Viofo A229 Duo Hero

Hands-on review: Viofo A229 Duo dash cam

Image credit: Viofo

Eyes on the road, ahead and behind.

We've previously spent some quality drive time with two other Viofo dash cams, the A139 3CH triple channel dash cam and the A139 Pro two-channel affair. Both are good systems, with the inevitable devil in the detail as to which might suit you better.

Now, Viofo has an uprated two-cam system in the A229 Duo, with front and rear-facing cameras. For most private users, this is the dash cam sweet spot, covering as it does the road and all those other idiots on it both ahead of and behind your vehicle. Front and interior cam systems are ideal for professionals – e.g. taxi drivers and chauffeurs who might need to prove who did what to whom inside their vehicle – but for the rest of us, front and rear view is the optimal way to go.

The A229 Duo also bucks a recent trend in dash cams by including a large full-colour 2.4in HD LCD screen with a 140°-wide viewing angle. This displays either a full-screen live feed of the front cam or a picture-in-picture feed of both cams simultaneously. Screen-less dual cams, such as the Nexar Pro GPS two-channel system or the Miofive Dash Cam Dual, only display their live feeds via accompanying apps.

The Viofo app will also work with the A229 Duo, so you – or anyone else to whom you give access – can also view the A229 Duo live feed in the Viofo app on their smartphone or tablet. If privacy is a concern for you, given that Viofo operates from Shenzhen, China, the iOS App Store explicitly states that "the developer does not collect any data from this app".

Viofo A229 Duo inline face-on

Image credit: Viofo

The presence of the screen explains the front cam's 'cheese wedge' shape, the better to accommodate the necessary components. When installed on the windscreen and viewed from the vehicle's front seats, the unit appears perfectly flat. You can also turn the screen off, if you find it too much of a distraction while driving.

The A229's screen and housing has also been designed for improved heat dissipation, which is important for hot days and parched territories. New LED indicators have also been added, so you can check the status of the cam and the functions enabled at a glance.

The real appeal of this A229 Duo system is the high quality of the images. Viofo describes it as "Quad HD + Quad HD", as both front and rear cams support 2K 2,560x1,440 HD filming at 30fps for excellent footage capture. The front cam uses an F1.6 aperture seven-elements glass lens.

This is one of the first dual-cam systems with a 2K rear cam, providing greater clarity over the more common 1,920x1,080P rear cams. This seems like an inevitable trend: rear cams have tended to be overshadowed by the specs of their front cam brethren, but as many of us will regrettably know from experience, there are as many rear-ender accidents out there waiting to happen as there are front collisions. Keeping one pin-sharp 2K eye open in every direction can't hurt.

Viofo A229 Duo Inline 1

Image credit: Viofo

Both cams employ the Sony Starvis IMX335 5MP sensor, which is widely acknowledged as being an ideal choice at the heart of any excellent vision system. Daytime footage is rendered in crisp colours, exhibiting fine detail, with no obvious failings perceived in the footage we captured during our test journeys. Nighttime footage was also acceptable, albeit at the mercy of available light, as is the case with pretty much all dash cams. In urban areas, the footage was good. In the deepest, darkest country lanes, results naturally varied, although other passing vehicles could still be identified.

In the box you get the front camera, the rear camera, the GPS module (which attaches to the back of the front camera – see photo below), a type-C data cable, car charger, spare front- and rear-mount sticky pads, a 6m cable to connect the rear cam, a tool to help route and fit that cable neatly in your car, and two windshield static stickers. That's everything you need – well, almost.

One additional item you will definitely need to purchase before use is an SD card; this is not included in the box. That's a little disappointing – and naturally Viofo sells a range of its own branded cards, from 64Gb up to the maximum-supported 512Gb (frankly overkill at £100). Whatever card you choose, and wherever you buy it – because you don't need a Viofo-branded card – just make sure it's good quality and suitable for continuous recording.

Other headline features of the A229 are similar to other Viofo models we've reviewed (as well as cams from rivals): the 5GHz Wi-Fi for fast video review and transfer to a smartphone or tablet; a built-in GPS logger, so data such as route, speed and timestamps are reliably captured; voice notifications, available in multiple languages; a super-slim 2.8mm coaxial rear cable and miniature connectors, so the cable can be neatly tucked away; G-sensor auto detection and recording of bump events; a low-bitrate recording option, to help eke out the most space from an SD card; time-lapse photography, and 24-hour parking monitoring – although this does require the optional, if inexpensive, HK4 Hardwire Kit.

Viofo A229 Duo Inline 3

Image credit: Viofo

Other optional accessories to pimp out your Viofo dash cam include a circular polarising lens for the front camera, easily fitted to reduce reflections and glare; a Bluetooth remote control, which is essentially a button you can place near the steering wheel so you can hit it the second any incident occurs and the camera will lock and protect the current video clip, and a jack for an external microphone, for obvious audio uses.

None of these extras – averaging between £10-15 each – are crucial for the A229 Duo to be effective, but they are fairly cheap and do enhance the overall experience. Of course, you can add them at any point, so it's not something that has to be decided upfront.

The two-cam market is becoming increasingly competitive, as manufacturers look to repeatedly one-up each other with spec tweaks and component upgrades. The A229 Duo is a fine system, covering all bases and almost every angle of a vehicle with its pair of excellent 2K cameras. Offers available through the usual retail channels can push the price of the core setup below £200 – and at that price, if it's a dual-cam system you be seeking, the Viofo A229 Duo should definitely be on your shortlist.

Viofo A229 Duo dash cam
£216, offer price £191 (at time of writing)

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