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Can You Really See Better At Night With a $500 Night Vision Driving Display?


Our verdict of the Lanmodo Vast 1080p Night Vision Driving Display:
Easy to install and with several positioning options, you might find the Lanmodo Vast NVS is perhaps too large and cumbersome for all but the biggest vehicles. On the other hand, the all-important night vision is good, and it’s cheaper than a showroom optional extra.

Driving in the dark can be dangerous. Wherever you live, there’s always a risk of driving around in pitch black conditions.

A solution that car manufacturers have been adding to vehicles in the past view years is night vision. This is a pricey optional extra that delivers a black and white representation of the road ahead for added visibility. You could pay over $1000 to have one added and installed on a new car. But there is a cheaper option: you install your own night vision system (NVS).

That’s where the Lanmodo Vast 1080p automotive night vision system comes in.

What You Can Expect from the Lanmodo Vast

With a night vision system installed in your car, you can expect to see an improved, brighter, and visible view of the road ahead.

The Lanmodo Vast does this with the Hyper-wide dynamic range camera that feeds real-time, live footage of the road ahead to the 8.2-inch IPS display. Live images are displayed in 1080p full-color resolution, a marked step up from showroom night vision systems.

It ships with the mounting options you need to keep a 1.2-kilogram display measuring 245 x 185 x 125-millimeter device safely in place.

Designed to sit relatively unobtrusively on your car dashboard, the Lanmodo Vast can be switched off when not required.

Unboxing the Lanmodo Vast 1080p Night Vision System

In the box with the Lanmodo Vast you’ll find a cigarette lighter socket adapter power cable, an OBD-II power cable, and an input cable for handling the power supply and an optional rear camera (not reviewed here).

Two mounts are included. One is a suction cup mount, with a screw attachment to secure the Lanmodo Vast. The other is a more straightforward non-slip mat for use with the included stand.

Two screws are also in the box, along with a screwdriver and a pair of adhesive pads.

What’s Inside the Lanmodo Vast?

So, how does a dashboard-mounted camera display a night vision video feed to the driver?

It starts with the 28mm 7G full glass high definition optical lens, capable of viewing up to 300 meters ahead. Behind this is a Sony MCCD photosensitive chip, and processor with full-color Hyper-wide dynamic range imaging.

With LVDS digital HD decoding, the IPS display relays real-time, live footage at 1920x1080p. The minimum illumination of the display is 0.0001 Lux.

The operating voltage is 12V 560mA-2000mA, and the device operates in most interior conditions, from -20 to 80 degrees Celsius (-4 to -176 degrees Fahrenheit).

Installing the Lanmodo Vast

As referenced above, you have two main ways to mount the Lanmodo Vast:

  1. Dashboard, mounted with non-slip mat
  2. Windscreen, mounted with suction cup

Both work well, although I had reservations about using the suction cup due to the 1.2kg weight of the device. As such for testing, the Lanmodo Vast was mounted on the dashboard with the stand and non-slip mat.

Due to the peculiarities of the vehicle (a 2011 Citroen C4 Grand Picasso), there isn’t actually a flat portion of the dashboard to rely on. This is where the adhesive pads come in useful.

Lanmodo Vast 1080p Night Vision System

With two power solutions for this night vision system, it doesn’t take long to get things up and running. I opted for the OBD-II power connector. This is a smart option if you have a dashcam already using the cigarette lighter port. However, if your vehicle’s OBD-II port supplies 24V rather than 12V, you’ll need to use the cigarette lighter for power.

Installing any type of in-car camera system comes with time spent tidying cables out of sight or securing them in place. While you should rely on routing cables behind upholstery wherever possible, this isn’t always possible. The Lamodo Vast ships with a cable of sufficient length to handle most eventualities, although you’ll need to take steps to secure it on the dashboard or windscreen. No cable hooks or clips are included in the box.

Once powered up, the Lanmodo Vast is ready to use. Whether you’re using the cigarette lighter port or OBD-II power, inserting keys in the ignition and powering on the battery (as opposed to starting the engine) will prompt the device to switch on.

The initial set up of the Lanmodo Vast revealed a strange quirk. The display revealed a weird, skewed camera angle. A few moments of investigation revealed that this was down to the position of the camera, which can be adjusted for the best view.

Controlling the Lanmodo Vast

Across the top edge of the Lanmodo Vast are seven buttons. Central and most prominent is the power button. This is the one you’ll need to use the most.

Lanmodo Vast 1080p

Other buttons either side are for signal switch (when the rear camera is connected), a menu to control screen brightness and language, and screen rotation. Two menu scroll buttons are on the right hand of the power button, along with a switch to toggle between color and black and white vision.

There are arguably too many buttons. Further, they’re largely indistinguishable, the symbols are tricky to discern from up to a meter away. While buttons naturally shouldn’t be used while driving, they can barely be accessed when stationary without detaching the NVS from its mount.

A weakness in an otherwise solid set up.

Driving With the Lanmodo Vast Night Vision System

To test the Lanmodo Vast, I took a short drive to find roads with and without streetlights. Overall, there was little difference. The HWDR image processing provides a uniform representation whatever the conditions. While some colors may seem different—for example, the shade of green in the trees, or the depth of grey of clouds—the detail and legibility of the night vision system’s display is surprising.

Passengers in the back might feel compelled to look at the display rather than the road. This can be disconcerting and possibly trigger motion sickness, so isn’t recommended. It’s smart to switch the Lanmodo Vast’s display off when using the device during daylight hours.

Adding an additional dimension of safety to your night driving, the Lanmodo Vast clearly has its place as an NVS. I was admittedly dubious at first, but the results are good enough to reconsider.

It’s worth noting that the Lanmodo Vast does not have a storage option. There is no removable storage, you can’t add storage, and there’s no video out port. In short, it’s not a dashcam, and there’s no way to save the footage.

If you Need Night Vision, Consider the Lanmodo Vast

Ultimately, the Lanmodo Vast 1080P Automotive Night Vision System offers a cheaper alternative to car manufacturer-provided night vision. Better still, it’s easier to install, so no waiting around for showroom specialists to spend three hours on a 60-minute job. You’ll even save at least $500 into the bargain.

The big question, of course, is “do you need an NVS?” Well, it depends how much nighttime driving you do away from the urban centers, and your confidence behind the wheel. With the motor accident rate so much higher at night, an NVS can certainly improve road safety after dark.

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