Field of view: 111°
Display: 2” LCD
With the surge in popularity of dash cams, there’s probably hundreds of models out there vying for your attention. Unfortunately though, there isn’t much that sets the Pioneer ND-DVR100 apart.
This model feels like a first-gen dash cam in a world where dash cams have drastically moved on in terms of functions, companion apps, touchscreens and connectivity.
Pioneer ND-DVR100 dash cam review: Price and availability
The Pioneer ND-DVR100 is available on Amazon for $195.
Pioneer ND-DVR100 dash cam review: Design & features
The Pioneer ND-DVR100’s unorthodox design means it can neatly rest against a car’s windshield. However, while discreet, its rough plastic is a little scratchy and feels cheap to hold.
But what of the brains inside? Well, the DVR100 offers fairly standard features for a mid-range dash cam. Contained within the device’s innards is incident detection, which automatically saves and protects the video clip taken during a collision. GPS tagging also features for extra peace of mind should you ever need to rely on it.
Interestingly, the DVR100 also comes with a 500mAh battery, which allows it to run in parking mode for 50 minutes without an active power connection. It’s a pleasant surprise, given that so many dash cams forgo a battery altogether. As with most models, with parking mode activated, footage starts recording in the event of an impact or motion in front of the camera.
Pioneer ND-DVR100 dash cam review: Setup
The ND-DVR100 is mounted using a slide mount. You simply apply the mount’s adhesive to the windshield, then click the dash cam into place. It’s a simple yet effective system that feels solid. However, one drawback is that once affixed, you can only adjust the camera angle up or down, meaning you’re unable to capture incidents at the vehicle’s sides.
The way the dash cam is angled on the glass does achieve a certain level of discreteness. Then again, reading the screen can be problematic due to its sheer angle, which draws your eyes off the road more than it should.
There’s also no option to disable sound recording without diving into the menu, where many other dash cams would have a hotkey to disable or enable.
Additionally, the four physical buttons weren’t quite as responsive as I’d hoped. You need to press firmly on them to register, making menu navigation a chore.
Pioneer ND-DVR100 dash cam review: Video and audio quality
Despite there being 1440p and even 4K dash cams on the market, the ND-DVR100’s 1080p resolution holds up surprisingly well in most conditions.
Daytime recording is generally clear, despite the slight but noticeable jaggedness and aliasing when replayed on a standard PC monitor. Things get a bit fuzzier at night, where that familiar grain seeps into those low light shots. That said, image quality is solid and on par with other dash cams offering 1080p resolution.
One other thing to note is that DVR100’s viewing angle is only 111 degrees, while many of its competitors offer a 140-degree angle. It’s not a huge difference in practice, but definitely discernable at the image peripheries if you’re switching between dash cams.
Sound was one thing the ND-DVR100 struggled with during my test. I found the device’s microphone was constantly overloaded with noise. One rainy scene offered up a lot of crackling from the tiny speaker — even during playback at the lowest volume setting — and the sound of the wipers made for some jarring “thuds.” I also had issues with playing back sound on my PC after transferring the files across, even though the audio came through fine on the device itself.
Another area that disappoints is the DVR100’s actual screen, which offers a paltry 2 inches. What’s more, the display is quite pixelated, while images were overly saturated in green hues.
Pioneer ND-DVR100 dash cam review: Verdict
The Pioneer ND-DVR100’s design won’t turn heads, it lacks advanced function and its interface is clunky and outdated. And despite generally solid video quality, this dash cam is plagued with several sound problems.
Other models in its class — some even cheaper — offer better features, screen, looks, connectivity and user interface. As such, it’s hard to recommend the ND-DVR100 over its peers. Avoid unless it’s heavily discounted.