Turn your rearview mirror into a 2-camera video device
In this litigious age, it can be helpful to record video of what happens in and around your car. Or maybe you just want to show off on social media.
There are all sorts of cameras you can suction to your windshield or your car’s bodywork. But a solution that seems elegant in comparison is Pyle’s Dual Camera and Monitor DVR System, which simply attaches to the rearview mirror.
The system comes in the form of a wide (11 inches wide by nearly 3 inches deep) rearview mirror with rubber-lined, spring-loaded brackets that grab onto the mirror. To provide power to the two cameras that are part of the system, you get a very long and thin cord that plugs into a power outlet (along with a supply of stick-on clips so you can hide the cord out of the way).
Hanging from the bottom of the mirror/monitor are a control panel and two high-definition, 1080p video cameras, each providing a 120-degree field of view that automatically records on a micro-SD card. The cameras can rotate 180 degrees so you can aim them front, rear or anywhere in between.
The system has a 4X digital zoom; offers continuous and loop recording, night-vision recording; and the option to include a date and time stamp on videos or photos you pull from the video after you download the memory card to your computer. A microphone records audio.
If you want, you can set up the system so what the cameras are capturing is ghosted onto a 3.5-inch LCD display in the center of the rearview mirror in sort of a picture-in-picture format. This same area displays the various options for setting up or switching things around when you press the “menu” button.
We did a road test with a Pyle Dual Camera and Monitor DVR System units on a trip from Phoenix to the Las Vegas area. The instructions were clear, the system was easy to set up, and the images on the computer screen after we downloaded the video were clear. You have the option of recording not only video but audio as well, and of using one or both cameras simultaneously.
One feature we really like about this system is that you can set it up so it automatically responds to vibration even if the car is not running. Open a door or try to break into the vehicle, and the system can automatically turn itself on and start recording video of the incident.
Another good feature is that in high-g situations, such as when you slam on the brakes, make an evasive maneuver or are hit by another vehicle, the cameras not only record what has happened, but lock in the images so they cannot be erased should the memory card reach its capacity.
Based in Brooklyn, New York, Pyle was founded in the 1960s to produce woofer units for audio systems. It later expanded into car audio, marine audio, musical instruments, outdoor recreational gear and a variety of electronic equipment.
Pyle’s Dual Camera & Monitor DVR System has a suggested retail price of $118.99 and is available through www.pyleusa.com.
Larry Edsall is a Phoenix-based freelance writer. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.