I didn’t quite know what to make of Soliom’s G1 380° ($100 on Amazon) the first time I saw the horizontally split-frame front/rear, surround video that it captures by default. It’s unique among dash cams in my experience, and while the quality is weak, this camera is arguably the best I’ve seen for pure legal daytime protection to the front and sides. For everything else, not so much.
This review is part of our ongoing roundup of the best dash cams. Go there for information on competing products and how we tested them.
The Soliom uses two extremely wide field-of-view, 190-degree cameras. By default the view captured by the front camera occupies the top half of the video, and the view captured by the interior/rear captures the bottom. This obviously saves space and makes it easier to view an entire scene, but as I also mentioned, the quality isn’t up to snuff except at very short distance. More on that in the performance section.
The G1 380° will capture video normally—that is, a single view; but according to Soliom you must press the right part of the ring on the circular control button to switch to full-frame front mode. I however, was never able to get the camera to stay out of split-frame mode. You can’t have discrete exterior and interior video captured at the same time unless you’re in parking mode. Note that the camera doesn’t remember your last setting; it defaults to split-frame every time you power up, and parking mode is also set in stone as discrete exterior and interior.
Split-frame makes sense for maximum coverage of events, but if you would prefer separate front and interior/rear captures during normal usage, buy another camera.
Design, features, interface
The G1 380° has the appearance of a half-cylinder about five inches wide, a little over an inch thick in the body, and a little over two inches thick at the cameras. The two 1080p cameras are on the left side of the unit, with the 2-inch color display and the center button/rocker ring controls to the right. I wasn’t particularly enamored of the control ring, as it is nearly impossible to read the raised lettering. Read the user’s guide thoroughly first.
The G1 380° has three ports on the left: micro-USB for power and data access when the camera is attached to a PC, a port for an external GPS unit, and an SD card slot. Unfortunately, the GPS port is a dummy—the camera doesn’t support any available external GPS models. The company said this is planned for the next iteration of the product.
The on-screen interface is a single menu with a list of choices. It’s easy enough to use, and you’ll only need it once in a while. Note that there’s a GPS option, but as I’ve already pointed out, it’s for the future.
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