Innovv K1 Review (Updated 2016)
I have been looking for a motorcycle camera for a while. Just recently, Innovv released a K1 dash camera system with two cameras. Will K1 offer everything that is needed for everyday motorcycle riding? Let's take a look. K1 consists of two cameras, DVR unit, GPS, and a wired Remote. Innovv currently sells one for motorcycles and one for auto. At the time of the review, either system cost $265 with a free Express Delivery included.
Since my motorcycle does not have a cigarette lighter socket, I also ordered a 12v to 5v converter for $8.90.
I'll start with shipping and packaging. I got the unit in probably less than a week, which is really good considering the item is shipped from China. K1 comes in a really nice and neat packaging. Quality of the packaging has been greatly improved since their last release of the C3 camera.
I also had a mount from C3, which came in very useful for my front camera installation.
By the way, the DVR, and other parts (except cameras for motorcycle version) are used (and possibly created) by another company, Koonlung. They go for $240, but its only for auto as the cameras are not waterproof. If you want to buy a car dash cam system, Koonlung may be a better fit for you.
Now the fun part, the installation. The packaging came in with lots of 3m tape and tape was also already attached on remote and the GPS unit. I installed the remote to the left on my dashboard and the GPS unit not far from there. I really like the way it turned out as it had almost stock look.
Front camera was installed above the dashboard under windshield. There are plenty of choices for a placement of front camera. Some people put the camera under headlight, which is not bad, but may get damaged from rocks etc. I decided not to install it like I did C3 because I wanted more stock look of the bike. Only negative side with my current installation is if the windshield gets foggy, which is common in high humidity, visibility from the camera is worse. Also, during rain, visibility from the camera may be minimal.
For rear camera, I used RAM mounting for the best spot. I fed the wire through the same hole as the tag light was fed.
For power, I used 12v to 5v converter with USB output and used a supplied USB cable to power up the device. After start up, the unit did not work when the USB cable was plugged. I was really confused and thought it was DVR issue, but then I used power of the supplied power adapter with cigarette plug and it worked. To fix the issue, I removed power converter from the installation completely. I disassembled supplied power adapter with cigarette plug and spliced the wire. Thankfully, everything was marked, red wire is positive and black wire is negative. I connected them to my existing relay and start up worked.
The horrible power management issue in C3 is not existed in K1. I was able to set ignition to ON, camera would start recording, then I was able to start up the engine, and camera kept on recording.
I was happy for that. Another problem arouse when I was testing the power management. When the unit was recording and I was moving the DVR around, the unit would shut off, restart, and start a new recording. I contacted Innovv owner, thinking I have a faulty unit, but he said that all K1 units work like that. He told me that if I keep the unit in the supplied case, I will not have those problems. My initial fear was that anytime I ride over a small bump on the road, the DVR will shut off and restart. I tested the issue for two weeks riding on the streets and went through couple rail roads, but so far never had the shutting off and restarting issue. So for everyday riding, I don't think DVR will randomly shut off and on, at least it did not when I was doing my testings.
Then I thought of another potential issue, if the bike falls down or gets in an accident, will the unit record the accident? Here is how the unit works, it records files in 1, 2, 5, or 10 min lengths and its up to you to choose. Let's say you have 5 min. The file is recording on 3rd min and then there is an accident, which causes the unit to shut off and restart. If that happened, the whole file will be corrupt and you will not be able to see the impact.
Now, let's say you have the supplied case and all wires are secured, and you have best bump protection possible for the unit. If there is an impact that causes power to be out, what will happen then? I asked Innovv owner about recording after power gets disconnected. He said there is parking mode, which records after motorcycle power gets off and gets electricity from DVR's battery. And here is another issue, when motorcycle power turns off, to start recording from internal battery in parking mode, K1 will start a new recording instead of continuing the existing recording. So to make it simpler, if you are riding on motorcycle, get in accident which causes your motorcycle battery to stop supplying power to the K1 system, the recording will stop the moment power is not supplied to the K1 system. So right at the impact of the accident, the unit will stop recording. After short period of time, the parking mode will kick in and start a new recording. By the way, the parking mode works for about 30 minutes and records based on motion detection. When the internal battery is drained, the recording will stop.
That is my main concern. But besides that, video quality is great in front and rear camera. Day time video recording is perfect. Night time can be better, but I am still happy with the outcome. Sound is quiet and distorted, but it was not my priority when choosing a camera. What is a bit complicated is I asked Innovv about the location of microphones and I was told that there is one microphone in front camera lens and one in the rear one. I did some tests and it appears that there is only one microphone on the front one. As I said before, microphone recording could be better, but it is not my priority in any dash cams. I think it would be a good idea to have optional microphone input on the K1 DVR.
K1 supports up to 128GB MicroSD, I am using 64GB and did not have any issues.
I have been testing the unit for about two weeks now and overall the unit does what it should do. It does records my riding nearly most of the time. I will say that in about one hour of recording, I noticed that couple videos were missing and not recording and couple were corrupted.
So bottom line, for recording your riding experience, to share with others how you ride, K1 system will definitely do the job. Video quality is great and design of the product is nearly perfect. If you are looking for a camera that will record full footage of an accident if you happen to be involved in one, I really have concerns that K1 will help you there. It may work or it may not as far as accidents go.
Things to change or improve about the product? There are definitely couple. Main one is connection issue. Dash cameras need to be shock proof and I don't think fixing the issue on K1 unit will be a tough or impossible project. Probably making tighter connections and putting a rubber case over the unit will reduce danger of the unit resetting itself.
Another big issue that needs to be fixed is unit stopping recording right after power goes off. K1 need to have the system record at least 10 seconds after power from the motorcycle goes off. That will help with keeping an evidence of video footage from motorcycle accidents.
Is K1 better than its predecessor C3? Absolutely! Does K1 have room for improvement? Absolutely! I am keeping K1 as a main recording source on my bike. Even though it probably won't recording me if I am getting in a serious accident, it should be able to record a small accident and most of my everyday riding.
If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions, please feel free to post them below.
In January, I noticed more issues on the K1 DVR. I noticed that front camera was not working and only rear camera was recording video footage. I replaced front port with rear camera and vice versa and now front camera was working. I also noticed that even slight movement of wires next to the ports will cause unit to restart.
I contacted the manufacturer and after week or two of troubleshooting, he came to conclusion that the K1 DVR was broken. I sent him the unit itself and received a replacement in about 7 weeks.
I tested the replacement and checked recorded video footage in about a week. I noticed that all videos were recorded. There were no missing video files as it was before.
Manufacturer also told me that some MicroSD cards do not work well with K1, even if they are class 10. He recommended to use Samsung EVO, which I also purchased. I got myself 64gb version and so far did not have any issues with recording.
Of course time will show the true quality of the product, but I have no complains right now. Unit works nice, steady, with no problems.