Tooo Cycling DVR80 review TL;DR: the taillight and camera combo is a potential Garmin Varia RCT715 beater, significantly undercutting the American giant’s offering. While it lacks the radar system that alerts you to fast-approaching vehicles, two out of three isn’t bad going for a product in this price range.
The DVR80 pairs a brilliant rear light – a worthy addition to our best bike rear light guide – with a clear action camera that’s able to record in 1080p. The 80 lumens light is bright enough to be used during the day and at night, with claims by Tooo Cycling that it is visible one mile away. Although this wasn’t put to the test (it’s hard to find an interrupted mile stretch of road in London), I was confident that it helped to keep me seen when riding regardless of the time.
The camera recorded clear footage in a variety of conditions. While it lacked the image stabilisation capabilities of the best GoPro, it was able to capture car license plates from upwards of five meters – important if you need video evidence after an accident or close pass.
The biggest failing of a rear light is often its durability in the face of the UK’s winter conditions. The DVR80’s IPX5 waterproofing was put firmly to the test (riding without a mudguard, too, so it was really in the firing line of road spray), and it passed with flying colours during a month of use. It does come with a two-year warranty, though, if things don’t work out long-term.
Tooo Cycling DVR80 review – Price and availability
The Tooo Cycling DRV80 was launched on Kickstarter in December 2021 and is available to buy now from Freewheel for a recommended retail price of £150 (approx. AU$270). It's also available in the US via Tooo Cycling, with prices from $195. For comparison, Garmin's Varia RCT715 sells for £350/$400/AU$640, and Apeman's Seeker R1 for £430 (approx. $520/AU$773). As you can see, Tooo Cycling's offering is significantly cheaper than the competition.
Tooo Cycling DVR80 review – Setting up
The DVR80 is like a standard rear light – there are no apps to sync it to or software to download. Some high-end lights that are similarly priced can be connected to head units, allowing users to check battery levels or change light settings mid-ride, but I’ve always seen this as a nice addition rather than an essential.
Setting it up to record rides is fairly straightforward, as long as you read the instructions – something I didn’t do during my first few rides and wondered why nothing had been recorded... After inserting a micro SD card into the slot (my testing unit didn’t come supplied with one, but I picked a 128GB one fairly cheaply from Amazon), you are able to format it by holding the on/off button on the light.
There are two ways of retrieving the footage once recorded – either via the USB-C cable or by removing the Micro SD card and using an adapter. Out of the box, the recordings are split up into three-minute chunks, although this can be changed (along with the time stamp, file format and resolution) if you don’t mind doing a bit of light coding in the Setting.txt file. Once the SD card is full, it will simply start replacing the oldest files with the new ones. The 128GB card used can hold 2,400 minutes (40 hours) of recordings.
Tooo Cycling DVR80 review – Fitting
Fitting the Tooo Cycling DVR80 is as simple as fitting a normal rear light. The pack includes three different-shaped mounts (including an aero seatpost fitting) and three pairs of bands that can fit any diameter seatpost. The light slots into the mount and clips into place. The idea is that you should be able to slide it in and out of the bracket if moving between bikes or for recharging, but I found it was easier (and quicker) just to remove the whole bracket.
The unit itself is 12cm (5”) in length, and there was enough room for me to fit it to my seatpost below a saddle bag without obscuring the camera. The double band approach also ensured the light remained secure on the seatpost and wouldn’t move around when out of the saddle.
Tooo Cycling DVR80 review – Camera
The DVR80’s USP, compared to other rear lights, is its camera. A 105-degree wide-angle lens that shoots in 1080P at 30 or 60 frames-per-second and includes a special Sony sensor for use at night in dimly lit environments and a microphone. I tested it in various conditions, including bright, dry days (above) and wet, dark nights (below) and was impressed with the quality of the recordings. At night, it didn’t struggle with the glare of street lamps and vehicle headlights, and I could pick out number plates clearly when re-watching footage.
In the wet (and not using a mudguard), it dealt with the onslaught of road spray admirably, and footage would only become blurred when a particularly large drip ran directly over the lens. The flashing or constant light from the DVR80 itself also didn’t impact the recordings.
Unlike the Garmin Varia RCT715, you’re only able to set it to record continuously (rather than when a radar senses an approaching vehicle), but I think it’s better to record your whole ride in case of an incident rather than rely on tech to start recording just in time.
If you are unfortunate enough to have an accident, the unit claims to detect this, automatically record for another hour and lock these files – meaning they can’t be automatically recorded over if the Micro SD card runs out of space. I was lucky enough not to put this feature to the test.
Finally, it’s also possible to use the unit with the camera on and light off, meaning it could double as a handheld action camera (albeit without the superior image stability). One thing to flag is that it dcan’ttake still photos.
Tooo Cycling DVR80 review – Light
As the name of the DVR80 suggests, the light packs an 80-lumens punch. While the most powerful rear lights go up to 300 lumens, 80 is more than enough for day and night riding. Unlike other lights on the market, it can only be used at full power, so it might blind those behind you if riding in a group. That said, it is possible to change between flashing (day) and constant (night). It is also possible to use it with a constant light on but the camera off, although I can’t think of a situation when this would be beneficial.
Tooo Cycling DVR80 review – Battery life
The device is charged using a USB-C cable and takes 2.5 hours of charge for approximately 8 hours of battery life. The battery life claims appeared to be fairly accurate and at no point did I have any worries about it dying on me after dark. The only snag I found is that it doesn’t seem to like playing with other USB-C cables, so you’ll have to carry the supplied one with you if you need to recharge on the go.
Tooo Cycling DVR80 review – Verdict
A rear light’s most important job is keeping you seen. The DVR80 lacks the lumens of some of the most potent rear lights but manages its main brief in the daytime and at night. Its battery life was good enough for a week’s worth of commutes or a long weekend ride without rationing for just after dark. And it did this while recording clear, high-definition rear-facing footage in all conditions.
Tooo Cycling DVR80 review – Also consider
A direct competitor to the Tooo Cycling light is Cycliq’s Fly6 (retailer link). Although it is more expensive, the Fly6 has a less bright light, and the Velcro-based mount doesn’t appear to be as secure.
The Garmin Varia RCT715 adds the brand’s radar system to the light-camera crossover – meaning you receive alerts if a vehicle is approaching at speed – but it's also more expensive than the DVR80. Read our full Garmin Varia RCT715 review.
Not the cheapest bike light/camera combo but probably the most versatile, the Apeman Seeker R1 has a full-fledged removable action camera and an app which allows you to continuously monitor the situation behind you. It's a fun but chunky bike accessory. Read our full Apeman Seeker R1 review.