We've reviewed a number of sports-oriented camcorders here at TrustedReviews. The Chilli Technologies Action Cam 1 and Action Cam Max offer great value, and the Dogcam Bullet HD Wide provides superior image quality. But getting great footage from any of these devices requires a bit of practice, because you can't see what you're recording until you download the files to a computer. Dogcam's MiniDVR HD is different. With a separate recording unit incorporating a built-in LCD, the MiniDVR lets you see what the camera sees, wherever it's positioned.
The camera attaches to the base unit via a customised mini HDMI connection, which locks into place to ensure it won't come loose during use. There is a secondary standard mini HDMI on the base unit, for connecting to a TV. All the controls can be found on the base unit, too, and these are more extensive than is generally the case for bullet cams. You can choose between 1080p and 720p video modes, and 25 or 30 frames per second with each. There are 50 and 60 frames per second options with 720p as well. There are also three quality modes to choose from. You can grab 5MP still images, too.
Arrow buttons let you bias exposure between 2 and -2EV in 0.3EV increments. If you delve into the menu, white balance presets are available alongside the fully automatic setting - two for indoor lighting, two for outdoor. There are separate volume controls for internal and external microphones.
The car mode loops recording when the memory card is full, you can also loop a fixed duration of video, up to 30 minutes, and there's a separate motion detection option which will grab from 30 seconds to 5 minutes of footage when activity occurs in the frame. You can add a time stamp to your footage to go with this, for serious surveillance video data collection. The button configuration isn't the most intuitive design out there, with more buttons than is strictly necessary for the functions provided, but there are some useful features here which further expand the usage scenario options.