Viofo A119 Review – Amazing Value Dash Camera

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By Andrew Lam on August 1st, 2016
The Viofo A119V2 (Amazon Link) is the best value dash camera on the market today. It’s the first time we can recommend a camera to most drivers with no major drawbacks. It has great video quality, proper error notifications, stealthy design and good heat resistance – all around $100.

The manufacturer, Viofo has a great reputation for quality and taking extensive community input to create an excellent product. The A119V2 isn’t the best camera for every driver but it’s an excellent starting point for most.
Updates
May 24, 2018: We made a new video comparing the A119, A119S and the newly released A119 Pro. After extensive tests the A119 with version 2 hardware/accessories is still our top pick. Scroll down to see the video.

Video Review

 
 

Viofo A119V2 Updates

Since we first launched the review, Viofo has made
a number of significant improvements to the A119.

GPS Mount Fix
Viofo launched their second version of the GPS mount which fixes power connection issues resulting in a constantly restarting camera. Viofo replaced the V1’s spring loaded pins which got stuck in a lowered position with flexing metal contacts. The new V2 mount is not compatible with the older v1 camera.

CPL Notch
Viofo added a notch to the lens on the A119V2 camera to give their circular polarizer a way to remain fixed in place.

Black Adhesive Tape
When the camera was first released Viofo used grey colored tape for the mount which was noticeable. Within a few months it was swapped out with a black version which is much more stealthy.

EVA Foam
Due to complaints of the camera vibrating in the mount Viofo added three sheets of die-cut foam and when added to your camera helps reduce movement when your vehicle rolls over bumps.

Added Mount + Adhesive Tape
Viofo added a thick non-GPS mount which is designed for vertical windshields to help the camera lens clear the glass. Before, you would have had to purchase a GPS mount. Viofo also applied VHB tape so you get an extra adhesive for free.

New Suction Mount
Viofo also made an optional suction mount. It can rotate 360° if you lower the camera. We will test it in the future. Assuming Viofo used the same suction mount as the Viofo WR1 we think it’ll do a good job sticking to your windshield. This mount is not compatible with the GPS mount.

Firmware – Adding Parking Mode and Firmware FIxes
Viofo has made a number of improvements fixing bugs and most recently adding a proper automatic motion detection mode to their camera. Before you had to manually turn on and off parking detection which could cause problems with the camera not recording if you failed to turn it off.

However, we do want to mention there are issues with the camera freezing which can be fixed by reflashing the firmware. Viofo is looking into this issue and we hope it’s fully fixed in the future.

The Camera

 

Viofo was the original creator of the A118 which we recommended in a previous review. Unfortunately the design and tooling were copied and multiple factories started producing the A118 which resulted in lower quality units coming onto the market.

Viofo launched the A119 as its successor in July 2016 and greatly improved the hardware in conjunction with feedback from the community at Dash Cam Talk. It has a similar wedge profile but otherwise everything else has been changed. It looks nicer and less industrial.

 

Specs

Date Released July 2016
Max Resolution 2560 x 1440P @ 30FPS
Processor Novatek NT96660
Image Sensor Omnivision OV4689
Lens Glass f/1.8 Lens
Capacitor // Battery Capacitor
LCD 2.0″
Diagonal FOV 160°
GPS Yes
Wifi No
Bitrate 20 mbps
Memory Type microSD
Operating Temp Max 65°C
Size 8.5 cm x 5.2cm x 3.6cm
  Box Contents A119 Dash Camera • Non-GPS Mount • GPS Mount (Optional) • 11.5″ Power Cable • 3.1 Amp Dual USB Port Car Adapter • 6 x Cable Management Clips • String to Detach Mount • USB Data Cable • English User Manual Update: Jan 2017. A119 and A119S now ship with a black adhesive  

Video Quality & Raw Videos

Viofo_A119_Video_Quality_Banner Viofo’s A119 has excellent video quality. It’s not the absolute best but it ranks amongst the top cameras we reviewed. There are some tradeoffs such as having worse low-light performance and reduced dynamic range. It’s much better the popular and similar looking Rexing V1 or KDLinks X1. We directly compared the A119 against a few cameras:
A118: Our $50 budget camera recommendation. Yi: Our former budget pick for functionality/video quality but it’s worse than the A119 in everything but having WiFi and being cheaper
Dome D201: A camera we recognized as having the best video quality for $100 but has many flaws so it’s not a recommended pick.
Vicovation OPIA2: A $300 premium camera with the same excellent video hardware as the Dome D201 but the video quality is better.

Daylight Videos

Sharpness vs Older A118

Against the older A118 it holds up quite well during the day. Details are the same if you look at the builds and foliage in both cameras but is noticeably different in the license plate of the white truck.

  Download Raw Videos: A118A119   Dynamic Range Comparison

Surprisingly the Yi had the worst results, it’s very dark under the hotel vestibule even if you increase brightness. The A119 and A118 were again tied in performance. Finally the OPIA2 had the clearest performance. The A118 was taken on a different day but the conditions were similar and we drove in the same position.

  Download Raw Videos: A118A119Vico OPIA2Yi Dash Cam   Comparing Exposure in Rapidly Changing Lighting Conditions When we compared how quickly the cameras responded to bright and dark we found it paled in comparison to the OPIA2. There’s a small period of time where you can’t see anything before the contrast fixes itself.   Download Raw Videos: A119Vico OPIA2Yi Dash Cam   Motion Blur Comparison The Yi has very little ability to grab license plates once again due to the resolution and very wide angle. The OPIA2 is better but probably because of the angle it’s filming at.   Download Raw Videos: A119Vico OPIA2Yi Dash Cam   Dusk The A119 is comparable to the Dome D201 when rendering license plate while moving. It looks fuzzier but has slightly better sharpness. Again sharper than the A118.   Download Raw Videos: A119 Vico OPIA2Yi Dash Cam

Nighttime Videos

In general the A119 excels at more brightly lit scenes but falls behind when the light drops off. That’s why the Yi which has a smaller pixels has better quality.
Sharpness Under Brighter City Lighting  
Download Raw Videos: A118 – A119Vico OPIA2Yi Dash Cam   Low Light Sharpness Slightly blurrier than the Yi and OPIA2 even though they have a wider angle than the A119.   Download Raw Videos: A119Vico OPIA2Yi Dash Cam   Ultra Low Light Under ultra low lighting conditions where only your headlights can be seen the A119 is blurrier but does a respectable job in bringing out the details.   Download Raw Videos: A118A119Dome D201Yi Dash Cam
 

128GB Cards Accepted

OK to use.

OK to use.

On Viofo’s website it states that the A119 only takes up to 64GB cards. I have confirmed with Viofo staff that it does indeed take 128GB cards. Here’s their quoted answer: “You can say the 128GB cards are compatible, we released an action camera based on NTK96660 last year, so know it works.”. If you’re wondering what card to pick (and it makes a big difference in reliability) see our guide on SD cards.

 

A119S Sony Exmor Model

Viofo has launched their low-light A119S in December 2016. The A119S uses a Sony Starvis IMX291 sensor, a faster f/1.6 glass lens and a new lens housing which does not allow side to side movement. We purchased a production unit and tested it against the A119 (firmware version v2.0).

Overall Video Quality

The A119S has worse sharpness and more motion blur compared to the A119 even under low light situations. The A119S does have better dynamic range which means you can see more at night but in my opinion isn’t a significant improvement. The A119S at 60FPS runs close to natively and there’s not much reduction in quality compared to other cameras.

The A119S has much less distortion in the corners due to the reduced field of view. From what I understand the A119S’ Sony Exmor IMX291 firmware is still new and image improvements are coming. As well I want to do a number of tests I listed at the bottom. Videos
Original comparison which includes a very low light test. The A119S was moved to the left hand side which is less blurry compared to the original video.   Recommendation: While the A119S in my opinion does NOT have better video quality it may be the better camera in the future depending on firmware improvements. We’ll keep this section updated with the latest information.  

Circular Polarizer

a119_cpl_difference_banner_2 Now officially launched the circular polarizer will reduce glare from your windshield. There are two versions available with drawbacks for both. As it’s just released there are no comparisons yet. You can follow the discussion on DashCamTalk.

Official Viofo Clip-On

viofo_cpl_1 This version clips onto your lens and allows you to perfectly adjust the polarization angle for best performance. Unfortunately the A119 lacks the detent slots and you’ll need to use tape or blutack to make sure it doesn’t fall off. On the A119S there are handy slots so no extra effort is needed.   See the Price on Amazon  

BlueSkySea Adhesive Version

blueskysea_cpl_1 Made by a very well known retailer this version is smaller and sticks onto your lens. This allows you to continue using the side to side adjustment of your lens but you won’t be able to remove the filter often as the adhesive will wear down.   See the Price on AmazonSee the Price on eBay  
 

Summary

Viofo_A119_The_Camera_Banner_Heading Overall: Expect a camera that delivers on the major features with a few shortcomings that are easily looked over.
The Good The Bad
  • Great video quality
  • Uses Capacitors for increased reliability
  • Stealthy design
  • Well constructed GPS Mount makes it easy to remove/attach
  • Nicer design compared to the A118
  • Great warning notifications help you keep your camera running
  • LED notification lights are in a good position and easy to understand
  • 128GB SDXC compatibility
  • Viofo is constantly improving their camera’s firmware
  • Difficult to press the emergency button as it’s surrounded by other functions
  • Likely counterfeit adhesive pad isn’t as strong as other camera’s mounts
  • Parking mode is annoying to use as it must be activated through the menu
  • Once recording the camera is rather sluggish to respond
 

Firmware Updates

Viofo released v2.0 in Oct 31, 2016 which fixes a number of bugs with the camera. Since the original version Viofo has improved the image quality, added imperial units and customization for your speed and location stamp on the video. You can download and read more about it here: https://dashcamtalk.com/forum/threads/a119-firmware.22223/

 

Optimal Settings

Resolution – 1440P: Lower resolutions have much worse video quality.
Loop Recording – 3 Minutes: Anything but off will work. 3 Minutes is a good compromise between too many video files and discoverability.
Exposure – 0EV: If it’s overly bright or dark you can change this number
WDR – Off: WDR does nothing but worsen night quality for minimal gains in dynamic range
Time Lapse Record – Off
Motion Detection – Off
GPS – On
G-Sensor – Off: No reason to turn this on
LDWS/FCWS – Off: Too many false warnings
Date Stamp – On
Record Audio – Depends: Make sure it’s legal where you live. Otherwise it’s your choice.
Screensaver – 15 seconds:
LED – On: Turns the status LED on/off. Helpful in checking for problems.
Date/Time: No GPS, adjust date/time here.
Time Zone: If you have a GPS your camera will calibrate time/date to the set timezone
Beep Sound: On Disabling this will disable audio notifications. Keep it on.
Frequency: Depends on your electrical grid. 60HZ in North America, 50HZ in Europe.
Format Warning – 30 Days:
Car No – Optional: Some people put their license/name here
 

Where to Buy It?

 

Viofo has a number of authorized retailers listed on their webpage. We’ll list them below and talk about the sellers. It’s worth paying the additional $10 for the GPS mount as it improves convenience but it’s not necessary.

United States

 
Spy Tec Logo

OCDTronic is the store launched by Jon, formerly from Pier28. He is known for his amazing customer service and has deep ties with the Dash Cam Talk community. My first choice.

Get it From OCD Tronic’s Amazon Store
 
Spy Tec Logo
Spy-Tec is a well known USA retailer and has been serving the dash and surveillance industry for many years. They are based out of New York and have a great reputation for customer service.
Get it From Spy-Tec’s Amazon Store Get the A119 From Spy-Tec Directly

Canada

Updated: Sept 17th BlackBoxMyCar_2013_Logo Sold by BlackBoxMyCar, they are a Vancouver based business who has an excellent reputation. Included is a 16GB card and 1-day nationwide shipping. I highly recommend them, great service.
Use coupon code “carcamcentral10” for $10 off your order of $80 or more Get the Viofo A119 from BlackBoxMyCar
amazon_logo On Amazon the most reputable seller is Baiklov and fulfilled by Amazon.ca (Canadian Warehouse). Baiklov is the very reputable seller “estore009” on eBay. To differentiate their products they use the “BlueSeaSkyBrand”. It’s not different than other products but it does help if there are counterfeits on the market. But, if you have problems after 30 days you may have to ship the product back to China.
Get the GPS A119 from Amazon.caNon-GPS A119 from Amazon.ca
 

Australia

 
DashCamsCentral is your only local choice. I have seen them mentioned but I haven’t done any research on them.
Buy it from DashCamsCentralAu
 

International

 

Outside of the above countries there are no other local retailers so you have to buy from online retailers which makes warranty more difficult:

eBay_Logo We’ve recommended the seller eStore009 on eBay for many years. Great customer service. Highly recommended.
See the Price on eBay (estore009)

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Marc
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Marc

I have a question: how can we install a second camera at the back with the 119v2? can I add a rear camera a129 in addition to the a119 v2 in the front? and what accessory does it take to install an a119v2 + a129 rear + parking mode? thank you

Marc
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Marc

I have a question: how can we install a rear camera with the 119v2? can we take a camera a129 rear and what accessory does it need?

J.D. Nieves
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J.D. Nieves

Excellent review, definitely will use this information to make my decision on the buying of my dash cam.

Koby
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Koby

Hi,
I loved your reviews and great explanations! I bought the A119 and got it yesterday. I noticed that it gets very hot when operating (and not due to direct sun, this happens at night too). Is that typical?

Ravi
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Ravi

Hi,
What are your thoughts about buying 2 “Blueskysea B1W”. One for front and another for back.
Thanks, Ravi

Doug H
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Doug H

Hello Andrew I purchased the A119 per your recommendation from Amazon and I have been very happy so far
Thank you
Doug

Charlie
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Charlie

great video and information . I have an issue that once the memory card is full it dosnt record anything else .can you help with this issue?

James
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James

You must you a class 10 or better memory card. The write speed of the card becomes critical once the card fills up and older files must be deleted when a new file is saved. The problem is definitely with the card. I just bought a A119 and a card and did a lot of research. The Samsung 64GB 100MB/s (U3) MicroSDXC EVO Select is currently $20 on amazon and it works well with the A119.

Mirek
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Mirek

Hi,
how is the EVA foam supposed to be used? I don’t have idea where to stick it 🙂

andrew
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andrew

Hi – great reviews. I wondered if there were any updates on the A119S firmware?

Amazon UK sell the A119V2 (£98.99) and A119SV2 (£96.99) for the similar prices. Which would you recommend? In your review you stated that the A119V2 was superior to the A119SV2 BUT that via firmware updates the A119S with the sony lens “could” become the better of the two. I wondered if this has happened yet? With currently available firmware which is the better buy today please? (And I do an hours night time driving to work 3x a week – so night vision quality is a must)

(PS – Pointless aside but… Amazon uk, – direct from them not via market seller, – has 3 different prices for Viofo A119S Version 2 – weirdly the dearest being without the GPS mount at £106.93 -)

Daniel
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Daniel

Has there been any complaints when it comes to power issues and the GPS unit pass through. If I get into my hmcar on a hot day the power cuts in and out and my camera restarts. Also there is a notification that says “No GPS” occurs. I think this might be a heat related issue with the GPS module cause when I use it at night or on cooler days, it doesn’t happen. Help please!!!

Loui
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Loui

Notice that the v2 version of Viofo a119 fixes that!