The Viofo A129 is my current camera of choice, replacing my previous daily driver set up of the A119 + A119S. The A129 is a worthy successor to these cams, featuring clear dual 1080p with great night video. This is one of the first dual dashcams that I can recommend with ease, despite some little things that could be improved. If you want a single forward facing cam, get the Viofo A119 instead. If you want a front and rear setup without the hassle of wiring two separate cams, the A129 is a decent budget choice. And don’t forget a good memory card to go with this camera.
There’s only a few differences between their body so I’m going to go over the main ones quickly. There is a slight difference is side. The A118 is a little bit thinner and taller whereas the A119 is wider and flatter. On the A118 the USB port is located on the rear of the camera, instead of the side, meaning that if you are not using the A119 with the GPS mount you will need a 90-degree cable adapter to make the camera more streamlined. The GPS mount on the A118 is added by way of cable whereas with the A119 it is actually built into the plate that sticks to the car. The lens on the A118 only goes up/down while on the A119 it also goes side to side, and finally, the buttons on the A119 are more logically laid out, in my opinion.
Now video quality is one of the most important things. So let’s start with daylight video. And, well, if you haven’t already noticed a difference you’d have to be blind. Apart from the difference in video resolution, there is a noticable difference in the way the cameras process colour. The A118 is duller and everything is greyish, whereas the A119 is bright and lively. The A118 seems to favor its exposure towards illuminating the darker parts of its surroundings whereas the A119 has a more balanced exposure and quite frankly the difference is huge. This is the normal angle I have my cameras mounted at, so that you can see just a little bit of the cars interior, and it doesn’t work all that well for the A118C. I imagine this camera would struggle with dark coloured hoods being in the video. The A119, though, wow, god damn does it look good. The added resolution makes the video a bit sharper although it doesn’t really increase license plate readability due to the lenses wider angle. You can see that the A118C2 really struggled due to its angle once we go into an underground parking lot.
At night, video is more or less the same. The A118C2 has a little bit better colour but the A119 is just a little bit brighter. For practical purposes there’s hardly a difference. When trying to read license plates I get more or less the same results: both cameras tend to expose for the surroundings whereas license plates are white and reflective so it is near impossible to read them on either. In some situations, where I am stopped behind other drivers, both cameras rendered readable license plates but these situations are rare. At night the cameras are more for documenting actual driving than keeping a tab on who drives by.
Audio on these cameras is significantly different. The A118C2 is just garbage compared to the A119. The A118 picks up a lot of road noise and makes everything muffled like the camera is underwater.
Overall, in my opinion, it is worth the extra money for the A119 until Viofo releases a firmware update to improve the exposure rendering of the A118C2 and even then the performance can only be improved so much. The video on the A119 is sharper and it has 1080p60, as well as 1440p.
The A118C2 is a decent 1080p camera, however the extra $10 for the A119 is a worthwhile upgrade. Please note that I borrowed this camera from a friend so I only had the camera for a few days. I won’t be able to say much for its reliability so this video is more to discuss image quality and the camera’s build.
Design and User Interface
The A118C2s body is wedge shaped smooth plastic. As with other wedge cameras, the camera is mounted to the windshield with a thin plastic plate which makes it rather low profile. The lens housing tilts up and down to get the correct angle once the camera is mounted. The 12 volt adapter is all built into one piece and also includes a plastic cover in case you want to make it look more like a factory install. On the rear of the camera there is the USB and other ports, but not HDMI. The camera has a small bright screen on the underside and five buttons. It isn’t immediately obvious what buttons perform what function especially when it comes to menus, as there is no visible indication of how to go up, down, or select options. Otherwise the menus are pretty typical of this camera style, with all the basic options for exposure, resolution and date/time. This camera does not include a GPS mount, but one can be purchased for it.
When it comes to video quality, daytime video is… well… it’s OK. The 1080p video has a decent amount of detail but it just looks a little lifeless. Maybe I’ve been spoiled by using the A119 for the last two months, but in day time the colours on the A118C2 are dull and the video appears washed out. For example I was filming on a very bright and sunny day but everything looks kind of greyish and colourless. It’s far more apparent when I put the footage side-by-side with the A119, which has extremely vibrant colours and better highlights and shadows. Adjusting the angle of the camera may improve the A118C2 a little more, but if you have a dark hood the camera might cause everything else to be too bright. The A118 does do well in a number of situations though- for example, when pointed into direct sunlight the camera properly exposes everything instead of going too dark. And in mixed lighting, such as in underground parking lots, or in overcast conditions the camera exposes much better.
Night footage from this camera is average to above average depending on the situation. In the city, with lots of street lighting, the camera picks up its surroundings very well and colour is surprisingly good. Please ignore the streaking coming off of the street lights, that is a result of my windshield being beat up. On country roads at night, this camera does not pick up much other than what is directly in the headlights. This is typical of most dash cams in this price range.
Audio quality from this camera is its weakest point. The camera picks up tons of road noise and everything else sounds muffled, like the mic is under water. Even when the car is stopped the audio is not very clear. Here’s what it sounds like:
Overall, my recommendation is to spend a bit extra and get the A119 over this camera. The video quality is higher in daylight, because the A119 does a better job with colour, shadows and highlights, and the night video is close enough to call it a draw. The A118C2 is an OK camera, but there is better value available for just a little bit more money.
In most cases dual lens dash cams are a bit too expensive to be worthwhile because they do not offer the same video quality as single channel dash cams. They usually:
Have lower video quality (resolution or bitrate) than 2x single cams that are the same price or less expensive
Have lower reliability because more data is being written to a single micro SD card
Have a lower quality image sensor for the back cams.
The benefit to dual lens cameras is their ease of use to set up compared to 2x single cams. Everything is done in a single body, including wiring, memory cards and wi-fi connections.
Dual lens dash cams will usually not be the best choice for the money until a camera with a reasonable price point and high resolution becomes available. It is cheaper to install two standard cameras instead and the result is far better video quality. There are several 1080p and 1440p cameras available for less than $100 per piece that will have significantly better video. If you’re buying a dual lens dash cam buy it for the other features it offers, not just because it has two cameras built into one.
The Viofo A119 is one of the best value cameras on the market right now, with great video and a discreet form factor. It outperforms many cameras, even more expensive ones. If you’re reading this and comparing this camera to others available on the market for around $100, at the time of writing my advice is to get the A119.