Viofo WM1 Hero

Hands-on review: Viofo WM1 ‘stealth’ dash cam

Image credit: Viofo

You ain't seen me, roight? But I see you.

The WM1 is a diminutive single-lens 2K dash cam, intended to be installed unobtrusively behind the rear-view mirror in a vehicle, keeping as low a profile as possible.

To call it basic, or bare bones, would do it a serious disservice. Rather, the WM1 is Viofo's dash cam offering for the driver who isn't bothered about full-colour screen, app-driven, multi-cam 4K setups with in-cabin wiring up the wazoo, and is instead perfectly happy with a near-invisible, front-facing, simple one-cam system that just gets on with monitoring and recording all the erratic drivers and cavalier wildlife that crosses their motoring path. 

Viofo's pitch for the WM1 is "Smaller, simpler, stealthier". Yep, nailed it. End of review!

Viofo WM1 Inline 1

Image credit: Viofo

Yet as we said above, the WM1 is no cut-price compromise. It's more like a single-cam version of Viofo's two- and three-channel offerings, dropping the interior and rear-view cameras in favour of the original single front-facing eye. 

And what an eye, with a viewing angle of 135˚, F1.8 aperture, and a 1/2.8-inch Sony Starvis IMX335 image sensor capable of 2,560 x 1,440 2K Quad HD – higher resolution than standard 1080P Full HD. Day and night, the footage captured will be crisp and clear, with rich colours and well-defined details. This is what you want most from a dash cam: top-quality footage. The WM1 might not have the highest camera specification on the market, but is its captured output plenty good enough for practically every legal and insurance use? Yes, it is. 

The Starvis sensor also features Wide Dynamic Range, which automatically balances the exposure over highlights and shadows to pick out more details in the dark, improving night-time and other low-light captures, as well as adapting to the shifting glare from bright sunlight, to prevent footage from being overexposed and washed-out.

Having approximately the same dimensions as a king-size Mars Bar, the WM1 can easily be slipped inconspicuously behind the rear-view mirror. With no display to power, thus generating less operational heat, it won't melt either. Of course, you're free to situate the cam wherever suits you best. With minimal wiring requirements, it's easy enough to invisibly route cables within your vehicle and being so small – blending in seamlessly with the dark theme of many vehicles' interior as it does – it's less obvious or attractive to opportunist thieves. 

Installing the camera is straightforward enough, with the rotatable mount offering a range of positions and viewing angles. The sticky mount will keep the plate in place on the windscreen glass, so you can remove the camera easily enough. As long as the oversized emergency lock button is within arm's reach, you can easily operate the camera to save and protect critical video (a Bluetooth button is an optional accessory to do the same job, e.g. from a place even closer to the steering wheel). You'll be wanting a fast micro SD card for saving the footage: 64Gb is a useful minimum, as a rule of thumb (256Gb is the maximum supported).

Viofo WM1 Inline 2

Image credit: Viofo

The WM1 also has a built-in 2.4GHz Wi-Fi connection for fast and easy transfer and viewing of footage, as well as updating settings on the dashcam via the Viofo smartphone app. Carried over from other Viofo cams are additional features such as the intelligent parking modes, auto-event detection, time-lapse recording, low-bitrate mode, a built-in GPS module to log journey metadata (e.g. location, speed, date, time), auto emergency clip lock (triggered by the built-in G-sensor), and voice notifications for camera actions. The WM1 is also compatible with Viofo's HK4 Hardwire Kit (required in order to use the 24/7 parking modes, for example) and the circular polarising lens (to reduce reflection and glare). 

Like the Bluetooth button, perhaps one or more of these optional extras could be included in the box (the polarising lens is particularly useful in guaranteeing top-quality footage), but presumably keeping the base price low is Viofo's primary focus.

Even at £120, the WM1 is not exactly cheap cheap. £120 is still a sum of money worthy of due consideration before you part with it. Having said that, if you're thinking that perhaps you need a dash cam in your life (your insurer would almost certainly advise it), but you don't want or need something that dominates and monitors your car's cabin, the WM1 will do the core job of watching the road ahead admirably – and in appreciably high definition. 

It's also a great choice for anyone put off by more complicated operations: the WM1 is about as simple to use as a dash cam gets. You don't even need to use the smartphone app, ever, if you don't fancy that sort of thing. Just record to the SD card and lock any incident videos, then move them off the card to a computer or tablet at your leisure. The footage quality from the WM1's beady eye is the same, however involved you care to be.

Viofo WM1 dash cam


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