an impression. For its price, I don't think it's possible to find something better.
When I saw the Trace 1 Pro, I knew I just had to get my hands on it. What makes this dash cam so unique is the simultaneous front and rear recording. I dare say I have never seen anything like this. Given that this is the highest-end dash cam by Akaso, I think things will only get more interesting from here on out.
This review will contain quite a bit of comparison with the Mini 0805. Unfortunately, I removed that when I installed the Trace 1 Pro. As a result, I don't have any direct video comparisons. However, I've reviewed enough footage of the Mini 0805 to know how it stacks up, especially at night. The Mini 0805 has been a popular choice for many drivers due to its superior low light performance so I was very interested to see how the Akaso compared to it.
Buy It Now!
G-Sensor, Parking Monitor, GPS tracking
Sensor (Front and Rear)
SONY IMX307 STARVIS
Additional Rear Sensor
Dual 1080p30, front 1080p60, front 2K30
WiFi with iOS and Android connectivity
Fatigue driving reminder at 1, 2, and 4 hours
Before we move any further, I just wanted to touch upon a few key features. The first is the Sony IMX307 Starvis sensor, which is advertised for its superior low-light performance. Having this addition on the Akaso Trace 1 Pro is a huge plus for those that do a lot of nighttime driving. While I typically do not drive at night, testing out the nighttime quality for myself is a must. As we progress through this review, you'll be able to see just how this Sony Starvis sensor performs.
Another unique feature that I found interesting is the in-car camera along with the near range infrared sensor for low-light visibility. This is probably the only dash cam I've come across that offers this so I definitely wanted to see just how this works. As I tested this feature, I actually understood why it's being offered. It definitely seems counter-intuitive at first, but there is a reason that I shall reveal later on in this review.
First Look: Front
Housed in a paper box, the key features are highlighted on the outside of the box. At first glance, nothing really stands out to me. Dual front and in-car recording is probably the only thing that will catch your eye. 2K recording at 30 frames per second doesn't seem unique to me. There definitely are dash cams on the market that go up to 4K recording, which I think are overkill. There's no need to record continuously in 4K and cause additional wear on your micro-SD card.
First Look: Back
Over on the back, further details are provided for each feature. Out of the four, I'd like to touch upon two of them.
1. Night Vision
I think most dash cams utilize a Sony sensor so I'm surprised that Akaso is listing this as a feature. The way I see it, I have high expectations for this Sony Starvis sensor.
The rear camera is also very interesting. There are four infrared lights to support the rear (in-car) camera. The reason behind this design is that the lights inside the car do not need to be turned on. I'll be curious to see how clear the videos are when I drive at night.
2. New Design Concept
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At first look, I'm actually really pleased by the design of this dash cam. It's definitely not the smallest unit on the market, but it left quite an impression. When we take a closer look at the unit itself, I'll explain the physical features in more detail.
Opening the Box
This is a very close-up shot of the contents inside the box. You'll receive this bookmark looking thing that allows you to get a "free gift" if you follow their instructions and fill out a questionnaire (I wouldn't get my hopes up for a high-value gift). Behind that are the ESD films and the user manual.
The ESD or electro-static discharge film feels like a thin sheet of plastic. There are outlines on this film indicating the GPS placement. Do not mistake this for packaging and throw it out. If this ESD film isn't applied on your windshield prior to installing the receiver, the GPS recording may experience accuracy issues. Packing wise, I would've liked to see a better use of space. A more positive experience would've been to showcase the dash cam unit immediately and then have the instructions manual and ESD film underneath.
The installation instructions for the GPS unit are printed right on this sheet. Once you peel back the protective layer, you will only see the square outline for where the actual GPS goes.
A tip that I can provide is to test out the positioning of ESD film. The way to do this is by installing the dash cam unit first. After you mount the unit, you can then figure out how to run the cable. You can apply the ESD film after you figure out where the approximate location of the GPS receiver. I believe that this is the best procedure because the receiver actually dangles on the power cord.
If you position the dash cam right, the GPS unit can be outside of your field of view. From the driver's side, the receiver will be blocked by the rear mirror. However, it will be visible on the passenger's side. You'll be able to see this receiver in the next photo.
My gripe with this power cord is that this isn't micro-USB. Since this is a mini-USB cord, finding a replacement will be a bit more difficult. I actually asked Akaso why the GPS receiver isn't internal. The reason they gave me was signal quality. Since the receiver on my Mini 0805 is internal, I was just surprised that this is external. When I did replay the videos, I saw a live preview on Google Maps. The route trace was quite reliable so I don't mind that the receiver is on the outside.
Not much to tell for this. In addition to the car charger, this is a transfer cord. You can use it to charge the dash cam for the initial setup without having to leave your car running.
Just below the cord, there are a few adhesive hooks. These are used to angle the cord or to secure it if you aren't able to route it within the car.
I have no idea what this tool is called so I'm calling it the "pry tool." Each end of the pry tool is a different size. The shorter side is used to remove the rubber stopper that reveals the platform for the dash cam mount. The other end of the pry tool is much wider. I'm not entirely sure why, but I ended up using this end for cable management. This worked really well to stuff the cable into the water-repelling liner near the door frame.
This honestly isn't the most elegant solution. This mount consists of a big suction cup that secures to your windshield. There is a rotating head along with a "T" shaped clip that secures the actual dash cam unit. While this stand appears to be quite chunky, it does have its benefits.
For one, the mount has a swivel head. As such, you'll be able to change the angle and field of view immediately. This is a plus as opposed to Mini 0805. With the Mini, you can't adjust it once the dash cam has been secured in place.
While this isn't a deal-breaker, I, personally, would've liked to see a smaller mount.
This was pretty shocking, but it was also a nice surprise. I highly doubt any other dash cam companies would bother including a micro-SD card. While I already have my own micro-SD card (Lexar 633x), I do appreciate Akaso including one to make it all inclusive. If you want to buy a dash cam and start using it immediately, then this is your best bet.
Regardless of where you get your SD card, it's important that you format it twice. The first format should be done on your computer. The second format should be done on the dash cam. This will ensure that the SD card is properly configured for use. As you are recording footage on a daily basis, this also wears out the SD card. Be sure to routinely format it to keep it in optimal condition. I recommend formatting the SD card every two weeks, but no less than once a month.
Dash Cam: Front
The front of the dash cam is quite straightforward. You have your front camera that's equipped with the Sony Starvis lens. There's a piece of rubber with "Akaso" printed on it. This is a rubber stopper that can be pulled out with the pry tool. Once this piece has been removed, you'll see a T-shaped teeth that's designed to be clipped onto the windshield mount.
Dash Cam: Front 2
Once the rubber stopper has been removed, the dash cam is ready to be mounted.
Dash Cam: Back
Things get interesting over on the back of the dash cam. Like most dash cams, there is a screen to configure the settings and for immediate video playback. This screen is slightly larger than the one on my Mini 0805. I dare say the display quality is better too.
What really caught my attention is the right side of the dash cam. The top right of a dash cam features an infrared sensor. There appear to be four sensors, one in each corner of the "square." As shown in the photo, this camera has a field of view of 170 degrees. I think this is more than sufficient for in-car recording.
Over on the bottom right, you have a rear camera for in-car recording. This is useful for proving that you don't use your phone while driving. It's also useful if you are a ride-sharing driver.
Dash Cam: Bottom
This is actually another thing that I really like about this dash cam. The buttons for navigation are very pronounced. I hate it when dash cams have very few buttons, which requires you to cycle through all the settings.
I personally consider this as one of the downsides of the Mini 0805. That dash cam isn't very user friendly because it required you to press combinations of the up/down arrows along with the "OK" button to access different menus. This isn't easy to remember and it requires quite a bit of trial and error. I'll show you how straightforward the navigation is over on the Trace 1 Pro.
Dash Cam: Side A
There's not much to show on this side of the dash cam other than the speaker. This speaker doesn't do much other than provide an audible beep when the dash cam turns on and off. This is a useful feature for letting you know that the dash cam has successfully turned off at the end of your drive.
Dash Cam: Side B
Over on the other side, you have the power button along with the micro-SD card slot, and microphone cutout. I found that inserting the micro-SD card was a bit difficult. You will need to use your nail to really click the card in. The same goes for popping the card out. I'm not sure if there's a more elegant way to do this, but hopefully you don't need to remove your micro-SD card that often.
As mentioned before, I really like the button placement. They align with the on-screen menu options. Instead of cycling through a whole bunch of menu items, this allows you to quickly find the setting item that you need.
Video Quality: Nighttime Test
Spoiler alert: the Sony Starvis sensor held up strong.
I kept these videos short in order to prevent YouTube from overly compressing them. The first half of this video is a lowlight test. During this time, the sun was about to set. You can see that the Trace 1 Pro performed very well in this test. Despite very little sunlight, the dash cam had no issues capturing the street names on the various signs. If you pause the video, you can read the entire sign.
The second half of this video is a true nighttime test. Without any streetlights, I would've been driving in pitch black. Despite my dirty windshield, the dash cam performed very well. I say very well as a comparison with my old Mini 0805. The light sources were slightly blown due to my dirty windshield. However, you'll notice that the street signs remain legible. Most, if not all, dash cams struggle a bit more in very low light, and this one is no exception. While you can see a reduction in the video quality, the key details were still captured.
Video Quality: Daytime Test
There's not much to say about the daytime video test to be honest. The dash cam performed very well. All the street signs were legible and you can read the license plates of the cars in front and to either side of you.
Since this is a wide-angle camera, the field of view is essentially much bigger. If you take a look at the license plates on the cars to the very left and right, you'll be able to read them. They did not face distortion issues caused by the wide-angle lens.
Verdict on the Akaso Trace 1 Pro
The Akaso Trace 1 Pro met and even exceeded my expectations when it came to the video quality. This is a solid dash cam that provides excellent daytime and very good nighttime performance.
Admittedly, it's not the sleekest or smallest dash cam. It might not be your pick if you require something smaller and more concealed. However, I believe that the user interface and sturdiness of the overall unit far outweigh the size concern.
The plastic shell doesn't creak. It looks and feels rugged. The dash cam is well built and gets the job done well. It's as simple as that.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.