All dash cams offer to record the road ahead, but the quality of that recording differs according to what resolution each device uses. Dashcam video resolutions are one of the most important yet confusing specifications to pay attention to, as these will affect the video quality when you need to review road footage.
The higher the resolution, the clearer the picture, even when filmed in low light or poor weather conditions. And there is usually a direct correlation between the detail and depth that is available in any recording and the base unit price.
In this article, we will introduce dashcam resolution from 720P to 4K and compare their differences and benefits to help you choose the right one for your needs.
Why is resolution so important?
Because the dash cam resolution chosen can make the difference between recording every aspect of an incident, picking up the most meniscal of details, being unable to make out distant features clearly, or capturing a blurry moment in time.
What is Resolution?
Resolution refers to the number of pixels in a display or an image, which determines the level of detail and clarity that can be captured. It is the tiniest unit of an image that can be displayed on any digital device. For dashcams, this is typically measured in terms of horizontal and vertical pixels. A higher resolution means a greater number of pixels, which leads to a more detailed and clearer image. Vice versa, fewer pixels symbolize poor-resolution video.
This is why it's important to ensure that your device's video resolution is of high quality. The higher the resolution, the clearer the picture, which is important for capturing video in dim light, nighttime, or dusk—or picking up minute details.
Here at Vantrue, we offer a whole range of models varying from 1080p, 2k, and 4k resolution dashcams.
HD or 720P Resolution
The term HD when it comes to dashcams usually refers to standard high definition or 720p. 720P is the most basic resolution available on dashcams, which means that the camera can capture video with 1280x720 pixels. While 720P might not provide the best video quality, it still offers decent quality, and you will be able to make out license plates and road signs easily. 720P dashcams are also the most affordable option.
Full HD or 1080P Resolution
1080P refers to FHD or Full-HD Resolution. 1080P is the most popular resolution for dashcams, and for good reasons. The camera can capture video with 1920x1080 pixels, providing a significant improvement in video quality compared to 720P. 1080p resolution is characterized by 1,080 pixels down the screen vertically and 1,920 pixels displayed across the screen horizontally. With 1080P, you will be able to read license plates and road signs much more clearly, which is helpful if you need to use the footage as evidence in an accident. Additionally, 1080P dashcams are relatively affordable, making them a great option for most drivers.
Although 1080p devices have been around for many years now, it remains the industry standard for many videos or displays devices, including Blu-Ray, Televisions, Computer Screens, and Mobile Device displays. It’s also the default setting on YouTube and Netflix. And it remains the lowest resolution among our dashcams. This doesn’t mean they’re bad—most vehicle owners would be thrilled with the picture quality from their 1080p dashcam. The Dash Cam models that record in 1080P are the Vantrue E1 Lite, and Vantrue M3, Vantrue N4, Vantrue S2 ( for the 3CH Mode 1440P+1080P+1080P ), Vantrue N2 Pro ( Dual 1080P)
1080P Sample Footage:
2K resolution is referred to as QHD because it has 4 times the pixels as 720p. 2K resolution is 2560 pixels horizontally and 1440 pixels vertically. These added pixels allow for a wider image and more detailed recording. When you zoom in on a 2K video, it will retain more clarity compared to a 1080p video. So it's of great help when you want to pick up clear images of street signs, license plates, and other minute details as it will reduce noise and artifacts when you zoom in—which can significantly assist you in case of a claim. 2K is an excellent option if you want to capture footage with more detail, but it comes with a higher price tag than 1080P dashcams.
Vantrue E1, Vantrue E2 and Vantrue E3 are the three 2K( E1: 2592 x 1944P; E2 2CH: 1944P+1944P; E3: 3CH 1944P+1080P+1080P) Resolution Vantrue Dash Cams.
E2 Sample Footage:
4k, or Ultra High Definition or UHD (Ultra HD), refers to one of two high-definition resolutions. It’s a generic term that refers to any resolution with a horizontal pixel count of approximately 4,000. It encapsulates 2 different resolutions—3840 and 4096 horizontal pixels by 2160 vertical pixels. In television and consumer media, 3840 × 2160 is the 4K standard, whereas the movie projection industry uses 4096 × 2160 due to the larger projection size.
4K is the highest resolution available on dashcams, with 3840x2160 pixels, offering the best video quality and providing exceptional detail. With 4K, you will be able to read license plates and road signs with incredible ease, even in low-light conditions. However, 4K dashcams are the most expensive option and require a high-speed memory card to handle the large file sizes.
4K is four times the pixel resolution of 1080P which means zooming in on this footage is completely seamless, allowing for a full and vivid picture of what was captured, even at super high zoom levels. With 4 times the pixels, the image will be 4x as detailed. Due to the number of pixels, the image can be viewed on a larger screen without distortion. The 4K resolution features fewer visible pixels than 1080p when zooming in on the footage. is 4 times the resolution of 1080p. That means zooming in on this footage on 4k dashcams is completely seamless, allowing for a full and vivid picture of what was captured, even at super-high zoom levels.
In practicality, recording in 4k is 4 times more detailed than the resolution of 1080p. An image from an Ultra HD dashcam consists of 8 million pixels whereas a normal HD dashcam provides only 2 million pixels for the exact image. In 4k video footage, even zooming in does not result in any blurriness and distortion. That is why you get more apparent and detailed recordings from 4k dashcams.
Unfortunately, not all 4k Dashcams are made equal. Some manufacturers utilize lower-spec chipsets which record in HD and upscale the image to 4k which is not what you want. If you’ve been looking for a 4k dashcam, you may have noticed some discrepancies in quality from one 4k dashcam to the next.
While Vantrue 4K dashcams are TRUE, VIVID 4K. Even when viewed on huge screens, the video quality from our 4k dashcams remains pristine. The Vantrue X4S Duo uses Native 4k Resolution to increase detail when capturing license plates at faster speeds, and for capturing detail in low-light conditions.
With a 4k dash cam, you will get clear and vivid pictures of everything happening on the road. This is also good for recording high-speed car chases, police pursuits, and accidents without slow-motion mode.
The consensus is that it is worth it to invest in a 4k dash cam. They provide safe driving by reducing the chances of a fatal accident or even a nanny cam when families are on vacation. They are also very useful when you want to make videos that are better than what is given by your phone’s camera.
How to Choose the Right Resolution for You?
Choosing the right dashcam resolution depends on your needs and budget.
If you are on a tight budget, a 720P dashcam may be a good option.
However, if you want better video quality and have a bit more to spend, 1080P is the most popular and cost-effective choice.
If you need even more detail, 2K and 4K are excellent options, but they come with a higher price tag.
Ultimately, the resolution you choose should be based on your intended use. If you are just using the dashcam for basic recording, 1080P will be sufficient. If you need the footage for legal purposes, 2K or 4K is the way to go.
Remember, higher resolutions require more storage and processing power, so make sure your device is capable of handling it.
In conclusion, the resolution is an important factor to consider when choosing a dashcam. It determines the level of detail and clarity in the video, making it easier to identify objects and read license plates. 720P, 1080P, 2K, and 4K are all options, each with its benefits and price points.
Ultimately, it's up to you to decide which resolution best fits your needs and budget. No matter which resolution you choose, a dashcam is an excellent investment that can help protect you in the event of an accident.