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This article was published on February 21, 2017

VAVA’s $199 dashcam is sleek and feature-rich, but… [Updated]

VAVA’s $199 dashcam is sleek and feature-rich, but… [Updated]
Bryan Clark
Story by

Bryan Clark

Former Managing Editor, TNW

Bryan is a freelance journalist. Bryan is a freelance journalist.

After racking up nearly $300,000 on Kickstarter, VAVA’s newest product, Dash, is ready to hit the road. Well, sorta.

I like reviewing cool new products, but a dashcam wouldn’t typically move the needle. After all, it’s a device that’s not-at-all sexy, and one we’re typically hoping we don’t have to use.

VAVA was different. Some smart features and a video of a dude in a bear suit backing into an SUV convinced me to give it a look.

What is it?

VAVA is a 1080p dashcam with some interesting twists [I haven’t decided if this is a pun yet]. Of these, the swiveling base was a favorite. Instead of capturing the weirdos outside the car, you can capture those within — homemade Carpool Karaoke, FTW!

For some, the swivel offers an easy way to record police encounters, or Starbucks drive-through employees.

“No, I said skinny, half-caf, double shot, caramel latte with no whipped cream.” Get it together Becky!

VAVA is always-on, but constantly overwriting older video. If you get in an accident, the device detects the collision with a three-axis sensor and saves the last five seconds of video leading up to it. You can access this video at any time through the VAVA app — no need to download it off the MicroSD card later.

Video, and images, are fantastic due to the Sony sensor and the wide 140-degree field of view. In my testing, I didn’t have difficulty capturing up to four lanes of road at a time. Product literature says it’s capable of five; seems legit.

It’s great, but…

For all the things VAVA does right, though, it’s very hard to overlook the one thing it does wrong. It’s a window-mounted dashcam that couldn’t stay affixed to my windshield. The base features a sort of on/off toggle for a suction cup mount. The switch didn’t actually do anything on mine and, as such, it never stayed attached to the window.

You can see the issue at the end of this video — which required my girlfriend to hold it in place. Once she let go, you’d be lucky to get ten seconds of suction before it hit the floorboard.

In VAVA’s defense, it claims this a pre-production issue. When the actual device goes out to backers in June, VAVA plans to have the issue under control. We’ll update this piece if we get a working unit.

Update: Vava sent me a second dash mount that worked just fine. It’s a simple problem to fix, and I’d hope my issue was a one-off example of a factory dud. All signs point to that being the case.

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