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Lifewire / Danny Chadwick
Easily sticks to your windshield
Intuitive controls and interface
Captures HD footage
Battery only lasts 20 minutes
Poor sound recording
This Z-Edge Z3 Plus delivers on nearly everything you expect from a dashboard camera. It’s easy to install and use, and it captures clear, detailed footage at a fair price.
We put the Z3 Plus dashcam by Z-Edge to the test, and it made a very good showing. We were able to use it within a few minutes of taking it out of the box, which speaks to how simple it is to set up, and the footage we captured was true-to-life and highly detailed.
It has a couple of minor drawbacks, like only having one choice for mounting and a mere 20-minute battery life when not connected to power. But if you’re in the market for a dashcam, the Z3 Plus should be among the devices you’re considering.
If you didn’t know this device was a dashcam, you could be forgiven for mistaking it for a point-and-shoot camera. It has a three-inch screen, and while that is small by the standards of today’s mobile devices, it’s a great size for your windshield. All the indicator lights and icons fit nicely on the screen and you only need to glance at it briefly while you drive to see that it’s recording.
The Z3 Plus comes with a suction cup mount to attach to your windshield. It sticks on easily with a simple lever and stays on securely. When we tested our model, we left it attached to a windshield for a week and it never slid, fell or moved. It’s also easy to take off—simply pull the lever to release the suction cup.
While the suction cup is high-quality and won’t fail you, it’s the only option for mounting this dashboard camera. Other dashboard cameras often include a mount that sticks to the dashboard via a strip of adhesive tape, and this would be a great option for the Z3 Plus because you wouldn’t have to place it on your windshield where your view of the road is potentially obstructed.
Since this dashcam has no onboard storage, Z-Edge includes a 32GB microSD card in the box.
The controls, buttons, and interface on the Z3 Plus are quite intuitive. The few menu options it has are as straightforward as they come, so it should only take you a few minutes to have it set up the way you want.
This dashboard camera, like many of its kind, uses loop recording. This means that it will continuously record video, but divide it up into manageable chunks rather than one long video file. You can set loop recording to one, two, three or five-minute intervals. When your memory card is filled up, the camera automatically overwrites older recordings. However, unlike other dash cams we tested, there’s no option to turn loop recording off.
The Z3 Plus comes equipped with both a G-sensor and motion detection. This enables it to sense a collision and automatically protect the recording from being overwritten, which can be invaluable if you ever need to prove what happened in a traffic accident.
Another nifty benefit of motion detection is “Parking Mode,” which essentially transforms the Z3 Plus into a security camera. If you leave it in your car, it will automatically start recording when it detects motion in the immediate vicinity of your vehicle and record for about 30 seconds before shutting off again.
Since this dashcam has no onboard storage, Z-Edge includes a 32GB microSD card in the box. This is nice because it means you don’t have to go to the extra expense to buy one.
You’ll find two power cables in the box with the Z3 Plus, one long and one short. The long one is meant to string along the top of your windshield and down the side of the window and to the power supply. The short one is for connecting the camera to a computer when you want to review or download captured footage to your hard drive.
This dashboard camera can draw power from a USB port or through a 12V socket (your car’s cigarette lighter). The included 12V adapter has two USB ports. This is convenient because it can double as a power supply for mobile devices like smartphones and tablets.
If you’re even passingly familiar with digital cameras, you can have the Z3 Plus set up and ready to go within a few minutes of taking it out of the box. And while you should read the user manual before turning it on, you probably won’t run into any major difficulties if you don’t. The most time-consuming part of the setup is running the power cable up and around your windshield so it’s not dangling down to the power supply while you drive. This requires you to tuck the cord under your car’s upholstery and panels, which takes about 20 minutes to complete.
If you’re even passingly familiar with digital cameras, you can have the Z3 Plus set up and ready to go within a few minutes of taking it out of the box.
The user manual is excellent, detailed and provides comprehensive instructions for all the features this dashcam offers—this is worth mentioning because some other cameras we tested have subpar instructions.
The Z3 Plus has outstanding recording abilities for a camera this size and can capture footage up to 2560 x 1440 resolution. However, this will fill up your camera quite fast, so you can set it as low as 720p if you don’t need super high-resolution footage. You can also adjust the frame rate to 30 and 60 frames per second (for resolutions exceeding 1920 x 1080, only 30 fps is available).
The Z3 Plus has outstanding recording abilities for a camera this size and can capture footage up to 2560 x 1440 resolution.
When we reviewed the footage captured by this dashcam, we found it to be crisp, clear, and highly detailed. Even when the vehicle was traveling at freeway speeds, we could make out small details on other vehicles, billboards, and street signs. And the scenery looked amazing—when we drove through the countryside, the camera captured beautiful footage of the mountains and lakes.
This dashboard camera has the ability to record sound, but unlike the picture quality, the sound is terrible. The audio we captured during our testing was unlistenable and garbled—you’re better off recording without sound because there’s no use for it.
We tested the Z-Edge Z3 Plus on a six-hour road trip, and throughout the drive, the Z3 Plus nor the suction cup failed. So long as it was plugged into power, it functioned flawlessly.
The only complaint we have about the performance of the dashcam is its battery life. When we unplugged it, it only lasted about 20 minutes before shutting down. You need to keep it connected constantly and can only rely on the battery to capture footage in Parking Mode.
We did experience one strange glitch at the end of our testing—a couple of minutes after we had boxed up the Z3 Plus and put it away, we noticed loud, rapid beeping coming from the box. We took the Z3 Plus back out and it was frozen on the power-up screen. We couldn’t get it to turn off (or stop beeping) until the battery died a few minutes later. The camera appeared to work fine after that and we weren’t able to replicate the problem, but it was something of an alarming glitch from such a new device.
As of the time of this writing, you can pick up this dashcam from Z-Edge for between $120 and $140, which seems like a good value to us. Given its features, tools, and image quality, it’s a fair price for a useful and reliable device.
We tested the Z3 Plus alongside the Apeman C450 Series A dashcam. The two are comparable in size and function, but the Apeman is a more budget-friendly model that costs around $50. We definitely noticed a difference when it comes to the construction quality, image resolution, clarity of the user manual, and overall experience—the Z3 Plus was superior in almost every way.
In fact, the only area where the Apeman C450 out-performed the Z3 Plus was in battery life. It lasted about ten minutes longer before dying when the power cable was unplugged. Additionally, the Apeman C450 has a slightly wider lens angle at 170 degrees while the Z3 Plus has a 155-degree field of view.
The Apeman is considerably less expensive, so if you’re on a budget, the Apeman could be what you’re looking for—but you get what you pay for.
A durable, reliable dashboard camera that captures high-quality footage.
The Z-Edge Z3 Plus is easy to set up, intuitive to use, captures clear video footage for a reasonable price. We would like to have seen a second mounting option to the suction cup and a longer-lasting battery, but those are minor quibbles in light of this device’s reliable performance.