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Best Low Cost Dash Cam for your Cage

Dash cameras are officially a thing.  If you didn’t know that you’ve been living under a rock.  But shopping for an affordable, easy to set up model is, well, rather overwhelming.

But, the  new English language dashcam from 70 Mai can take the stress out of the decision.

Manufactured in China and Distributed by  Xiaomi the 70 Mai has been only been previously available with Chinese voice prompts, limiting it’s adoption by English speaking customers.

Now, the company has released the English language updated model on Indiegogo for $39.00 ($47 with micro SD card) and the company sent me one to review.  

In the past I’d tried several dashcams and ultimately given up on finding one that was simple and intuitive to use.  Reading the reviews of users of the Chinese version, I had high hopes for this model.

Straight out of the box however, I was a little frustrated at the setup.  The manufacturer doesn’t include a simple setup guide, instead directing you online to download the PDF.  

Ok, for the money I guess that’s an oversight I can live with.  But here’s where I made my first mistake.  Being a computer geek, I almost always update my devices immediately, so after initial setup, I  downloaded and installed the unit’s IOS app, and I saw there was an update available.  

Oops, big mistake.  The update reverted the unit from English back to Chinese.  And for anyone who’s ever tried to follow voice commands in a different language, you understand how frustrating that is.

Luckily the manufacturer's rep Xiamoi sent me clear detailed instructions on how to reset the unit back to the factory specs.  It involved downloading a file, saving it to the micro sd card and reinserting that into the unit before powering it up.  

As I mentioned before the voice commands are a big plus for this unit. The commands are,  take a photo; record emergency video; Switch on/off Wi-Fi hotspot; Turn On/Off audio recording.

While the other commands are straightforward and perform flawlessly,  the emergency video option is where this unit shines.

Like most devices in it’s class, the 70 Mai records video in one minute increments in a continuous 70 minute loop.  Which means it will constantly overwrite the oldest video on the card with new footage until one of two things happen.

  1. You tell the unit to “record a video” or...
  2. The units sensors detect an accident, which will cause it to save the previous few minutes of footage in a special folder that doesn’t get erased.

Now, I don’t know about you, but there are plenty of times when I would’ve loved to have the ability to start recording something either inside or outside my vehicle, without having to mess with buttons or menus.  This camera fills that option.

The unit records 130° Field of View video in 1080P def using a Full HD Sony IMX323 High Sensitivity Image Sensor and its low light nighttime video quality rivals that found in much higher priced competitors.   

As mentioned there’s an app available to download on your smartphone.  With it, you’ll be able to download your videos to your phone or change some of the settings such as G sensor sensitivity, speaker volume, sound recording, etc.

I personally turn off the interior sound recording because I’m a privacy nerd, and should I ever need the emergency video in a court case, I might not want a jury to hear my singing Katy Perry at the top of my lungs while some idiots cuts me off and causes me to wreck.  They might blame my bad singing instead of the other idiots bad driving. There’s also a time/date stamp on the video that can’t be disabled.  Helpful if you need it for said legal purposes.  

While the 70 Mai Dash Cam isn’t quite as simple as plug and play, it’s not as complicated as some units I’ve used in the past.  When you’re ready to activate the instructions are straightforward.

  1. Insert your memory card into the micro-sd slot.
  2. Download and open the 70 Mai Dash Cam App .
  3. Register an account and login using your email address.
  4. Add Dash Cam and connect to Wi-Fi hotspot
  5. If everything is done properly, the unit’s will glow green and begin recording.

The one thing I noticed is that if your auxiliary power outlet is like mine, always on, the unit will continue to record 24/7.  That continuous power drain on the battery is likely to cause problems unless your vehicle is equipped with a sensor that automatically disables anything it detects that might kill your battery.  If I leave the interior light on in my Chevy Avalanche, the next morning the light is off and my vehicle will still start.

So, my suggestion is to unplug the unit when you park and plug it back up when you start driving.  

Just remember, if the unit is glowing red or blue, it’s not recording, and something is wrong.  


If you’re in the market for a simple, easy to use and ruggedly reliable dash cam then I wholeheartedly recommend the 70 Mai.  It checks all the boxes.  Sound quality good. Video quality good.  Low light video quality good. Ease of use Good.  Price excellent.  Customer Support Good.  

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