Last week the folks at WHOLEV sent over their 1080p Dash Cam for some field testing and a review. I took my time with WHOLEV’s version of a popular consumer device and even put in through its paces in a couple different vehicles. Let’s take a look.
Out of the Box
The WHOLEV 1080p Dash Cam comes in a plain brown box. Included in the package is a good-looking Dash Cam device, a 12v power adaptor for your vehicle, a USB cord, and two window mounts: One with a suction cup, and the other sporting a 3M adhesive disk. Remember to clean your windshield completely in the area behind your rear view mirror before placing either mount to ensure complete adhesion for the disk/suction cup, or the cam will just fall off at any bump. I used the adhesive mount in my Jeep Wrangler, and put the suction cup mount in my wife’s SUV so I could use the device as both a driver and passenger. There’s also the necessary instruction booklet, which sadly was poorly translated and is a bit hard to understand in places. The folks at WHOLEV have also created a companion IOS/Android app named Road Cam which allows you to view live video, start or stop recording, take still photos, and even review the videos on your phone or tablet. If necessary you can use that app to transfer files from the camera to other devices, or you can just remove the required 32GB Class 10 Micro SD card(not included) and view or transfer the files directly in your PC, Apple, or Tablet. Let’s talk about utility:
Why a Dash Cam?
These days there seems to be more and more people doing hit and runs involving moving or parked vehicles. Insurance companies can be more easy to convince of innocence with video evidence of the actual incident. The WHOLEV 1080p Dash Cam was designed with those needs in mind. This Dash cam is full 1080p HD at 12 MegaPixel resolution and is primarily designed to be your witness when no one else sees the incident. There is a 170 degree wide-angle lens which in my opinion was clear and created a great image on the 3 inch screen. The Dash Cam looks like any early 2000s point and shoot camera and the screen is intended to display the settings, date/time, and other necessary data to CYA. The Dash Cam has a G- sensor to activate the camera in park mode if your vehicle is hit. It triggered easily with a jump on the bumper or a hip check on the side of the cars. You can reduce the resolution and file size but it seems the camera operates fine at the standard 1080p 12 MP resolution. WHOLEV has supplied a mini HDMI port to watch the videos or still photos on the camera; it charges with a USB cable but since most people will be leaving it in their cars 24/7, the charging is done via the 12v/USB power cable. The Cam connects via WiFi to your IOS or Android phone with the Road Cam app, that’s got its own bag of snakes which I will be speaking to later. Let’s talk about functionality:
What Button Does What?
To be honest, the folks at WHOLEV are bringing their customers what is essentially a decent dash camera with only 3 major flaws: The WHOLEV Dash cam instructions are poorly translated into American Standard English and are incomprehensible at best. I struggle to describe exactly what the camera is supposed to do, because I can barely understand the unstructured random stream of words. So, I thought: as an experienced tech reporter, I can obviously chicken pick at the controls to make it work. Yes. I could. Unfortunately, that brings me to flaw number two: The controls are neither instinctively easy to operate, nor does the display indicate what buttons I’ve touched have activated or not, except the LOCK button. That worked flawlessly until the WHOLEV Dash Cam crashed hard. Which brings me to flaw number three: When using the Dash Cam app Road Cam the WHOLEV camera would work for about 5 minutes. Then the device would go into a hard crash. This happened several times. Of course I only accessed or used the cam with the app when I was a passenger in the vehicle and even connecting the device to my phone was a trial in itself. The four buttons on the right side of the WHOLEV Dash Cam when mounted are from top to bottom: OK, MODE, Emergency lock, and finally On/Off. On the right side are from top to bottom: Up, M(setting button), and Down. Let’s talk about how to use the camera even if you can’t understand the instructions:
I’m not saying the WHOLEV 1080p Dash Cam doesn’t have utility and doesn’t work. It does work, it’s just frustrating trying to figure out what the instructions are saying. Once the 12 Volt power adaptor is plugged into your car, you’ve installed the 32GB Class 10 SD card, and mounted the device properly to your windshield, you only have to start the car for the dash cam to turn on. It will turn on and off when you start and shut down your vehicle, unless you are in Parking mode the cam will begin running when there is an impact on your vehicle. When you first start your vehicle the Dash Cam will be recording video. Click the OK button to pause the video: that is standby mode and only then can you access any of the menus on the device by clicking the M button on the right side of the cam. Click that and you will see 3 icons: A movie reel, a camera, and a gear. Those refer to Video settings, Camera settings, and Setup menus. Use the OK button along with the UP/Down Keys to select which icon. In the Video Settings mode you can adjust such things as Resolution(1296p 1728×1296 to 720p 30 fps), Loop recording from 3 minutes to 10 minutes, or on/off, turn WDR on/off, set exposure from -2 to +2, turn motion detection on/off, record audio on/off, date stamp on/off, and finally: you can adjust the G- sensor from low, medium, or high sensitivity, or on/off. Once you pick a setting using the OK buttons and Up/Down buttons you have to click OK to get back to the video setting selection screen. From there you hit the M button to get back to the Main Setting selection screen. Select the Camera Icon to adjust such settings as : Capture mode, resolution, sequence, quality, white balance, color, exposure, quick review, and date stamp. Like the Video settings, some of those have multiple selections and some are just on/off. Play around, see what you like. For those who are not camera savvy, the factory defaults work very well but you will be creating and filling your SD card on every drive. Notice that the Video settings impact only the Video mode and that the Camera settings impact the Still Photo mode. The final mode is Setup settings. Setup menu includes the all important WiFi which allows you to connect the WHOLEV Dash Cam to your Apple or Android smartphone or tablet. WHOLEV assigns the WiFi to a string sequence address which is clearly indicated in the instructions and easy to find. The password is the ubiquitous 12345678. Try to remember this. Connecting to WiFi means you can watch recorded videos, look at still photos, take still photos while driving, and start or stop the Recording process. I still suggest a second person operate the connected device other than the driver for maximum safety. Next is Date/Time which is essential that is correct for any legal justification of your videos and photos. That is the Date/Time which will be watermarked onto your video. Auto power off allows you to have a 3 minute to ten minute window of use without incidents or turn on/off. Parking monitor is next and another on/off choice. Use this mode to record any impacts or incidents which may occur when your vehicle is parked. Beep sound: On/Off. Language: English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Italian, Nippon, Mandarin, and Cantonese are supplied as well as Russian. Screensaver mode allows you to on/off, or go from 30 seconds to 2 minutes of screen power. Frequency: 50Hz or 60Hz depending on where in the world you plan to use your video proof. Format is used to format your SD card. WHOLEV suggest you do that often which was just odd. Default settings is used to do just that, and Version just tells you the firmware info. This little device really has a lot of utility packed into the small package. If you want to view your videos and still photos using your pc or whatever, the folder is CARDV for the WHOLEV Dash Cam on the Micro SD Card. You can view them either by plugging the device into your PC with a USB cable, or by removing the card and inserting that into your PC. You can also use the Dash Cam as a PC cam if you so desire. The only complaint about the video/still photos is an odd pink coloration to the background: all video and stills were produced out of the box in pure factory settings so that might be an effect which could be dialed out.
The WHOLEV 1080p Dash Cam fulfills a contemporary need in an affordable package. It records clear video, with a strange pink coloration, standard at 1080p and the resolution can be adjusted up or down. It can protect your investment in an incident, or accident or allow you to record your adventures on the road as you travel. My complaints are valid and realistic, but the device does operate more or less as described in the barely comprehensible mistranslated instruction booklet. Follow my instructions and you will be easily able to operate this device in the way intended at the level you desire. The Application needs to be updated for Android to forestall the crash problem which I previously noted, as well as is described in the Instruction booklet as highly possible when they describe the use of the “reset” button. This is a new device by a new company which is moving in a good direction and just needs to put the polish on their product and translation team. Unfortunately with the seriousness of the problems, I can only give this WHOLEV Dash Cam a 7.5 out of 10. An Emergency recording device which can go into hard lockdown crashes while being used in one’s vehicle and takes over a half hour to reboot without using the reset button takes away from the intended purpose. One cannot reset the device without a small pin and it can’t be done when the vehicle is in motion for safety purposes. Let’s hope that WHOLEV addresses these issues before their next roll out.
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*Average price is based on the time this article was published
Road Cam App can be found in the Apple Store and Google Play Store
Display: 3.0 inch IPS screen
Lens Aperture: F2.0 aperture
Video Resolution: 1296P 1728*1296,1080 FHD 1920*1080,720P 30fps
Loop Recording: 3min/5min/10min/off
Storage:Support Micro SD card up to 32GB(above Class 10)(Not included)
1 year warranty:
WHOLEV has total confidence in our products and backs them with a 12-month warranty. WHOLEV will replace any defective product with a brand-new one within 12 months of purchase.
1- 1080p Dash cam
1- Car Charger Cable
1- Mini USB Cable
1- Suction Cup Sticker
1- 3M Sticker
1- User Manual
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