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Kenwood DRV-A301W dashcam review

Can Kenwood compete with the likes of NextBase and Garmin?

Kenwood DRV-A301W review
(Image: © Tom's Guide)

Our Verdict

At first glance, the Kenwood DRV-A301W blends smooth design and good functionality. However, while image quality is up to scratch, it isn’t quite class-leading, and sound issues spoil what could have been a solid entry for this household brand.

For

  • Good design
  • GPS and speedometer
  • Companion app is great

Against

  • Noisy playback
  • Inoperable without power connection
Kenwood DRV-A301W: Specs

Field of view: 136°
Megapixels:
2MP
Resolution:
1920 x 1080p
GPS:
Yes
Display:
2.7" TFT LCD

The catchily-named Kenwood DRV-A301W aims to provide a solid quality dashcam for cheaper than what you’d normally pay for a mid-range model. 

While there are a few things to recommend, such as GPS, attractive design and one of the best companion apps I’ve toyed with, there are a few negatives that hinder its chances against its competitors. And for a little extra cash, you could find models that offer 1440p resolution and voice assistant support.

Kenwood DRV-A301W dashcam review: Price and availability

You can pick up the Kenwood DRV-A301W for $119 at Amazon, Best Buy, and other major electronics retailers. Those in the UK can pick up the Pro Bundle, which includes the base unit, a hardwire kit, 32MB memory card and carry case for £109.95.

Kenwood DRV-A301W dashcam review: Design & features

The Kenwood DRV-A301W is a strong performer in the looks department. Its sleek, midnight black design and contoured body make it appealing at any angle. However, its smooth plastic and shape can make it a little slippy in the hands.

Kenwood DRV-A301W review

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

On its backside is a logically laid out button system surrounding a pleasingly wide 2.7” display.

Kenwood DRV-A301W review

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Features-wise, the A301W offers several, including a G-sensor to record and protect footage of any incidents automatically. With an optional hardwire kit, the unit can also incorporate a parking mode to track the aftermath of any detected incidents. An onboard GPS is also on hand to display speed and exact location.

Kenwood DRV-A301W dashcam review: Setup

Setting up the Kenwood DRV-A301W was fairly smooth. After about a minute spent setting the country, time and date, the device was ready and rolling. 

Kenwood DRV-A301W review

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The bundle comes with two mounting options: a suction cup or sticky pad. The inclusion of a 16MB microSD card was a welcome sight too. The unit also has a tiny rubber pad that slips off completely to reveal connectors for its magnetic mount. However, the pad is easily misplaced — I have no idea where it is right now, so be sure to keep a close eye on it.

Kenwood DRV-A301W review

(Image credit: Kenwood)

However, one bugbear is that the DRV-A301W holds very little battery charge, making adjusting settings or reviewing footage an absolute pain in the butt without a power connection.

Kenwood DRV-A301W dashcam review: Software

Smart devices can connect to the DRV-A301W via a local wireless network and the Kenwood Dash Cam Manager app. It’s an intuitive and well-designed piece of software, offering you a live view feed on its home screen. From there, you can navigate to its saved footage, downloaded mobile videos and settings menu.

Playback via the app was both good quality and responsive, though initially, I did encounter frequent and choppy buffering. After a connection reset, however, the onboard Wi-Fi worked speedily to deliver thumbnails and playback footage. This was a pleasant surprise from the dread I’ve come to expect from dealing with previous dashcam apps.

Kenwood DRV-A301W dashcam review: Video and audio quality

Picture quality was surprisingly good for a dashcam of this price and spec, with good lighting coming out of night shots. However, there’s noticeable grain in much of the footage I captured both during the day and night. Its colors can also look a little washed out and dull unless objects are under direct sunlight.

(Image credit: Kenwood)

Additionally, audio was a letdown. I transferred the video files across to my PC, and upon reviewing the footage, I discovered an audible, high-pitched chirp running across the entirety of my footage. I tested this across different files on my PC, the app and the device itself, only to find the same issue. Disappointing.

(Image credit: Kenwood)

Kenwood DRV-A301W dashcam review: Verdict

With its curvy design, logical button setting and wide display, the Kenwood DRV-A301W is a neat low-to-mid-tier dashcam that’ll look good on any windshield. The GPS, wireless device linking, quick-release mounting system and bundled memory card are also nice additions.

However, despite generally acceptable video quality and a superb companion app, its playback is marred by noise issues, at least in the model I reviewed. I also wish it offered a little more, such as a touchscreen or voice control, to set it apart from its rivals.