Z-EDGE Z3 Upgrade Review – Reliable Brand, Respectable Reboot

Key features:

  • Upgraded single-lens Z-Edge Z3 features powerful A12 Ambarella chipset and CMOS image sensor.
  • Easy-to-install and use unit with auto ignition stop/start recording, continuous loop and save while driving.
  • 3-inch screen, strong image resolution and quality in all conditions. Fuelled by 1440p recording (above industry minimum 1080p), superior HDR Night Vision.
  • Inbuilt safety features for peace of mind. Sensor automatically triggers recording when it detects impacts to parked vehicle.
  • Packaged with 32GB memory card. Second USB port so you can charge devices or run a GPS while on the road. 
  • Value for money from reputable brand, covering all the basics with a few enhancements.
Best deal at: Amazon.com

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Road-trip warrior wanting to record your latest hair-raising adventures? Neighborhood nice-guy concerned after a spike in local car break-ins? Your information needs are diverse … and so are your options for capturing data! Dashcams these days are reliable, effective … and plentiful. With a catwalk-worthy lineup of models to choose from, how do you narrow your selection down? We’ll jumpstart your journey with a look at the upgraded Z-Edge’s Z3, a reboot of the popular single-lens model. 

Well-known dashcam manufacturer Zero Edge has won accolades for its Z3 model.  The enhanced Z3’s new features include a state-of-the-art Ambarella A12 chipset and improved 155° viewing angle. But is the reboot more Herbie: Fully Loaded or Gone In 60 Seconds – fizzler or fantastic? 

If you’ve already dabbled in dashcams (and no, strapping a GoPro to your windshield doesn’t count) you’ll want to know how the reworked Z3 stacks up against previous units. If you’re a newbie, you’ll be assessing impact factors for any dashcam.  Useability; video quality and image resolution; safety and auto-features are all key. And unless you’re a Formula 1 millionaire like Lewis Hamilton, price point is a consideration. So let’s get this cam on the road!

User-Friendly Install

The first thing to note about the Z3 is it’s easy to install, with simple to follow instructions. While Z-Edge’s sleek dual-cam Z3 has more curves than the Le Mans track, the upgraded Z3 looks more functional than stylish – a little like your dad’s old Kodak. But it’s lightweight, discrete, and attaches to the windshield securely.

The cam plugs into the 12v cigarette lighter through an extra-long cable. A nice touch is the above-industry standard 2-port USB adapter. The additional port allows you to run an external GPS or charge another device while using the Z3 – a user-friendly feature making life on the road easier.

Hitting the Road

Video recording starts as soon as you fire up the ignition. While driving, the windshield suction stays stable, and the camera and cable present minimal dashboard impediment or disruption to field-of-vision. The cam blends in seamlessly to your interior, so you’ll forget it’s there within five minutes … unless a freak meteor show hits, in which case you’ll be glad you’re filming!

So the Z3 install and drive experience is straightforward. What about core functionality? The chipset is one of a dashcam’s most vital features, fuelling screen resolution, frames per second (FPS) and night vision. The Z3 boasts an A12 Ambarella chipset, a significant upgrade from the A7 chip that strengthens its capability considerably.

Seeing is Believing

New firepower has improved Z3 visual performance sharply. Resolution varies hugely between dashcam models, with some units not even HD-enabled. The Z3 now records in Ultra HD with 1440p resolution (upgraded from 1080) at 30fps. A 155° viewing angle (expanded from 150°) allows visibility across four-plus lanes of traffic – ideal for freeway recording.

Played back on the PC, color saturation and contrast sparkle like a new set of rims. Screen resolution and image quality are precise, with HDR night-vision powering up clear footage in a range of light conditions. As a plus, Z3 is audio-enabled, with crisp sound quality. The best dashcam footage is clear, with maximum granular detail and minimal blurring. On this front, the Z3 is a market leader.

On the Record

Whether you’re recording fender benders or fabulous sunsets, ultimately your cam’s main function is to preserve footage for future viewing. The two elements you need to focus on are how you record; and how you store and save. The Z3 ticks all the essentials here.

  1. Recording is automatic and uncomplicated. Car starts, recording starts. Car stops, recording stops. You don’t need a degree in auto-engineering to master this!
  2. The Z3 records on a continuous loop, with adjustable time settings (for example 1, 3 or 5 minutes). This means the video stops after your designated time point, and cycles back to start again. This is efficient and maximises your storage.
  3. Video saves onto a 32G memory card (supplied by the manufacturer; another bonus). The Z3 supports up to 128GB of storage, which compares well to other brands whose units only enable 64GB. 
  4. Uploading data is a cinch, although you’ll need to buy an additional cable to connect to your PC or smartphone, as the cable provided is for power only.

We especially like the Z3’s ability to act as a parking lot cop. Selecting “Park Mode” prompts the inbuilt sensor to detect impacts to the car when stationary, and activate recording. Perfect for evidence in case of sidewalk sideswipes, or neighborhood burglaries.

Pros and Cons

Z3 lacks some higher-end add-ons of other dashcams, like WiFi and GPS. Techsmart buyers may want WiFi to download data to smartphones. Crimeconscious consumers may prefer GPS-enabled dashcams that allow them to include logistics like speed and location in police reports.

If you’re satisfied with core requirements, the Z3 enhancements have kept it competitive with other models in its bracket. For example, the slightly pricier Xianwei single-lens offers only 1080p recording, a 2.4-inch screen and 140° viewing angle.

To Z3 or not to Z3?

Z-Edge Z3: is it worth investing your hard-earned in this hardware? Like The Fast and Furious franchise, the retooled Z3 is a functional product delivering exactly what you expect. With upgraded features and an 18-month warranty, the Z3 offers value for money from an established brand (check Amazon for latest retail rates). 

Standout elements include excellent image quality (day and night), expanded 155° wideangle viewing field, and Park Mode so you can leave your car knowing any incidents (and hopefully perps!) will be captured. If you want extra trimmings, like GPS and WiFi, you might want to explore our reviews of other products. But if you’re fine with a Toyota not a Tesla, look no further than the Z3.