Lanmodo Vast Pro dashcam review
- Fantastic night and low vision camera
- Collision detection and parking mode
- Easy to install and use
- No touchscreen support
- Image stabilisation notably missing
- It’s very big
No matter what your fears regarding Big Brother, dashcams are a wise consideration for those who spend a lot of time on the road. Traditionally, they've provided a means of having video proof of the many things that go wrong when driving. The Lanmodo Vast Pro does that and does it well. But it has an additional point of difference to other dashcams out there.
The Lanmodo Vast Pro looks to also support driving in low visibility situations. Whether that be in the dark of night, in fog, through a rainstorm or just during times of the day when your own eyes aren't at their sharpest. In this respect, the Lanmodo is not just about recording the scene in front (and behind) your vehicle, but allowing you to see the road ahead more clearly.
So, does the Lanmodo Vast Pro achieve its goal?
- 1080p at 25fps
- Night vision to 300m
- 28 hours recording time
- Easy install
The Lanmodo Vast Pro sports a five megapixel, 1920x1080 camera powered by a Sony CMOS sensor. You get a 45-degree field of view, and the camera mounts either on your dashboard or your windscreen using the supplied base with ease. Although, I did find the base didn't stick down to the dashboard as firmly as I would have liked.
While the camera does provide a very crisp image, on paper, it's well off the mark of some of the best dashcams in Australia. The Navman MiVUE 1000, for example, shoots 1080p at 60fps (making it easier to catch number plates) and offers a 150-degree field-of-view. There's no companion app or cloud storage support on the Lanmodo Vast Pro.
It's not trying to directly compete, however. The large 7.84" HD screen with its 850cd/M² brightness and incredible low-light visibility is the big selling point here. With up to 300m of visibility at night, the large display allows you to see potential hazards on the Lanmodo screen and react before you can see them in real-life.
In a nice touch, a 128GB Micro-SD card and a USB Micro-SD card reader are supplied with the Lanmodo Vast Pro. You can get 28 hours of recording time from that card, giving you everything you need to get started. And the camera will keep recording after the car is off. This allows you to pick up any midnight incidents while parked, and the system is smart enough to power down if your car battery gets low.
It's worth noting that the Lanmodo Vast Pro can work at temperatures up to 70 degrees, which should allow it to keep functioning on your dashboard regardless of the hot summer sun beating down on it.
- Rotatable camera
- Two mounting solutions
- No gimbal
- No touchscreen
The Lanmodo Vast Pro is big. It's thin, but it's so wide it won't be far off the size of your rear-view mirror. There's a method to the madness. As mentioned above, this is a dashcam that isn't just about a set and forget security measure to keep a record of everything you encounter on the road. It's for you to look at while you drive to be able to see further into bad weather and the darkness of night than your human eye will allow.
In that respect, its size makes sense. But it still feels big, and that's something you'll have to be willing to accept.
At least the screen itself looks good, with a crisp coloured overview of the road in front. A run of buttons along the top allow you to make basic interactions with the simple menu easily. Although in this day and age, it really should be a touchscreen. That would make dealing with the menu a lot more enjoyable.
It does mount easily at least, be it on the windscreen or on the dashboard. Both mount options are supplied in the box and it's as easy as one screw to select between the two. I was happy that the mount didn't leave any sticky residue on my dashboard after removal, too. I did have to spend some time playing with the camera itself, which can be angled, to find the best view for my car. It's a bit of a clunky rotation system, but it does stay at its angle once you've found it.
You can connect the Lanmodo Vast Pro to your cigarette lighter or OBD port to provide power. The provided cable is long enough that you can find interesting ways of pinning it around your windscreen or across your dash to try and keep the wiring out of the way as much as possible. You can detach the cable near its end, too, allowing you to store the bulk of the cord when the dashcam is not in use.
An optional rear camera accessory can be purchased but isn't supplied in the base box. I was unable to test it, but I'm told it will record simultaneously with the front cam (reducing the overall loop of video down to 14 hours) with a wider 170-degree angle.
I will talk about it more as we overview performance, but I wish the camera had an in-built gimbal or some other design feature to better improve image stabilisation.
- Night vision is excellent
- Smart recording of footage
- Image stabilisation an issue
The Lanmodo Vast Pro excels at its core goal of providing better visibility of what's ahead in low-visibility situations. Namely at night, but also in fog and in the rain. This alone should put the dashcam at the head of the pack for people who drive late at night in areas where wildlife on the road is a constant danger. It won't just capture any encounters, but will give you a better chance of avoiding them.
The parking mode is also a nice addition, allowing the camera to keep an eye on the world surrounding your car while you're tucked in bed asleep or stationary in a parking lot.
Hopefully you'll never need it, but the smart recording system does offer comfort. The Lanmodo will record one, three or five minute loops for 28 hours of driving (or park mode) and then begin overriding videos from the start after that time. However, if there is an impact, the inbuilt G-sensor will lock that video so it can't be automatically overridden.
However, it doesn't excel in its secondary function as a dashcam. It's solid, and I like how you can watch the video straight back on the screen itself if you need to get a number plate or show an incident before you can get home to your computer. But the reality is that the Lanmodo Vast Pro is beaten out by competitors when it comes to things like field-of-view, frames-per-second, camera angling and the real estate it demands on your dashboard.
But as hinted at above, it is image stabilisation that is the camera's biggest concern. On the rough and tumble roads of Sydney's backstreets, and no doubt on the bumpy outback roads where the night vision would be fantastic, the footage bucks about like a wounded bronco. Built-in image stabilisation software, or potentially even an in-built gimbal, would be a potential solution.
Should you buy the Lanmodo Vast Pro dashcam?
- Buy it if you do a lot of driving in conditions with low visibility, or have failing eyesight, and want some artificial eyes helping you out.
- Don't buy it if you want a dashcam first and night vision second, or don't want a big screen in your field-of-view.
There's no doubting the Lanmodo Vast Pro has a use case it fulfils admirably. The low light visibility is extraordinary, painting a picture of the road ahead well beyond what your human eyes can see. I can imagine many situations where this would be a boon to drivers, even if urban centres are not one of them.
The dashcam itself isn't overly powerful and certainly isn't svelte, but it is smart. It records good quality footage for well over a day, parked or driving, without deleting important files. And you can watch it all back on the giant screen if you so desire.
But there's room for improvement. Better image stabilisation would be great and a touchscreen welcomed. Perhaps a companion app that can be used to wirelessly connect to and see through the camera remotely would be a neat idea, too.
I will say this, though. I'm heading out bush this summer and with the risk of roos (and bigger animals) leaping in front of my car at night, I'll be taking the Lanmodo Vast Pro for sure!
Pricing and availability
Lanmodo will retail for US$599.99, but at the time of writing, can be picked up for a much cheaper earlybird price.
Images: Chris Stead
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