The BlackVue DR490-2CH is the latest 2 channel dash cam from BlackVue, but many customers are confused as to where it fits in the product line. The video resolution and bitrates are higher than the older DR650S-2CH but the price point is a fair bit lower. This guide should help explain some of the key differences between the two devices.
Comparison Chart: DR490-2CH vs. DR650S-2CH
|BlackVue DR490-2CH||BlackVue DR650S-2CH|
|Front Camera Resolution||Full HD 1080P @ 30 FPS||Full HD 1080P @ 30 FPS|
|Front Camera Bitrate||11 Mbps||10 Mbps|
|Front Camera Sensor||Sony STARVIS||Sony EXMOR R|
|Rear Camera Resolution||Full HD 1080P @ 30 FPS||HD 720P @ 30 FPS|
|Rear Camera Bitrate||11 Mbps||5 Mbps|
|Rear Camera Sensor||Sony STARVIS||1.0MP CMOS Sensor|
|GPS||Optional (External)||Built-In (Internal)|
|BlackVue Over the Cloud||N/A||Built-In|
|Memory Card Partitioning||Yes||No|
|Rear Camera Connecting Cable||2.5mm Plug||MCX Coaxial Cable|
|Maximum Operating Temp.||70°C/158°F||60°C/140°F|
|High Temperature Cutoff||70°C/158°F||N/A|
|Recording File Format||.AVI||.MP4|
Which Dash Cam is Better?
It's a tough question, as a basic dash cam the BlackVue DR490-2CH is excellent. However, the DR650S-2CH has many convenience features that are appreciated.
In terms of video quality, it's the clear winner with better sensors and higher max bitrates. If your vehicle has a tinted rear window, you'll notice just how big the difference is right away. Do note that the higher bitrate does use up memory card storage space more quickly.
In terms of size, the DR490-2CH is a bit smaller and lighter. This is because it doesn't have built-in GPS or WiFi modules. With the external GPS installed it's not noticeably smaller and there will be more visible wires compared to the DR650S-2CH. Those that aren't considering GPS might appreciate the smaller size of the DR490-2CH
We definitely prefer the DR490-2CH for parking mode recording as it offers memory card partitioning. This is a must-have in our opinion as it helps protects hit and run footage. With the BlackVue DR650S-2CH, hit and runs can get overwritten by regular driving or motion detection footage.
There's no real comparison here as the DR490-2CH does not support WiFi at all. BlackVue was one of the first to release WiFi on a consumer dash cam and is one of the best at it. The DR650S-2CH works well for iOS and Android users and makes it very easy to share videos. We love having the WiFi app for our YouTube compilations but we realize that many users don't actually take advantage of this feature.
In addition to WiFi, the DR650S also offers BlackVue Over the Cloud which boasts some pretty impressive features. The ability to live stream and get notifications in parking mode is very unique and can add a lot of value for a certain customer base. Again, many users don't take advantage of this feature as a mobile data plan can make it unfeasible.
The new DR490-2CH has clearly addressed some of the most common issues we noticed on the DR650 series dash cams. With the 2 channel connecting cable, the new 2.5mm plug (although a bit thicker) is a lot easier to plug in and less likely to be damaged than the coaxial cable. The new unit also has a higher temperature rating and a high temperature cutoff to prevent issues with overheating. This makes it a better choice for those living in hotter climates, especially when parking mode is a concern.
One thing we don't really like on the DR490-2CH is the .AVI file format which is not as compatible as the DR650S-2CH's .MP4 format. Furthermore, the front and rear videos are stitched together adding an extra step when sharing or editing files. (Be sure to check out our guide on splitting these front and rear videos). The .MP4 file is supported by the iPhone's native photos app andcan be more easily shared.
The DR490-2CH does have the ability to enable/disable the mic as well as format the card using physical buttons, just as the DR650S-2CH. However all of the other settings require use of the desktop viewer and taking out the card, unlike the DR650S which has a WiFi app.
We hope this guide helps explain the various differences between the DR490-2CH and DR650S-2CH. If you have any other questions, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!