Sunday, 7 February 2021

Review: Teentok rear cycle camera and light

I'm a big advocate for onboard cycle cameras. They're useful in capturing unusual sights as well as being useful evidence in the unpleasant event of a collision. 

They can also be used to "grass" up poor and dangerous drivers if your force acts on submissions. Drivers take notice of fixed penalties and fines. They'll have to declare any on insurance for 4 to 5 years and will likely incur an extra premium as a reminder. 

I've used a £40 Aldi rear light and camera combo (a gen 1 fly 6 clone) for over three years. It is only 720p resolution and can be a bit grainy, so I replaced it with a Teentok from eBay although Amazon have them too. If you're careful you can get them for about £110 currently.
It comes with a basic mount and a usb cable (not shown). It has a decent sized camera lens above 5 very bright red leds
On the left hand edge from the top there is a mic hole. Power button, light mode button, and a photo button. You can also see the go too mount moulding on the rear.
Right side has the microsd (not supplied) slot and a micro USB socket hidden under a snug fitting rubber flap
the supplied mount will fit a seatpost or other thick tube but is a little basic. On my bike the rackpack obscures a fair bit of the image so I purchased a saddle rail mount for a fiver from eBay. At 26g it's less than half the weight of the supplied mount 
Once fitted the camera nestles snuggly under the saddle. The fixing seem to be stainless steel. I'd recommend using unlock nuts and or threadlock. From a security perspective, it's an improvement over the Aldi cam which was secured.using a velcro strap. 
Operation is pretty straightforward. 

Press the power button to turn on. The camera will bleep twice and LEDs start flashing. Recording starts automatically and the unit will bleep a third time when it starts, but unlike the Aldi (which has a circulating led) there's no dedicated indicator.

Press the middle button to change led mode. If LEDs are off then the middle led will briefly flash every 3 minutes as a reminder that unit is on and recording.

Press and hold the bottom button to turn on the wireless network. The unit will bleep twice when it starts You can then connect computer to the camera to view and download videos and change settings. One nice touch is that you can change the ssid and the passphrase for the wireless network rather than it being hard coded into the camera.

I bought the camera at the end of January and at the time of writing hadn't had chance for more than a few short local trips, but I have done some run time testing
1. Runtime with steady light - 4 hrs
2. Runtime with no light - 6 hours 45
3. Charge time from flat - 3 hours

Sample video below

The app is called Ricam and is installable from the play store.
It's a little tough around the edges but it does work. Once connected to the camera's wireless network, set the app and click the big button on screen to connect to it.
Once connected there is a battery indicator and the usual settings gear for cog. Theres only one page. Date and time are synced from the app host 
you can also manage and download video and photos from the camera
I found that the camera was locking files so they could not be overwritten automatically. This seemed to be the collision detection being over sensitive. A quick email with the support contact included with camera and I received a new firmware file within 24 hours which has resolved the issue.

Since installing the updated firmware the app will occasionally report that the camera is not authorised. The only solution is to powecycle the camera whilst clearing the app data within Android. The app will also occasionally report that the camera is busy. The short term fix is to exit and reconnect.

Verdict
This camera seems to be good value for money and works well considering you can get one for nearly half the price of a Fly6.
It's neater than a lot of the go pro clones hand has a light built in.  If you don't want the light, then I'd recommend a Drift Ghost X for an extra £15 or so which has similar runtime and a more polished app. 

The app has a rough unfinished feel and some bugs, but I'll probably only use it occasionally for managing settings as if extracting video for submission, I'll copy to my file server for safe keeping. 


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