Viofo A119s V2 – An average dash cam in a pretty defensive position

Key features:

  • Video resolution: 1920×1080 @ 30fps
  • 2″ screen
  • Optional GPS in mount
  • WDR Super Night Vision
  • 135° diagonal view
  • Loop recording
  • auto on/off
  • G-Sensor / motion detection
  • Internal capacitor instead of battery
  • Internal microphone and speaker
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The Viofo A119s V2 is the new version of the A119 which coped a bit of slack for poor connectivity to the GPS mount, resulting in the camera becoming unreliable and losing power for no real reason. This defensive positon isn’t a good one for Viofo to be in, so I felt it was a good time to try out the A119s to see if it’s made an effective come-back or not. Here’s a quick summary on the quality and reliability of the A119s over the last six months I have been using it for.

Installation and design

From the outside, the new (A119s) and old (A119) devices look almost exactly the same. Additionally, set up is quite straight forward – no real challenges or expertise needed for this which is always good for the average user, like myself. That’s what I need in a dash cam – something that’s not overly complicated.

The unit itself is rather small and as a result, it complements pretty much any car interior perfectly with its stealthy, sleek design. It features a 2 inch display screen on the front side of the unit which acts as another interface for the dash cam. This is easy to read and simple to navigate through using the menu and buttons.

I should mention that after just a couple of months of installing the Viofo A119s V2, the adhesive on the mount has come loose quite a number of times. Possibly due to the extreme heat inside the car when parked outside, or possibly due to an average quality adhesive – but still something that should be addressed by Viofo.

Audio and video quality

The Viofo A119s v2 features HD video quality. The most striking change of this newer model is that it has a lower maximum resolution of video recording. It records 1080p video at 60 frames per second, which is significantly less than the A119’s 1440p at 30 fps. This change has only very slightly improved night video quality compared to the original A119, though to the average user or someone who doesn’t have the original model to compare to, is a pretty insignificant change. 

Despite the ongoing feedback of faults with the original (A119), my experience with the new version – the A119s – are pretty similar. The camera is unreliable. It records sometimes.  When it wants to. From a dependability perspective since the underlying purpose of a dash cam is to support us in the event of an incident, this simply isn’t good enough. It makes me start to stereotype these type of cheaper Chinese cameras, questioning their quality and integrity.  

I will commend Viofo on reducing the view of the lens, down to just 135 degrees. This gives a more realistic visual of the situation, without skewing the image and distances as much as the A119 did when it attempted to capture 160 degrees. A good improvement. 

The Viofo A119s v2 includes an internal microphone and speaker which is a great feature, especially in the instance of a police investigation or insurance claim. Visual and audio proof becomes increasingly important, and the Viofo A119s v2’s audio doesn’t disappoint – it’s as clear as day.

Safety features

Within the box of the A119S you’ll find a built-in mount for GPS. With this mount the camera can log your current speeds, as well as your location thanks to its ability to synchronise with nearby satellites. This type of information is absolutely invaluable in the event of legal or insurance claims and GPS should be a minimum requirement of any dash cam.

The Viofo A119S is packed with consistent, but still very useful safety features to its original model which includes loop recording, auto start/stop, as well as G-Sensor motion detection.

This G-sensor feature detects the emergency braking of the vehicle and ensures the video of that time period will be saved independently and will not be deleted automatically as part of the video looping recording feature. It’s incredibly helpful for accident investigation and gives you peace of mind that your footage is safe.

The Viofo A119S also uses an internal capacitor instead of battery, which I feel like might be becoming the new norm for dash cams. Essentially what this means is that your dash cam is reliable, even in extreme weather conditions where inside your car may exceed 100 degrees during summer. A battery-operated dash cam would switch off, but an internal capacitor tends to withstand heat (and cold). As such, I do not think this is a way I can fault the Viofo A119S for its unreliable recording – I genuinely think it’s a technical glitch with the way it has been build.

My verdict

While I agree that Viofo have made some improvements to its original A119 dash cam, I don’t feel as though the new A119S is progressive enough to warrant a new version of the product. My experience in this six months has shown that while the A119S’s features are good overall, it is still pretty unreliable. I am fortunate enough to not have been involved in a situation that has needed me to present my dash cam footage to authorities yet – and thankfully because I am not sure how useful it would be. 

While yes, it’s ok for a basic dash cam, I would not recommend people bother to spend their money on the Viofo A119S. I am looking forward to spending a little bit more money and giving the Street Guardian SG9665GC v3 a try – a neat, compact and incredibly durable cam. There is a reasonable price difference between the two, but I don’t feel as though quality and reliability is measured quite so simplistically.