Well, this is my first EVER one-star review of a product, but I feel that this is deserved.
My wife bought this Cobra dual-channel dashcam for me. I installed it the following day. Installation was relatively painless – the most annoying thing was running and hiding the wires, which were ran mostly through the headliner of the truck.
Then came the really annoying part. You know how the Cobra CDR895D is sold as a front and rear camera dash cam? Well, don’t buy it as if you’re going to use the rear camera – at least not without some extra trouble EVERY TIME YOU START YOUR VEHICLE. Upon starting, the dash camera powers up (as long as you have it wired as recommended). The problem is that it RARELY discovers the rear camera. At first I thought it was a fluke with my camera, so I returned it (with no trouble – thanks, Best Buy!) and got a new one. I had to run the wires again (easier the second time) but the problem repeated.
After a couple of days of using the camera, here’s what I’ve found. When the camera powers up after the vehicle starts, it almost never detects the rear camera. You can tell if it is recording both cameras by cycling through the views of it you see two small red dots in the upper left of the screen. If I was parked for more than a few hours, it NEVER detected the rear camera. I had to manually turn the power off on the camera and then turn it back on (with the vehicle already running). It would then detect the rear camera. This only takes about ten seconds, but I had to do this every single time, unless I only parked the vehicle for a short time.
I checked Cobra’s website to ensure that I had the latest firmware (verified). So, I called Cobra’s service department and spoke with a technical service representative. He was *EXTREMELY HONEST*. He stated that he gets these calls all the time – that the rear camera isn’t detected. He thought it was due to the pin setup on the proprietary Y-cable. Obviously, Cobra had a third-party design/manufacture these. However, we did discuss how I disagreed with him because the longer the vehicle is parked, the more likely it is to not detect the rear camera.
Here’s my idea on the engineering/design flaw that Cobra has with this camera. The camera has a built-in rechargeable battery that is used to power the camera while the vehicle is off. This power is needed for the “Parking Mode” so the camera can record when it detects motion for when someone could be breaking in or vandalizing your vehicle. If the camera totally discharges the battery, it will rely on vehicle power when the vehicle is started. All vehicles temporarily kill power to auxiliary loads while starting the engine. The camera detects the vehicle starting because of the extremely short time when the key/ignition goes through auxiliary to “run”. During this time, the camera powers with what little is left in the battery, but the rear camera does not have power. The only thing that makes me second-guess this is that the Battery icon on the camera shows it partially charged.
So, here’s my bottom-line recommendation. If you’re buying this camera to record what is ahead of your vehicle, and behind it, don’t buy it. The front camera is good – it has a high-quality lens that records well in low light, but $200 for a front-camera only setup is way too expensive. Unfortunately, having to go through the trouble of powering off the camera and powering it back on after I start my vehicle just to get the rear camera to record is too much, and so is a $200 price tag.