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  • Afterhours #3: A Day with the 70MAI Smart Dash Cam

Afterhours #3: A Day with the 70MAI Smart Dash Cam

Capture the Drive

Mar 9, 2018
Photographers: Monica Gonderman
Photo 2/7   |   70mai Dash Cam 01

I admit that electronics are not my strongest suit. It might sound ridiculous, but I’d rather read a book, flip through a magazine, or take out a pen and pad of paper than fire up a computer or cell phone. The key word here is rather—the truth is, I’m just as fully immersed in electronics and technology as anyone else. Those around me make sure of it, educating me on the must-haves of the age. I appreciate this, since I don’t want to be technologically left behind.

Recently I had the opportunity to try out a new dash camera. I don’t have any previous experience in this field, but it seemed like a fun way to re-live the drive or a day on the trail. Perhaps it would even be a good way to grab footage of some custom trucks without hanging my phone out the window. Plus, if something crazy happened on the road or dirt, I’d be able to capture the moment.

Photo 3/7   |   70mai Dash Cam 02

Although I was on my own when it came to firing up and using the 70MAI Smart Dash Cam, a Xiaomi Technology Ecological Chain Enterprise product, I am happy to report that it all went smoothly. The thing that initially intimidated me the most was that the whole operation included Wi-Fi and a phone app. However, within a few minutes I had successfully downloaded the app onto my iPhone X and connected the two devices via the dash cam’s Wi-Fi hotspot. It all worked perfectly. After a few minutes of testing out the app and playing with the real-time preview through my phone, it was time to hit the road for some real fun.

Photo 4/7   |   70mai Dash Cam 03

The dash cam receives power from the cigarette lighter, so you do have a gangly wire to deal with if you mount the dash cam to the windshield. The wire could be hidden with some effort. It has a built-in battery, but it’s really for emergency purposes only. I’m not sure how weatherproof the unit is, either, if you should want to mount it in the great outdoors. Through the app, you can see what the camera’s recording, as 130-degree vision covers your lane and the ones on either side. The camera records 30FPS in 1080P full HD. The memory card is a standard Micro SD. The image sensor is a Sony IMX323, which reportedly enhances the image quality in low-light situations due to its high sensitivity. The company touts its smart voice control feature and ability to automatically record in emergencies, as well as lens technology that mitigates soft focusing in high temperatures.

As the camera records, the one-minute clips become available through the app, where you can view them. You can also take still pictures. The video clips and pictures, although saved in the app, can be saved to your phone, if you so choose. A one-minute video clip translated into a 115MB MP4 file, and a picture saved as a 0.5MB JPG. Once the Micro SD card runs out of space, old videos get replaced with new footage.

Wondering what MAI may mean? Upon starting up the app, the slogan Make Auto Intelligent comes up. That satisfies my curiosity. Speaking of curiosity—wondering about the price? It’s actually quite reasonable in the $40-$70 range, which is, to me, of utmost importance.

And as for me, I’ve just become a little more technologically inclined.

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