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You don’t have to look far to find cheap dashcams in the UK. Once found in the farthest corners of the internet, now many well known retailers are in on the action including Argos and Sainsbury’s who have launched this exclusive Motorola device for under £50. Let’s take a look at the device and see if it’s a good buy or cheap rip off.
Motorola’s MDC150 dashcam is a cheap device that gets the job done. It features loop recording, parking motion detector and G-sensor for detecting collisions and saving them to permanent memory. It has a small 2” screen although footage is best viewed from a PC or Mac using the SD card. Daytime footage is okay although it doesn’t perform particularly well at night.
Despite being a household name, Motorola isn’t a big player in dash cams and tends to operate at the budget level of the spectrum with this MDC150 being a typical example.
It features a small screen and all the basic features you’d expect from a modern day dashcam, in this review we’ll touch on a few of these features to see how they compare to others at this entry level price range.
The item is available exclusively in the UK and is currently only sold in Argos and Sainsburys.
The MDC150 records in 1080p which is no surprise given that most dashcams at entry point manage to do that. The video is decent quality during daytime recording for a dashcam of this price and in particular seems to be quite smooth footage.
However, when it comes to nighttime footage, the camera doesn’t perform so well with even basic details hard to make out and a lot of glare.
A key feature which makes it stand out is the wide 15 0degree field of view, this rivals and outperforms a number of other great budget devices and ensures maximum viewability when watching the footage back. The edges of the video are slightly distorted, but this is to be expected with such a wide angle.
The device features loop recording which means old footage will be overwritten when the memory card is full. However, key pieces of footage are prevented from overwrite when they are detected by one of these methods:
- The cars G-sensor – the gravity sensor can detect impact from crashes or collisions
- The parking sensor – this can be activated at night and will automatically record when it detects motion around the vehicle
- Manually locked by the user – using the device buttons to lock key clips
The device also records audio although this is often muffled and not wholly reliable.
The device doesn’t have any GPS or WiFi and you can’t connect it to any smartphone app. The two ways you can review the footage are on the device and by putting the SD card into a PC. This is typical for a device at this budget, you would need to spend a little more for the convenience of an app.
It has a very small inbuilt battery that can be used for emergency backups, but this won’t last any longer than 10 minutes, this is very common for dashcams at this price point.
The Motorola has a small 2-inch display although it’s not a touch screen, so you’ll have to get used to navigating via buttons. The screen is smaller than some other budget devices, although there are some without screens completely so it’s a fair trade off.
I don’t particularly rate the user interface which is unusual for a Motorola device. The instructions provided are very basic, so you’ll often have to rely on initiative to amend the settings. Luckily, there is very little setting up to do however this can be frustrating when you need to adjust any settings.
The user interface isn’t well thought through which makes it very slow and difficult to navigate your footage, you will most likely need to put the SD card into a PC to quickly find footage you need.
The dashcam is easy to install and comes with a suction cup and ample cable for hiding behind panels, once it’s in place on the windscreen it’s very small and compact so doesn’t obstruct view at all. There is no adhesive sticky pad option which can sometimes be a better way of fitting the mount in a permanent vehicle.
The release system to remove the camera from its holder isn’t very simple so you may struggle if taking it between vehicles regularly, it’s better off to just be left in one single vehicle.
This basic dash cam does the job. It’s best suited to recording daytime footage and it can be cumbersome to move between cars, so I’d only recommend it for a single vehicle use.
Overall, this is one of my top three budget dashcams at this level and is a good buy considering its price. However, it isn’t my overall top recommendation, you can read my full breakdown of budget dashcams for more information.