Once I had the Jomise K7 Dash Cam up and running, I was impressed with the high quality of its video captures, and most especially its ease of use. I’ve never before described using a dash cam as fun, before, but I’m saying that about the K7.
Alas, having to connect to a phone to initialize the camera not only rubbed me the wrong way, it proved a bit finicky about phone compatibility. Why this strange requirement, when the rest of the dash cam's operation is phone-independent, I can’t say. But it puts a huge crimp in what was otherwise a thoroughly enjoyable experience.
Design and features
The K7 ($169.97 on Amazon) is married to a semi-permanent sticky mount, both solid and attractive, with full articulation on both axes. I used the word ‘married’ on purpose—the camera doesn’t detach from the mount. As it’s also attached to the window via semi-permanent adhesive, once it’s installed, you won’t be removing it easily. That it sat in my convertible parked on a city street for several weeks without being stolen was a minor miracle.
The K7 is a front-only camera, sporting a maximum 60-fps, 1600p resolution (default is 1440p). It offers a very wide 170-degree field of view, and it uses a Sony IMX415 sensor, which, in a bit of giveaway, does a very, very nice job. We suggest the 1080p setting for daily use to minimize storage requirements. There’s a 150mAh battery, though the camera runs for only a second or two once power is removed.
The integrated GPS embeds info in the video for playback using the provided app. Alas, the GPS doesn’t automatically adjust the time on the camera, as you’ll notice in the video captures shown below in the performance section.
Speaking of such, the phone app is basic, though cleanly designed. It allows you to to configure the phone, map your travels, and view videos. This can all be done locally on the dash cam as well—after the phone-based setup, that is. Which of course, begs the question...
Why the phone?
As the phone is not required post-setup, the title of this section is a legitimate question--one that was never satisfactorily unanswered in my correspondence with the company. It’s also a bit of a mystery that the Jomise phone setup didn’t work with my older Honor 8. The company claims support for Android all the way back to version 5, and the Honor 8 runs Android 7.
Using the Honor 8, the scan code that appears when the dash cam powered on took me to a dead end in the Google Play Store. I then downloaded the first seemingly appropriate app I found (HiKDashcam), which turned out to be wrong for the K7.
When I did download the correct app, (HiDashcam) it opened an agreement that said press “Agree,” with no Agree button visible or reachable. See the image. The agreement also seemed to think I was still using the older HiKDashCam app, so perhaps there was a negative interaction between the two installations.
Removing both apps then reinstalling the correct one didn’t cure the problem. Jomise claims to have tested the K7 using older phones with no issues.
The upshot is that, as with the recently reviewed Cobra SC 201, I had to use a newer phone (Pixel 4X) to complete the review. With the Pixel 4X phone, setup was a breeze: The scan code worked, the app connected (via Wi-Fi), and it was all good. If you’re using a phone from 2015 or later, you should be good to go.
But again, I have to question Jomise’s decision to force users to connect a phone to the dash cam to activate it. There's no apparent benefit for the end user. In addition to the technical issues I experienced, having to set up an account on an app introduces privacy concerns as well.
As much as I hated the phone-dependent, buggy setup, Jomise absolutely nailed it the interface and usability. It’s a joy. The 1.54-inch color display is touch-enabled, and swiping in various directions navigates to various features and settings. Despite the rather small size of the screen, text is large enough to read easily, and the icons are large enough to tap without applying undue precision. Everything is logically laid out and as I said up top, it’s the only dash cam I’ve ever considered fun to use.
Oh, and if you get tired of the clock on the home screen (assuming you leave it on), you can replace it with your own image.
With one exception, the K7’s captures were excellent, richly colored with excellent detail. The exception was an occasional slow and very noticeable pulsing effect in bright areas at night, such as streetlights. If I had to guess, I’d say it was the lighting condition detection algorithm having a bit of a hard time.
Beyond that, take a gander. I’m betting you’ll like what you see.
Though it wasn’t the best weather to show off a dash cam’s abilities, the above drizzly day in San Francisco (far too rare this year) is a very good capture. Note that the GPS doesn’t watermark the location, just the speed. All the info is embedded in the stream, however, and may be used with a playback app that shows you on a map where you were at the time the video was taken. Alas, the playback app wouldn’t install on my PC for some reason.
The night capture shown above is actually quite remarkable color-wise, more accurate than most I see. And, while there's a lot of detail present in the default rendering, lightening the image will bring even more detail out of the shadows.
Pricey, classy, but phone activation?
As much as I enjoyed using the Jomise K7 and viewing its video, I have a hard time recommending it. Not because of the hassles with my older phone (which most people will never experience), or even the map player’s failure to install. You just shouldn’t need a phone to initialize a dash cam. Phone connectivity is great—phone dependency is not.
If you feel differently, then your only obstacle is the rather daunting price tag. Hurdle that, and I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy the post-setup K7 experience.