The tongue-twister that is the Car & Driver Road Patrol Touch Duo boasts an impressive array of features, such as an OLED touchscreen interface and flexible camera setup. Yet some annoying quibbles spoil the experience, and some functions don’t work as well as they should.
That said, with decent image performance and an all-in-one package to suit most camera requirements, the Road Patrol Touch Duo is a worthy all-rounder.
Car & Driver Road Patrol Touch Duo dash cam review: Price and availability
The Road Patrol Touch Duo is available for $139.99 from Costco.com.
Car & Driver Road Patrol Touch Duo dash cam review: Design & features
The design of the Road Patrol Touch Duo isn’t anything to write home about. It comprises a half-clamshell look, with a red C-shaped LED around its voluptuous lens. Yet the unit itself feels cheap, light, and plasticky.
A wide display on the back accommodates a fairly thick bezel, with the housing forming a secondary border, creating a sizable non-screen area.
Not that we don’t welcome the large display. But the combination of a large unit, detachable rear camera module on the underside and tall mount means this dash cam occupies more windshield real estate than we’d like.
Elsewhere, you’ll find a surprising number of features and add ons with the Road Patrol Touch Duo, not least the bundled 16GB microSD card and choice of two mounts: sticky or suction.
Next up, a parking guard monitors surroundings 24/7 — provided you have a hardwire connection — and starts recording after detecting an incident, while the onboard G-sensor also triggers after a collision and automatically protects the current footage.
The Road Patrol Touch Duo comes into its own with its touchscreen functionality, which so many dash cams across the board lack. This model even throws in a pleasingly large 3-inch OLED screen.
If all that wasn’t enough, the Touch Duo features a driver assistance mode with a lane departure and collision warning detection system. We tested these two features out, and while the lane departure system worked fairly well, the latter proved way too sensitive, sending constant shrill alerts, particularly during city driving, that exceeded our patience quickly. And there’s no way to turn one feature off and leave the other on. Trust me, it's better to leave them deactivated.
Car & Driver Road Patrol Touch Duo dash cam review: Setup
The Road Patrol Touch Duo’s touchscreen makes setup a breeze. You can fiddle with the time and date settings and how long you want your recordings to last, among others.
The rear camera module also offers versatility in spades. You can attach it directly to the main unit for a cabin camera, stick it onto its mount as a rear camera or tie it to a rear headrest via the elastic band to serve as either a blindspot camera or baby monitor.
Car & Driver Road Patrol Touch Duo dash cam review: Video and audio quality
Despite being a mid-budget model, the Road Patrol Touch Duo offers impressive image quality for 1080p. Images generally come through crisp and clear, whether they were recorded at day or night.
Contrast, too, is excellent, with the unit capturing the road, clouds and sky capably without whiteouts in the image. And at night, where other dash cam sensors might struggle with bright lights and dark nights — often leading to headlights obscuring vehicle tags — the Road Patrol offers clear views of vehicle tags, the road and the surrounding area.
Additionally, while the rear camera isn’t quite as sharp as the front, it puts in a sufficient effort. It's a surprisingly impressive performance for a camera at this price point.
Sound is also decent with the Road Patrol Touch Duo, although audible warnings can be too loud on playback. There’s also a faint but unmistakable digital squeal throughout playback that can become distracting.
Car & Driver Road Patrol Touch Duo dash cam review: Verdict
The Road Patrol Touch Duo has much to offer, including flexible camera arrangements and touchscreen functionality. That said, it’s not quite a home run for Car & Driver, as some functions aren’t worth turning on.
While other dash cams out there might be better looking and offer more standard features, such as WiFi connectivity and GPS, the Road Patrol is a solid mid-range effort with image quality that’ll blow many out of the water.