Top-Rated Dashcam Apps

Turn your phone into a dashcam

Dashcam apps are designed to turn your phone into a dashcam, saving you the cost of a hardware dashboard camera. Top-rated apps provide the same basic functionality you see in midrange hardware dashcams, with the disadvantage of requiring you to activate the app and place your phone in an appropriate cradle every time you drive.

Some dashcam apps compare more favorably to hardware types of dashboard cameras than others, and some apps provide functionality you can't get from a physical device. For example, some dashcam apps can tie into an OBD2 Bluetooth scanner for a different experience from anything you can get out of a hardware dashcam. While these apps aren't as convenient as a hardware device, they are the most useful dash camera alternatives available.

Some dashcam apps can record when there is no outward indication that the phone is recording. This makes some of these apps suitable for use as spy cams, but aside from the question of whether dashcams are legal, recording people without their knowledge is illegal in many places.

This article takes a quick look at four of the highest-rated dashcam apps available for Android at the Google Play store. The included ratings represent actual user opinions on the functionality and value of each app, as posted at Google Play.

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Drive Recorder

The Drive Record app.
What We Like
  • Supports background recording.

  • Able to record automatically on app launch.

  • Can store relevant GPS data surrounding an accident.

What We Don't Like
  • Includes distracting ads at the bottom.

  • Uses a lot of battery.

Price: Free (ad-supported)
Rating: 4.4

Drive Recorder is a highly rated dashcam app that includes many great features and options for customization. It's capable of recording automatically when the app is launched, and it can continue recording even in background mode.

This combination of features makes the app easy to use, and it doesn't interfere with the normal usage of your phone for calling, texting, playing music and podcasts, or anything else.

Drive Recorder includes options you can use to fine-tune your experience, such as changing the quality of the video you store or the recording duration and choosing whether to record audio. It can record GPS data surrounding an accident, which can help prove your innocence if the other driver claims you are at fault.

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Autoguard dash cam

What We Like
  • Sync videos to YouTube.

  • Runs in the background while other apps are active.

  • Automatically records when placed in a car dock.

What We Don't Like
  • No options to upload video to cloud services for storage.

  • Videos recorded at night are too dark to see.

  • Causes some phones to overheat.

Price: Free with in-app purchases
Rating: 4.2 stars

AutoGuard is a dashcam app that offers a free download with in-app purchases at $2.99 each. The free version is ad-supported, but no ads are visible on the main screen during recording.

While most dashcam apps show a view of the road or whatever you're recording, some of them also run in the background, like hardware dashboard cameras. AutoGuard is an example of a dashcam app that can run in the background. So, if you have a navigation app, you can leave the dashcam going while you use it. You may even be able to have a small picture-in-picture view of AutoGuard in the corner while in other apps, depending on your hardware.

One of the main problems with dashcam apps versus hardware devices is setting up the app every time. Some dashcam apps, such as AutoGuard, make that a little easier. When you place your phone into a car dock, an app with this functionality automatically turns on and starts recording.

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DailyRoads Voyager

Daily Roads Voyager dash cam app

What We Like
  • Runs in the background while other apps are active.

  • Set g-force sensitivity to record when triggered.

  • Video-protect feature preserves recordings.

  • SD card storage.

What We Don't Like
  • Ads in the free version.

  • Drains battery quickly when running in the background.

Price: Free with in-app purchases/$4.99
Rating: 4.2

DailyRoads Voyager is a dashcam app that is available in a free and $4.99 paid Pro version. The free version is ad-supported, although no ads are immediately visible on the main recording screen, and all ads disappear if you make a donation or in-app purchase. The in-app purchases range from $0.99 to $7.00.

DailyRoads Voyager includes a standard feature set that includes looped recording and allows you to set the length of the loops and how much storage space is used before old recordings are overwritten. It also uses your phone's GPS and g-sensor to work just like a hardware dashcam, and you can configure the sensitivity of the g-force necessary to trigger a recording.

This app can run in the background with optional video/photo capture buttons superimposed over other apps, although this feature drains the battery quickly.

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Smart Dash Cam

Smart Dash Cam dash cam app

What We Like
  • Turns off the screen display while recording.

  • Collision detection for recording events.

What We Don't Like
  • Distracting ads in the free version.

  • Cannot run in the background.

  • Phone can get hot while in use.

  • Difficult to locate videos.

Price: Free (ad-supported), offers in-app purchases
Rating: 4.0

Smart Dash Cam is a free ad-supported dashcam app. It features auto-loop recording, integration with Google Drive for cloud storage, and a collision detection feature.

There is a banner ad on the screen when you use the free version. You aren't supposed to be watching the screen of a dashcam while you're driving, so the ad might look tacky, but it doesn't cover any vital information. The in-app purchases range from $1.99 to $9.99, one of which removes the ads.

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