My Roav C1
I am an engineer for an aerospace company. I like quality.
I am a Jeeper. I like things I can count on. When I'm offroading, I can't have things fail.
Design it well. Build it well. Take feedback well. Then it should run well.
Overall, I am very happy with this device.
I have had cheap devices in similar roles that have not delivered good performance. But the video looks great.
I won't dare call THIS device "cheap", but the price is highly reasonable.
So, given that Anker and the ROAV team seem to take feedback seriously, I will write this review in hopes that they will incorporate some of this feedback. Hopefully, I will replace this product with their next product(or at least get a software update out of it for this device).
CONCEPT - Good. Form factor is reasonable. It is getting to the point where the device does not need the screen. Push the video thru wifi to adjust the picture(aim the device) and call it done. I don't really use the screen. An adjustable camera lens, an SD slot, USB power, and wifi control would give the minimalist their bliss. Focus on a good app and don't spend the effort developing a touch screen interface and touch screen.
INSTALL - Just barely fit behind my rear view mirror. I was able to install a 12v to USB supply into the mirror to provide 12v accessory enable for the camera. Very clean install. I think on the front there is some orange silk screened "Wifi" and "FULL HD 1080P" text that does not need to be on there. I want the install to be discrete so if I have my windows down(Jeep...and top off and doors off) that the passer by won't notice my discrete install.
HARDWARE - Excellent video. Night driving with headlights is clean and clear. Night offroading looks fantastic. Power button seems excessively large. LED that blinks should be up higher on unit for visibility. Minor gripes.
SOFTWARE - Here is where I think that it can be improved for Capturing and Retrieving images.
CAPTURING IMAGES - Taking pictures is a no-brainer. SD cards are cheap, get a big one, let it crank away at 1080 and to its thing. No worries there. It gets five stars for this. Well done design team. Simple and elegant. Can't wait to take it to Moab offroading in June!
RETRIEVING IMAGES- In the grand scheme of things, this is where the unit makes my teeth grind a little. See below.
WIFI DISABLED BY DEFAULT - When I want to connect to the camera I have to power the unit on and go thru its menu to enable wifi so the app can connect. Wifi is not enabled by default. Then I have to contort my fingers to get to the touch screen buttons, then connect with the phone. Because the ROAV is descretely mounted behind my rear view mirror, I have to move the mirror, get the files and then readjust the mirror.
SUGGESTION - When my ROAV starts it keeps the screen on for a user-selectable amount of time. For me that is 30 seconds(30/60/Off options). Just long enough to tell me that the device does indeed have power and has turned on. I would have the device enable Wifi upon booting. If the app connects, and someone wants to connect, keep the wifi enabled as long at they have activity. If no app app connects before the screen times out in 30/60 seconds, wifi is turned off. If you missed your window, turn car off then on. Hands free activation of the wifi. I would never have to touch my ROAV again if this feature was a reality.
FILE SIZE - One of the things you quickly learn is the file size conundrum. You can set the Loop Recording length to 1/5/10 minute chunks per file. Initially I was thinking that with the large SD card I installed, that the 10 minute size would be great to simplify managing files. This meant that the files were large....like a gig per file. But, if I was searching for an event, I'd have to wait a few minutes to move large files over to my phone to efficiently navigate thru them. I have since moved to one of the smaller file sizes, but it means I have two to ten times as many files to navigate thru if I don't know exactly where my event happened. The thumbnails don't describe much as they all look the same, just a view out my windscreen. Plus the sorting of those files is not chronologially consistent. Sorted by day in ascending order, but by time in decending order.
SUGGESTION#1(TIME SEARCH) - Two suggestions here. The first, is a Time Search. As a user, I SHOULD know the approximate time something happened. It would be nice to put that time in the app on the phone, feed the app a time range and have it download the video(s) that are appropriate. "It happened about 2:10pm, give or take 5 minutes"....and we're away and downloading the files to my device. Even better if you append multiple files(or trim longer files) so they download as a single file on the device.
SUGGESTION#2(VIDEO SCRUBBER)The second suggestion is for those who have no clue when their event happened, but they want to fly thru the video searching. It would be nice to be able to scrub the video thru the app in a highly reduced resolution fashion. What I mean here is almost along the lines of a 2nd stream at 240x360 resolution at 1 second or slower framerate. These keyframes can be pushed to the app and the user can fly thru the video(Scrub Video) to find their event.... then they can use the Time Search to tell the app to download that 2:10pm event for a 5 minute duration. Wow. That'd be tremendously efficient.