There are some practicalities to consider when it comes to your dash cam. In terms of power, the standard is that dash cams connect to a vehicle’s 12-volt socket, automatically powering on and off based on when the socket receives power (typically, when the engine is on). Note that certain vehicles continuously provide power to 12-volt sockets, which may drain your vehicle’s battery if the dash cam is continually on.
Dash cam recordings tend to be stored on removable Micro SD cards. The maximum supported storage changes between dash cam brands and models, but you’ll still have to get the footage off the card to use it or free up storage space. More expensive dash cams may also include WiFi support, offering a wireless way to get footage off internal storage.
The larger the Micro SD card, the more footage you can store. Note that while dash cams are continuously recoding, it doesn’t mean they’re continuously saving footage, which can save you the hassle of frequently backing up or wiping footage to ensure you have enough when you need it. That said, some dash cams will continuously save footage in blocks and wipe over the oldest footage, which is why backing up is important if you want to keep older recordings.
Practically speaking, a 32GB memory card will capture around four or five hours of 1080p footage, which is a lot of breathing space for most driving distances. Depending on the model, a dash cam may save footage when you tell it to, or it may automatically save in the event of a collision.
The other big consideration, particularly in hotter parts of Australia, is maximum operating temperatures. Car interiors can reach temperatures much hotter than what’s recorded outside, especially in direct sunlight, so keep an eye out for temperature resilience if you want to avoid potentially damaging your dash cam.