Four months shy of two years together, FiFi finally got a dash cam! To be honest, I waited so long to do this install because securing the rear unit in a convertible is no easy feat. The thought alone made me dread it and to this day, I can safely say I am NOT exaggerating when I say it’s no easy feat. Days of stress, tears, and lost sleep went into this but I’ll spare you the details & my OCD and just get right to what you need to know…
Why Get a Dash Cam?
A few weeks ago, I almost got rear-ended and that’s when I knew I shouldn’t wait any longer. God forbid anything ever happen to FiFi because whoever hurts her will literally be killing a part of me too… but if doomsday comes, having dash cam footage can save a lot of time and headache when it comes to dealing with insurance.
After spending weeks researching different dash cams on forums and videos, I decided on the 70mai Dash Cam Pro Plus+ A500S. I saw other car enthusiasts rave about it, and ultimately for under $100 on Amazon, the value honestly can’t be beat. To be totally transparent, I’ve never owned a dash cam before in any other car so I don’t have anything to compare it to. But so far, I am pleased with the quality. At the end of the day, I didn’t want to spend a few hundred on a “mod” that I hope I’ll never actually need to use. So far, I’ve enjoyed going through footage of my drives and saving my favorites. Let’s pray I’ll only ever use the dashcam for this purpose! 😉
The set of dash cams look sleek and feel well-made, and the footage quality is pretty good. It connects seamlessly to an app on your phone that is easy to use for reviewing footage and adjusting camera settings. As for the front camera, license plates are perfectly legible during the day in front when zoomed in. The rear camera resolution isn’t as great as the front, but does the job to provide that extra level of protection. This might also be because I’m not able to mount my rear camera on a glass windshield like anyone with a non-convertible car would. Having the camera mounted on the headrest means that the camera is further away and has to work harder to capture what’s behind the car. It’s not a perfect solution, but I’ve accepted the fact that there really isn’t one in my case because I didn’t want to drill any holes or anything complicated. Night visibility is decent, but I’ve noticed that sometimes the camera has trouble compensating brightness to make white license plates fully legible from certain angles/lighting. I don’t drive much at night so this doesn’t bother me too much. For an affordable non-4k dash cam, it’s understandable that there are some things that could be improved on.
A feature that I have not been able to take advantage of yet is the parking mode. This essentially allows the dash cams to keep recording while the car is stationary and turned off. Unfortunately, to activate parking mode, the dash cam must be hardwired to the car. I haven’t done this yet, so I don’t know how well it works. I wish it was like Blackvue where you can just hook it to an external battery to operate… but again, for the price, I really couldn’t ask for more. I like that the feature is there though, should I decide to go the extra mile later. I’ll be sure to update this post accordingly if I do!
Installing the front dash cam was straightforward. The wires were a bit too thick to tuck into and underneath the panels effortlessly in the convertible, so I had my boyfriend help me. In the end, we were able to make it work and the wires are out of sight along the car front to back. I chose to mount the front camera on the passenger side to not obstruct any views on the driver’s side… but thinking back on it I probably should have just installed it on my side. I might adjust and move it if it bothers me enough down the line. For now, I like that my eyes aren’t tempted to look at the dash cam all the time while I’m driving.
As for the rear camera installation… I originally made a custom GoPro mount to secure in the back next to the headrest but unfortunately it wouldn’t stay put. In the end, I gave up on that idea and simply used thin black velcro to wrap it securely around the rear left headrest. Since Fi is a smaller than average car, there was a lot of extra wire not being used. I tucked the loose bits behind the folding rear seats so that no unnecessary wiring shows! The visibility is not dead-center, but gets everything I would need in the case of a very unfortunate event. Overall, I am happy with this solution because 1) it is simple and as low-profile as it’s going to get, 2) it is easy to unstrap and hide the set-up temporarily for photos or car shows, and 3) it leaves no mark in the car. The only thing I regret is not coming up with this solution sooner. I literally searched for so many YouTube videos on what other BMW convertible owners have done and surprisingly, there aren’t a whole lot of appealing solutions.
Check out these clips taken on various drives at different times of day to get an idea of what you can expect if you purchase the 70mai Dash Cam Pro Plus+ A500S for your car babies! View them in full screen for clarity.
To wrap it up, here are my fast + final thoughts about the 70mai Dash Cam Pro Plus+ A500S:
- Affordable, under $100 on Amazon for front & rear cameras
- Simple, easy-to-use Interface
- Built-In WiFi GPS
- 140-degree wide angle POV is forgiving even if rear cam is not installed perfectly centered
- Sony IMX335 sensor provides outstanding image quality
- Amazing audio recording
- Compact size & sleek design
- Trim tool provided for wire tucking
- Connects to iPhone and Android for reviewing footage and adjusting dash cam settings
- Parking mode only available via hardwiring
- Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems alerts more annoying than helpful (I ended up turning this feature off)
- Night vision not as clear as daytime
- Rear camera resolution lower than that of the front camera
- Not 4K resolution
- Does not include microSD card
All in all, this is an incredible buy for the price! I highly recommend it to everyone, no matter the car. In fact, we ended up getting the same dash cam for my boyfriend’s SUV. The installation went MUCH more smoothly… haha.
All I can say about the installation of the rear camera in the convertible is…
What should have been a straightforward solution somehow flew over my head because I was set on making things way more complicated than they needed to be.
Ugh… thinking about it still makes me pretty upset honestly. I’m not gonna get into the details here because I’ll probably cry again… -_- But a few of my friends know about the unfortunate incident that happened during this whole process that really shouldn’t have. At the end of the day, I just hope that my personal dash cam installation experience will save some headache and help a fellow convertible owner out going forward!
Feel free to message me on Instagram if you have any questions about the dashcam and/or installation process. 🙂
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