Rear-View Cameras Review

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Why Buy a Rear-View Camera?

While many cars come with a built-in rear-view camera, some models, especially older ones, do not. There are several after-market reversing cameras you can buy to add this functionality to an older car. A rear-view camera will help eliminate the blind spot directly behind your car and help you avoid backing into anything.

Rear-view cameras often also let you see low areas you can't with your mirror, which is especially significant if there are young children in your yard or driveway. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that in the United States, 50 children per week are struck or run over by a vehicle reversing out of a driveway.

They can also help your overall driving safety. When installing a camera, you have the choice of wiring it to a reversing light or to a constant power source. If you wire it to a constant power source, the camera will show the road behind you even if you're not in reverse. This can help you be a safer driver on the highway, as well as in the driveway.

The top three rear-view cameras we reviewed are the Rear View Safety 091406, the Tadi Brothers Wireless Backup Camera and the Yada Digital Wireless Backup Camera. To learn more, keep reading, and then check out our articles on backup cameras.

Rear-View Cameras: What to Look For

There are two basic types of rear-view cameras: wired and wireless. Wired cameras transmit using a cable that runs from the camera on your bumper to the monitor inside the cabin. Wireless cameras transmit using a wireless transmitter and a receiver. Although all backup cameras serve the same purpose, there are noticeable differences in quality and performance. We analyzed backup cameras using the following criteria:

Camera Quality
The three most important aspects of rear-view camera quality are the field of view, the presence of night vision and (in the case of wireless backup cameras) the protection against interference.

Field of view refers to the width of the camera's viewing angle. The wider it is, the more you'll be able to see of the area behind and around your car's rear bumper. Look for a camera with at least a 90-degree field of view. Anything above that is excellent for a reversing camera.

Night vision is another important component of image quality. The best rear-view cameras have infrared LEDs, so you can see behind you in the dark. Cameras without night vision rely on the small light provided by your vehicle's reversing light, which may not be enough light to see properly.

Interference is a major issue for some wireless cameras. All the wireless backup camera systems we reviewed transmit on the 2.4GHz frequency. However, most of them use an analog signal, which is much more likely than a digital signal to suffer from interference. Electronics that can cause interference include Wi-Fi networks, Bluetooth devices, microwaves, home security systems and cordless home phones. Analog transmission means your monitor could display the image from other cars' monitors broadcasting on the same frequency. More likely, the camera's image quality will suffer when it encounters interference. The best wireless backup cameras transmit using a digital signal, which will be very resistant to interference.

Design
The most important design aspect of a backup camera system is its ease of installation. We assigned each camera a score based on the installation process.

Wired cameras require professional installation, or at least installation by someone with mechanical expertise. We received quotes on installation that ranged from $80 to $150, depending on the vehicle and camera. Conversely, most wireless cameras can be installed by anyone with a power drill, pair of pliers and electrical tape. Wireless systems are typically more expensive, but when you factor in the installation costs associated with wired cameras, wireless may be the cheaper route to go.

Another factor to consider with wireless cameras is the wireless range. It's important to get a rear-view camera with a good wireless range for two reasons. First, a strong range will mean you can mount it on a long truck or SUV without having to worry about the signal fading. Second, the stronger the signal is, the more resistant it will be to interference. Aim for a camera with a wireless range of at least 40 feet.

Lastly, you want a camera that is weatherproof, so you don't have to worry about uninstalling it during a storm. We rated a camera waterproof if it has a water resistance rating of at least IPx7, meaning it can withstand immersion in one meter of water for thirty minutes, and water resistant if its rating is at least IPx6, meaning it can withstand powerful jets of water from all directions We considered a camera freeze-proof if its minimum operating temperature was lower than 15 degrees.

Monitor Quality
Although you'll mostly use these monitors for viewing the images captures by the rear-view camera, some monitors have audio and video inputs so you can plug a DVD player or video game system into the screen.

If you plan to use the monitor as an entertainment screen, then you'll want at least a 5-inch monitor. Resolution is the number one factor in determining monitor quality. Look for a monitor with a horizontal pixel count of at least 400. You'll be able to watch DVDs on these in a pinch, though the quality will be less than that of most tablets.

Help & Support
Phone support is the most important part of a company's help and support options. When you're frustrated or having a problem with a product, there is no substitute for hearing an empathetic voice on the other end of the line. Email support is also important, and live chat adds a level of convenience. Look for a camera with at least a one-year warranty, so you can be comfortable knowing the company stands behind its product.

Rear-view cameras will be mandatory in all new vehicles beginning in 2018, but for now, the majority of vehicles on the road don't have them. Purchasing an aftermarket backup camera will make reversing less stressful, and it may even help you avoid a tragedy.

 
 
Auto Tech » Accessories » Rear-View Cameras Review
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Rank #1#2#3#4#5#6#7#8#9#10
10-9  Excellent
8-6    Good
5-4    Average
3-2    Poor
1-0    Bad
Rear View Safety 091406 TadiBrothers Wireless License Plate Camera Yada Digital Wireless Backup Camera QuickVu Backup Camera Pyle PLCM34WIR Peak Wireless Back-Up Camera Boss Audio BV430RVM iBall Wireless Trailer Hitch Camera AGPtek Wireless Backup Camera Focalprice Wireless Car Backup Camera
Rear View Safety 091406 TadiBrothers Wireless License Plate Camera Yada Digital Wireless Backup Camera QuickVu Backup Camera Pyle PLCM34WIR Peak Wireless Back-Up Camera Boss Audio BV430RVM iBall Wireless Trailer Hitch Camera AGPtek Wireless Backup Camera Focalprice Wireless Car Backup Camera
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Ratings
9.63
9.28
8.48
7.65
7.60
7.10
6.95
6.73
6.70
6.70
10
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
9.75
9.50
9.38
10.00
8.75
9.38
10.00
10.00
9.38
8.13
7.50
7.50
6.25
9.38
6.25
9.38
8.13
8.75
6.88
2.50
6.25
7.50
8.13
7.50
8.75
5.00
6.25
7.50
5.63
8.13
5.00
8.75
6.88
6.88
6.88
5.00
7.50
5.00
7.50
8.13
 
Camera Quality
Field of View (degrees) 130 120 110 127 120 110 180 90 92 110
Night Vision
 
 
 
Wireless
 
Digital Wireless Signal
 
       
Distance Scale Lines  
 
 
Design
Ease of Installation 75% 75% 75% 100% 75% 75% 25% 100% 50% 75%
Wireless Range (feet) 70 65 50 60 82 197 N/A 100 160 26
Water Resistant
Waterproof
 
 
Freezeproof
Not Available Not Available
Monitor Quality
Resolution (pixels) 480 x 234 1024 x 768 Not Available 320 x 240 480 x 320 480 x 234 480 x 234 Not Available 480 x 272 510 x 492
Monitor Size (inches) 5 5 4.3 3.5 3.5 4.3 4.3 2.5 4.3 3.5
Audio/Video Inputs
 
 
Cigarette Lighter Power Option
 
 
Help & Support
Warranty 1 Year 1 Year 1 Year 1 Year 1 Year Lifetime 1 Year 90 Days 30 Days 180 Days
Phone Support
 
Email Support
Live Chat