In Car DVR: DailyRoads Voyager

chris

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Hey everybody, in my never-ending search for a proper in car DVR setup, i ran across DailyRoads Voyager, an Android App, about a year ago. I figured I'd make a review for it, and share my thoughts on it with you.
Android Market Page
DailyRoads homepage

First off, my phone is a Verizon HTC Incredible with the extended battery, rooted and running MIUI. I have run many, many other roms, from froyo to GB to kingdom sense.

Now for the app.
  • GPS: The GPS aspect is really phenomenal here. It not only offers a constant speedometer in the upper left hand of the screen (optional) but it also can geolocate every single video that you take. Unfortunately, the biggest problem for me is that when you export the video, it doesn’t keep the speedometer for some reason…its only available in the app. They say they are working on this.
  • Quality: this thing can shoot at whatever quality your phone can shoot…at least 720p. Quality is surprisingly good, and I’ll have videos at the end of this post. Audio quality is also good, but is limited by your phone. Mine has two microphones, one for foreground and one for background, and the app gives you the ability to pick between the two, or both, which is convenient, especially if you have a louder car. In my experience, the foreground microphone works well. Of course, the double edged sword here is that you could be limited by your phone’s ability if you have an older phone or SD card. If your SD card is a class 4 or below, you could have trouble with smooth video recording at 720p. Note, you can set quality to wherever you want it to be, especially because HD with audio start to take up room quickly. Again, depending on your phone, you may face low light visibility problems (I certainly do)
  • Interface: The interface is decent. On the recordings screen, the majority is just video of what its recording, and there are three buttons on the right. Record Video, Take Photo, and Files. All you have to do to start recording is hit record video, and it’ll record until you press record video again, cycling videos at an interval that you set. To save a video, just touch the screen. These videos are saved directly to your SD card.
  • Uploading: I felt this may need its own section because it’s so cool. You actually have the option to upload your saved videos to DailyRoads secure servers automatically, and they say youtube implementation is on the way. This is extremely convenient if you get into one of those risky situations where your camera may be confiscated. No other DVR that I know of offers this functionality, and it could be invaluable.
  • Price: FREE
Final thoughts. This thing is convenient. You’re utilizing a device that you already have, and it has just as good, if not better functionality than what you get out of a $200 DVR. There are some downsides however.
First off, you’re stuck using your phone. You may have to check incoming messages, or take a call, and while the app CAN operate in the background, most phones tend to slow down with enough going on, and I don’t think you can record while on a call. The other downside about using your phone? It gets HOT. Your phone is running full time, in the sun, milking its processor. My Incredible would overheat frequently if I had to use my charger while using the video. This brings me to my next point, POWER.

Any use of your camcorder will drain your battery, but this uses your camera and possibly your GPS, and if you choose to upload, your 3G/4G radio. You WILL need a powerful phone charger if you’re going to use this app regularly.
This thing also uses the phones accelerometer to measure G-force, and can be set to auto save the videos surrounding the spike in Gs. This is also customizable.
Another problem I’ve found is mounting. With the orientation of my camera, I couldn’t use a custom fit holster clip and still be able to record. I had to get a universal one, this one specifically. Because of the length of the arm, its got some bounce to it, as its normally assigned to GPS duty. If one with a smaller, stiffer arm existed, it would work significantly better.

As far as stability, it’s a pretty decent app. I’ll occasionally have trouble recording in the background, but this may be from having a non-stock phone.

So my final thought? If you don’t have a better alternative or the money, USE IT! You already have the phone, it is definitely at least worth a try. If you find yourself using your phone for other things on the road (which you shouldn’t be, anyway) then you may get annoyed having to put the (now very warm) phone on your ear, then back into the mount.
As promised, here are videos taken with the app on my Incredible.

Note, none of these are 720p.
http://youtu.be/JBAA5CZNuJg
http://youtu.be/ML_BAIbb2gs
 

chris

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Dailyroads updated the app today! They added:
  • option to overlay timestamps and gps on video (through an online server)
  • option to generate subtitle files with timestamps and gps data
  • full 1080p support! (except Samsung GSII)
 

jem58

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That is some very good video:c00l:
 

v1user

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Good write up man! I'm going to update now.
 

chris

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i'm charging my phone now, i'll try to get some HD video this evening before it gets too dark. if not i'll get some on my commute tomorrow!
 

Wannago

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I've got an LG Optimus G-SLate tablet running Android 3.0 that has dual camers and records in 3D. Obviously it's way too big to be mounted and used as an in-car DVR, but 3D video of encoutners would be pretty cool. I might try it just for $hits 'n giggles...
 

Chariot

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I've tried many solutions for in car DVR, keep going back to Daily Roads Voyager. Its just overall the best and easiest to use. I combine it with software which runs in the back ground looking for new videos which it automatically uploads to my server (for archival, so I still have it if someone gets the phone and erases the contents).
 

titter

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Thanks for posting this. I am a big Android guy (I run the Infectedrom.com website, and help with the releases for Kingdom), and this made me think. I have my old Hero sitting in my laptop bag doing nothing. Should be perfect for just video. Won't be HD, but it won't be bad. Just need a way to mount it.
 

chris

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E53X5

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that'd be great! can you use the GPS without having cell service? I'd check out these mounts: Amazon.com: windshield mount - Cell Phones & Accessories
You can just pull the phone to where the camera has a view of the road, and then lock the other half of the phone in
The GPS will work without wireless service, but you will have to pre-download your route over WiFi connection or you won't see any terrain. The GPS will simply position your base map based on your GPS coordinates.

Another alternative is to install a third party navigation software that uses maps stored on the device /SD card. This way you won't have to worry about WiFi and such. I use iGo 8.3 on both my GPS and old Windows 6 phone as a backup and it's very nice. They also have a version for Android , but I haven't tried it yet.
 
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titter

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GoDuke

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Looking at getting a droid to run my v1 connection and using this in the background to serve as a dash cam. Any thoughts?
 

NYSpeederPVM

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I'm not sure that would work goduke, I think both apps may not be able to be run in the background. I'm pretty sure v1 connection has to be run in the foreground.
 

chris

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It'll work. Dailyroads can run in the background while V1 connection runs in the foreground!

I attached a screenshot. You can see the Dailyroads controls, when in background mode, can be migrated to the foreground even while you have other apps running. It basically stays on top of whatever you're running as long as video is recording in the background. Only downside is V1 connection doesn't do landscape, so you'll be recording vertically. It is also rather resource intensive so I doubt you'd be able to do much more

2013-01-08 18.25.15.png
 
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bkayrac

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How does it fare between recording, charging, and the sun? i found during the summer before i moved my mount to the vent, it would start overheating my phone
 

chris

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How does it fare between recording, charging, and the sun? i found during the summer before i moved my mount to the vent, it would start overheating my phone
Overheating is definitely an issue. While I still don't actually have V1 connection, I used my HTC Incredible with an extended battery (rooted and running a very light ROM) and I actually make it last from Columbia to Greenville (1hr 45mins) without charging just because I know if I plug in the charger it will definitely overheat (but it'll usually make it over an hour)

When charging and recording in the sun, I'll run the windshield AC to make sure it gets plenty of air.
 

darkpenguin

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Thanks for sharing, looks sweet!
Now I need to find a USB camera to add to my Android carputer build if I ever get around to working up the balls to cut up my dash for the install.
 

ray

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Moved thread to Dash Cameras & Car Recording Devices since it's most appropriate here. Also note that this thread was created before this section was created.
 

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