Cobra SC200 D dash cam review: mid-range recorder’s price, features and image quality rated

Twin-camera setup offers a mixed bag of image quality and features for its asking price

The Cobra SC 200D is a mid-range dash cam from the well-established transport tech firm and is priced and specced to sit between simple entry level units like the Thinkware F200 and higher-end and higher-priced standouts like the Nextbase 622GW.

In the box, the £199.99 package features front and rear facing cameras with built-in GPS, a sturdy magnetic mount for the main camera, 12V USB power cable with additional USB port and a 16GB microSD card.

Design and fitting

The SC 200D’s main camera is a fairly chunky rectangular unit, slightly narrower and thinner than a deck of playing cards. The whole rear of the unit is taken up by a three-inch screen with power, menu and emergency record buttons mounted on the top, side and bottom. The unit itself is small enough to fit behind most rear view mirrors but the large magnetic mount - which only adjusts vertically - does make it more difficult to fit the camera properly out of sight. The rear unit is a far smaller cylinder-style device with a simple sticky pad mount and plenty of adjustability for good coverage.

Features

Sitting nearer the top end of the Cobra range, the SC200 D offers more functions than the SC100 and SC201 units. As well as the QHD/Full HD recording, it offers ADAS lane departure and forward collision warning, live traffic and speed camera information via the Drive Smarter app, a motion-sensitive parking mode, enhanced low-light function and voice control for key functions. The camera can also be linked to the app to display navigation instructions - largely pointless since the unit shouldn’t be visible when you’re driving.

While the voice control and night/parking modes are useful, the ADAS systems have the same problem with accuracy as any dash cam-based ones and, as with our time testing the SC100, the app proved unstable and unresponsive, limiting the use of the community-based live information.

Image quality

The SC 200D offers up to 1600p QHD recording from its front camera at 30fps when used in isolation, while the compact rear unit records at 1080p. When using both together as we did, the front unit’s resolution is capped at 1080p but nonetheless offers impressively sharp and detailed footage. Compared with some higher-resolution rivals you’d be hard pressed to spot the Cobra’s lower quality and unlike some devices which occasionally suffer from dropped frame rates, the SC 200D’s footage is consistently smooth and clear. The enhanced night vision function does a decent job of cranking up the brightness in low-light situations but there is a distinct loss of detail.

Sadly, the rear camera’s quality is some way off the front unit’s, despite having the same nominal resolution. Images are darker and grainer, with far less definition and detail. Daylight footage is acceptable but it doesn’t fare so well in low-light situations and the Nextbase GW622’s rear camera performance is noticeably better.

Verdict

The SC200 D is a solid mid-range dash cam with good build quality, decent specification. and solid recording performance. Images from the main unit are sharp and smooth and a match for similarly priced devices. However, the rear camera’s image is far weaker and the troublesome app makes it hard to take advantage of all the camera’s features.

Pros

  • Good build quality
  • Great quality main camera image
  • Decent value

Cons

  • Poor rear camera image
  • Shoddy smartphone app
  • Pointless ADAS gimmicks