Swann has been making personal and commercial security systems since the 1980’s. With decades of experience it is no surprise to see them stepping into the exploding dash camera market. Dash cameras have been on the rise for years now, especially overseas. The United States is finally starting to catch on to the tech, so there has never been a better time. A quick search of YouTube will return thousands of results of amazing videos caught by accident on someone’s dash cam. However, a dash camera’s purpose isn’t just to catch those crazy rare occurrences, but to provide you with the safety and peace of mind during an accident. Any driver who has been in a he-said she-said accident will understand the power that video footage can bring to the table. This little camera could be the difference between a few hundred and a few thousand dollars in an accident claim.
The new Swann Navigator Dash Camera provides all the latest GPS and HD features found on the more established dash cam companies. If the $109 price point is out of reach and you really just want to test the waters, Swann also offers an Economy Dash Camera for a mere $59, a price point that is a little more friendly for a first time buyer
The Swann Navigator brings an impressive list of features with it. The camera records audio and 1080P video, which is displayed live on the 2 inch rear screen. The 1080P camera has a ginormous 140 degree field of view, so there is no need to worry if you “got that”. The wide field of view covers your entire windshield viewing area. If you catch a glimpse in your peripheral vision there is a strong chance you can look over the video later and see it happen again clear as day.
The camera is exceptional for its size, but it’s clarity is limited by it. While there is no issue reading plate numbers at a stoplight, once another vehicle is 3 or 4 car lengths away; the plate numbers are pretty much illegible. I would love to see future models step up the camera.
Video is stored on MicroSD cards. The camera can support up to 32 gigs, but no cards are included. For the price I would have expected at least a small sized card to come with the camera. Thankfully MicroSD cards are cheap and easy to come by. I would recommend buying a full 32gig card, as the video will fill up the card pretty quickly. The Navigator records video in 5 minute increments, overwriting the oldest files with the most recent to always keep your footage up to date. The five minute videos run about 550 megabytes each, so a 32 gig card will hold around 5 full hours of video. If you see something you want to keep, you can press the save button on the rear of the camera to lock the footage, protecting it from an accidental overwrite.
In case of an accident the footage is locked and protected automatically. Swann has equipped a G-sensor into the dash camera. The sensor detects impact and will automatically lock the video and GPS data to avoid an overwrite, ensuring you have the upper hand in the accident claim. (Assuming you aren’t at fault, of course.) This is a great feature that you should consider a requirement on any camera you think about buying. There is a lot more than just the video, the file’s metadata should never be overlooked in an accident. The included GPS receiver tracks exact movements and locations, which can provide data such as your speed, location, direction and GPS map overlay. As long as you follow the rules, you have proof!
Installing the Swann Navigator is pretty straight forward. The unit comes with everything you need, including a window mount, USB lighter plug, and 13ft USB cable. Yes, 13 feet! The cable is long enough that you can easily tuck it behind the windshield and door panel to conceal the ugly wire from hanging. I am use to having an ugly wire hanging from my radar detector, so I choose not to wire it that way, but I appreciate the option being included.
Swann has been around the video security industry long enough to know how to make a good product, and this entry into dash cameras just reaffirms that. While there are certainly things that can be improved, the video quality and camera functionality are top notch for the price. If you’re in the market for a entry to mid-level dash cam then the Navigator HD definitely deserves a look.
Check out video footage from out test unit below!