Aukey DRS2 dual dash cam review: Excellent video in all directions, and infrared too

This dual-channel dash cam's second camera marries to the main body for interior coverage and detaches for rear view use.

Credit: Aukey

The most distinguishing feature of the Aukey DRS2 ($150 on Amazon) is its interior camera, which can be detached from the main body for use as a rear camera. Nice, but its best trick is taking excellent video, both exterior and interior, day and night. It could use integrated GPS (an $20 external option that’s $20 on Amazon) and a larger capacitor, but beyond that, it’s all good. 

This review is part of our ongoing roundup of the best dash cams. Go there for information on competing products and how we test them.

Design and features

Aukey opts for a vertically oriented design, which, unlike the more common horizontal designs, leaves room for four easy-access buttons beneath the display—an arrangement I’ve always found the easiest to use. In this case, said display is a sharp 960x240, 2-inch color model.

The front 1080p, 170-degree field-of-view (FOV) camera, and the interior/rear 1080p, 152-degree FOV camera, rotate only vertically. This makes it especially important for you to level everything with the horizon during installation, using the semi-permanent sticky mounts.

aukey drs2 3 cropped Aukey

Aukey’s DRS2 dual-channel camera. The silver secondary camera on the bottom plugs into the main body to serve as an interior camera, or can be used in a provided second mount as a rear camera. Note the infrared lights. You can also toggle this camera between grayscale and color captures.

Important point: Though there are what appear to be two mini-USB ports on the main body, they are subtly different. One is for power, the other is for the rear/interior camera. Don’t try to hammer the rear camera or extension USB cable into the power connector. It won’t fit, and you could mangle the port.

Beyond that, there are only the SD card slot and the GPS module input. Aukey didn’t provide its optional GM-32 GPS module, but if you added it (it’s $20 on Amazon) that would make the DRS2 a $170 system, comparable in price and features to similar products with GPS. 

The DRS2 is simple and easy to navigate. The display shows the current function of the buttons below it. There’s only one unusual function you should know about, and that’s to change the rear camera capture mode from grayscale (for interior night use with the infrared) to color (for exterior use).

The DRS2 is warrantied for a full two years—an unusually lengthy promise in the dash cam field, and rated to operate from minus 13 degrees to plus 149 degrees Fahrenheit. The sensors in both cameras are Sony EXMOR IMX323’s. 

Performance

The DR2 takes excellent 1080p video, both day and night. In fact, I liked its night video better than the Vantrue X4’s 2160p night video. The color saturation is good, details are easily discernible, and it demands a lot less storage than 2160p video.

aukey day exterior IDG

The DRS2 takes excellent daytime video. The rear camera video is nearly identical to this when in color mode with slightly less fish-eye. Both cameras use the exact same sensor.

You can see from the front capture above and the interior capture below, the DRS2 takes excellent video. The video from the interior camera mounted on the rear window is similar in quality, and you can switch it to color if you wish (as seen below).

rear facing forward color IDG

The secondary camera mounted in the rear takes video that’s about the same quality as the front’s. Note that the camera dealt very well with what was nearly direct sunlight. 

I left the secondary camera set to grayscale for the most part when used for interior captures.  

drs2 day interior IDG

Ignore the cable hanging down and concentrate on the nice clean capture with lots of detail.Normally, you’ll route the cable behind interior parts.  

Though the sky in the night capture below appears to be around twilight, it’s actually nighttime, albeit in a city with clouds reflecting numerous light sources. Regardless, the DRS2 does very well capturing detail, though headlight flare is a bit more pronounced than it is with some cameras. 

aukey drs2 night exterior IDG

Note that this night capture was on a rainy night, which explains a large part of the distortion you see. Night captures are actually as good as I’ve seen.

Interior night video shows a lot of detail, thanks to the infrared lights on either side of the lens. Ignore the mirror—placing the dash cam lower on the windshield will avoid such blockage.

drs2 interior night IDG

This time I remembered to move the cable, but still had the cable placed behind the mirror, partially blocking the second camera in interior mode. A reminder that once you place a sticky mount, it’s not a lot of fun moving a dash cam.

I have zero qualms about the DRS2’s captures, exterior or interior. You’ll even get decent coverage of events through your rear window with the secondary camera mounted inside.

The only thing that fell short was the approximately three-second run time from the capacitor that powers the unit when 12-volt power is interrupted. That's not enough to capture all post-incident events should your car's power system be disabled. It's enough to save the files captured beforehand, but there's always a slight possibility that you'll miss something. 

Should you buy the Aukey DRS2? 

I wish that the DRS2 integrated GPS and that the supercapacitor lasted a few seconds longer, but most drivers will be fine with external GPS and the capacitor is a 1% of the time need. All in all, a versatile dual-channel camera system that takes excellent video under nearly all circumstances. 

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Jon L. Jacobi

PC World (US online)
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