Best car gadgets

RAC 03

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As the roads become increasingly congested, the chances of encountering an idiot on your travels become greater. If someone does perform an accident-causing manoeuvre right in front of you, then a video record will come in handy if the incident goes to court. So dashboard cameras are proliferating, and one of the more intriguing examples is the RAC03.

What makes this an unusual dashcam is that it’s fitted inside a large rear-view mirror. So installing it will improve your ability to see behind you, as well as keeping a record of what has happened in front. You install it by fixing it over your existing rear-view mirror, so one caveat is that if your original mirror is a little flimsy then the RAC03 could put undue weight on it.

Video is recorded at up to Super HD resolution, which means it supports a larger-than-Full HD frame size of 2,340 x 1,296, as well as an ultra-wide 21:9 frame size of 2,520 x 1,080. The compression isn’t that aggressive either, with a data rate of 20Mbits/sec, so the bundled 8GB card will be sufficient for 50 minutes of footage at the top quality setting – and quality is impressive for a dashcam.

Whilst 50 minutes of storage may not seem particularly generous, the camera will loop recordings, overwriting the oldest files when the capacity is full. There’s also a G-sensor built-in, so if rapid deceleration or change of direction is detected, the RAC03 will store the most recent video clip in a special folder, where it will be kept until you manually delete it.

The extremely long car power cable sports an extra USB power port, so you can plug in your satnav at the same time. There’s a GPS built into the RAC03, so it records your location along with the video. Additional safety features include speed camera warnings via a database you can download from the manufacturer’s website, speed limit warnings, lane departure warnings, and detection of whether you’re approaching the car in front too fast and might crash.

Overall, it’s a comprehensive package. The official price of £159.99 is relatively steep as dashcams go, but there’s no significant feature missing and the rear-view installation means it won’t be so obvious that you have a camera in the car, reducing the risk of theft.

Buy Now at Amazon.co.uk from £139.99

At time of review the RAC 03 was available for £159.99.

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