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BlackVue Dash Cam Review

BlackVue-DR75S-2Ch premium dash cam reviewBlackVue entered the dashboard camera market in 2008 and have been growing their product range since. They have become a key player in the premium dash cam space and always provide cameras packed with the latest features.

From Parking Mode to the BlackVue Cloud, and even Stealth Mode, they cover everything.

The BlackVue price range drastically varies from £149.99 up to £499.99, and everything in between, all with their own pros and cons.

Our best selling BlackVue dash cam is the DR750S-2CH without a doubt. This is the camera which will be primarily featured in the BlackVue dash cam review below.

What’s Great About BlackVue Dash Cams?

There is no denying the quality, design, and features of the BlackVue DR750S-2CH. The recognisable design paired with features unique to BlackVue gives the feel and performance of a premium product.

cloud connected

The DR750S and the DR900S are both cloud-connected camera systems. With access to the BlackVue Cloud, you will be able to easily store important footage at any time – without having to worry about SD Card, phone, or computer storage.

This also means that you are able to retrieve the important video evidence at any time, regardless of where you are.

This is a huge convenience to the user and is, therefore, a highly desirable feature of the BlackVue cameras.

Click here to learn more about the BlackVue Cloud.

WiFi & GPS

Built-in WiFi and GPS are standard across the whole BlackVue car camera range. For many people, these features are non-negotiable when it comes to choosing the best camera for them, so it is reassuring to know that all BlackVue options have this covered.

The benefit of built-in WiFi & GPS is that you are able to connect your smartphone to the camera – just like you would with a router at home.

From here, you are able to review or download footage directly onto your phone. This ensures that your important video footage is safe, and clears up SD Card space on the camera.

The GPS information provides you with accurate location details alongside the video footage. This can become vitally important if ever in a car cloning situation where you need to prove the whereabouts of your vehicle at a certain time and date.

Recording Quality

Recording quality is a standout area for BlackVue cameras, with arguably the best footage of any camera.

All cameras have a minimum of 1080p HD recording from both the front and rear which is already impressive. However, if this isn’t enough for you, take a look at the DR900S. This camera records in 4K Ultra HD from the front camera, making it one of the highest quality dashboard cameras on the market.

The DR750S features 1080p Full HD from both the front and rear, with 60fps and 30fps respectively. A Sony STARVIS Image Sensor is used for drastic improvements in low-light video quality, allowing for a more accurate account of any incident.

BlackVue Hardwire options battery pack reviewParking Mode

Parking mode is another feature where BlackVue has made some serious improvement.

This mode allows the camera to take power from the battery of the vehicle while parked. Movement and impact will then be picked up and recorded by the camera, meaning you can capture any damage done to your vehicle without being anywhere near it.

However, due to the power consumption draining the battery, this mode will cut off once the battery reaches 12V – generally providing 2-3 hours of parking mode recording.

The BlackVue DR750S improves on this by producing less heat and having a lower power consumption. This will increase the parking mode recording time, keeping your vehicle protected for longer.

Furthermore, the motion detection used for parking mode is superior to many other cameras. BlackVue have improved theirs in order to reduce the amount of “false positives” such as trees or people passing in the distance.

Motion detection can also be completely disabled so that only impact is recorded.

With parking mode being such a vital feature for many people, it is good to know that BlackVue prioritises its performance. They even have an additional battery pack which can be installed in order to increase the duration of parking mode by up to 12 hours.

The way Motion detection works in Parking Mode has been improved to reduce the amount of “false positives” such as trees or people passing in the distance. You can also disable motion detection so the DR750S will only record when an impact is detected.

Design

BlackVue have always made sure to have beautifully designed products which you would be proud to have in your car. Alongside this, being discreet and functional is always a priority.

BlackVue DR490L Dash Cam ReviewThe classic cylindrical shape can be seen on every model – other than the 490L which features a 3.5″ LCD screen. This allows the camera to be discreetly installed behind the rearview mirror. No distraction is caused to the driver, along with eliminating visible wiring coming from the camera.

Their status LEDs allow the driver to clearly see if the camera is on and recording when it should be.

stealth

The DR750S’ stealth mode is definitely a feature which allows them to stand out from the rest. This combats dash cam owners being concerned that the camera increases their risk of vehicle theft.

It achieves this by allowing you to turn off all LED indicators, even when in parking mode. This means that when paired with the small, discreet design, your system will go completely undetected to those outside of the vehicle.

What’s Not Great?

At Dash Witness, we love BlackVue car cameras. However, there are a few things where they fall short to some of the other brands. Whether or not these are detrimental will depend on your individual needs and preferences.

Time Lapse Mode

Many other vehicle cameras have a time-lapse parking mode. This enables constant recording in 1 frame per second.  Which uses less power and memory than traditional motion detection. These allow a longer parking mode.

BlackVue cameras do not have this feature. However, with the reduced parking mode power consumption of the DR750S models and up, it is debatable whether the time lapse mode would be necessary.

Driver Safety Warnings

Another feature which the BlackVue cameras lack compared to other brands is advanced driver safety alerts.

Other premium options such as the Thinkware Q800 PRO feature multiple safety alerts including speed camera warnings, front collision and lane departure alerts, and more.

These can be very useful for many drivers who want improved awareness on the road.

However, these features are optional and are sometimes seen as intrusive due to the audible and visible alerts. Because of this, many drivers will disable them. This means that the lack of these on BlackVue cameras is not an issue for the majority of buyers.

Price

Being a premium car camera brand, BlackVue cameras can cost you a considerable amount.

This is potentially off-putting for us dash cam users. However, BlackVue truly justifies the price of their cameras.

The level of features and camera quality improves as you go through their range. You have full control of getting a basic camera system which gets the job done, or a high spec dash cam rivalling a photographers camera.

What isn’t compromised throughout their range is high quality and reliable systems.

With dash cameras, you get what you pay for. When you are dependant on something for safety and evidence in many situations, you don’t want something that isn’t high quality and reliable.

 

If you are looking for a discreet and reliable dashboard camera system with premium features, we highly recommend BlackVue.

Click here to view our range of BlackVue Cameras.

If you would like to speak to one of our dash camera experts, please use the contact form below.

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SD Card Formatting- BlackVue Dash Cameras

SD card Formatting

Regularly formatting your dash cameras SD card will help prevent data corruption and keep your camera running smoothly. We recommend formatting the SD card once every 2-3 months, if your BlackVue dash cam is under heavy daily use then one a month would be best.

Please note: You will need to back up any files you wish to keep prior to formatting the SD card, as all footage will be deleted during this process.

If you have one of BlackVue DR6XX series of dash cams the easiest way to format your cameras SD card is to hold down the Wi-Fi button on the right hand end of the camera for around 15 seconds, until you hear a loud beep. You will then be told that the SD card is being formatted, after this has been completed the camera will reboot itself.

There are some cameras in BlackVue range that will require formatting via a laptop, this is also useful if the camera has developed a fault and can no longer be formatted by holding down the Wi-Fi button.

Formatting the SD Card on a Windows computer

Blackvue-viewer
1) Turn the camera off by removing the power lead, allow at least ten seconds to ensure the camera has properly shutdown before removing the SD card.

2) Place the SD card in your PC/laptop and open the BlackVue Viewer software, if you do not already have this software you can download it here.

3) Click the SD card image at the top of the screen, select the drive in which the SD is in and click ‘OK’. Your SD card is now formatted.

After formatting the card, there may be new firmware available. This is available on BlackVue’s website, simply download the latest firmware for your camera and Copy the ‘BlackVue’ folder you have unzipped onto the SD card. If there is no new firmware then you can place the SD card back into the camera and it will apply the firmware.

Your SD card is now formatted and has the latest firmware for your camera on it meaning your camera will be back in action. If you have any questions regarding formatting your SD card please contact us and one of the team will be happy to help.

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Dash Cam – What is Parking Mode?

Parking Mode

Dash cam parking mode is a very useful feature that the majority of our cameras have the potential to use if they’ve been hardwired. When dash cams are in parking mode the camera continues to record footage even though the ignition has been switched off. In most cases, it will only commit this footage to memory if it has detected movement or an impact.

It is a common misconception that cameras will remain on and be recording for an entire night. In a real world situation, the parking mode will likely stay on and able to capture footage for 1-4 hours. That said, this varies from vehicle to vehicle depending on the age of the battery and how often the vehicle is driven. For users that drive many miles each day, they may well find the cameras remains on for far longer than 4 hours.

As a general rule of thumb, we always tell customers that parking mode is ideal for recording footage for short periods of time, such as when you leave the car parked in public when popping into town.

How Do I Get Parking Mode?

You will need to purchase a camera with the parking mode feature, nearly all of the cameras on our website have this ability. It should be mentioned on the individual camera pages but if you have any concerns please contact us. BlackVue and Thinkware cameras are among the most popular we sell.

Power magic pro BlackVue cameras require the additional Power Magic Pro hardwire kit to use parking mode. When the camera and Power Magic Pro have been installed correctly and the ignition is turned off the camera will remain on. However, the Power Magic Pro will now begin to monitor the vehicles battery voltage, shutting down the camera if the vehicles voltage drops too low. The cut-off level is set by switches on the side of the Power Magic Pro, once configured this shouldn’t need to be adjusted. We recommend setting the device to 12v cut-off. You can purchase the power magic pro here

Thinkware cameras do not need any accessories as the camera has the equivalent to the Power Magic Pro device built into it. It also offers slightly more flexibility as you can adjust the voltage cut-off settings directly through the Thinkware Dash Cam App. Again 12v would be the minimum cut-off we would recommend.

How to Extend parking Mode Recording Times

It is possible to install an additional battery pack in your vehicle that can power your dash camera for an additional 6-12 hours. The battery pack is charged when the vehicle is being driven, taking approximately 1-2 hours to become fully charged.

These range in cost from £169.99 to £229.99 if you would like more information please contact us using the link below.

Get a quote for your camera system and battery pack today

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BlackVue DR6XX Series Parking Mode Demo

Image: BlackVue Parking Mode Demo

We’re often asked how the parking mode works on the BlackVue DR6XX series of dash cameras, usually in regard to the motion and impact detection. In the video below you can see a quick demonstration of each, we also go over the adjustments that can be made within the cameras settings.

BlackVue cameras have many other features, to learn more you can visit the individual camera pages below:
BlackVue DR650-1CH (this has now replaced the BlackVue DR600GW-HD)
BlackVue DR650-2CH

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Interested in purchasing your own dash camera? See our selection of dash cameras

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Dash Cams For Driving Instructors

Driving Instructor Dash Cams

Driving instructors contact us on a daily basis for advice in choosing and installing a dash camera. In this article we will share our opinion and experience in helping you decide which camera is right for you.

Firstly, one of the most common questions we get asked is- Can I keep the camera in the car on test day? In short the answer is yes. The DVSA published new guidance in September 2014, they say:

Cameras fitted for insurance purposes will be allowed providing they:

  • are external facing and do not film the inside of the vehicle
  • do not record audio from inside the vehicle

Read the DVSA’s full article on dash camera guidance

BlackVue Vs Thinkware

With that out of the way we can now explain why we we think that the ideal dash camera for a driving instructors is either the very popular BlackVue DR650GW-2CH or the slightly newer Thinkware F750-2CH. The table below shows the spec and features for comparison.

BlackVue Thinkware Comparison Table

Side by Side Size Comparison

Dash Cam Size BlackVue Vs Thinkware

BlackVue DR650GW-2CH Dash Camera

Instructors In-Car Dash Cam The BlackVue DR650GW-2Ch has been our most popular camera among driving instructors because it offers:

  • Great recording quality on both the front & rear cameras (front 1080p, rear 720p)
  • Audio recording can easily be switched off
  • Footage can be quickly reviewed by using the iOS, Android or Windows app
  • It is relatively discreet
  • All sounds can be switched off for silent operation
  • Low maintenance, the SD card can be formatted by holding down a button on the camera for 12 seconds

If the dash camera is hardwired using the power magic pro you will also benefit from the parking mode feature. This means that the dash camera will continue to record and protect your vehicle when the ignition is off. Potential very useful if something occurs whilst you’re pulled over in conversation with a pupil. Also great for catching supermarket bumps!

The other great thing about the BlackVue is the shape and size. As you well know there are numerous mirrors and speed displays fighting for windscreen space. These pictures highlight how well this camera can slot into life in a driving instructors car without causing additional obstruction or distraction to the pupil.

We can offer this front & rear dash camera fully installed with a 64GB SD card and power magic pro for £484.96.

If you would rather install yourself we can provide the same package for £350.00 we will also include piggy back adapters and fuses if you would like to install from the fuse board.

Click here to see the BlackVue DR650’s full details or place your order

Thinkware F750-2CH Dash Camera

The second option is the Thinkware F750-2CH dash camera, released this year it offers some serious competition to the BlackVue DR650.

**Note – At the time of writing the Thinkware F750-2CH does have a number of issues when using the iPad app to playback and download footage. The iPhone app however has been much improved and although we are still testing it now appears to be very stable. Thinkware are aware of the iPad issue and will hopefully correct this problem with a future app update. **

As seen in the pictures it’s a different shape to the BlackVue DR650. It is short and stumpy and mounts directly to the windscreen. It also has features that make it ideal for a DI:

Fitted Thinkware F750 Dash Cam

  • Fantastic footage, front & rear cameras record in full 1080p HD
  • Easy to switch of the audio recording
  • Footage can be reviewed on iOS and Android devices.
  • Can also operate silently
  • Is relatively discreet
  • Low maintenance, the F750 also has a button which can be pressed for a few seconds to format the SD card.

The Thinkware F750-2CH has the parking mode features built into the camera, this means that as long as the camera is connected with the Thinkware hardwire kit you will benefit from additional protection when the ignition is off.

The Thinkware F750 also has a few other interesting features, it has built-in speed camera alerts and will play an audio message if you approach a speed camera. It also has lane departure and front collision warning systems that will trigger if you stray lanes or get to close to the vehicle in front. In our experience these haven’t been features used by DI’s and they can be disabled but it is worth knowing.

The other fantastic thing about the Thinkware F750-2CH is the price, for an advanced full HD front & rear dash camera system it is one of the most competitively priced cameras on the market.

We can offer the Thinkware F750-2CH professionally installed with the hardwire kit and a 64GB SD card for £414.97.

Alternatively if you are happy to install yourself we can supply the F750-2CH with the hardwire kit & 64GB SD card for £279.98 we will also include piggy back adapters and fuses if you would like to fit directly from the fuse board.

Click here to see the Thinkware F750’s full details or place your order

If you have any other questions feel free to give us a call, use the online chat (normally available in the bottom right of the screen) or fill in the form below and we’ll respond ASAP.

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