While a photo may be worth a thousand words, having video footage of a crash or near hit can be priceless. Magicshine’s new Seemee DV is their first combination taillight and camera which acts like a rear dashcam for your bicycle. As with other Magicshine products, the Seemee DV undercuts the pricing of popular Garmin and Cycliq camera taillight while adding features. The Seemee DV retails for only $119.99 and combines a 1080P HD camera with a 30 lumen COB LED taillight. Video footage is saved onto a removable MicroSD card, an 8gb card included but the Seemee DV supports up to 128gb cards, with smart video looping. A built-in accelerometer detects any potential accidents and saves 60 seconds of footage to a non-overridable location for reviewing.
The Magicshine Seemee DV is an affordable taillight and camera combination that provides peace of mind of video footage and illumination.
|Rating||8.9 / 10|
|Measured Weight (in g)||102 (Seemee DV), 13 (mount)|
|Likes||+ Unique design|
+ Good video quality and simple user interface
+ Three sided COB LED stripes has great side visibility
|Dislikes||– Lacks image stabilization|
– Uses basic off-the-shelf app instead of custom one
|Where to Buy (US)||Magicshine|
15% OFF coupon code: “TheSweetCyclists”
The Magicshine Seemee DV comes in compact black cardboard boxes with orange branding and specs printed onto it. Inside the box you’ll find:
- Seemee DV
- Seatpost mount
- USB-C to USB-A charging cable
- 8 gb MicroSD card
- User manual
We’re happy to see Magicshine include the memory card as that means you can use the Seemee DV right out of the box.
Magicshine utilizes a miniaturized Garmin style quarter turn mount that is molded into the rear of the Seemee DV. This uses the familiar two-tab design and quarter turn rotation to lock onto the included seat post mount. It’s a simple plastic and rubber strap mount design that feels durable and secure on the bike. There is a large angled rubber pad to prevent it from scratching the seatpost as well as multiple cutouts in the rubber to accommodate D-shaped, rounded and even aero seatposts. With the Seemee DV being dimensionally close to the Magicshine Seemee 508 radar, you’ll want to make sure to place it further up on the seatpost for an optimal field of view. Those with short seatposts and large saddlebags may have issues positioning the taillight and camera combination as there is no saddlebag clip included.
FIT & FINISH
Despite being part of Magicshine’s Seemee taillight product line, the Seemee DV has an all new design that visually looks quite different from the existing models. The Seemee DV has a large triangular design that conceals a high-capacity 3400mAh battery inside it with the camera prominently placed on top and lighting elements below it. Although it’s fairly bulky, the streamlined design looks unique and has an aluminum upper housing with what feels like plastic on the bottom half. The camera is prominently positioned at the top of the housing with the lens sticking out slightly for optimal visibility. Below that there are three LED strips for the taillight illumination position on the center and each side.
The Magicshine Seemee DV features a 1080p camera with a 146 degree wide lens to ensure it captures everything behind you. An additional LED ring around the camera lens acts as the status indicator for the camera with either red or white illumination patterns. It’s a mesmerizing rotating red pattern when recording is active, flashing when paused and an ambiguous white flashing state when the camera is in an “unexpected state”. We found that the flashing white would occur while connecting to the app or occasionally when turning the camera off and on. The camera uses a smart video looping design that loops through the available memory and overrides non-incident data, thus ensuring that it is always recording.
With the larger size of the housing, Magicshine has utilized COB LED stripes with clear polycarbonate optical lens on each side and on the center of the tailight. This design is quite similar to the Moon Sport Cerberus and achieves an impressive 360 degree visibility angle. Unlike the Magicshine Seemee 200 or Seemee 150 models there is no highly focused LED on the Seemee DV. That means the taillight isn’t as visible from long distances but it is bright and more prominent at closer distances thanks to the uniform illumination of the COB LEDs. There are two constant modes and two flash modes that illuminate all the LEDs in unison. At the highest settings the taillight puts out 30 lumen which doesn’t sound like much but looks bright in person.
There is a two button user interface located on the top of the Seemee DV. Above the two buttons is a status indicator light, which can easily be mistaken for a button, which illuminates when the power button is pressed with the light off. This acts as a three-level battery indicator (green, red or flashing red) which is a feature found on most of the Seemee taillights. Holding the power button turns the Seemee DV on while short presses cycle through the four available output modes. There is a separate camera button which can be held to turn off the camera, pressed to pause video recording or double pressed to take a photo. You can also run the Seemee DV in camera-only mode by turning off the DV and then holding the camera button. Note, by default the camera always turns on when the Seemee DV is turned on using the power button which is a nice safety feature.
The Magicshine Seemee DV offers four different taillight output modes, two constant modes and two flashing options. Thanks to the two button interface, the camera can be shut off in any mode which means there are effectively eight modes to choose from. The two constant modes are low (10 lumen / 10 – 35 hr) and a brighter high mode (30 lumen / 8.5 – 12 hr). We’d describe both flash modes as pulsing modes with a brighter 30 lumen mode (9 – 70 hr) and dimmer 10 lumen mode (10 – 110 hr). While the camera significantly reduces the run times (i.e. 8.5 – 10 hr vs 12 – 110 hr), there is still enough runtime to satisfy most cyclists. We are also happy to see that Magicshine has kept the output modes simple as each mode is distinct and easy to tell apart.
The multi-COB LED stripes do a great job of creating a uniform illumination pattern and are visible from nearly any angle. As a taillight the Seemee DV isn’t as visible or bright as lights like the Bontrager Flare RT or ultra-bright Moon Sport Helix Sense 400 but feels brighter than the 30 lumen output would suggest. It’s not as day-time bright as other lights we’ve reviewed but the large size and additional LED strip around the camera lens give it a unique appearance. Surprisingly, there is no brake sensor or ambient light sensor to support a smart mode with the Seemee DV which are features found in many of the Seemee taillights. While we are on the fence about the value of brake sensor modes, we do wish there was a smart mode to automatically switch between a daytime / nighttime appropriate output mode.
The default settings on the camera are 1080p with the exposure setting bumped up to brighten the footage. These settings end up washing out images a bit but help bring out darker details that could be otherwise missed. Given the budget price of the Seemee DV the 1080p footage looks good. It’s certainly no substitute for a higher-end GoPros or cameras but there is enough detail to read license plate numbers and capture important details. However, one of the big missing features of the camera is the lack of image stabilization. This becomes very obvious when you review footage when riding on uneven roads or gravel trails as the video can be jarring to watch. We’d love to see at least a basic image stabilization feature added in future versions to improve the footage quality.
We also tried the camera in low-light conditions to see how well the camera would work. The results are decent, as the footage has a grainy appearance but still captures a lot of details. It’s harder to read license plate numbers in low-light conditions but as long as there is some ambient lighting you’ll see most of the details. We’d highly recommend using a MicroSD card reader to directly pull the camera footage off the camera if you want to save or share it as the app interface is a bit clumsy and doesn’t support sharing multiple videos at the same time. Also, the camera does support a photo mode (double press the camera button) which takes still photos if you see something interesting on your ride.
Rather than making a new app from scratch, Magicshine has leveraged the existing free CAR_DVR app to wireless connect to the camera. The app can be used to review images and video or even view live footage from the camera. It’s obvious from the first time you launch the app that it’s pretty basic and lacks the slick UI found on Garmin or Cycliq apps. To connect to the Seemee DV you first need to select the taillight’s Wi-Fi network (i.e. it starts with CARDV) and use the “1234567890” password. Our version of the Android app has three options on the bottom: album (view photos and video), camera (control camera or connect to it) and settings. The album page lets you browse the camera memory card or view locally saved files.
The camera browser view has a list of all the recorded video clips, incident clips and photos. Each of them can be viewed by clicking on them while the ambiguous “edit” button lets you multi-select items to save or delete them. It’s a bit of a clumsy design that lacks the quick swipe or long press interactions most people have gotten used to with apps. The “camera” button allows you to view the camera video feed in real time which is useful for positioning the camera or taking recordings and photos directly from the app. There are also a few adjustable settings: video resolution (1080p or 720p), flicker frequency (50 / 60 Hz), looping video length (off, 1 / 2 / 3 min), exposure and white balance. Additionally you can also sync the camera time or format the SD card directly from the app.
Overall, we found the Magicshine Seemee DV to be an affordable and well constructed camera and taillight combination. The integrated 1080p camera has good video quality and can capture details such as license plates. Magicshine has also added automatic incident detection using an accelerometer to ensure 60 seconds of footage for any detected accidents are always saved. As a taillight, the Seemee DV has a unique three COB LED design that has excellent side visibility and 30 lumen output. While it’s not the best taillight in the Seemee lineup it’s bright and has an easy to use user interface. The main negatives of the Magicshine Seemee DV is the lack of image stabilization and the off-the-shelf CAR_DVR app which has a clumsy user interface. That said, the Magicshine Seemee DV is a well priced camera and taillight combination that can provide peace-of-mind and safety when cycling.
Disclaimer: The product for this review was provided by Magicshine. The views expressed on this website are solely those of the authors and are here to help people make an informed choice before a purchase. The authors or the blog itself does not get any monetary compensation from the product manufacturer or third-party websites/vendor links that are posted here.