Updated on August 27, 2023
Continuing with our many dash cam reviews, today we look at the Cobra CDR 840 Drive HD. This one records 1080p full high definition videos and has a number of essential features to boot. It’s currently bordering around the budget / mid-price range bracket, so is a somewhat affordable dash cam with GPS and night vision to name but a few features of this stand out device. Let’s take a closer look at what it has to offer.
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The Cobra CDR 840 has a standard lens capable of capturing crisp footage of a scene through the windshield. A good lens is as important as the sensor behind it. It is imperative that the overall optical quality is good and that the aperture is fast enough to ensure that a lot of light is captured when the videos are taken, and this small dashboard camera/car DVR does just that with ease.
The 1080p dash cam with GPS is capable of taking high definition videos at a high frame rate, which ensures that a lot of details are captured when the data is saved and played back. It features a standard loop system as with almost every other in its range and beyond. All videos are stored on a MicroSD card (8 GB card included); when that memory card is exhausted new videos are recorded by overwriting older footage. This is technically what a dash cam with loop recording is.
Memory Lock And Gravity Sensing
I wrote about how standard looping can overwrite older files, and therefore in the worst case scenario, if there are essential saves on storage, those can also get overwritten. To prevent this from happening all good car cameras (including the Cobra CDR 840) come with a technology that is known as G-Sensor and with that another technology that is known as memory lock.
Memory lock ensures that the file in question is not overwritten accidentally. Let’s say that your dashcam has recorded an accident; your vehicle was rammed from the front by another car backing up during rush hour traffic. Your truck, which would have been trudging along at rush hour traffic, would no doubt have been shaken up. G-sensor senses that movement, and when it detects such changes in gravity, it locks the video being recorded at the time. This prevents accidental overwriting of the footage during normal loop recording, which would usually destroy the evidence of such a crash, something that you wouldn’t want to happen.
The LCD screen at the back of the device is rather small. Possibly, this could be considered the only aspect of the CDR 840 that puts it in a position of disadvantage, because it measures a mere 1.5” diagonally. However, the screen allows for the design to make it a very small dash cam, though not the smallest (Mini 0806, which also has the same screen size) but small enough to fall into the category. The screen is reasonably good enough for reviewing what has been saved prior, as well as what is being displayed live at any one moment. As expected, the quality of the display is more than acceptable coming from this reputable manufacturer.
Setting It Up
The Cobra CDR 840 Drive HD comes with an 8GB MicroSD card in the box. You don’t need to run to the store to pick up a card in order to get the dashcam to work. Merely insert the MicroSD card, connect to a power source, mount the device in a good location and start recording.
The box packing comes with a heavy-duty suction cup mount that ensures your windshield-mounted car camera does not come off and become a hazard while driving. There is also a cigarette lighter adapter which allows you to draw power from your vehicle’s electrical system. The other cables and connectors include a mini USB cable that connects the car cam to your computer. This is to ensure that your videos can be downloaded and the MicroSD card formatted. A mini HDMI cable is also provided that allows you to play back the videos to your HDTV.
Most of the settings are tweakable. You can change things around, such as opt for lower resolution when shooting. That, however, is not recommended. You shouldn’t choose anything other than 1080p as you lose the advantage of having crisp and clear imagery, which is a vital piece of evidence in the event of an incident.
The CDR 840 is one of the few dashcams in this price range that features built-in GPS. Here, with integrated GPS, it is comparable to the likes of the Garmin Dash Cam 20, which is a high-end device. This is, in fact, a great feature to have; a dash cam with GPS ensures that your device is not only able to capture crisp footage but also location information. Locational data can be anything. This includes the direction in which your vehicle was moving, as well as the speed and exact location of any given incident. You can locate the precise position of your car using Google maps.
Dimensions And Weight
The overall dimensions are compact 1.5 x 3.9 x 2.4” and weighs 4.8 ounces. This makes it one of the smaller and lighter of our many dash cam reviews thus far. The lithium-ion battery provided can supply power for about 2 hours. However, for better results, it is advisable that it be connected to a power source i.e. cigarette lighter.
Overall, this is a no-frills, budget device that gives you good value for money in today’s market. It misses out on important features like a parking monitor or a larger LCD screen but gives you coverage for essential features such as built-in GPS, an excellent heavy-duty suction mount, a g-sensor, and loop recording. It loses points for having a low-angle view of 118 degrees, but for money is expected. Overall this a small, discreet, good dashcam to work with, but not something that would make you really excited to show off to your tech buddies.
With more than 20 years of experience in the automotive industry, Ash possesses a deep understanding of the diverse needs and challenges faced by drivers on the road. His relentless commitment to road safety and ongoing research is fueled by a genuine desire to create safer environments for all drivers.