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Lifewire / Andy Zahn
High build quality and attractively designed
Useful companion app
Respectable image quality
Large clear screen
Correct placement can be challenging
Difficult to install memory card
License plates only legible on nearby vehicles
The Anker Roav DashCam C1 is a well-rounded camera that adds an extra layer of security to your travels.
When buying a dash cam, you aren’t really buying a camera, you’re buying insurance, and that’s what the Anker Roav DashCam C1 provides. You may not record top-notch cinematic video, but you will get the evidence you need to back you up in an insurance claim.
The Anker C1 is a slickly-designed camera, with a solid, high-end appearance. The body seems robust enough to stand a chance of surviving an accident and won’t clash with the interior design of an expensive vehicle. It’s designed to be hidden out of the driver’s sight behind the rear view mirror, and we never found ourselves distracted by its presence.
The Anker C1 includes a dual USB accessory socket adapter which allows you to charge both the C1 and other devices simultaneously. The modular nature of this charging system is useful, as it also allows you to access video footage on your computer using the same cable.
The Anker C1 is reasonably priced for such a fully-featured dash cam.
Buttons are responsive and satisfying to use, though by default the camera emits very annoying beeping noises when those buttons are operated, and the first thing we did was toggle those noises off. One issue we experienced with the menu navigation buttons was the way they correspond to on-screen indicators that change depending on which menu you’re currently navigating. We found ourselves unconsciously trying to press the indicators like we would a touch screen instead of using the physical buttons.
The screen itself is a generous 2.4 inches that takes up the entire rear of the camera. It’s bright, colorful, and sharp, and makes reading on-screen information easy. Audio recording and playback features are also included via built-in microphones and speakers. The quality of recordings and playback is not very good, but it’s serviceable for the emergency situations for which it’s intended.
Setting up the Anker C1 can be a trying experience. Installing the microSD card is a pain, and requires considerable force. We found ourselves confused upon initial installation when the microSD card refused to lock into place—you have to push it in farther than seemed initially possible with a fingernail or other thin object. The C1 won’t function in any capacity unless a suitable SD card is inserted (be sure to use class 10).
The adhesive mount is very strong, and you only get one chance to attach it correctly. It sticks on super tight, so once in place you won’t moving it easily, and doing so will weaken the adhesive strength. It’s a good idea to assemble the entire unit before committing to the placement of the adhesive mount so that you don’t accidentally install it upside down. Luckily, if you do bungle the mount placement, or want to be able to install the camera in a second vehicle, there’s a second adhesive mount included.
To power the Anker C1, connect the camera to your car’s accessory port via the USB adapter and cable. According to the directions this cable should be installed by slipping it behind your window trim using the included tool, along the top of your windshield, down beside your door, under the floor mat, and up to the lighter socket in the center console. This is a time consuming and difficult process, and there is a chance you may damage your car’s interior. We found it more advisable to allow the cable to hang directly downwards, though it’s not an attractive or elegant solution.
Fortunately, the unit does have a built-in battery, and once charged it can run this way for a considerable amount of time. The final task is to set the date, time, and any other preferences via the on-screen menu system or via Wi-Fi with the companion app.
The Anker C1 provides surprisingly excellent image quality, both in daylight and at night. However, we did have issues reading license plates at a distance, and they were only easily legible when recorded in close proximity. If you’re looking to record footage on your road trip for a Youtube video this camera will work fine, but it might not be the most reliable device for recording the detail needed to serve as evidence in case of an accident or break in.
The Anker C1 provides surprisingly excellent image quality, both in daylight and at night.
On a positive note, we found that the camera was easily able to cover the entire field of view in front of the car, so if you’re mainly looking to prove to an insurance provider that you were not at fault in a collision, then the Anker C1 will be more than adequate.
Accessing footage recorded with the Anker C1 is possible by several different methods, the easiest being a Wi-Fi connection to your mobile device. However, videos can also be downloaded onto your computer by connecting the included USB cable, or by removing the microSD card and inserting it directly into your PC. Unfortunately, the latter option is a bit tricky due to the difficulty of inserting and removing the microSD card.
Battery life is good, and if you don’t mind dealing with the power/USB cable you can just leave it plugged in and never have to worry about charging it. A battery enables the Anker C1 to watch over your parked car when the car isn’t running. If a sudden jolt is registered the dash cam will start recording.
Collisions and other emergency situations are detected via what Anker describes as a “gravity sensor”, but would be more accurately described as a motion sensor. It triggers when the camera senses unexpected motion, such as when you step on the brakes, are involved in a collision, or someone violently breaks into your car. We particularly appreciated the emergency file locking system which prevents video recorded when a collision is detected from being accidentally deleted.
We got to see the sensor and file locking in action when we had to pull over to let a police vehicle pass. This necessitated a sudden slow down, and the camera detected this and automatically flagged the relevant video clip as protected.
With many Wi-Fi connected devices there is a tiring need to manually switch from your regular home connection to that of the device. Not so with the Anker C1—you just need to boot up the app, enable the Wi-Fi function on the dash cam, and the two will automatically and almost instantly connect. Just exit the app to break the connection, which also disables Wi-Fi in the dash cam to ensure battery power isn’t wasted.
The Roav app is as simple to use as it is a useful and responsive interface for the dash cam. Not only does it provide an easier way to navigate the camera's menu system, it also allows you to conveniently review the footage you’ve captured in an intuitive and surprisingly robust media player. We particularly appreciated the fact that we could zoom in on the footage to see close-up details.
With an MSRP of $73 the Anker C1 is reasonably priced for such a fully-featured dash cam. It easily justifies its value with excellent build quality, useful features, and a well designed companion app.
While they share a nearly identical MSRP, the Pruveeo F5 and the Anker C1 are very different cameras. If they retailed at MSRP the Anker C1 would be the clear winner with its excellent build quality, Wi-Fi connectivity, and its expansive screen. By contrast, the Pruveeo F5 is cheaply made, doesn’t support Wi-Fi, and has a tiny, poor quality screen. However, while the Anker C1 typically retails for its MSRP, the Pruveeo F5 can be found for half the cost, and for under $40 it’s a modestly enticing bargain if all you’re looking for is the bare minimum.
A cheap and effective route to a little peace of mind.
Despite the frustrations of the initial setup process and a few other nitpicks, the Anker Roav C1 dash cam really impressed us with how good its video footage looked, its great build quality, and its robust feature set. That it’s such a well rounded dash cam is particularly surprising given its very reasonable price tag. If you’re looking for a little extra security, or just another way to record video on a road trip, the Anker Roav C1 is an excellent option.