VAVA Dash Cam review

Simple and affordable, the VAVA Dash proves dashcams aren’t just for the paranoid

Innovative and affordable, the VAVA Dash may be the camera to beat.
Innovative and affordable, the VAVA Dash may be the camera to beat.
Innovative and affordable, the VAVA Dash may be the camera to beat.


  • 360° swivel mount for exterior and interior video
  • Great quality for in-car video footage
  • A lot of camera for a low price
  • Easy-to-use mobile application


  • Mount can vibrate and become loose
  • Narrow field of vision for exterior video

Before setting out to create a dash camera, VAVA asked consumers what they would like in the perfect camera. The result of that feedback comes in the form of the VAVA Dash, which was launched as a Kickstarter campaign in January 2017. VAVA director Jeh Lin said that the company utilized the Kickstarter platform because it “loves the instant community feedback and suggestions on new features.” The campaign currently has over $200K in backing; we got an early example of the Dash to see what makes this camera so special.

Unboxing and components

Unlike many Kickstarter campaigns, the team at VAVA is an established business with popular products like the VAVA Voom Bluetooth speaker. This maturity shows in the slick product packaging and overall quality of the VAVA Dash components. Within the attractive packaging, you will find the puck-shaped camera body, a 32GB MicroSD card, 14-inch USB cable with inline GPS module, magnetic swivel mount, 12v car charger with built-in 2,300mAh power bank, and the Snapshot button.

Nolan Browning/Digital Trends
Nolan Browning/Digital Trends

The camera body is lightweight black plastic, 2.5 inches in diameter and 1 inch in height. The camera itself records at a resolution of 1,920 × 1,080 (1080P) at 60fps. The 140-degree field of vision is one of the lower we have seen but seems to work well for in-car footage. An important design element of the VAVA Dash was the ability to swivel the camera 360 degrees to capture the inside of the car when necessary. Therefore, the windshield suction mount attaches to the camera through a magnet and can be rotated to face the outside or inside of the car by hand. According to VAVA, the idea to face the camera inside the car came from the popularity of videos like James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke.

On the road

You can power the camera through a regular USB charger or using the included VAVA charger and power bank. The power bank is one of the more innovative items we have seen and allows the camera to work in standby mode for up to 30 days.

The idea to face the camera inwards came from the popularity James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke.

This is a big improvement, as many dash cameras need to be hardwired into your car’s electronics to get a parking mode, or standby mode, to work with the car off. When in standby mode, the VAVA Dash will only record once the G-sensor is triggered by an accident or intruder. In our testing with the power bank charger, the VAVA Dash was always recording regardless of whether the vehicle was powered.

Once the car is on and moving, the Dash enables its regular driving mode to capture your trip. The VAVA Dash will continue to capture each segment of your drive in 3-minute increments and overwrite older data when the card is full. In testing, the VAVA Dash mount had some issues with vibrations and would occasionally come loose during journeys over rough roads. The problems weren’t as bad as we saw in the Waylens Horizon, but it does take a moment to get it secure. According to VAVA, the loose mount is a “known issue in this early mold and VAVA will be updated long before the final units are shipped to backers.”

Video quality when driving at night and day are on par with what we have seen from competing 1080P cameras, with only slightly less detail for things like license plates. However, the video angle and clarity are perfect for recording the interior of the car.

Nolan Browning/Digital Trends
Nolan Browning/Digital Trends

Snapshot clips of video or photos can be saved using a Snapshot button that can be mounted inside the car. The Snapshot videos are only 20 seconds, but allow you to grab a specific instance of your drive for reference later. The system will also sense accidents through the G-sensor and make sure to automatically save those clips as an emergency recording. This will ensure important footage is not over-written without the driver having to act.

Vava mobile app

An important component to using the VAVA Dash is the VAVA mobile application for iOS and Android. The Dash unit has a Wi-Fi connection that allows the mobile app to quickly transfer and display video and data from the camera.

The application can show what the camera is recording and also allows you to save Snapshot photos and videos. A main focus of the VAVA team was to make sure it was easy to see your media and share it out to your social channels. Using the mobile app, you can edit and then download video clips to your phone then share them on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram in seconds. This feature should come in handy for those that want to share their own “Carpool Karaoke” with the world. The built-in GPS helps to create trips in the “Travel Log” section of the app. You can then give names to the trip in the “Driving Journal” and give a cover photo. This is a nice feature for those who want to keep track of their adventures or simply log their driving miles.

Our Take

Early backers purchased the VAVA Dash for only $100 and the backer price now sits at only $120. At that price, it’s still one of the most affordable dash cameras on the market. The VAVA Dash may also be the new camera to beat when it comes to balancing innovation and affordability.

Is there a better alternative?

Budget dash cameras from a company like Vantrue will have much better video quality, but they lack the user friendliness and features of the VAVA Dash and VAVA mobile app. And other cameras offer alternative features you might appreciate; consider, for example, the Thinkware X500D, which features a speed camera alert, forward collision warning system, and lane departure notifications to mimic built-in systems on today’s most advanced vehicles. It’s also more expensive, and may be more camera than you need.

How long will it last?

The video quality meets minimum standards to compete with any of the latest cameras on the market. Also, VAVA seems to value customer suggestions and the VAVA mobile app should have frequent updates. You should expect it to last for several years — at which point dash cams will likely have improved, and you’ll want something new anyway.

Should you buy it?

Yes. We’re bearish on Kickstarter projects, which too often seem to end in failure, lost money, and angry consumers wondering what happened. But VAVA is a big company, and we’re willing to give it the benefit of the doubt. Assuming the final project fixes the few quirks we found, and delivers all of the innovative features we liked, this dashcam is will be worthy of joining you on the daily commute.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Folding canoes and ultra-fast water filters

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

Here's our guide to how to charge your laptop using a USB-C cable

Charging via USB-C is a great way to power up your laptop. It only takes one cable and you can use the same one for data as well as power -- perfect for new devices with limited port options.
Emerging Tech

The 20 best tech toys for kids will make you wish you were 10 again

Looking for the perfect toy or gadget for your child? Thankfully, we've rounded up some of our personal favorite tech toys, including microscopes, computer kits, and a spherical droid from a galaxy far, far away.
Product Review

Audi built an electric SUV for buyers who want gasoline-free to mean stress-free

We finally got to spend time behind the wheel of the electric 2019 Audi E-Tron bustling cities and arid desert of the United Arab Emirates to see how it compares with Jaguar and Tesla's competitors.

2019 Ford Ranger saves fuel without sacrificing towing capacity

The 2019 Ford Ranger marks Ford's long-awaited return to the midsize truck segment, which has seen a resurgence lately. But will being late to the party make Ford's job more difficult?

Pininfarina Battista is a 1,900-horsepower, 250-mph electric supercar

The Pininfarina Battista will be the first production car from famed Italian design firm Pininfarina. Named after company founder Battista Pininfarina, it has a claimed 1,900 horsepower and a $2.5 million price tag.

Tesla could show the electric pickup Elon Musk is dying to build in 2019

Tesla has started designing its long-promised pickup truck. The yet-unnamed model will come with dual-motor all-wheel drive and lots of torque, plus it will be able to park itself.
Cars is helping Hyundai mine the artificial intelligence gold rush

In November 2018, Hyundai invested in a startup named We talked to the company's founder to learn more about what that means for consumers in the not-too-distant futures.
Emerging Tech

With this robotic garage, retrieving your car is like using a vending machine

Remembering where we parked our cars can be a real pain. But what if our cars came to find us, rather than the other way around? A new automated robot parking valet system aims to help.

Thinking of opting for a car with a diesel engine? Here's what you need to know

Modern diesel-powered models prove that it is possible to build a clean, efficient diesel engine without sacrificing performance. Here's what you need to know about diesel cars, and how they differ from gasoline-powered models.

Best Products of 2018

Our reception desk has so many brown boxes stacked up, it looks like a loading dock. We’re on a first-name basis with the UPS guy. We get new dishwashers more frequently than most people get new shoes. What we’re trying to say is: We…

These winter-warrior cars will never leave you out in the cold

Snow can be an absolute pain if your vehicle isn't optimized to handle that sort of terrain. If brutal snowstorms are an annual part of your life, we recommend you pick up one of these winter-ready vehicles.

2020 Toyota Supra caught hiding in a trailer without a shred of camouflage

Toyota's plan to once again lure enthusiasts into showrooms involves bringing back the Supra, one of its most emblematic nameplates. Here's what we know so far about the upcoming coupe, which Toyota is developing jointly with BMW.

NYC mandates minimum wage for Uber, Lyft, other app-based rideshare drivers

New York City's Taxi and Limousine Commission approved a rule that drivers for companies such as Uber and Lyft must be paid at least minimum wage, even though they are independent contractors. The new pay rate includes operating costs.