Tech

Viofo A229 Plus 3ch review: All the coverage with all the perks

Viofo A229 PlusImage: Jon L. Jacobi

At a glance

Expert’s Rating

Pros

Front, interior, and rear camerasDiscrete interior camera for versatile placementColorful, detailed capturesRear captures are as good as the front capturesPhone connectivity

Cons

Lots of wires to hide

Our Verdict

For the money, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better three-channel dash cam system than Viofo’s A229 Plus 3-channel. Strong 1440p front and rear captures, GPS, phone connectivity, and voice control are just some of the highlights.

Price When Reviewed

$279.99

Best Prices Today: Viofo A229 Plus 3-channel dash cam

RetailerPriceAmazon$269.99View DealPrice comparison from over 24,000 stores worldwideProductPricePrice comparison from Backmarket

If you want maximum video coverage of your vehicle and its surroundings, you need a three-channel system such as Viofo’s $280 A229 Plus 3ch. Its front, cabin, and rear cameras capture just about everything not blocked by your vehicle’s roof pillars, and with colorful detail.

Further reading: See our roundup of the best dash cams to learn about competing products.

What are the A229 Plus’ features?

The A229 Plus 3-channel system sports a 1440p main front camera (Sony STARVIS 2 IMX675 5MP) as well as a discrete 1080p cabin (Sony STARVIS IMX307 2MP) and 1440p (IMX675) rear view camera. The fields-of-view are 140 degrees, 160 degrees, and 150 degrees, respectively.

The advantage of a discrete interior camera is that you can place it for the best cabin coverage without affecting the coverage of the front camera. With front/interior combo cams, you may have to compromise one or the other view. On the other hand, there’s another cable to hide.

The connections to the cameras are USB Type-C with the odd exception of the port on the main body for the interior camera, which is a 3.5mm TRS phone plug. Go figure. I’d like to see a right-angle connector on both ends of the rear camera cable, rather than just one. These are very handy, especially with Type-C which is orientation agnostic.

The mounts are all sticky types using semi-permanent adhesive. There’s no horizontal adjustment possible once they’re in place, so be careful with your alignment. If you’re new to the process, you can find some tips in our install how-to.

Tip: Attach the interior and rear cameras to the main unit and power it up so you can see on the main unit’s 2.4-inch display the view they’re capturing before you fix them in place.

The main front camera detaches from its mount (which harbors the power port), but the interior and rear cameras do not. This invokes my standard warning about theft, and my standard caveat that even with an unlocked convertible in San Francisco, I’ve yet to have a rear camera stolen. (Knocks wood.)

Viofo offers both an optional polarizing filter, which does help the day captures, at a slight deficit of brightness at night. There’s also a Bluetooth emergency capture button available.

The A229 Plus supports phone connectivity and to that end includes 2.4/5GHz Wi-Fi. There’s also an onboard mic to record audio and listen for voice commands such as “Take photo,” “Video on,” “Turn off audio,” etc. You may of course also control these functions, as well as adjust settings, with the buttons below the display.

Viofo provides an app with a live view, access to recordings, and the copious settings for all three cameras. There’s GPS on board as you can see in the captures below, and the usual amenities such as motion detection, parking mode, etc. are all present and accounted for. This isn’t Viofo’s first hay ride.

Viofo provides an auxiliary power plug with dual Type-A USB ports and the cable to match (right angle Type-C to Type-A). I didn’t see a Viofo option for an OBDII power cable (which I find handy for parking power), but there are plenty of suitable cables available at the various online shopping portals, and probably your local brick and mortar outlet as well.

How are the A229 Plus’ captures?

The A229’s captures are very good, especially the front and rear. The interior is also better than average, but sports a little less detail, being 1080p rather than 1440p like the other two. Given my aging mug, I’m actually happy about that.

As you can see above and below, the A229 Plus’ front camera does a bang-up job with both color and detail. And does so both day and night. Headlight flare is minimal, motion compensation is excellent, and there’s also not a lot of fish-eye. Good stuff.

The A229 Plus’ rear camera does almost as good a job as the front. Again, great color and detail — both day and night (see below). Using the same 1440p STARVIS sensor really pays off. Almost all rear cameras we test are 1080p and quite often use a much cheaper sensor.

The A229 Plus’ front camera does a bang-up job with both color and detail. And does so both day and night.

Any blurriness in the rear night capture below was from condensation and misguided use of Windex with vinegar. (I’ve stopped using that for cleaning purposes as it doesn’t seem to live up to its “no streaks” billing.)

The only thing wrong with the following cabin captures is my choice of models (me). And yes, I was lazy and didn’t hide the cable to the rear camera. Viofo might’ve opted for a right-angle Type-C connector on that end of the rear camera cable to make routing it a bit easier.

Regardless, these are very good captures with more than enough detail to capture the goings on inside your vehicle.

The cabin night capture is very good thanks to the four infrared LEDs surrounding the interior camera lens. I opted to place the cabin camera a bit off-center to the right, but it still covered the entire interior and much of the action out the side windows.

In total, the A229 Plus’ captures are high quality. Both from a legal (detail), and aesthetic (color and processing) point of view. There’s minimal fish-eye effect despite the wide fields of view, and oncoming headlights are handled without undue flare.

Note that you’re writing approximately 400MB of video per minute (150MB front, 150MB rear, 100MB interior at 30 fps), or 24GB an hour with all three cameras set to their highest resolution. Of course, older videos are overwritten so you won’t run out of room; however, I do recommend at least a 256GB TF card (the A229 Plus supports up to 512GB) so you record at least the majority of your day.

There is also a $300 A229 Pro 3ch system that captures 4K to the front — however, that generally costs you 250MB per minute of storage so if you opt for that system, figure 500MB per minute for all three cameras. In my experience, few 4K cameras have the optics to take full advantage and because of additional compression involved, the increase in apparent detail isn’t always that noticeable. There are exceptions such as the Cobra SC 410D.

Rather than a battery, Viofo opts for a super capacitor that powers the camera long enough (3-5 seconds) to close the currently open files, but not long enough to capture any more action. Note that power loss is a rare event, even in accidents, but we’d like to see some extra run time with either an even larger capacitor, or multiple capacitors in play.

Should you buy the Viofo A229 Plus?

For the price, the 2K A229 Plus is a fantastic three-channel system. And I love that the rear camera is also 2K — just as much mayhem occurs in the rear mirror as out front. Viofo knows all the tricks at this point, so you’re all set in the amenities and features department as well.

Unless you want cloud connectivity such as that offered by the Nexar One Pro or Nextbase IQ, the A229 Plus should be at the top of your dash cam short list.

Best Prices Today: Viofo A229 Plus 3-channel dash cam

RetailerPriceAmazon$269.99View DealPrice comparison from over 24,000 stores worldwideProductPricePrice comparison from Backmarket

Jon Jacobi is a musician, former x86/6800 programmer, and long-time computer enthusiast. He writes reviews on TVs, SSDs, dash cams, remote access software, Bluetooth speakers, and sundry other consumer-tech hardware and software.

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