Enjoy extra eyes on the road with the AUKEY DRO2 1080P Dual Dash Cam.
Whether you need a dashcam or not may be a rather personal decision. A quick Google search found “5 reasons you don’t need a dashcam” and “10 reasons why you need a dashcam for your car.” As a funny aside, the 5 reasons not to have one were sarcastic and quite silly. The main benefits to the device can be summarized in the moneyshake article “Advantages and Disadvantages of a Dash Cam.” The main benefit of having a dashcam is to serve as a source of evidence. Secondary benefits may include reduced insurance premiums and improved driving habits. However, one must caution against added distraction while driving and consider that the devices may encourage theft. If you have decided that you want the tech but do not want to break the bank, consider the Aukey Dual Car Camera.
The AUKEY Dual Dash Camera arrived in a 7 1/8 inches wide by 5 3/4 inches tall by 3 11/16 inches thick tan cardboard retail box. The bold AUKEY name was displayed along the top left of the cover panel, followed by a slightly generic “Dual Dash Camera” title. Just beneath the title, you will find an ink outline of the two-piece camera setup. I liked the design detail but wished that the packaging would have provided a more specific image. Besides a recycled “GO GREEN WITH AUKEY” icon on the side panels, the top/bottom/side panels were unadorned. The rear panel displayed the AUKEY contact information along the bottom left and product manufacturing labels plus serial number/SKU along the bottom right. I felt that the packaging lacked adequate information about the product and would have preferred to see the camera dimensions, color, weight, and a few more specifications on one of the panels. Beyond the information listed above, the only other information was an AUKEY Dual Dash Cam HD sticker on the outer plastic wrapping.
I removed the thin plastic wrapper, lifted the top off the box, and found a large black foam pad with three cutout wells. Where the outer box lacked pizazz, the inner packaging was top-notch. The top left cutout measured 2 inches wide by 2 7/8 inches tall by 1 7/16 inches thick and contained the larger of the two cameras. The top right cutout measured 2 1/8 inches wide by 1 7/8 inches tall by 1 7/16 inches thick and contained the smaller of the two cameras. The final cutout measured 2 3/8 inches wide by 7/8 inches tall by 1 7/16 inches thick and contained the dual-port car charger adapter. I then removed the black foam segment, lifted the thin cardboard layer, and removed the product accessories (instruction manual/warranty card/accessory 3M tape, 2 large mounting brackets (1 3/8 inches wide by 1 13/16 inches tall), 2 small mounting brackets (7/8 inches wide by 1 13/16 inches tall), a bag of six cable clamps with 3M tape (9/16 inches wide by 3/4 inches tall), one 156 inches long USB-A to USB-mini-B, and a 276 inches long USB-mini to USB-mini-B cable. Interestingly, only one of each of the bracket sizes had 3M tape pre-installed.
The multi-lingual AUKEY DR02 D Dual Dash Camera instruction manual was divided into English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, and Chinese sections. Turning to the English section (pages 1-12), the company listed the product contents (as above), information about an optional external GPS antenna (not included), a note to use a class 10 micro SD memory card (128GB max), and then provided a diagram of the front camera. The 3 inches long by 2 inches wide by 1 7/8 inches thick front camera had a mounting bracket port along the top, an adjustable forward-facing lens, rear USB-Mini-B Power input, GPS unit input, and USB-MINI-B AV input ports. Both camera-side panels had speaker cutout slots, the right-side panel had a small reset button, while the left panel had a micro-SD card slot and microphone. Along the bottom surface of the camera (surface facing you in the car), you will find a 1 5/16 inches wide by 1-inch tall screen and four buttons (OK, Down, Up, Emergency). The 2 inches long by 2 1/16 inches wide by 1-inch tall rear camera had a small mounting lock clip along the top, a forward-facing lens, and a rear USB-Mini-B AV output port.
Following the labeled images of the cameras, the manual listed the product specifications (DR02 D model, Sony Exmor IMX307 2.3 MP CMOS Sensor, NT96675 CPU, 1.5” LCD screen, 170-degree front camera angle, 152 degrees rear camera angle, f/1.8 front camera aperture, f/2.0 rear camera aperture, exposure values, recording resolutions (1080P both, front only VGA/WVGA/720P 30fps/720P 60fps/1080P 30fps), JPEG images, sound on/off, loop/motion detection/time-lapse/Emergency recording modes, Gravity sensor sensitivity changes (low/middle/high), 128GB max micro SD card (not included), DC 5V/1-2A input, operating temperatures, materials, and product dimensions. The subsequent sections reviewed the outer signal LED (user can turn on/off), reviewed the control buttons, discussed how to use the Micro SD card, and detailed the power on/off instructions in pictorial and written form. The instruction manual recommended placing the front camera just at the top corner of the passenger side windshield and similarly along the top corner of the passenger rear window. Following the instruction manual, I installed the front dashcam bracket onto the camera, aligned the camera with my windshield, removed the red 3M tape cover, and pressed the camera against the glass. I plugged the USB Mini- B cable into the camera’s right side, the USB-A end of the cable into the car adapter, and then plugged the adaptor into the port on my car.
Once the front camera was installed, I inserted a 32GB MICRO SD CARD. I then powered the device on by pressing and holding the okay button. Once the device was powered on, I used the up/down buttons to select the language and then adjusted the year, the month, the day, and the orientation YY/MM/DD or MM/DD/YY or DD/MM/YY (International). The camera then requested the time to be set. After only a few moments, the camera was ready. The setup proved to be easier than I had anticipated. I plugged the 90-degree angled USB Mini-B Cable into the front camera, ran the cable along the top paneling of my Nissan Leaf, and then installed the rear camera on the glass of my hatchback. The company included 3M tape cable brackets to facilitate this step. I was quite pleased with the mounting brackets and the included accessories. Once I installed the second bracket onto the rear camera, I stuck the camera to the glass and attempted to hide the cable as much as possible. I liked the brackets and found that the combination of brackets and the ability to hide the cable in the trim led to a clean finish. The entire setup process took about fifteen minutes and, as noted above, required very little knowledge about technology or cars. The 3M tape will allow you to modify the vehicle without accessory tools, research, or know-how. When you turn your vehicle on, the camera will start recording. It will continue to record and will overwrite older saved files.
With both cameras installed, the tiny display will provide images of both cameras. You can press the okay button to cycle between front, rear, combo, and screen-off modes. However, the camera will continue to record separate files for each of the cameras for viewing at a later time, even when the small viewer screen is powered off. It is important to note that the device does not have a reserve battery and will not record if the connection to the car adapter is lost. Navigating through the setup screens, you can choose to leave the camera in Loop Recording mode, change to motion detection mode, or turn on the time-lapse mode (collects a picture every second at 30FPS). If you sense an emergency is about to happen, or you want to preserve a file from being overwritten, simply press the emergency button on the camera. The camera has a built-in G-sensor that will perform similarly if an accident occurs. If you wish to capture a quick snapshot, you can hold down the down arrow (next to the okay button) for 3 seconds. This will create another file type and list the captured photo in the photo folder on the micro SD card. Lastly, you can navigate to settings, and you can turn on/off audio recording mode as well. This may allow in-car audio to be captured. This could be used to voice details of hazards, vocalize license plate numbers, or capture a conversation (follow local laws).
Navigating through the various screens proved to be as easy as the setup process. The okay button served as the select option, the up/down arrows moved through the selections, and the emergency button served as a “back” button. Unfortunately, the camera did not have an in-motion warning/prevention to stop someone from playing with the buttons while driving, which would reduce distraction. At any point, press the up arrow to enter into the playlist. You can view photos/videos at any time on the included small screen. When needed, you can unplug the camera, slide the camera off of the bracket (leaving the bracket attached to the window), and then connect the dash camera to your computer with a USB-Mini-B data cable. If you do not have one of your own, you could use the one from the car, but you may have to spend more time re-tidying up the cables when reinstalled. You can then move the files to your computer or delete them from the card. Since the camera will continue to overwrite the data, you never have to worry about memory management or the need to wipe the card. If you have a separate card reader, you can leave the camera installed, remove the microSD card from the slot, insert it into your reader and transfer the files in that manner. Many of the same memory management options can be performed with the camera as well.
Before you can adequately collect the data, the cameras must be installed. The included 3M tape created a fool-proof, quick, efficient way to ensure that step was as easy as possible. I liked the accessories, the instruction manual, the front/back design, and the technology. My only complaint was that the outer packaging could have used more technical/logistical information about the camera. Many will love that this device works without a companion App or the need for a modern smartphone. However, there may be some who dislike the need to remove the camera/card to offload the needed information. Perhaps others do not have a USB-A port or a spare USB-mini-B cable lying around. Regardless, Aukey provided a solid piece of tech that deserves at least 4.5/5 stars, if not closer to 4.7/5 stars. Currently on sale for under $80, the camera may be the early Christmas Present that you did not know that you needed.