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Review: Roadhawk HD-2 dash camera

Published 21 March 2016

What is it?

Roadhawk says the HD-2 is its “most technically advanced camera to date.” It records in 1080p at 60 frames-per-seconds, has a GPS receiver and promises excellent image quality in all light conditions, day or night – but it has no screen for playing back footage on the fly. It’s also expensive at around £250, though Roadhawk pitches it as a high quality camera for professional drivers like truckers.

What’s it like?

The Roadhawk HD-2 comes in a sturdy cardboard package and is supplied with three different mounting options – a permanent windscreen mount that the camera unit clips into, a long-armed mount for flat windscreens like those in HGVs or buses, or a more traditional suction mount. It’s provided with an exceptionally long power cord, which can be neatly routed around the windscreen with provided wire clips.

The camera unit itself is simple, chunky and very strongly made. There is a flap covering the SD card slot, two status LEDs and an emergency button for saving useful clips. Aside from that, there is nothing to the HD-2 – it has no screen and no interface for changing settings, framerates or image quality, it just plugs in does its job automatically.

To change any of the settings the camera’s SD card has to be plugged into a computer with the Roadhawk software installed, which is available from the roadhawk.co.uk for both Windows and Mac. It’s not the nicest piece of software to use, but once the camera is set up for your needs it shouldn’t be necessary to use it again unless there’s an accident.

Like most dash cameras, the HD-2 starts up when the ignition is turned on and records automatically, though since there is no screen it has an audio message and LED to let the driver know it has started up, and another when it finds GPS reception. Aside from that, you can forget about it and get on with driving – the only other thing to think about is the E button for saving interesting or important clips.

Image quality is very good, even in poor light conditions such as when driving directly towards the sun. Number plates and other important details are fairly easy to pick out in most footage, plus when playing back recordings in the Roadhawk software there is a display of GPS location on a map, along with G force and speed.

The lens has a very wide angle of view, meaning it clearly records of what’s going ahead of the car without large blind spots. But it’s not all good news - the footage recorded at night, while very good, could be better for a camera at this price. It’s also a shame that there is no screen, which means playing back any important footage at the scene of an accident is impossible.

A sample clip can be found below, though uncompressed footage from the camera is clearer and higher quality, since YouTube’s encoding method creates a pixelated mosaic effect in places.

Raw footage is clearer than compressed YouTube clips

Should I buy one?

At £250, it’s quite hard to recommend the Roadhawk HD-2 for the average motorist. A Nextbase 512G or 402G will provide footage that’s almost as good but for less money. Both are easier to use on the go too, thanks to built-in screens for playback and changing settings. That said, if you’re the type of motorist that’s on the road all day – a trucker or delivery driver, for example – then the HD-2 is probably worth buying.

If you are a professional driver then image quality, sturdiness and reliability will likely matter most – and the HD-2 delivers all three. If you’re in your vehicle all day then it’s probably worth getting the camera hard-wired by an auto electrician too, since it frees up the 12V socket and keeps tell-tale wires out of view.

Details

Price: £250 RRP (Available to buy on Amazon)

Maximum resolution: 1080p @ 60fps

Card type: Full-size SD

Alternatives 

Mio MiVue 792 £189.99 RRP

Nextbase 512GW £149.99 RRP

HD-2 2

Comments

Hue166    on 21 November 2016

The RoadHawk HD is an excellent camera, I've had one for 3 years with no issues. The HD2 however is an entirely different story. The footage at Super HD is superb, however I've now had 3, yes THREE cameras fail after a week of use and refusing to power on.

Speaking to RoadHawk they acknowledge an issue with the firmware and say an upgrade to 3.7 will stop it happening. My third camera I upgraded following their instructions, lo and behold after a week that stopped powering on too.

Such as shame, seeing has as the HD has proved itself to be a most reliable product. I shall be looking to other manufacturers from now on, the HD2 is hopeless.

IrishNeil    on 14 May 2017

I've had an original Roadhawk RH-1 for about 6 years now, and on only one occassion did it stop powering after the 24 month warranty expired.
The engineer at Roadhawk was especially helpful, and they eventually agreed to send me a reconditioned unit, with another 12 month warranty, indicating their own faith in this product.
It is still working, in all light conditions, using the same sd card, same wires and windscreen mounts.
Although not HD, it still produces excellent quality footage, GPS and G-sensor readings.
Agreed, there is now a huge selectionof other brands for consumers, but pay well and pay once, buy cheap buy twice.

J Hood    on 20 July 2017

Installed it just before driving from London to northern Norway. Wasn't able to check it properly before my destination. Used two SD cards, the one supplied and a Sandisk, both formatted as per instructions. Both failed to 'loop'. They recorded about 150 1 minute files each and then stopped. No record of the final 12 hours from the Arctic Circle Centre!
Checked and run for over four hours, but always stopped, without looping.
No response from RoadHawk for help. Another faulty product?

andrew rowley    on 29 October 2017

When it works (HD-2) it works well - BUT....

On my 4th replacement in 12 months - most recent lasted 1 day before not powering up. A good replacement policy is not enough - I would rather have a product that works.,

   on 17 January 2018

I'm about to send the third one back in a year, they seem to fail after a relatively short time.

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