“Not a DVR, but a video system!”. TrendVision Hybrid Signature PRO combo device review

 

The TRENDVISION Hybrid Signature PRO is the flagship of its line, the most feature-rich car combo unit.

The TRENDVISION Hybrid Signature PRO main unit includes:

  • high quality video recorder based on NOVATEK NTK 96675 processor, built-in matrix Sony STARVIS IMX307 with 2K (2560×1440) resolution and with parallel recording function of the second channel from the rear
  • remote camera with SG2053 matrix with FullHD (1920×1080) resolution;
  • Multi-frequency radar detector with a flat “patch” antenna;
  • GLONASS/GPS-informator with updated radar and camera database;
  • Display with IPS technology with a diagonal of 3 inches and a wide viewing angle;
  • Wi-Fi module to work with the mobile application (video copy, radar database and firmware updates);
  • quick-release magnetic holder with through-powered rear camera.

A magnetic holder for the main module is installed on the windshield, into which the power and rear camera connectors are inserted. This concept allows you to easily, with one movement (and one hand, which is more important!) remove the main module of the device and take it away with you, leaving your car in the parking lot – so as not to provoke marginalists. And thanks to the magnetic fixation the black box always stands in one and the same previously adjusted position – the viewing angle is not disturbed.

Magnetic holder has a ball-adjusting knot (which is more convenient to adjust than two separate hinges – vertical and horizontal) with a very short “leg”, which generates a minimum of vibration.

On the plane of the magnetic mount is located 8-pin “comb” with gold-plated contacts, through which the main unit receives power, as well as comes the video signal from the rear view camera.

The length of the cord from the cigarette lighter plug to the magnetic attachment is 3.5 meters. This is long enough to run the cord unobtrusively around the perimeter of the glass in almost any car or small commercial vehicle. The built-in power source in the device is not a small capacity lithium-ion battery, as was ubiquitous until recently, but an ionistor or “supercapacitor” as it is also often called. Batteries systematically become a source of malfunctioning of video recorders, because in a strong frost or sunlight they die, dramatically increasing their internal resistance, bloating and ceasing to take a charge. This does not happen with ionistors – TRENDVISION Hybrid Signature PRO can be safely left on the windshield at any time both in winter and summer, including in the “parking watchman” mode.

Almost all advanced DVRs for the last year or two are equipped with lenses with a thread for CPL-filter and, accordingly, the filters themselves. CPL is a polarizing filter that allows you to remove glare from the reflection of the torpedo in the windshield, which in many cars are a significant obstacle to video recording due to the purely design features of the model – the angle of the windshield in relation to the surface of the torpedo and the texture of the plastic.

The filter is an optional accessory, the recorders work fine without it. However, when driving toward the sun or at night in the light of roadside lamps, the polarizer significantly improves the image by removing mirror artifacts from the video and increasing the contrast.

The TRENDVISION Hybrid Signature PRO comes with as many as three mounts for the magnetic holder of the main unit! Two of them are the same, with fixation to the windshield on a double-sided 3M adhesive tape, and one – mobile, quick-release, on a suction cup.

Why so many? To carry the gadget in different cars: for example, two “stationary”, on the tape – in two own cars, and a suction cup version – for carsharing, say.

But does the manufacturer suggest to reroute the long cable track of the rear camera that will surely go under the trim of the car every time you change cars? Certainly not… The system in its full functionality will of course work only on the car where the rear camera is installed. It is supposed to be the main car for daily trips. Well, and trips on the weekend car or travel on the same carsharing – for them the device can be used in a variant with a single-channel recording, because the main unit with the front camera is able to work alone, recording a video stream only from it. On your own backup car in this variant a second mount is installed on the adhesive tape, and a suction cup is designed for random cars.

A short cable with a 4-pin connector comes out of the rear camera housing and is overlaid with a 6-meter extension cord to connect to the main unit. The cord is routed under the sill pads, floor covering and headliner. It is long enough for most cars, including large sedans and SUVs.

The rear chamber is not airtight and is not designed for external mounting on the outside. Its sole is glued to the rear window inside the passenger compartment with duct tape. In this case, of course, the image is affected by the rear window, its tinting (if any) and heating threads, but if mounted outside the situation would be better only in dry weather and while the camera is clean. Later you would have to wipe the lens regularly, which in slushy and dusty weather would negate the whole point of shooting with the second channel…

The gadget also comes with a mounting kit. It includes a small plastic spatula for squeezing the edges of the windshield pillars and ceiling covering, necessary if the cable to the rear camera is laid under the trim, hidden. And also five self-adhesive wire holders that allow you to neatly run the power cord from the cigarette lighter around the perimeter of the windshield so it doesn’t hang around in front of your eyes.

Thanks to the Wi-Fi module onboard the TRENDVISION Hybrid Signature PRO, support for a mobile app is available. It can be easily found in smartphone app stores under the name “TV Connect”. And TV here is not TV, but TRENDVISION. With TV Connect you can easily update camera databases, download videos to your phone, and do some minimal settings.

The settings that can be done via TV Connect, in principle, are not too necessary, and they are all done through the menu of the device itself (from the smartphone you can enable / disable the microphone, automatic exposure control, motion detection, change the duration of the recording cycle and format the card). Much more important is the ability to easily and without a computer and flash drives to update the firmware, as well as the database of cameras and radars – especially given the rapid development of “Big Brother” networks in recent times…

To connect to the recorder via Wi-Fi you need to activate the wireless module manually, through the menu on the TRENDVISION Hybrid Signature PRO main unit. Then using the application you can see at once all the videos shot by the device, and to merge any of them to your phone or tablet. During playback on the smartphone screen, in addition, you can see the synchronization of the movement of the car with Google maps in a separate window.

By the way, the device is equipped with USB to microSD card adapter, so you can quickly transfer video to your notebook or desktop.

The gadget menu is very rich, with a lot of functions and flexible settings, which are not always found in other combo-device models. The menu is divided into three sections – “video recorder”, “radar detector”, and “general settings”. Navigation and control are standard, four buttons – “Menu”, “OK”, “Up” and “Down”. The first two buttons are located on the right side of the device, the second two – on the left side. They are not visible to the driver and are pressed by feel, but the manipulation is easily mastered, which is also facilitated by the light and soft, “tactile-flavored” recoil of the keys under the fingers.

As a radar detector TRENDVISION Hybrid Signature PRO incorporates all the best that has been invented to date in this field.

First of all, it is, of course, signature detection algorithm, in which the device does not react to the typical interference often encountered on the highway and close in frequency to the emission of real radars. And if earlier the main source of such interference was the “commercial” electronics at the gas stations, parking lots and in the supermarkets along the roads, nowadays the sensors of distance detectors and blind spots in the cars are more often causing problems. The presence of such sensors is clearly visible from the outside – when they are triggered, light indicators light up directly in the glass of the side mirrors outside or in the triangles of those mirrors inside. The TRENDVISION Hybrid Signature PRO successfully detects interference from such systems, and you drive past cars with “flashing” mirrors in silence. The same applies to cars with the distance maintenance option – it also works on the radio-emitting principle, and many simple detectors are recognized as K-band radar. And it is the signature detection (when the signal interference is compared with the database of typical interference) allows you to avoid erroneous warnings.

Secondly, it is GPS/GLONASS detection. In fact, the presence of a dual-system navigation receiver allows only the most rapid positioning of the gadget in space, and for alerts of radars, cameras and various road problems such as stop zones for more than 10 seconds (a company pain in the assorted capital), the dedicated lanes for public transport, intersection control, etc. responsible update database, which is updated weekly – during the test device in the editorial car database has been updated twice! And it is updated wisely – not only “in the plus”. For example, if some camera disappears (which happens, unfortunately, quite rarely, admit it!), it is erased from the GPS-informator memory.

And the third “pillar”, on which the detector’s intelligence is based, is a complex of smart software functions and manual settings. TRENDVISION Hybrid Signature PRO automatically switches the sensitivity and, accordingly, changes the distance of the alerts depending on the speed, allows you to manually set the threshold speed below which the sound warnings are completely turned off, disable any radar subrange, activate the silent mode alert, in which the first signal sounds loudly, fading as you approach the radar. Separate trick is the function of recognition of road signs of speed limits: it, in principle, completely (and more reliably) duplicated by GPS-informator, but sometimes can be useful – if suddenly the signal satellites will be temporarily lost…

Let’s move on to video recording.

The TRENDVISION Hybrid Signature PRO uses a Sony IMX307 sensor from the modern Sony STARVIS line plus a glass lens with a removable polarizing filter for the front camera. The maximum shooting resolution is 2560×1440.

The IMX307 is a 1/2.8-inch CMOS sensor with high light sensitivity. Not the newest, but probably the most popular in Sony’s lineup in terms of quality to cost ratio – this matrix is produced in millions of copies and is very popular in a variety of cameras and surveillance devices from hundreds of brands around the world.

The rear camera is not so titled – SG2053 with a maximum resolution of 1920×1080. Its role is auxiliary, the lens is simpler, CPL-filter is not provided.

TRENDVISION Hybrid Signature PRO writes clips from the front and rear cameras in one folder, numbering is continuous. The video from the front camera is marked with an “A” in the file name, and the video from the rear camera is marked with a “B”. File names are groups of numbers that begin (year, month, day) and end with a file number and an explanatory letter that indicates whether the clip belongs to the front (“A”) or back camera (“B”). The video format is TS. Not the most common in DVRs, but not exotic. Today it is played by multi-format player application of any smartphone/tablet, as well as many smart TVs.

Video quality optimization WDR (automatic exposure control) quickly responds to changes in lighting conditions and helps ensure quality recording in difficult conditions of flawed light – including backlighting. Manual exposure settings for day and night, as well as the type of exposure metering (center, middle and bright point) can also be used if desired. Of course, there are no pauses at the junction of the clips. The sound is clearly recorded (with the microphone on).

If the option “License plate number” is selected in the menu of video recording settings, you can enter your own number which will be superimposed over the video, additionally identifying the recording. With non-standard installation of the front module, you can flip the image from the camera 180 degrees.

Well and in the end it should be noted that TRENDVISION Hybrid Signature PRO heads its line, being its flagship, but also has more budget versions, in which this budget is implemented not by reducing the characteristics, but by giving up some features that may not be in demand by everyone.

Namely:

TRENDVISION Hybrid Signature Wi – exactly the same model in all features and functions as the PRO, but without the rear camera.
TRENDVISION Hybrid Signature – combo device with radar detector and GPS/GLONASS-informer, but without rear camera and without Wi-Fi.
TRENDVISION TDR-721S – DVR without rear camera and without radar module – only with GPS/GLONASS-informer with updated databases and with Wi-Fi.

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