Verdict: The DDPAI Mola N3 is a surprisingly great dashcam that’s easy to use and set up, and has GPS capability that not a lot of other dashcams in the same price tag offer. Some of the additional features are a little hit and miss, but for the price, it’s hard to beat the value that the DDPAI Mola N3 has on tap.
The DDPAI Mola N3 dashcam is available in Lazada today for just Php 2,899 for the GPS variant. There’s also a non-GPS variant that’s just Php 2,499.
- Relatively affordable
- Great image quality
- GPS functionality
- No LCD, making it a little tricky to position
- GPS takes 3-5 minutes to achieve a lock
- Some features don’t work as advertised
One of the best investments you can get for your car is undoubtedly a dashcam, especially as the country slowly recovers from the modern plague. And if you don’t have one yet, you’ll certainly need it – as more people start driving again after being cooped up for so long, it’s obvious that people’s driving habits have taken a turn for the worse.
This is where the DDPAI Mola N3 dash cam comes in. This particular dashcam retails for less than Php 3K when it goes on sale today, but offers quite a lot of features for the price.
Packaging, Contents, and setup
The DDPAI Mola N3 comes in black packaging with a photo of the camera on the front, as well as specifications in the back. There’s really not a lot of surprises in the contents though: you’re getting the camera itself, the mounting plate, a long micro USB cable as well as a plastic doodad to help you route the cable along with your car’s interior.
There’s also a USB charger that serves as the dashcam’s power supply, though you can use an existing USB 3.1 port in your car if you already have one to provide power.
Setup is relatively easy, if a little annoying – you simply take out the cover on the adhesive on the base unit, and stick it on your car’s windshield. The DDPAI Mola N3 uses a two-piece design that separates the base with the actual camera, and there’s no side-to-side adjustment available as well, which makes mounting a little tricky. For my vehicle (a 2006 Honda Civic) I simply lined up the base with the base of the rearview mirror where it mounts to the windshield.
Connectivity and image quality and features
Like I mentioned earlier, the DDPAI Mola N3 uses a two-piece design – you have a base unit where you plug the power port into, which then interfaces with the main camera via a USB Type-C connector. This allows you to orient the camera front or back, which is a good solution for Grab and taxi operators to monitor the inside of their vehicles and act as a CCTV.
The actual camera unit doesn’t have a lot of physical controls, with the only one being a reset button recessed on the bottom. There’s a slot for a microSD card on the side for storage, but that’s it. All the controls for the dashcam will have to be done via the app that you can download via the Google Play Store.
The app relatively good, and connects to your camera easily via WiFi, but take note you won’t have internet connectivity while connected to the DDPAI Mola N3 as it uses a WiFi connection itself to establish a connection to your phone.
I didn’t find any issues while using the app, and while it’s not the most user-friendly one I’ve encountered most, if not all of the functions are easily accessible using the app.
Like I mentioned earlier, all of the functions of the dashcam are accessible exclusively through the app, including setting the resolution you want the camera recording at. The camera records video up to 1600P resolution (roughly 2K), though you can record video at a lower resolution to save space.
There’s also collision detection here, with the camera locking a file automatically when it detects a hard stop or collision which may indicate an accident took place. You can download the files directly to your phone for reviewing in 1-minute chunks which I did. You’ll be able to seamlessly review video on your phone if you’re only recording in 1080p, but be prepared for buffering when you record in 2K resolution.
The camera also has a built-in GPS module that gives you location information when you drive, though I did notice that it takes anywhere from 3 to 5 minutes for the camera to get a lock on a satellite. There’s also a gap in the speed recorded in the app and your actual speed depending on weather conditions and where you are (buildings weaken GPS signals) so take note of that when you’re reviewing footage.
There’s also 24-hour parking monitoring where the cameras start recording when they detect movement in front of the car while it’s parked, which is useful for people who don’t have garages and have to park their cars on the street.
As far as image quality goes, the one produced by the DDPAI Mola N3 is very good, and you can clearly see landmarks and vehicle plate numbers very easily while you’re driving. The camera also took great audio recordings, as you can hear it pick up the historical podcast I’m listening to while I drive.
Nighttime driving footage is also pretty good, and while plate numbers directly in front of your vehicle are hard to discern because of your headlights, other plates not directly hit by light are easy to read as well.
The image quality is definitely better than what we’ve seen offered by similar dashcams in the same price category here.
The camera also has enough smarts to rate your driving via their Sense Reality Technology, which basically measures the amount of hard braking and turning you’ve been doing and grades you accordingly.
One thing that I was a little disappointed with was the Advanced Driving Assistance System that’s built into the dashcam. In theory, the dashcam should give you audio cues when the light turns green when there’s a pedestrian in front of you when you’re leaving your lane, etc. In practice though, I’ve heard the ADA feature function once when I was waiting for a light to turn green. It’s not really a big issue for me since it’s an add-on feature that’s nice to have, but it would have been nice if it worked as advertised.
Wrap-up and conclusions
The DDPAI Mola N3 has a lot of great things about it and very few downsides. Image quality is outstanding, especially considering the price you’re paying for it. The GPS features and added functionality is the icing on the cake, and while it’s a little annoying to get the angle just right since there’s no screen to help you, that’s a small blemish in an otherwise excellent value proposition.
If you’re looking for a feature-packed dashcam that you don’t have to pay out of the nose for, the DDPAI Mola N3 is a great buy. The GPS variant of the dashcam retails for just Php 2,899 in Lazada, while the non-GPS variant retails for Php 2,499. As an added bonus, buyers will be able to enjoy an additional 8% off on the purchase of the dashcam by using this voucher.