Updated on July 29, 2023
Z-Edge has been making dashcams for some time now, and they always seem to be one step ahead in their price category. Offering good value and plenty of features, they aren’t ones to shy away from innovation on a budget. With that in mind, let’s discuss their latest Z3 Plus, and upgrade to the previous Z3.
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Powering the Z-Edge Z3 Plus dash cam is an Ambarella Chipset. The Ambarella A12 processor promises excellent image quality across all lighting situations. Paired with it is an OV4689 color CMOS image sensor for reliable results in most cases.
The lens on the Z-Edge Z3 Plus is a six-glass optical unit with a wide f/1.8 aperture. You have to keep in mind that the effective aperture is much smaller than what is promised. You have to take into account the crop factor of the sensor as well.
The lens has a wide field of view of 155˚. The best dash cams have a slightly wider field of view which enables them to record from A-pillar to A-pillar perspective. At 155˚ the Z3 Plus just about makes the cut as a dash cam.
The dash cam is capable of recording 2.5K videos in-camera. That’s a resolution of 2560 x 1440 (UHD) at 30 fps. Alternatively, you could opt for the 2304 x 1296 at 30 fps option.
While that is not the best in the business that you can get, it does the job. UHD is mostly compatible with all computers, laptop displays as well as a majority of the mid-segment smartphone displays as well. That means you can playback the videos on a wide range of devices without having to downscale.
WDR / HDR
A feature that is very similar to HDR, which interchangeable lens system cameras use. This feature ensures that the camera can capture a broader dynamic range. It comes in handy when shooting in situations where the scene has a lot of difference in illumination.
The Z-Edge Z3 Plus has a loop recording feature. It comes in handy when you have only a finite amount of storage but need an extended amount of recording. This feature allows the camera to keep recording and when it runs out of storage, it will overwrite the oldest files.
Memory Lock Gravity Sensing
One of the main features that sets apart a good dash cam from an average one is the G sensor and the Memory lock feature. G-sensor is a detection ability in the camera when the vehicle makes a sudden change in momentum. This usually happens when the car is involved in some sort of accident. The vehicle will either make a sudden surge or make a sudden stop. The camera will immediately sense this.
When the camera senses that the car is involved in an accident, it will lock the video that was being recorded in the memory card. This will prevent the clip from getting overwritten during normal loop recording.
The motion detection feature is tailor-made to work as a surveillance mode. This is available on most dash cams. This mode is designed to keep a lookout when your vehicle is parked outside. It will detect movement and automatically turn recording on. When there is no movement in front of the lens, it will pause recording.
Parking mode works in tandem with the Motion Detection mode. In this mode, the camera will use power from the battery. Every time a vibration is detected, the camera will make a quick video. After about 30 seconds when no vibration is detected, the camera will turn off on its own only to resume recording when vibration is detected again.
The Z-Edge Z3 Plus dash cam is primed to detect the ignition of your vehicle. As soon as you turn on the ignition, it starts recording. The same way, when you turn off the ignition the camera automatically turns off. This feature, however, will work only with vehicles that cut power to the cigarette lighter when the ignition is turned off.
This is the main difference between proper dash cams and action cams that masquerade as dash cams. Sometimes action cams don’t turn on when the ignition is turned on, and that means you have to turn them on and off each time manually.
Rear LCD Screen
The rear LCD screen on the Z-Edge Z3 Plus is a 3″ unit. No touchscreen here.
Setting It Up
Setting it up is not a significant issue. A standard installation kit is provided with the camera along with all the necessary accessories that you will require to get started straight out of the box. This includes a 32 GB MicroSD card that should get you a decent amount of recording time. The dashcam supports up to 128GB card, unlike many others which cap at 64GB. It also includes a very long power cable that allows you to run the cable around the top of the windscreen panel and down the dashboard for a ‘clean’ installation. You would also get some adhesive clips to secure the cable in several places.
Video set-up is straightforward too. The menu functions are not exactly complicated. There are only 6 buttons available on the dash cam, and further, there is very little that you can do in terms of settings.
The Z-Edge Z3 Plus is capable of recording stills of the resolution 13 megapixels. The quality is crisp and clear, comparable to many smartphones nowadays, which seem to be the most popular form of taking stills in 2023.
Interestingly, the camera does not have any built-in Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connectivity. You will have to either plug the memory card into a card reader to download the files or use a data cable to transfer the files. And that can be a hassle every time you need to download and archive recordings from a trip.
Dash Cam Gurus Rating
All in all, this is a good dash cam for those looking for something in the intermediate segment. It certainly is not the best when it comes to judging an overall package, but it’s certainly an improvement to the previous Z-Edge Z3. It has increased SD card capacity and viewing angle, a better chipset, and the standard features are not scarce. However, it lacks WIFI and could be slightly cheaper. Overall, a good buy if you’re lucky enough to find a cheap deal.
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.