Review: PureGear's Cellular-Enabled Dash Cam Delivers

I have used a number of dash cams and they tend to fall into two categories; namely a sufficient low-end forward-facing camera that, if it connects to to a smartphone at all, does so using a clunky interface; or a high-end, app-enabled, multi-camera, high-resolution device. The PureCam 4G LTE Dual Lens Dash Cam ($249.99) is the high-end kind. PureGear loaned me the device to try and I found a number of distinguishing features.

Related: Review: This Rearview Mirror Doubles as a Dual Dash Cam

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First, the PureCam has front and rear cameras. Not a rear camera for the back of the vehicle, mind you, as some do, but a lens built in to the dash cam that faces the interior of the car. I can see this being useful for Uber and Lyft drivers who need to keep an eye on their customers. The large display can show both the front and rear views simultaneously. The built-in cursor-based buttons, on the side of the unit, are a bit cumbersome. Once you set it up, you can use the iOS or Android app, which is quite elegant, to customize the device and access videos.

The PureCam comes with a 16 GB microSD card to store videos, but can use up to a 32 GB card. It can record in up to 1080p; but at higher resolutions, plus recording forward and rear, you'll use more memory. In addition to the microSD card, there's a slot for a cellular SIM card. This is quite useful as it gives you GPS capability and can alert you to movement when you're away from your car. My wife borrowed my car and I received an alert. The device was smart enough to know that it was on the move, but my cellphone was far away. With cellular service, the PureCam can act as a Wi-Fi hotspot for up to three devices. That alone is a valuable feature that people pay extra for as an option in some vehicles.

Unlike some other dash cams, even the low-end ones, the PureCam does not have a built-in battery. Just a small battery would be helpful for recording vandalism, etc., if the car wasn't providing power. Speaking of power, the PureCam comes with a special microUSB cable that plugs directly in to the car's OBD (On-Board Diagnostic), which is often located below the steering column. This keeps your 12-volt adapter free to charge your iPhone and other devices. Also, some cars turns off power to the 12-volt adapter when the car shuts off. But a car might still provide power for the OBD port, making the lack of a battery less important. It's not cheap, but there are a lot of valuable features and optional cloud storage as well.

Pros

  • Front and interior cameras
  • Large LCD screen
  • Up to 1080p recording
  • SIM card and microSD support
  • Robust and elegant app interface
  • OBD-based power cable
  • GPS and Wi-Fi hotspot when used with activate SIM card 

Cons

  • On-device buttons are cumbersome
  • No battery
  • Pricey but includes valuable features like Wi-Fi hotspot

Final Verdict

The PureCam 4G LTE Dual Lens Dash Cam from PureGear has a great companion app and the interior camera is helpful for rideshare drivers.

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Todd Bernhard's picture

Todd Bernhard is a bestselling (6+ million downloads) award-winning (AARP, About.com, BestAppEver.com, Digital Hollywood, and Verizon) developer and founder of NoTie.NET, an app developer specializing in Talking Ringtone apps including AutoRingtone. And his profile photo is of the last known sighting of Mr. Bernhard wearing a tie, circa 2007!

An iPhone is almost always attached to his hip or in his pocket, but over the years, Mr. Bernhard has owned an Apple Newton, a Motorola Marco, an HP 95LX, a Compaq iPaq, a Palm Treo, and a Nokia e62. In addition to writing for iPhone Life, Mr. Bernhard has written for its sister publications, PocketPC Magazine and The HP Palmtop Paper.