The growing popularity of 360° video is perfect for riding along with a snowboarder coasting down a mountain or exploring coral reefs with professional divers. But what can 360° video do for your car? In the case of the new Waylens Secure360 dash camera, it watches for intruders and attempts to provide a complete picture of both the interior and exterior of your car. We borrowed this latest Waylens camera to see if it may be the best all-around security solution to protect your ride.
Some assembly required
Inside the packaging, you will find the unique cone-shaped camera body with its rounded lens on top, a 3M adhesive windshield mount, and the product wiring. Unlike a majority of security cameras that use an onboard battery and 12V plug to power the unit, the Secure360 requires a connection to your fuse panel. Similar to wiring many car audio systems, you will need to locate a constant power source, an ignition-triggered power source, and then a surface that can be used for the ground wire.
For this test, we simply wrapped the wires around a fuse and plugged them in. Ours came loose several times, and you will want to use something like a fuse tap that allows you to properly connect a wire. Waylens has promised a 12V plug option in the future to avoid the wiring into the fuse panel, but a specific date or price for this additional cable is not yet available.
The beauty of the constant power connection to your battery is a claimed 360 hours of standby time before the Secure360 shuts off.
Any mounting issues we had with the Waylens Horizon are gone with the secure 3M adhesive mounting plate. You simply adhere the plate to your window and slide the camera body onto the mount with a solid “click.” Once your device is powered on, it is as simple as connecting to the Secure360’s built-in Wi-Fi connection and pairing the camera in the Secure360 mobile app. You can then view the current live video to adjust the position of the camera.
Keeping an eye on your car
The beauty of the constant power connection to your battery is a claimed 360 hours of standby time before the Secure360 shuts off. The camera accomplishes this task by going into a “sleep mode” until it senses motion. It will then wake up, begin flashing to warn the intruder, and start filming any action going on around or inside your vehicle. However, the camera does take a few seconds to power on and record, so you may miss brief moments that something like the Raven or Owl would capture. For those worried about a dead battery, Waylens let us know that the built-in power management should shut the camera off if your battery goes below 11.5 volts to ensure it doesn’t leave you stranded.
Unlike the upcoming Secure360 4G, our Wi-Fi version can only get alerted and retrieve clips once you are back to your vehicle and connected to the camera’s Wi-Fi. Instead, you get a lovely voice announcing that there was a “new event detected” each time you start your car. This could be confusing if you park in a relatively crowded area or parking garage, as the alert would sound each time we came back to our car for most trips out and around town.
Sun glare makes it difficult to get clear video and details both inside and outside the vehicle can be missed.
Video clips can be viewed in the app when connected to the camera and saved directly to your phone. While the 360° video technology allows for more angles and views around your vehicle, the quality suffers in all directions. The video captured by the Secure360 is highly susceptible to glare from the sun, as the lens faces upwards, and it can often make it hard to get a clear picture of people and vehicles within its view. Images specifically toward the edges of where the lens stops can often look faded or washed out. The night vision worked well enough to make out some facial details, even without a strong light source nearby. In either mode, don’t expect to pick out any facial scarring on a potential perpetrator; the video is only good for a general glimpse.
When you hit the road, the Secure360 wakes up and gives an audible “chime” to let you know it is recording your journey. Similar to the Waylens Horizon, you must connect to the Wi-Fi and use the mobile app to see your live video or any clips from past trips. Waylens also doesn’t give you a hardware button or even a voice command to save important videos or moments. Instead, you must view the live video in the app and press the “star” button to ensure that clip isn’t automatically overwritten from the onboard MicroSD card (MicroSD card not included, but supports up to 256GB). This can be particularly challenging while driving and requires you to take your eyes off the road. Any saved videos can later be exported directly to your phone to share or edit on the go.
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The Secure360 app is fairly user intuitive and easy to use at a glance if needed. The default screen shows a circular split view of both the road ahead and the cabin of your car. Those who want the real 360° experience will use the “immersive view” function that goes full screen and lets you swipe around to view what the camera has recorded in all directions. While it may be cool to swipe around live or saved videos to see various details that most cameras may have in their blind spots, the quality issues remain. Sun glare while driving makes it very difficult to get clear video and details both inside and outside the vehicle can be missed. For instance, you won’t be able to make out most license plates or road signs unless driving at the right time of day, generally dusk or dawn.
The Secure360 is backed by a one-year warranty for any defects in materials and workmanship. You will need to send the camera in for repairs or replacement. The downside of the Wi-Fi model, as opposed to the upcoming 4G camera, is there is no way to get your video if the camera is stolen. In such cases, Waylens does not offer any replacement for the security camera like we’ve seen from products such as the Owl.
There is no denying the cool factor of the 360° video concept and the insane 360 hours of idle time that the Secure360 can watch your car. But with any security camera in the $300 price range, you are going to want enough detail to make out important elements of your video. The design of this Waylens camera allows for too much glare and quality loss, parked or driving, to make it worth considering.
Is there a better alternative?
Yes, both the Raven and Owl security cameras are able to see the inside and exterior of your car with far more detail. They also offer 4G coverage for a similar price to this Wi-FI model.
How long will it last?
Waylens has yet to release the 4G model and is likely to make ongoing improvements to the application and product. Unfortunately, we don’t think that most of the camera issues in this model can be fixed through a software update.
Should you buy it?
No, the ability to see certain blind spots in your car and extended idle time will not be enough to compensate for the video flaws for most buyers. Shop around for other cameras and compare the video quality samples and features to see what may fit your needs.