BlackVue DR900S-2CH Review
The DR900S-2CH is the latest and greatest from Blackvue with all the features users are looking for in a high-end top-of-the-range dash cam. In the past years, Blackvue’s video performance had lagged slightly behind competitors that offered Full HD/Full HD recording at a similar price point. It was only last year when the DR750S-2CH came out that Blackvue caught up to the competition. However, their new flagship dash cam, the new BlackVue DR900S-2CH offers 4K resolution, and has once again drawn significant attention to the already high standards of BlackVue’s top-tier dash cams. With over 4 times the number of pixels as a 1080p Full HD (aka FHD) dash cam, and twice the resolution, BlackVue is now leading the market once again by providing even more clarity for capturing license plate numbers and recording incidents when you actually need the evidence.
From first impressions, it’s clear Blackvue has not redesigned the look but rather continued with its simple yet sleek and discreet cylindrical design. Many customers prefer this look, and the new DR900S-2CH does stand out from its lesser models due to its copper/rose-gold accents around the ring of the front lens.
The use of the same design is also beneficial for owners of the previous DR750S-2CH, as everything (mounts, wiring, etc.) are fully compatible with the DR900S-2CH. Only the front and rear cameras need to be swapped out. This was a nice touch as swapping out the cameras from our demo DR750S-2CH was a breeze.
The introduction of 4K, it’s impossible to not notice the vast improvement in video resolution. The DR900S-2CH offers excellent video quality in the daytime with good dynamic range and minimal loss in optical clarity. At a wide 162°, The DR900S-2CH offers a wider viewing angle compared to any 1080P camera meaning that as previously mentioned, the DR900S-2CH can capture more detail than other dash cams.
Even license plates are easier to see due to enhanced details, and can be spotted from further distances than before thanks to twice the resolution and 4 times the pixel count. The DR900S-2CH has more detail, contrast and colors that one would expect with 4K resolution and it shows during day and night compared to other high-end dash cams also its price range (but without 4K resolution). As for the rear camera, there are no improvements as it is a carryover from the DR750S-2CH, featuring the same excellent Full HD 1080p Sony STARVIS sensor.
What’s new in the DR900S-2CH is the inclusion of Wi-Fi with the 5Ghz band at the faster 802.11ac standard. While most dash cams utilize the 2.4Ghz network, this higher band and standard allows for faster transfer rates as well as the ability to connect to more hot spots within the area. In real-time, this translates to faster connection and quicker downloads of videos as well.
A great new feature to help keep file sizes down is a new compression algorithm known as H.265 HEVC (High Efficiency Video Coding). It’s more efficient at compressing video and it means that file sizes with the 4K DR900S-2CH are the same as the 1080p DR750S-2CH, despite the significant improvement in resolution. This means that the file sizes are roughly the same on both cameras for the same amount of recording time.
DR900S vs. The Competition
While the DR900S 2-CH offers significant upgrades over the DR750S 2-CH, we must also look at how it compares with other leading market dash cams such as the Thinkware F800 Pro and BlackSys CH-200. On paper, the DR900S 2-CH has an advantage in terms of video quality. It records at the highest bitrates and is the only one with a 4K/60 FPS option.
When we reviewed the videos, we found that the DR900S 2-CH did a better job of picking up license plates than its competitors at various speeds as well. In terms of low light performance, we find that the Thinkware F800 Pro still offers the clearest video. Overall the differences in video quality among all three of these devices are close, but the DR900S-2CH edges out competitors with its crisp and clear quality.
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. But it's also the only one that doesn't offer advanced driver safety alerts. This is perhaps not a make or break as the positives still outweigh the negatives. We mentioned earlier that the DR900S 2-CH has event partitioning just like the DR750S-2CH, but this is still one area that we feel BlackVue could improve upon. Firstly, this feature is turned off by default, so you'll need to turn it on through the settings if you want to use it. Secondly is the fact that parking events, manual events, and driving events are all combined in the same file space, making it a bit more of a chore to sift through the footage. However, this generally easily done due to the files' time stamps. It would be nice if motion detection and driving clips are separated so as to sift through vandalism incidences where the G-sensor was triggered. Rest assured we've passed on these suggestions to BlackVue.
The BlackVue DR900S-2CH is the first 4K dash cam in the market from one of the leading dash cam manufacturers in the world. As a cloud connected dash cam, BlackVue is still the market leader and we suspect they will be for quite some time. We like the impressive amount of details that the DR900S-2CH can achieve in terms of video quality and functions. We also know BlackVue will continue to work on updates in their firmware to improve the video quality just like they did with the DR750S-2CH before it. For now, this unit is one of the best dash cams on the market and the perfect fit for anyone looking for the best of the best.