Thanks to a rash of YouTube videos of traffic stops, wild crashes and wacky antics, dashcams are becoming more and more popular with drivers. But does the world need one that shoots at 1080p and beams every minute of your drive back to a central storage device and can work as a Wi-Fi hotspot?
PureGear thinks so.
Their latest camera, the PureCam Connected Car Security System, shown at CES 2019, features front and back-facing cameras and is 4G LTE connected. In the unit we tested, it used T-Mobile for data transfer.
The device connects to your car’s OBD port, a diagnostics port that sends data to the camera and powers it. It has a full 1080p camera in front, a small VGA screen and a 720p rear-facing camera. It mounts to the window via a suction cup. It also can shoot in the dark and will sense when someone is breaking into your vehicle and begin recording.
This last part is critical. Because it is always connected, the PureCam will send footage of crashes and break-ins to the cloud. In this way, you have a video record inside and outside of the car.
The system requires a data plan, so you’ll have to head down to the cellphone shop to pick up a spare SIM card, but it also can record footage to the included 16 GB card.
The kit costs $249.99 and includes three months of wireless data and 7 GB of cloud storage for 12 months. Because it has its data provider, you can connect up to three devices to the PureCam’s hotspot.
This camera is mostly designed for peace of mind. Because the screen is relatively small and automatically dims while driving, you won’t notice the system until you need it. Because it uses the OBD port you don’t have to run cables to a cigarette lighter power port or USB port, thereby freeing things up for phones and the like. Finally, because it wakes up when your car is parked, it adds an extra layer of security.
The PureCam is surprisingly easy to install — you have to find your OBD port — but you do need a modern car and be willing to spend a bit on the data plan. While it’s not a perfect system, it’s one of the cleverest and most useful dashcams we’ve tried.