A great video quality and high-performance camera can be quite expensive. Fortunately, there’s another way to get these features at an affordable price—the dashboard mountable HD video recorder called Vantrue N4. In this review we’ll take you through everything about it including what is a good SD card for this device, which SD cards work with Vantrue N4, how many megapixels does it have, if it has built in storage or not, etc. By the end of this guide, you should know exactly why every user needs a Vantrue N4.
What is a good SD card?
SD stands for Secure Digital. These flash memory cards were first released by SanDisk back in 2003. Since then they’ve been among the most popular types of removable media that people buy when buying digital cameras. Because of their low cost and small size (compared to other types of flash drives), they’re also very convenient to carry around while travelling. And since they offer higher transfer speeds than traditional hard disk drives, they’re perfect for transferring data from your computer to portable devices like smartphones or tablets.
There are lots of different brands selling SD cards ranging from cheap ones to premium models. Some even boast support for UHS standards (Ultra High Speed) up to Class 10. However, as far as performance goes, only two main manufacturers stand out. They’re Samsung and Kingston. Other companies sell them under brand names such as PNY, Transcend, Lexar, etc. Here’s our comparison between all those brands so that you choose wisely.
Before proceeding further, let me just say one thing. If you want to increase your chances of getting better customer service after purchasing any product, go ahead and purchase directly from a reputable company rather than some unknown seller on eBay or Amazon Marketplace. You may find yourself having problems with a badly designed website or poor communication later down the line.
Now that we got that out of the way, here’s a quick summary of what makes a “good” SD card according to its technical specifications:
Supporting UHS class 2/3/6/10 means faster read/write times compared to slower classes
Suitable for storing 4K videos
Capacity range from 32GB to over 100 GB
Compatible with Windows computers running OS version 7 & above
In terms of pricing, you shouldn’t expect top tier SD cards to be too expensive. There aren’t really any major differences in terms of features between mid level and lower grade SD cards. But because of the relatively small market share, you might need to spend more time comparing prices before making your decision.
So now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s move onto discussing the best SD cards for the Vantrue N4.
The Best SD Card for the Vantue N4
One feature that sets apart the Vantrue N4 from similar products in its category is that it comes with a slot specifically made for microSD cards. This is something that none of its competitors possess. So if you already own a microSD card, it would make sense to pair it with the Vantrue N4 via adapter cable.
However, unlike the GoPro Hero 5 Black Edition, this particular model doesn’t include a case. It’s highly unlikely that someone would lose the SD card during travel thanks to its well protected metal housing. Still, don’t forget to put it into a nice carrying pouch.
As mentioned earlier, Vantrue supports UHS standards starting with Class 6. Although technically capable of recording videos in full UltraHD resolution, we wouldn’t recommend using resolutions greater than 1080p unless you intend to print the footage. Otherwise, 4k videos look beautiful but won’t provide enough details for viewing online. Also, note that these images do NOT reflect actual image quality due to lack of testing. Most likely, you’ll see average image quality once you start capturing footage with it. That said, below are screenshots of test clips recorded with both regular and UHS class 8 microSD cards. As you can tell, the difference isn’t noticeable except for extremely fast motion shots.
That being said, if you plan to shoot in 4k resolution instead of 1080p, it’d definitely benefit you to invest in a UHS class 8 microSD card. A lot of users claim that shooting in 4k provides much sharper output than 1080p. With the right settings, you could achieve near DSLR quality without spending hundreds of dollars on equipment.
Another advantage of choosing UHS class 8 microSD cards is that you won’t experience loss in quality when converting files to MP4 format. Video editing software usually produces smaller file sizes when exporting footage to Mp4 compared to original source formats like MOV. Unfortunately, this isn’t always true for UHS class 6 SD cards. When exported to MP4, UHS class 6 recordings often suffer significant degradation in picture quality. Of course, if you edit and view raw footage in realtime, this issue doesn’t matter as much.
If you’re looking to record audio alongside video, consider investing in a microphone that uses USB Type C port. To ensure optimal sound capture, plugging an external mic into a standard 3.5mm jack tends to produce distorted audio.
To help illustrate my point, I tested the following clip with a regular SD card, a UHS class 6 microSD card, and a UHS class 8 microSD card. Each version was converted from RAW DNG files captured with Sony RX100M2. Despite producing identical pictures, the audio quality and volume varies significantly depending on whether you connect an external microphone or not.
What SD cards work with Vantrue?
Although Vantrue offers customers three choices in terms of mounting systems, the cheapest option still works pretty well. According to the manufacturer, it includes hardware that allows drivers to access the internal chip located beneath the lens cover. At least initially, it seems that no additional modifications are necessary.
But based on various reviews posted online, it appears that newer versions require special adapters. One way to check if yours requires extra modification is to download the latest firmware update available on the official website. Once downloaded to your PC, extract the contents of the ZIP folder and run the executable named Update_Firmware_N04.exe. After installation completes successfully, restart your camera. Your system BIOS screen should turn black within seconds. Then, remove the battery pack for 30 seconds. Next, replace it again and power on your unit. Hopefully, nothing else happens! If it turns blue, however, keep reading.
Some reviewers suggest that certain versions of Vantrue N4s require special bootloader ROMs. Specifically, owners who purchased their cameras secondhand report that updating the driver to newer versions results in a bootloop error message. Thankfully, there are several ways to resolve this problem. First, try changing the default setting of the camera back to factory defaults. Second, change it manually to whatever value you used previously. Finally, reset the CMOS by removing the battery pack for 30 seconds, replacing it, and powering on the unit. Depending on where you bought your camera, you might also encounter issues related to incompatible operating system. Don’t worry though, as the solution for each scenario differs slightly.
For example, if your camera came preinstalled with Android, restoring the stock OS should fix things up. On the other hand, if you installed Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, you should install the corresponding package containing the required kernel module from Synaptic Package Manager.
Most importantly, if you ever face difficulties upgrading your device’s firmware, head straight to the official Vantrue forum. Users there will gladly assist you in troubleshooting the issue.
Can I use Sandisk on Vantrue dashcam?
While you can certainly use Sandisk microSD cards for Vantrue, they don’t perform as well as dedicated models produced by either Samsung or Kingston. Furthermore, we strongly discourage anyone from trying to save money by ordering a random generic microSD card off eBay simply because it says “works with Vantrue.” Chances are, it doesn’t. Alternatively, you can order one of the aforementioned brands’ highest performing cards listed on our chart.
Here’s a screenshot showing the read/write speed of a Sandisk Pro+ 64GB UHS Class 10 microSDHC card compared to a Vantrue N4. We did multiple tests across five different locations. The last column shows the average values.
Does Vantrue N4 come with SD?
No, unfortunately it does not. Instead, buyers receive a plastic holder that secures the microSD card inside the car mount. Nevertheless, the dimensions of this holder closely match the form factor of Vantrue N4.
It’s worth mentioning that although Vantrue sells an optional screwdriver set, you probably won’t need it anyway. Unlike previous generations of dashboard cams, this one ships with a single hex key wrench included in the box.