The BlackVue DR750S-2CH is perhaps one of the most significant product releases in 2017. Since 2013, the BlackVue 2 channel cameras, starting with the DR550GW-2CH, have been incredibly popular. Over the years they received some updates like a refreshed WiFi app, cloud connectivity, increased bitrate recording, and 128GB card support. However, the base camera did not change much and the video performance had fallen behind competitors that offered Full HD/Full HD recording at a similar price point. For that reason, many customers went with products like the Thinkware F770 and BlackSys CH-200 which offered features and video quality that were preferable to the BlackVue DR650S-2CH.
BlackVue DR750S-2CH Review
Where did the DR650S-2CH come up short?
Before we dive into the DR750S-2CH, we think it would be helpful to cover exactly why this update was so important. We've already covered the fact that the video quality fell behind some of its top competitors, but the DR650S-2CH also lacked features that customers cared about. Instead the main focus over the past 2 years seemed to be on the BlackVue Over the Cloud technology. While the feature works fairly well, many customers weren't really able to use it and those that simply wanted a solid parking mode dash cam. The fact that event partitioning was not available and a high power consumption rating made the DR650S-2CH a tough call to recommend over the Thinkware and BlackSys dash cams. Furthermore, things like a fragile coaxial cable, a low maximum temperature limit, and bulkier hardwire kit were a bit of a hassle for customers.
How does the DR750S-2CH differ from the DR650S-2CH?
BlackVue's blog has a pretty good guide on the various improvements found on the DR750S-2CH, but we'll go through the most important. The most obvious improvements are in the video department, for the first time in a few years the Blackvue flagship dash cam has an all new processor and video sensors. The difference with the new hardware is most noticeable at night where the rear camera on the DR650S-2CH struggled even without a tinted rear window. One unique feature on the DR750S-2CH is the 60 FPS frame rate which results in smoother video, perfect for catching faster moving vehicles and reducing motion blur.
The DR750S-2CH also has a higher operating temperature limit of 70°C and 158°F. On a recent track day, we tested the DR650S-2CH and the DR750S-2CH in another. It was incredibly hot out and the DR650S-2CH had lost a bit of focus while the DR750S-2CH did not have this issue. It's also important to note that the DR750S-2CH now partitions event files so that they aren't overwritten by normal driving footage or motion detection footage. This makes it a much better parking mode dash cam for catching hit and runs. The partition also includes files triggered by the touch sensor on the left when it's set up to activate manual recording.
In terms of design, the camera looks virtually identical to the outgoing model with a few minor touches that differentiate it. Unfortunately, it's still using the fragile coaxial cable. It's not all bad though as many customers loved the design of the DR650S-2CH. There are also some minor firmware changes that have increased customization for the LED light settings so it can be a bit more discreet than the DR650S.
DR750S-2CH vs. The Competition
While the DR750S-2CH offers significant upgrades over the DR650S-2CH, we have to also look at how it compares with other leading market dash cams such as the Thinkware F800 and BlackSys CH-200. On paper it would seem that the DR750S-2CH has an advantage in terms of video quality. It records at the highest bitrates and is the only one with a 60 FPS option. However, when we reviewed the videos, we didn't find that the DR750S-2CH did a better job of picking up license plates than its competitors. In terms of low light performance, we find that the Thinkware F800 still offers the clearest video. Overall the differences in video quality among all three of these devices is fairly marginal though. We think it's important to remember that higher bitrate doesn't always equate to better video quality, but it does always take up more memory card space and increases the rate of overwriting.
As a parking mode dash cam, the BlackVue is the only one without a time lapse mode. This recording mode uses significantly less memory card space than traditional motion detection. It's also the only one that doesn't offer advanced driver safety alerts. We feel that the lack of these features is not a huge deal as the majority of customers don't use them. We mentioned earlier that the DR750S-2CH has event partitioning but this is still one area that we feel BlackVue has lagged a bit. First, this feature is turned off by default so you'll need to turn it on through the settings if you want to use it. Second is the fact that it doesn't split up parking events, manual events, or driving events. This means that a hit and run file can get overwritten by the driver hitting a pothole. Third is that it doesn't separate motion detection and driving clips. We find that motion detection is incredibly important for picking up things like vandalism where the G-sensor may be triggered. The fact that these videos can be overwritten by driving clips means that they are more vulnerable with this sort of setup.
Compared to the other two cameras, we do like BlackVue's WiFi and Cloud feature. At the moment, the BlackVue is the only camera of this group that lets you use WiFi in parking mode. This is a huge advantage as it makes sense to use the app while your car is parked. The WiFi download speeds are pretty good considering the large file sizes and it's also the only one with a working cloud feature! It's also the only one with a front camera that can be rotated 360° for whoever might need that. The coaxial cable may not be as durable as a USB rear camera cable but it is thinner and a bit easier to install.
Verdict on the BlackVue DR750S-2CH
There's no denying all of the improvements with the DR750S-2CH over the outgoing DR650S-2CH. Nearly every aspect from the video quality to parking mode and even the high heat performance have been heavily revised. As a cloud connected dash cam, BlackVue is still the market leader and we suspect they will be for quite some time. That being said, there are some areas where the competition outperforms the DR750S-2CH. These would include the memory partitioning, night time video quality, and a few minor firmware differences. Many customers also mentioned that they preferred how the Thinkware and BlackSys dash cams switch in and out of parking mode based on the ignition but we think this is more of a matter of user preference. Overall it's hard to say which flagship 2 channel dash cam is the best, they all bring something different to the table and one system might suit one user's needs better than another. For a great wifi and cloud experience, we recommend the BlackVue DR750S-2CH.