BlackVue has done it again with their latest dash cam release. The BlackVue DR970X sets a new standard for true 4K UHD video quality, making it their fourth-generation 4K UHD dash cam. Say goodbye to its predecessors, the DR900S, DR900X, and DR900X Plus. Although the DR970X may look similar to its predecessors at first glance, don't be fooled - there are some exciting changes that set it apart.
BlackVue DR970X 4K UHD In-Depth Review
Upgraded CPU and Image Processing Software for Better 4K UHD Quality
The BlackVue DR970X may look similar to the older DR900X and X-Plus series, but its updated features and compatibility with existing setups make it a smart choice for anyone looking to upgrade their dash cam.
- 4K Ultra HD
- 155° Wide-Angle Lens
- Front: 8MP CMOS Sensor
- Rear: 2.1MP Sony STARVIS CMOS Sensor
- New SigmaStar CPU and image processing software
- Native Parking Mode with built-in voltage monitor
- Built-in Motion and Impact detection with buffered recording
- Built-in WiFi and Bluetooth
- Built-in GPS
- Seamless Pairing with BlackVue App
- BlackVue Over the Cloud-Ready
✓ 4K UHD front recording
✓ Upgraded CPU and image processing software
✓ Optional LTE module for Cloud connectivity
✓ Real-time vehicle tracking via Cloud
✓ Cloud backup and storage
✓ Seamless App pairing
✓ Mobile hotspot capabilities
✓ Driving & Parking Impact Notification
✓ Unobtrusive, modern design
❌ Large 4K footage files require larger capacity memory cards
❌ No significant improvement in terms of recording bitrate
Discover all the specs and features of the BlackVue DR970X-2CH.
Comparison Chart DR970X
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Unboxing the BlackVue DR970X-2CH
The BlackVue DR970X is a fully functional 4K UHD dash cam, whether or not you choose to use the optional LTE module and Cloud features.
The DR970X looks the same as the DR900X Plus and DR900X. But, there's a new Format button. For those using the DR900X series, you will be familiar with how picky the dash cams can be if the microSD card is not formatted to FAT32.
With this DR970X, it doesn’t matter if your microSD card is ExFAT or NTFS, the dash cam will format it over to FAT32 for you - the dash cam will automatically format the microSD card if it is the wrong type.
The proximity motion sensor on the dash cam has also been replaced with a new touch sensor. Say goodbye to unintentional manual recording triggers because of dangling air fresheners or rays of lights coming into your car. No need for a hard tap, a light one will do the trick!
The box also includes a 12V power cable, a 3-wire hardwiring cable, a microSD card (up to 256GB), and a pry tool. If you choose the 2-Channel version, you will also receive a rear camera connection cable.
BlackVue DR970X's Camera and Video Quality
The BlackVue DR970X retains the same camera lens and 8MP CMOS image sensor as its predecessors, but BlackVue has upgraded the CPU and image processing software. These improvements are noticeable in the footage's white balance, dynamic range, and contrast.
The nighttime footage is superb. The DR970X captures clear details on the road, even when headlights are shining on them. Compared to the DR900X Plus, there is less motion blur and better highlight detail, resulting in a crisp and clear video.
The front camera records in 4K UHD at 30FPS and has four bitrate choices: highest/extreme, highest, high, and normal. Further examination of the raw video footage shows that the BlackVue DR970X records in extreme mode at a bitrate of 25.24 Mb/s, similar to the DR900X Plus (24.66Mb/s).
The DR970X has a narrower view than its predecessors, at 155 degrees versus 162 degrees, which may contribute to its improved video clarity and sharpness.
Installing the BlackVue DR970X
Installation of the BlackVue DR970X is straightforward, and the easiest and quickest option is to use the 12V power cable and your car's cigarette lighter socket. However, this method doesn't support parking mode recording. If parking mode is essential, you'll need to consider either a hardwired installation or a dedicated dash cam battery pack.
Hardwiring the BlackVue DR970X
The box contains a 3-wire hardwiring kit to use for a hardwired installation. To set up the hardwiring installation, connect the dash cam to your car's battery, attach the ACC+ cable to a fuse that activates only when the engine is on, and attach the BATT+ cable to a fuse that remains powered even after the engine is off.
Pairing the BlackVue DR970X with a battery pack
If you prefer not to hardwire the dash cam to your car's fuse panel, use a dedicated dash cam battery pack instead. The BlackVue DR970X works with the BlackboxMyCar PowerCell 8 and the BlackVue B-130X Power Magic Ultra Battery, allowing you to choose the one that best suits your requirements and budget.
BlackVue DR970X’s Parking Mode Capabilities
The BlackVue DR970X is designed to offer parking mode capabilities that can help protect your car from hit-and-runs, theft, or vandalism. Once hardwired to your car's fuse panel or connected to a dedicated dash cam battery pack, the dash cam will automatically switch to parking mode when the ignition is turned off. The DR970X features a built-in voltage monitor that helps protect your vehicle's battery, and you can customize the voltage cutoff and timer settings using the BlackVue app.
The Intelligent Parking Mode feature is unique to BlackVue and offers Buffered Recording with Motion and Impact Detection and Time Lapse Recording. Motion detection mode uses the image sensor to detect movement, while the inbuilt accelerometer/G-sensor detects bumps for impact detection mode. To prevent unwanted recordings triggered by motion or movement, the DR970X allows you to specify areas to ignore, such as swaying trees or far-away moving objects.
One of the questions we always get is, how long can a dash cam last in parking mode? Regarding power consumption, the BlackVue DR970X is comparable to the DR900X Plus. The DR970X-2CH uses about 350mA/12V power during parking mode with GPS off, while the DR970X-1CH uses about 230mA/12V power, again with GPS off.
Compare it with the DR900X Plus, a 1-CH uses about 200-250mA of power, and the 2-CH uses about 330-390mA of power during parking mode. In other words, in terms of power consumption, it’s very comparable with the DR900X Plus.
You can expect about the same runtime if you’re using a battery pack - about 18 hours for a 2-Channel with the CM100G LTE module on the PowerCell 8 or the B-130X battery packs or about 14 hours on the Cellink NEO. But, do note that the actual power consumption will vary depending on the settings and the environment. If you’re hardwiring the dash cam directly to your car’s fuse panel, parking mode runtime also depends on the health of your car battery and the voltage and timer cutoff settings.
It's worth noting that the BlackVue DR970X has a high-temperature cutoff of 75°C or 167°F, which is lower than the DR900X Plus's 80°C or 176°F. This suggests that leaving the DR970X in your car on a hot summer day will shut down if the ambient temperature goes over 75°C or 167°F. If you have the DR900X Plus, it might last a few more minutes until the temperature reaches 80°C or 176°F.
BlackVue Over the Cloud
BlackVue Over the Cloud is a suite of innovative ‘connected’ features that takes your BlackVue experience to new levels - it unlocks the true power of your DR970X and remotely connects you with your vehicle.
You only need the free BlackVue App and a mobile Internet connection, such as the optional BlackVue CM100 LTE 4G connectivity module and data SIM. The CM100 LTE is compatible with SIM cards from the following network carriers (including their MVNOs): AT&T, T-Mobile, Telus, Rogers, and Bell.
Connect to the BlackVue DR970X dash cam anytime, anywhere, and check on your car with Remote Live View. Play recorded video clips remotely and back-up important ones to the Cloud or your phone. Monitor progress and access location data, GPS logs, and Driving Reports using the real-time Live Tracking feature.
The BlackVue DR970X also supports seamless pairing, so pretty much one tap from the BlackVue app on your phone, and you’re connected to the dash cam.
Upgrading to the BlackVue DR970X
If you want to upgrade to the DR970X from the DR900X Plus from an older BlackVue model, here’s what you need to know regarding cable and accessories compatibility.
- Power cables are compatible with the DR970X
- Video/Coaxial cables - compatible with the DR970X
- Rear camera - the DR970X uses the same rear camera as the DR900X and DR900X Plus
- Battery pack - the DR970X is compatible with the BlackVue B-124X and B-130X, the BlackboxMyCar PowerCell 8, the BI-750, and the Cellink NEO battery packs
- CPL Filter - the DR970X is compatible with the latest BlackVue CPL filter
- Tamper-proof mount - the DR970X is compatible with the DR900X/X-Plus tamper-proof mount
- CM100G LTE Module - compatible with the DR970X so if you already have one, just connect it to the new dash cam.
BlackVue DR970X- is it worth getting?
The BlackVue DR970X may look similar to its predecessors, but its updated features and compatibility with existing setups make it a smart choice for anyone looking to upgrade their dash cam. Upgrading from the DR900X or DR900X Plus is as simple as swapping out the cameras as everything else, cables and accessories, is compatible and can be reused.