The Viofo A119 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 A119 isn’t the best camera for every driver but it’s an excellent starting point for most.
Watch these videos first as the rest of the article expands on the concepts covered in the video reviews
Viofo A119V2 Updates
In 2017 Viofo made a number of significant improvements to the A119 to fix issues brought up from users.
GPS Mount – Power Stability
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.
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.
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.
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.
|Date Released||July 2016|
|Max Resolution||2560 x 1440P @ 30FPS|
|Image Sensor||Omnivision OV4689|
|Lens||Glass f/1.8 Lens|
|Capacitor // Battery||Capacitor|
|Operating Temp||Max 65°C|
|Size||8.5 cm x 5.2cm x 3.6cm|
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
Video Quality & Raw Videos
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
- Vicovation OPIA2: A $300 premium camera with the same excellent video hardware as the Dome D201 but the video quality is better.
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.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.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.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.
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.Low Light Sharpness
Slightly blurrier than the Yi and OPIA2 even though they have a wider angle than the A119.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.
128GB Cards Accepted
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.
Circular PolarizerNow 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-OnThis 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.
BlueSkySea Adhesive VersionMade 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.
Optimal Settings for the A119Resolution – 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