Posted by The Dashcam Store on August 19, 2015
Hello safe drivers and dashcam enthusiasts!
With BlackVue's top-of-the-line quality, ever-increasing technological advances, and accompanying popularity growth, we thought it would be a good time to introduce a Buyer's Guide specifically for the current, new, and upcoming BlackVue dashcams and accessories. If you're interested in getting a modern, reliable dashcam for your personal car or fleet of business vehicles, and you don't want to wade through the morass of questionable products out there, read on!
A bit of background
A pioneer in the imaging industry since 2007, BlackVue's parent company Pittasoft has been arguably *THE* industry leader when it comes to new product development and advancements in the dashcam market. Based in South Korea (home to world-renowned technology firms such as Samsung and LG), the BlackVue brand stands above your typical line of dashcams. Beginning years ago with the BlackVue DR300 dashcam, Pittasoft has continually improved both the feature set, and perhaps more importantly, the quality and reliability of their systems (for example: extending operating temperature ranges and product lifespans through the use of temperature-tolerant super capacitors instead of lithium batteries).
We've seen an evolution through the years from the BlackVue DR300, to the DR350, DR400G-HD, DR500GW, DR550GW-2CH, DR600GW-HD, and now to the latest generation of dashcams which we are proud to offer to drivers in the United States. Not only do we feel the latest BlackVue models are some of the best dashcams available on the market today, we are also amazed at the variety of models available; there are multiple models to choose from depending on your budget or your specific application:
Let's talk about a few of those features!
On-board WiFi: while other dashcams with local WiFi interfaces are starting to pop up here and there, BlackVue was the innovator in this approach. Using an Apple or Android smartphone or tablet, or a Windows 8.1+ laptop to wirelessly connect to your dashcam (to change settings, verify proper camera angle/orientation, play back recordings, download videos, etc) was an innovation that allowed for the removal of the LCD display (screen) that is typically built-in to dashcams. This in turn allows the dashcam to have a smaller form factor and be more discreet, therefore being less noticeable to people both inside or outside of the vehicle:
No screen also means the BlackVues will also consume less power (and produce less heat) as an added bonus, among other benefits. The latest generation of BlackVue dashcams (DR650/750) actually have improved WiFi performance for faster initial setup/connection, live view, and playback speeds as well, making the apps perform even better for you.
Parking mode: We have many customers who choose BlackVue for protecting their vehicles while the car or truck is parked and turned off (yet the camera keeps rolling; this is known as "parking mode"), with excellent results. The BlackVue cameras automatically detect when they are stationary, and revert to a mode where the system is on and "watching", but nothing will actually be recorded to the memory card unless motion is observed (e.g. someone walks by in front of the camera lens), or a physical bump/shock to the vehicle is felt (e.g. somebody backed into your car), in which case the entire event (starting even before the event happened!) is recorded to the memory card. This in our opinion is one of the finest features of BlackVue dashcams: you don't end up with a memory card full of unnecessary recordings, only important events are saved! This is a huge time saver when traditionally you would need to wade through video after video looking for signs of what may have happened while you were gone.
Parking mode is accomplished by utilizing the optional Power Magic Pro module (described in more detail below), which is a terrific accessory offered by BlackVue of course. This magic little box allows for quick and easy integration of a BlackVue dashcam into the vehicle's electrical system, to keep the dashcam running even after you turn off the engine and lock the doors. While the car is off, the Power Magic Pro keeps an eye on the car's battery voltage and will turn the dashcam off just in case the car battery drops below a certain (adjustable) threshold, which means you won't ever come back to your car and find a dead battery!
Did we mention strong cross-platform compatibility? While other dashcam manufacturers lag behind in supporting multiple ecosystems, BlackVue has consistently had excellent support across the board, from apps for Android and iPhone smartphones and Windows 8.1+ tablets/laptops, to native desktop playback/configuration software programs for both Mac and PCs. The cool thing about the BlackVue PC/Mac software is that it is always easily found on the memory card; even after formatting the memory card, the BlackVue dashcam automatically copies the software back onto the card for you so it's there when you need it, pretty slick! And of course, the smartphone and Windows apps stay up to date with automatic updates via the Apple, Google Play, or Microsoft app stores. You can even update the firmware of your BlackVue dashcam right from your smartphone, which is rather convenient!
Other features: Of course this should probably go without saying, but all of the BlackVue models we carry offer beautiful and detailed full HD, 1080p video recording. Some models like the DR650 and DR750 series even use Sony EXMOR image sensors, and we all know the quality that a name like Sony brings to the table when it comes to electronics and imaging.
BlackVue offers both single and dual-lens models, so whether you're looking for a simple forward-facing dashcam, or you want to have more comprehensive front and rear recording to one memory card, you are covered. The resolution of the BlackVue rear cameras is also HD, either 720p on the 650 series or full 1080p on the 750 series.
Of course, BlackVue dashcams also do "loop recording", where they continuously write back-to-back chunks of video to the memory card as you drive, and then when the card becomes full, the BlackVues loop back to the beginning of the card, only overwriting the oldest non-event video files first. And yes, all BlackVue dashcams record audio from inside the vehicle, but this capability can be disabled if you so desire.
From personal to commercial...
Like we mentioned earlier, BlackVue has a dashcam solution for just about every application, from teen driver to commercial truck operator. Let's discuss the available models, breaking down the best fit for each one.
If BlackVue had an "entry level" dashcam, we suppose this would be it, but we feel the 3500 deserves a better classification! When you've dealt with as many dashcams as we have (you should see our pile of rejects), you come to quickly recognize the traits of a quality dashcam when you see them. The DR3500 does have fewer bells and whistles when compared to some of the other BlackVue models, but it's certainly far from a cheap, beginner's camera. If you don't need GPS tracking or the WiFi interface, the DR3500 is a great choice.
Aesthetically, it's one of the more pleasing of the bunch with the slick lighting touches and elegant lines, and we love that the 3500 is also the tiniest dashcam that BlackVue offers, coming in even smaller than the DR650 models. And, you can even add GPS speed and position logging to the DR3500 anytime you want, by plugging in the optional external GPS antenna, the same antenna that adds GPS functionality to the DR750LW-2CH.
We find the DR3500-FHD is a good choice for the budget-concious driver who doesn't necessarily need all the extra frills, but who is still looking for the peace of mind that comes from protecting themselves every day with a trustworthy dashcam. The 3500 is also an economical way to outfit multiple vehicles (in your family or your fleet) with a "Dashcam Defense"!
Stepping up from the DR3500-FHD is the BlackVue DR650GW-1CH. Much like the DR650GW-2CH that we will discuss next, the 650 1-Channel does offer additional features such as a built-in GPS receiver, an upgraded 2.4MP Sony EXMOR image sensor, local WiFi interface, and 128gb memory card capacity (where the DR3500 tops out at 32gb capacity). The Sony image sensor brings a bit more detail and better night (and low-light) performance to the DR650, and the larger memory card capacity doubles the amount of video that can be stored. Of course it's really convenient to be able to interface directly with the 650 with the smartphone app over Wifi, as well, when you need to make a quick settings change or review something you just captured on video.
So where does that place the DR650 1-CH in the product lineup? We're getting more towards the dashcam/technology enthusiast realm here. The BlackVue DR650 dashcams are some of the best on the market today, in all aspects, so if you're looking for a single-lens dashcam that hides well, performs great, and is king of the hill in terms of features, look no further. The increased storage capacity makes this a good single-lens choice for business owners as well who need to ensure their fleet vehicles are protected all day long.
DR650GW-1CH installation example photo gallery:
Sharing almost identical traits with the DR650GW-1CH, the DR650GW-2CH takes the feature set a bit further, and you've probably already figured out how (based on the model number): two channels of recording instead of just one! The 650 2-Channel front camera has a gold-plated coaxial port next to the power cord, where you can plug in a second camera lens for simultaneous recording of two video streams.
The awesome thing about this dashcam is that the second camera is so small: about the size of a lipstick container, or barely larger than your average Chapstick. While most people choose to mount the second camera pointing out the back windshield, the sky is really the limit for how you can place this little guy. The back windshield is good because you can rotate the rear camera easily to face inside the car (for when you know someone else will be using your vehicle), but we've had plenty of customers place the second camera in other places throughout the vehicle. A few examples are: hidden in the dashboard, up in the corner of the windshield, out the side window, over a lock box in the rear of the vehicle, etc. So not only are you getting the 1080p view in front of the vehicle, you also get a second 720p HD feed from wherever you like. The flexibility is really quite amazing, even more so since we offer coaxial cables for purchase separately that are even longer than the cable included with the DR650GW-2CH kit!
Speaking of flexibility, don't forget to scroll down to read about the new and existing BlackVue accessories that are available for the DR650GW-2CH, accessories that greatly expand the number of ways the 650 can be configured and used.
We find the DR650GW-2CH is one of the most universal dashcam solutions available today, meaning it can be applied to almost every situation where a private or commercial (taxi, Lyft, Uber) driver or other interested party (such as a business owner or fleet manager) is interested in protecting themselves and their property with a dashcam. And it does a dang good job of it, too. One of our most popular products, we've been amazed and impressed with what this dashcam can do, and how people choose to use it! The DR650GW-2CH has been a hit with both consumer and professional clients.
DR650GW-2CH installation example photo galleries:
Now we have a BlackVue model that is geared specifically towards the commercial vehicle owner/operator. The DR650GW-2CH-TRUCK front camera is identical to the normal DR650GW-2CH, but the rear camera is where the magic happens with this model! The 650 TRUCK rear camera is fully enclosed in a waterproof housing so that it can be mounted outside of the vehicle, the first dashcam that we know of to offer this capability. No matter what kind of truck it is (tow truck, delivery van, big rig, plumber, pest control, or electrician vehicle, etc), the DR650 TRUCK will work for any and all of them. We even have customers using these for their RV, trailer, 5th-wheel, etc.
Want to know what's even better about the 650 TRUCK? The rear camera housing includes built-in infrared LEDs that literally illuminate the dark behind the vehicle. Even in pitch black, you'll have video from behind the vehicle, no matter what.
Pair the DR650GW-2CH-TRUCK with the R-100 Rearview Backup Display Kit (see below), and you have the ultimate protection and assistance package for any driver with an obstructed rear view. We are so happy to be able to provide this solution to our customers.
DR650GW-2CH-Truck installation example photo gallery:
So you're sold on the BlackVue technology, but you really want a screen on your dashcam? BlackVue still has you covered! One of our favorite dashcams to date, it doesn't get any better than the DR750LW-2CH. Like the DR650GW-2CH, the 750 records on two channels at the same time, however the rear camera feed resolution is increased to the impressive full HD 1080p, just like the front camera! Dashcams offering dual-channel 1080p recording are few and far between, but BlackVue does it in impressive style. So, dual-1080p is just the icing on the cake, we know you want to hear more about the screen, right?
BlackVue gives us a gorgeous and clear 4" touch-screen LCD on the 750LW. That's right, not only is it pretty, but it also functions beautifully. The 750 does have local WiFi like the 650's, but you can also do all of the things you need to do via the display, such as playing back videos, changing configuration settings, viewing the live feed from the front or back cameras, etc.
GPS is not built-in to the 750, but that capability can be added easily by means of a tiny external GPS antenna. The DR750 does have the unique ability to monitor input power as well as it's own internal temperature, and will turn itself off should the supply voltage from the vehicle drop too low or should the 750 become too hot, thereby preventing any potential dead battery issues or damage due to overheating, pretty smart!
So where does the DR750 fit in on the lineup? This one is purely for the enthusiast! If you desire the absolute best of the best (and we have no problem saying that!), you will be happy as a clam with BlackVue's DR750LW-2CH. The features, design, performance... all in all this is just an outstanding piece of engineering and will be right at home in any the hands of the electronics/gadget enthusiasts out there, or installed inside of any new or high-end vehicle such as BMW, Mercedes Benz, or Land Rover.
DR750LW-2CH installation example photo gallery:
BlackVue didn't just provide some of the world's best dashcams and then stop there, they also manufacture a comprehensive set of accessories that go hand-in-hand with the dashcams. To complete your BlackVue experience with even more quality components, please read on!
Of course, all BlackVue dashcams automatically come with a power cord that plugs into the cigarette lighter power outlet in your car, and that's literally all you need to use a BlackVue dashcam! However, many people want to have a "hidden" installation (where you don't see any of the cords) of their BlackVue, and this is where the Power Magic Pro comes in.
The Power Magic Pro is a little control box that ties in safely and easily with your car's electrical system and provides a new dedicated outlet for you to plug in the dashcam (out of view underneath the dashboard of course). The Power Magic Pro enables the aforementioned "parking mode", where the dashcam can keep watch over your car while it is parked. While in parking mode, the dashcam draws power from the vehicle battery, however you don't need to worry about coming back to find your car unable to start (due to a dead battery), since the Power Magic Pro is constantly monitoring the car battery and will turn off the dashcam should the battery level fall below a certain (adjustable) threshold, pretty cool!
We are huge fans of the BlackVue dashcam plus Power Magic Pro combo, for the ultimate in protection, whether you're in your car or not! For example, watch this video of a BlackVue DR650 in parking mode that happens to catch a complete crime (on someone else's vehicle) on film, from start to finish!
Now you can even use the rear camera from a DR650 2CH as a backup camera! This is a brand new addition from BlackVue, and one we are excited to present. The R-100 Rearview Kit comes with a control module that goes between the front and rear cameras of any DR650 system, and then outputs the video to the huge, included 7" display, or to any RCA input source such as your factory navigation screen or aftermarket head unit. The rearview display can be configured to come on automatically (and only) when the vehicle is in reverse gear, or it can be set to display the rear feed all the time.
The best part of this rear view display system is that the functionality of the existing DR650 dashcam is unchanged. Video from the front and rear cameras is still recorded to the memory card, just like usual. So not only is this an excellent way to add backup camera with display functionality to any vehicle, but you still have the best of both worlds since you're still "protected by dashcam", front and rear!
The BlackVue Rearview Kit is an excellent investment for businesses and commercial fleet vehicles. Help increase safety and reduce the potential for accidents in your fleets by providing your drivers a large, clear, live display of what is behind the vehicle! This is a must-have for those larger vehicles where rearward visibility is obscured, not only with larger commercial trucks or vans, but also for other vehicles such as RV's and normal trucks that are towing any sort of trailer.
BlackVue R-100 Rearview Kit installation example photo gallery:
We may have saved the best for last, OK, we definitely saved the best for last! This is the capability everyone has been asking for, and we can't wait to begin offering this service to our customers. Finally, you will be able to check in on your (DR650) dashcam from practically anywhere in the world.
BlackVue Over the Cloud service is now fully functional! The Cloud service is available on any new DR650 1CH or 2CH dashcam, and all that is required is for a WiFi internet hotspot to be present in your vehicle (such as GM's built-in OnStar 4G LTE, or a portable hotspot device from Sprint, AT&T, Verizon, etc). Feel free to contact us for more information on this exciting new technology!
Got questions? Want to talk to us? We'd love to hear from you! Contact us today.
Thanks for reading and as always, drive safe!
-The Dashcam Store Team
The Dashcam Store™ is an authorized United States BlackVue Distributor.