The VIOFO A129 Pro Duo is a 4K dash cam, is a flagship in the world of dash cams thanks to a host of top-notch features and excellent video quality.
The headline features of the A129 Pro is that it can record video from its front-facing camera at up to 4K UHD resolution at 30fps. It can also record 2K at 60fps, which means you can still get sharp and detailed video but with double the frame rate. Full HD is also supported at 60 or 120fps. Interestingly, you can choose between different bit rates of video compression from low, medium, high and maximum.
Choose maximum to record at the highest quality but at the expense of memory card space, or a lower bitrate to save on space, but at a lower quality.
The A129 Pro looks very like the A119 V3 I reviewed recently, although it is a little heavier. This is in part down to the internal cooling system that has vents on either side of the unit. It takes a lot of power to process 4K video and so this isn’t surprising.
On the back, you’ll find the non-touch, 2-inch LCD screen. On a pro model, I would have preferred to have seen a touchscreen, but the menu system and operation is simple and easy to use. Screen size isn’t too important for dash cams, but ones with a rear camera like the A129 Pro would benefit from a larger screen. This is because the rear camera can be a parking aid when reversing, especially into a parking space.
Video quality is obviously a key element in any dash cam and just because it has 4K doesn’t necessarily mean the recorded footage is going to be good. The A129 Pro uses a Sony EXMOR CMOS sensor in the front camera, as well as Sony Starvis sensor in the rear camera. These sensors are designed to provide clearer night vision so that video recordings retain precision even in low-light conditions for nighttime driving. This low-light video is further enhanced with HDR functions that keep detail in high-contrast lighting. With an f/1.8 aperture elements lens in the front camera (130-degree field of view) and f/1.6 aperture element lens in the rear camera (140-degree field of view), image quality is surprisingly good at night while driving through urban areas where there’s additional light. However, like all dash cams the video quality isn’t as good when driving through country roads where the only lights are from oncoming cars and your own headlights.
The daytime recording is excellent with incredible detail from images and stills making it much easier to identify number plates on individual frames. The more frames and the higher resolution improves your chances of picking out details that could otherwise get lost in video with lower resolutions and bitrates.
The A129 Pro offers advanced parking modes: auto event detection with buffered parking recording, time-lapse recording and low bitrate recording. With the buffered parking option enabled, video recording will start 15 seconds before the detected event and ends 30 seconds after if the motion sensors are triggered. Loop recording is also possible to use in one minute, three minutes, five minutes or ten minutes captures, as well as the ability to turn this feature off if not desired. While this feature is turned on, the camera will automatically record over the oldest files to make room for the newest clips.
For these advanced parking modes, you may have to purchase an additional HK3 kit which connects to your vehicle’s battery, unless your car has constant power to your 12v sockets.
The A129 Pro comes with a GPS module that also acts as the mount. This simply sticks to the windscreen with back-to-back tape. The A129 Pro clips into the GPS mount making it handy if you don’t want to leave it in the car while it’s parked. The GPS allows you to stamp information like your speed and route data in the video footage files. The GPS will also synchronise the A129 Pro’s internal time to ensure your video files are embedded with the correct information.
A built-in G-sensor on both cameras instantly knows when the vehicle has been in an accident and automatically protects the footage from being overwritten. However, there’s also a dedicated button on the unit itself that will automatically protect the current video being recorded when pressed.
The A129 Pro is a dual-band WiFi dash cam with both 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequency, which allows for faster transfer times from the camera to your smartphone using the VIOFO Dashcam app. Using the app, you can also get real-time video previews and playback.
Thanks to 4K resolution taking up roughly 2GB for five minutes of video, the bigger the card you get for it, the more video you can store at a time. The A129 Pro supports up to 256GB.
Overall, the A129 Pro Duo is one of only a limited number of options if you want a 4K dash cam. The video quality is a key selling point, but it’s also small and discreet with excellent features.
£229.99 available from amazon.co.uk