Viofo A129 Duo IR: Best Taxi/Uber Cam 2019

Technical Specifications

– Taxi/Uber cam
– Max. resolution: front 1080p, rear 1080p
– Price: Amazon US / CA / UKeBay US / CA / UK / AUAliExpressmore vendors
– Aperture: f/1.6
– Optional GPS in mount
– Wi-Fi (2.4 or 5 GHz)
– 2″ Screen
– Video format: MP4
– Supports up to 256 GB MicroSD cards
– Needs class 10 (U1) card
– Novatek NT96663 processor
– Time and date stamp on video
– Loop recording, auto on/off, G-Sensor, motion detection
– Parking modes: Simple, Time-lapse, and Buffered
– Interfaces: Mini-USB, AV out
– Lock file button
– Optional Bluetooth remote lock file button
– Optional CPL filter
– Operating temperature: from -10°C to 65°C (14°F to 149°F)
– Storage temperature: from -20°C to 70°C (-4°F to 158°F)
– Apps for Android / iOS
– Wide Dynamic Range (WDR)
– Internal capacitor instead of battery
– Internal microphone and speaker
– Adhesive mount
– Can flip images upside down and left/right

Front Camera:
– Max. resolution: 1920×1080 @ 30fps
– Bit rate: 16.5 Mbps
– Size: 84mm x 55mm x 40mm
– Sony STARVIS IMX291 sensor
– Angle of view: 140°

Rear camera (differences to the non-IR A129 Duo in bold):
– Max. resolution: 1920×1080 @ 30fps
– 4 infrared LEDs
– Bit rate: 16.5 Mbps
– Size: 53mm x 31mm x 50mm
– Sony STARVIS IMX291 sensor
– Angle of view: 160°
– Lens rotates up to 180° physically

Viofo A129 Duo IR Review

The Duo IR is the taxi cam version of the Viofo A129 Duo. If you’re an Uber, taxi, or rideshare driver, you may want to keep an extra eye on your passengers, especially if you’re working at night. That’s why dash cams for uber drivers have infrared (IR) rear cameras.

We already have an extensive review of the A129 Duo here (go ahead and read that first if you’re not familiar), so this article will focus on unique features of the IR version.

The only difference between the A129 Duo and the A129 Duo IR is the rear camera. The IR camera has 4 infrared LEDs surrounding the lens, enabling you to record the passenger cabin at night even when it is dark. The infrared LEDs emit a faint red glow in the dark, reminding passengers that they are being recorded.

You can switch the LEDs on and off in the camera settings, or set them turn on and off automatically according to the lighting conditions.

The field of view for the rear camera has been raised to 160° (as opposed to the 140° of the non-IR cam). The larger viewing angle is useful to record all of the passenger cabin, even the front seats, at a close distance.

Two rear camera cables are included. One is 80cm (31.5″) in length and should be used if you mount the rear camera on the windshield, and the other is 6m (19.6ft) long in case you prefer to record the passenger cabin from the back.

The rear camera can be rotated up to 180 degrees, so if you mount it on the rear window, you can flip it to record the passenger cabin or the street behind you. When recording through the rear window, it is recommended to turn the infrared LEDs off in the camera’s settings to avoid reflections on the glass.

Video Quality

The hardware of the main (front) camera is identical, so forward video quality is the same as the Viofo A129 Duo’s: Very good at day, and good at night.

You can operate the rear camera either in color mode (recommended when recording through the rear window, with the IR lights off), or in monochrome mode (recommended when recording the passenger cabin).

As you can see in the sample videos below, color video inside the cabin looks quite fuzzy at night. This is because the cabin lights are off, so it’s dark inside the car. Also, if you have the IR LEDs on in color mode, the colors recorded will look “wrong” to the human eye on video.

Monochrome mode looks a lot sharper, with the infrared LEDs illuminating all the details. Passengers are clearly visible, which is the main reason for getting a taxi cam in the first place if you’re a Uber or taxi driver, or otherwise in the people transportation business.

If you record through the rear window with the IR lights on, you may get slightly better visibility at close distance, but colors may look wrong (if recording in color mode) and the IR LEDs can cause reflections. This is something that you can experiment with if you feel like it, but it’s not the intended main use for this camera.

Conclusion

This is arguably the best value-for-money taxi/uber cam available in 2019. You’ll have to install two cameras instead of one, but the loss of real estate on the windshield is made up for by the A129’s stealthy wedge design that doesn’t take up much space.

A taxi cam with both cameras in one casing like the Vantrue N2 Pro may be easier to install, but the Viofo gives you more flexibility of where you put your rear cam. Also, Viofo have a much better reputation for reliability.

While the A129 Duo IR is still quite new, we feel comfortable predicting that this will be the best selling taxi cam in 2020.

Viofo A129 Duo IR Video Samples

For full original video quality, make sure to watch on full screen and select maximum video resolution (use the cog icon in lower right corner). You may have to rewind the video after changing the resolution.

Mono Mode At Night

Mono video at night is very good. Footage is sharp and clear, and all details are clearly visible, even when it’s dark in the passenger cabin.

Mono Mode With Passenger

In mono mode, you can clearly see what’s happening inside the car, even at night with the cabin lights off. Passengers are clearly visible at all times.

You may want to adjust your rear camera to point a little bit more toward the passenger’s side than shown in this video.

Color Mode At Night

Color video at night is mediocre due to the obvious lack of light. The IR LEDs do help (without them, this video would be a lot darker), but the image is blurry. However, it is still fit for purpose.

Mono Mode At Day

For the sake of completeness, here’s how mono mode looks during the day time: Just as sharp as at night, but obviously a lot brighter.

Compare Prices & Buy Online

The Viofo A129 Duo IR is available for sale from the following vendors:

Amazon US / CA / UK / ES / IT

eBay US / CA / UK / AU

AliExpress (global)

Viofo (manufacturer)