Earlier this month we took a look at a whole range of dash cams, cameras that drivers can use in their vehicles to keep a record of what happens around them. The devices can be very handy in the case of an accident (or meteorite strike ). But what if you're a driving enthusiast who wants a little bit more from your dash cam? While the standard devices are well suited to the daily grind of commuting, they aren't always ideal for capturing a great Sunday morning drive through the hills or an afternoon spent at the track, particularly if you want to overlay telemetry.
One option for the diving enthusiast is to buy a Chevrolet Corvette equipped with the Performance Data Recorder option—you'll be able to read more about how that works in the coming weeks—but that's a $1,750 option on a car with a base price north of $56,000. A cheaper alternative would be to combine a GoPro camera with a data acquisition system like one from Traqmate, or a standalone solution from AiM, but even there you'll be spending at least $1,000. Enter the $499 WayLens Horizon.
Unlike a GoPro, which has been designed to work in all manner of extreme environments, the Horizon has been purpose-designed for one application and one only—recording good looking in-car video. WayLens CEO Mike Schmidt recently gave us a demo of the device, and we came away quite impressed.
This is the WayLens Horizon. You get a 1080p 60fps camera, an OBD2 dongle for car telemetry, and a button to mount to your steering wheel.
Inside that conical aluminum case is a 157˚wide-angle lens with an f/2.4 aperture. The Sony CMOS sensor is 1/1.8" (pixel size is 2.4µm x 2.4µm).
The videos are recorded to an SD card in the camera body, and you can preview and edit them on your phone.
When you trigger an event with the steering wheel button, the video will include the previous 10 seconds of footage from the buffer as well.
Editing is quite painless on a smartphone.
And the displays are very customizable. We may even see OEM-specific gauge designs show up in the future.
The point of making cool driving videos is sharing them, and WayLens has made that process painless.
The camera unit itself is a solid—some might say dense—truncated cone, with a 157° wide-angle, fixed-focus lens at the narrow end and a 286ppi OLED touchscreen at the base. Enclosed within the solid aluminum skin is a Sony 1/1.8" CMOS sensor which records 1080p 60fps to an SD card. In addition to the optical sensor, there's a barometer, a three-axis accelerometer, a three-axis gyro, a three-axis magnetometer, and a 10Hz GPS module. (There are also WiFi and Bluetooth chips for livestreaming video to your phone and for uploading video to WayLens' cloud.)
The presence of those sensors mean that, on its own, the Horizon is able to create data overlays showing stats like your speed, acceleration, G-forces, and geolocated position. But it also comes with an OBD2 dongle that pulls information from your car, like engine rpm and even boost pressure (assuming your car has a turbocharger and reports boost pressure over OBD2). Finally, there's also a button you can mount on the steering wheel that lets you trigger the recording function (or mark an event) without having to take your hands off the wheel.
The final component is the mobile app (for Android and iOS), which lets you—or more sensibly your passengers—watch the footage in real-time, edit clips, and share them to WayLens' cloud as well as YouTube and Facebook. Having spent a fair amount of time working with more expensive alternatives like the Traqmate, we can report that the WayLens user experience is a lot less painful and a lot more intuitive.
OK, you won't be capturing your sector times on a race track, but if the point is to put together cool-looking videos with some data overlays, the Horizon has its more expensive competitors beat. The overlays are even customizable, so if you want to show acceleration but not your GPS location or your speed, it's a cinch to configure in the app.
The Horizon isn't meant to appeal to everyone, but if your weekend activities involve roads like Tail of the Dragon or Mulholland Drive, it may be worth your time. Pre-orders opened this week , and WayLens has even chopped $50 off the price as an incentive.