How to turn a smartphone into a DVR


Imagine if Christopher Columbus's predecessors had a DVR. Surely, the debate about who actually discovered America would have become much less. Travels of modern drivers are not so exciting, but they cannot do without this "miracle of technology". Especially when it comes to a contentious situation on the road.

The price of registrars is quite high. It can range from $ 100 to $ 800. The quality of video recording in budget models is frankly "lame", and salaries may not be enough for more expensive ones. Therefore, "craftsmen" found a way out - to mount a regular smartphone instead of the registrar. Let's see how to do it yourself.

How to fix a smartphone in a car

In the case of a conventional DVR, everything is clear - it is attached to a specially provided structure. Everything is simple and logical here. To properly fix the smartphone, you have to do a little bit of sophistication. It is unlikely that Steve Jobs could have imagined that his Iphone would be used as an "I-registrar", otherwise we would have an "apple" in an extended configuration.

How to turn a smartphone into a DVR

So, in order to choose the fasteners correctly, you need to adhere to three rules:

  1. The holder should be compact so that it does not fall off at the most crucial moment under its own weight. Ideally, swivel.
  2. It should be possible to quickly remove the smartphone from the fastener. Especially if you have one phone. Suddenly someone calls.
  3. The best place to install the mount is at the top of the windshield. If "screwed" to the dashboard, the rays of the sun will illuminate the camera.

Holders with suction cups or glue are perfect. Their price is 5 dollars, and the amenities for the whole hundred.

How to install the lens

How to turn a smartphone into a DVR

Although modern gadgets are equipped with cool cameras, they are still not suitable for the role of a video recorder. They have too narrow a view to record the traffic situation. Therefore, you will have to spend a little and buy a wide-angle lens. Do not rush to get upset, it costs nothing: 2-3 dollars with a clothespin or 10-12 - with a screw thread.

There is one caveat here - buy only glass lenses. Plastic is not good.

Be sure to center the lens during installation so that the picture is not distorted. Also check that the fastening is secure.

How to connect power

How to turn a smartphone into a DVR

In the video mode, the smartphone is very quickly discharged, so you will not be able to use it due to the built-in battery. To conduct a separate power supply, you will need: a reliable 2A adapter and a long cable. You can also use the "native" cord that comes with the phone. However, in this case, you will have to enjoy the landscape of the hanging wires. We recommend that you immediately take a longer cable in order to carefully guide it along the body to the cigarette lighter, bypassing the windshield.

It is convenient to use a cable with a magnetic connector to power the recorder phone. It makes the process of connecting / disconnecting the gadget more comfortable and faster.

How to choose an application

How to turn a smartphone into a DVR

On IOS and Android, you will find a lot of free and relatively free applications that turn a gadget into a cool registrar. Choosing between them is similar to choosing a music player: the possibilities are almost the same, only the picture is different. Let's take a look at six of the most popular ones:


This is a multifunctional application that can:

  • Turn on automatically when motion is detected.
  • Automatically adjust exposure to avoid highlights.
  • Perform the function of a radar detector.
  • Recognize road signs.
  • Warn about speeding, parking ban and other nuances.

Smart driver

SmartDriver can record the situation on the road, but is focused more on something else - on the anti-radar function. Also, the application helps the driver to plan the desired route using tips that pop-up on the screen.

The free version gives you access to the database of cameras and traffic police posts, updated once a week. With a paid subscription, the update occurs daily.


Simple and reliable recorder with low requirements. This is a great solution if your android is a little outdated. There is nothing superfluous here. AutoBoy can work in horizontal and vertical orientation, has many settings that allow you to personalize it to fit your needs and supports an accelerometer

The program can not only make a record, but also take photographs in a given time interval. Also AutoBoy can upload videos to YouTube.

DailyRoads Voyager

This application has a wide range of settings that allow you to choose the optimal recording mode and quality. During testing, the program showed good stability, as for a free application.

How to turn a smartphone into a DVR

There were not so many downsides to DailyRoads Voyager. One of the main ones is advertising displayed in the form of banners. If the mobile device has a small amount of RAM, it may slow down the recording. This "hindrance" can be eliminated by purchasing a pro-account for a relatively nominal fee - almost $ 3.

The navigation buttons in the application are located to the side, without closing the recording display window. In addition to the standard presets, the software developers have left the ability to make individual settings. They include:

  • selection of the location for unloading the footage;
  • determination of recording length and video resolution;
  • loop recording function (to save free space on the memory card);
  • photographing at regular intervals;
  • audio recording control;
  • the ability to disable some functions so that the phone battery does not overheat;
  • work in the background.

iOnRoad Augment Driving

An innovative application based on the driver assistance systems found in many modern cars. The idea is not only to record what is happening on the road, but also to warn the driver of a possible collision.

How to turn a smartphone into a DVR

The benefits of software include:

  • the idea to warn the driver about the danger of a collision;
  • a budget version of the lane keeping system;
  • color and sound alerts;
  • possibility of background recording.

This program has several significant drawbacks, due to which it cannot be given the highest rating:

  • the program is power-consuming (the processor can get very hot);
  • not compatible with devices equipped with small RAM;
  • no Russian language;
  • in some cases, there was a spontaneous shutdown of the application;
  • when it rains, on some devices, the camera's focus moves from the road to the windshield, which reduces the picture quality;
  • for people with color blindness, the color alert option (green, yellow, and red) will be useless, and audible alarms are often annoying rather than warning of danger.

It should be noted that this application is a good attempt to implement the idea of ​​a mobile assistant for the driver. At the moment, the developers have not yet finalized it enough to praise it, but the idea is good.

Road recorder

The developer of the application calls his "brainchild" the best video recorder for a mobile phone. The advantages of the software include:

  • HD recording;
  • display of important data - car speed, geolocation, date and time of recording;
  • work in the background to make phone calls possible;
  • the ability to save the recording in the cloud storage;
  • you can configure the function of automatically deleting footage.
How to turn a smartphone into a DVR

In addition to the listed features, the developers have recently added an emergency call button located on the recording screen in the app. Additionally, video footage from an accident can be selected so that the application does not delete it.

How to set up the app

Any application has its own settings. At some points, of course, they may differ, but the key options are the same.

It is important to choose applications that have a background function. Thanks to this, the device will be able to simultaneously perform both the function of a phone and a video recorder.

How to turn a smartphone into a DVR

In each case, the developers equip their creation with different options that can stabilize the smartphone, or they can slow it down so much that the driver will only be distracted.

Overall, feel free to experiment. Try toggling different options on and off to customize the app to suit your needs.

How to set up a recording

How to turn a smartphone into a DVR

Each phone and application is configured differently for video recording, but the procedure is the same. Here are some factors to watch out for:

  1. Recording quality. Many mobile devices allow you to capture video clips in 4K or Full HD resolution. Choosing this option, it would be worthwhile to stop at HD. This will save space on the memory card. If the application has the function of automatically uploading material to the cloud storage, this will quickly “eat up” all the free traffic provided by the operator.
  2. Loop recording. If your application has this feature, you should use it. In some cases, you can preset the amount of memory provided to the application so that it does not fill up the entire memory of your phone or memory card.
  3. Image stabilization. This option often depends on the camera capability of the device itself, not the application. If it is available in the software settings, then it is better to use it. This will noticeably improve the recording quality without the need to set a higher resolution.
  4. Additional options should be tested in a simulation environment, not in real road situations.

Is it worth turning a smartphone into a dash cam

The development of digital technologies is moving forward rapidly. Even at the time of this writing, several developers can publish a couple of new applications for a mobile phone, making it a full-fledged DVR.

How to turn a smartphone into a DVR

There is no need to talk much about the advantages of classic car dashboards. They completely exclude the human factor when determining the correctness of the road accident participants. The interested party will not be able to "fine-tune" the facts for themselves. It will not be possible to persuade the witnesses of the incident, and in their absence, the recording from the camera is weighty evidence of someone's guilt or innocence.

If everything is unambiguous with classical registrars, then what can be said about the use of their counterparts - mobile phones with a corresponding program? As with any device, phone-based mobile recorders have advantages and disadvantages.


A smartphone is inconvenient to use as an analogue of a DVR for the following reasons:

  • Most mobile phones have optics that are great for daytime photography. Night mode often remains unavailable, as it requires an expensive smartphone with a special camera. Bright sun can also significantly degrade recording quality. The grip width of the phone camera rarely allows you to shoot what is happening on the next lane or roadside.
How to turn a smartphone into a DVR
  • During activation of the DVR mode, other functions of the device are not disabled. The more applications run in the background, the more information the processor will process. This will inevitably lead to overheating of the low-power device. Some programs consume a lot of energy, so the phone will need to be switched on for constant charging. Active mode and constant heating by the sun's rays can disable the smartphone.
  • If the phone is used as the main registrar, it will be inconvenient to use other functions of the gadget: social networks, a browser and a messenger.


How to turn a smartphone into a DVR

If the driver has a high-quality and modern smartphone, then using it as a car registrar can be justified by the following factors.

  1. Shooting quality. Many budget car recorders have poor recording quality. Sometimes such shooting does not even allow you to recognize the license plate of the car in front. Modern smartphones provide detailed photo and video shooting.
  2. Most of the latest generation smartphones are equipped with either software or optical image stabilization. Even with a medium resolution, the picture will not be washed out due to shaking while the car is moving.
  3. Another advantage of productive mobile devices is their multitasking ability. In addition to the DVR function, the driver can use the navigator option. This will depend on the capabilities of the gadget.

What can be done to make a video recording of an accident legally binding?

The legislation of each country has its own subtleties governing the use of data from video recorders when resolving controversial issues. Here's what a driver can do so that footage captured by his device can be used as evidence:

  • In the event of an accident, the driver must immediately inform the police officer about the presence of a DVR in his car. This will not give an opportunity to accuse the owner of the material that he falsified it using video editing.
How to turn a smartphone into a DVR
  • The provision of video material by the driver must be indicated in the protocol. The police officer should be required to enter into the protocol details of the recording device: where it was placed in the car, its model and the distinctive characteristics of the seized memory card.
  • The recording should show the real time of the incident, so it is important that this parameter is correctly configured in the program in advance.
  • In case of refusal to enter information on the presence of video evidence in the protocol, it is necessary to mention this in your explanations. At the time of signing the document, you need to write in it about your disagreement with the decision of the police officer.

Other details should be checked with a lawyer.

With the correct use of a suitable smartphone, the driver will be able to save money on purchasing a separate DVR. Before using this feature, you need to really assess the capabilities of your phone.



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