Vantrue N2 Pro Dash Cam Review

A dash cam is dime a dozen these days. All of them record what's ahead of you.  That's their purpose in life. Some record what's behind you as well. But the Vantrue N2 Pro is unique in that it records not only what's ahead of you, but what's happening inside the car as well.

Vantrue says the N2 Pro is an excellent choice for Uber and Lyft drivers because of this feature. Another good use for the N2 Pro is for vloggers and YouTubers. Let’s see how well it works in the real world.

The Specs

The N2 Pro’s front camera records a 170-degree view of what’s ahead of you, while the rear camera captures a 140-degree view of the interior, plenty to cover the full width of the car. Together, the cameras don’t quite provide full 360-degree coverage, but it’s certainly close enough. Both cameras will record to a microSD card up to 64GB in 1920x1080P simultaneously. You can also set it to use only the front camera to enhance resolution to 2560X1440P at 30 frames per second, or 1920x1080P at 60 frames per second. That’s decent, but for me, the main appeal of this dash cam is the dual cameras, so that’s how I used it throughout most of my testing.

The N2 Pro also features a 1.5-inch LCD monitor. This gives you a preview of what your video will look like, as well as settings and features, and allows you scroll through the various menu settings. It is easy to set up the dash cam any way you want, including what data is displayed at the bottom of the screen. I turned off the speed display, for example, because I did not have the optional GPS unit that enables speed and location data recording.

Setup was super simple. The suction mount sticks securely to the windshield and the power cord is long enough to reach from the top of the windshield, tucked behind the interior trim, to a cigarette lighter outlet in both of my cars. Even better, power can be delivered through the mount rather than the camera itself. This means you can plug the cord into the suction mount, then clip or remove the N2 Pro into the mount without messing with any power cords. This is quite convenient.

On the Track

The first place I tested the N2 Pro was probably as far away from its intended use as possible: the race track. Most people use more rugged GoPro or other action cameras for this, but since I had just installed the Vantrue camera into my car right before a track event, I figured why not try it.

Despite this environment being somewhat outside of the N2 Pro’s league, it handled it extremely well. Resolution and colors were excellent on both the front and rear cameras. You can even see my trunkmonkey swaying back and forth in the back seat under the G-forces of hard cornering. The mount was rock solid, not only remaining in place but preventing the camera from vibrating at all, despite harder driving and higher speeds than I would ever achieve on the street. I had not yet figured out that I could turn off the speed display, so please ignore the false reading of 0 MPH even though I was clearly driving rather quickly.

On the Road

Let’s go back to the real world, where this camera is meant to be used. It does its job automatically, turning on and off with the ignition as long as the outlet you plug it into is wired that way. It records video from both cameras in small chunks, ranging from one to five minutes (the default is three), depending on your settings, making it fast and easy to copy just the files you want to save to your computer later.

By default, the N2 Pro operates in loop mode, which will begin overwriting the oldest files on the microSD card with new data when it runs out of memory. The 32GB card I used could hold about three hours of video from both cameras, so I would need to upgrade to a 64GB card and/or disable the interior camera to record longer trips.

Other standard dash cam features are available. You can take still images with a press of a button to record that sweet McLaren ahead of you on the highway. You can lock certain files so that they will never be overwritten so that when you almost crash into that Prius that cuts you off without looking you can save it for your “Idiot Prius Drivers” compilation video. And the N2 Pro can be set to automatically begin recording for a few minutes if it detects a shock to your vehicle, even if it is powered off thanks to an internal battery. This can be useful for catching would-be thieves or hit-and-run perpetrators.

While the cameras excel in bright daylight conditions, I’ve seen other cameras work better in high and low light situations. The VAVA I reviewed, for example, recorded excellent video in conditions ranging from nighttime to the sun in your face. The N2 Pro’s picture was darker in low-light conditions, losing some of the resolution of my drive to a friend’s house after the first day of the New England Forest Rally.

Infrared LEDs illuminate the interior at night, and the camera picks it up in black-and-white. It’s not the highest quality picture, certainly not something you’d want to record vlogs in, but it’s perfectly adequate for security purposes. I’d still be able to make out the face of an unruly back seat passenger, even if the picture quality isn’t nearly as good as broad daylight. The fact that the N2 Pro can see anything at all in a dark interior is a definite bonus.

Conclusion

For $199.99 on Amazon, the Vantrue N2 Pro isn’t a cheap dash cam, but it’s worth it for what you get, which is a true two-camera solution with easy plug-and-play installation and configuration. The popular VAVA dash cam sells for just $119.99 and includes its own GPS receiver, but it only has one camera and it has no built-in controls. You have to configure and control it with an app on your phone or tablet. The N2 Pro handles everything internally, which means no tricky pairing of Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.

I agree with Vantrue that this is an excellent choice for Uber and Lyft drivers. I agree so much that I actually used the N2 Pro in my Subaru WRX when I briefly drove for Uber and Lyft myself. If a passenger tries to whack me upside the head and steal my stuff, the dash cam will capture it all, even at night. But while we were discussing the camera, one of my passengers correctly pointed out that it would not be difficult for a thief to steal it as well. (No, he didn’t actually steal it.) He suggested that some sort of Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection to a remote disk of some kind hidden away would be useful so that even if the camera itself got stolen you’d still have the video.

It’s also a great choice for YouTubers making car vlogs, and something that I will likely begin using the N2 Pro for regularly myself. With just one unit, you can mix and match the interior and exterior views, making your own Smoking Tire style One Take videos. Each camera records to its own files, but shares the same audio track from the built-in microphone, making the files super easy to synchronize during editing.

The price tag may be a bit high for the average commuter who may not need all of these features, or care about recording what’s going on inside the car. But if you care about what’s happening inside and out, the N2 Pro is the camera for you.