Editor’s Note: This product has been removed from viewing as part of this site because it is no longer in our top ten. You can still read our original review below, but Top Ten Reviews is no longer updating this product’s information.
The old adage, "you get what you pay for" is true for many things. Rear view cameras are no exception. The Bravo View License Plate PC-3 is the least-expensive product on our side-by-side comparison chart. This is fine, but what you trade for a couple of bills is several features that would transform the PC-3 from an adequate piece of technology into a truly useful, versatile piece of equipment.
One thing the PC-3 has going for it is simplicity. The whole unit is a license-plate frame with the camera built into the top portion. The camera has an RCA output so you can hook it into a monitor. Simply mount the PC-3 onto your rear bumper the same way you would any other license plate frame.
That's where things get a little tricky. The PC-3 comes with nineteen feet of RCA cable for you to connect the camera to a monitor. The instructions included in the package are ambiguous about how exactly this cable snakes its way through your car to your dashboard. Proceed with extreme caution if you are installing this unit yourself. If you don't know much about auto electronics, its best to let a mechanic or a mechanically inclined friend take care of this for you.
This leads to another problem that's not exclusive to the PC-3: the camera kit does not come with a monitor. You need to buy a separate display. That by itself is not a huge problem; it's merely a symptom of the inexpensive nature of the system. It lends to a lack of integration that may make it more useful. Rear view cameras that come with their own monitors often have software that's specific to the unit with menus and extra features. The PC-3 has one function – displaying the image behind you.
If you decide to purchase a third-party monitor to display the images captured by the PC-3, we don't recommend buying one that is too expensive for the images you'll receive. The maximum resolution you get from the PC-3 is 512 x 582 pixels. This isn't necessarily bad; it's not much bigger than our own image of the device. Just be aware that resolution is all you'll get no matter how high-res the display you buy is.
Another drawback worthy of note is that both the manufacturer and retailers that sell the PC-3 clearly state that this unit is for parking assistance only. Furthermore, they state that it ought not to be used for general safety purposes. We don't see any reason why you could not use the PC-3 to augment your rear view mirror. However, the explicit warnings given by Bravo and the retailers give us pause to reflect on how valuable this technology is if it can only be used for a single purpose.
When the rubber hits the road, the Bravo View License Plate PC-3 is nothing more than a camera mounted on a license-plate frame and about 20 feet of RCA cable. There are no extra bells, whistles or much functionality. The fact of the matter is that it functions as a parking assistant only. If that's what you're looking for, consider this product. If you're looking for something more versatile, we recommend you look higher on our side-by-side comparison chart.