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Old 11th December 2018, 02:19 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Review – Transcend DrivePro 550: Dual Lens Recording

The Transcend DrivePro 550 was released back in June 2018. A couple months later and we finally got our hands onto the dash-cam itself. What makes me so excited over it is because of the dual lens recording feature. That means the DrivePro 550 is a dashboard camera that can record what’s happening at the front and inside the car.




Now, some of you might be asking the purpose to record what’s going on in the car. It can be for recording anything that goes wrong during our everyday drive or especially for ride-sharing drivers who want to protect themselves from rogue passengers.

Special thanks to Transcend Information Inc for providing the dashboard camera for review. Read on to find out what do I think of the DrivePro 550.

Transcend DrivePro 550 Specifications
•95.6 mm x 65.9 mm x 40.5 mm (3.76″ x 2.59″ x 1.59″)
•107 g (3.77 oz)
•2.4″ Colour TFT LCD
•Front Camera – 160°, f/2.2, 1080p
•Rear Camera – 110°, f/2.8, 720p

More info at Transcend-Info.com

Unboxing

What’s in the box:
•Transcend DrivePro 550
•Transcend 32GB High-Endurance microSD card
•Lighter socket charger
•Suction mount (also available with adhesive mount, depends on your purchase selection)
•Documentation

The lighter socket charger has reasonably long cable (4 metres) for routing. I have routed my cable from the lighter socket under through passenger’s carpet and A-pillar before reaching the camera.

The included suction mount is exactly the same as the one we got from the DrivePro 230. Even after 1 year of usage, the mount is still holding strong to the windscreen. Since the mounting mechanism is the same, that means switching between the Transcend dashboard camera is very easy.



Besides, Transcend also includes a 32GB MLC-based NAND flash memory microSD card. It is designed for consistent long-life durability and endurance. 32GB will be enough for recording 3.5~4 hours of the 1080p+720p front and back footages. When the memory is full, the dashcam will overwrite the oldest video.

Me, on the other hand, has opted for a higher capacity 64GB Transcend High Endurance card which we reviewed previously.

Design

The Transcend DrivePro 550 has flat and boxy design as opposed to its curvier sibling. Except for the protruding camera, there isn’t much going on here at the front. The printed branding, however, should’ve been omitted since I don’t see the point of inviting unnecessary attention to it.



The 2.4-inch TFT LCD works but don’t expect it to look as good as your smartphone. The viewing angle is poor and colour reproduction is somewhat OK. Navigation across the camera settings and configuration are done through the 4 buttons under the display.

What makes the DrivePro 550 special is the additional rear-facing camera. The camera is not fixed in the position though, in fact, you can rotate the rear camera to point it at sideways as well. Just that the camera cannot be rotated in 360-degrees.

Power delivery is done through the micro USB port at the right side. The camera would automatically turn on and off upon engine start/stop. It supports microSD card up to 128GB capacity.

The red emergency recording button can be found at the bottom of the camera. It triggers an emergency recording which is securely stored in another folder in the microSD card for safe keeping.

Camera
Front Camera
•f/2.2
•160′
•1080p 30fps

Rear Camera
•f/2.8
•110′
•720p 30fps
•infrared



It was not mentioned which Sony sensors were used for the DrivePro 550 but we appreciate the fact that the front camera got an ultra-wide lens at 160′ degree for that amazing field-of-view. The camera reacts quickly to the change of ambient lighting.

Speaking of reacting to lights, the rear-facing camera would automatically switch on the infrared mode whenever it detects the low light condition.

Features

Head-Up Display
The DrivePro 550 shares a lot of the features from its sibling – the DrivePro 230. Same driver safety alerts can be found on this model such as Lane Departure Warning System, Forward Collision Warning System, headlight reminder, driver fatigue warning and more.

Lane Departure Warning System
LDWS constantly monitoring the white lines on the road so that it beeps whenever it detects the car is drifting away from its lane. The implementation is a rather simple through consistent video image scanning, hence it won’t be able to tell if the driver is simply fell asleep or intentioned lane changing. Nonetheless, it is a welcomed feature.

Forward Collision Warning System
As for FCWS, just like LDWS, relies on visual information to determine if you’re getting too near to the front obstacle. I personally think this is a valuable feature because the auditory alert coming from the camera is actually useful.

Emergency & Parking Recording
Other features including emergency recording where the internal G-Sensor would detect a sudden surge of G-Force, particularly during accidents. The footage would be saved in the high priority folder which will not be overwritten by the camera automatically.

As for Parking Recording, it would require a hardwired power source to allow the camera to work when the engine is turned off. I personally think this function is not 100% mature yet cause it would just record anything that moves. Probably the memory card would be filled with other cars moving in the parking lot.

DrivePro Mobile App
The DrivePro mobile app is a fine addition to the ecosystem. Turning on the WiFi on the DrivePro 550 and connecting your smartphone allows you to configure some of the camera settings.

Users can also stream the current or past recording from the camera to the phone. It is particularly useful if you want to copy one of the footage from the dash-cam even without a card reader.

Final Words
The Transcend DrivePro 550 is an excellent dashboard camera for drivers who value road and passenger safety. It is particularly useful for those ride-sharing drivers.

For some, it might seem unnecessary but we can’t predict what would happen next and you won’t know if the dash-cam footage might just save you from some bizarre cases.

All in all, the Transcend DrivePro 550 offers great video recording quality and functions. While the retail price of US$180 might scare off some of the potential customers, we think that it is a proper investment

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