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High-End Dash Cams vs. Budget Dash Cams

Justifying the Price Tag of a Premium Dash Camera

Why Consider a High-End Dash Cam

A question that we are frequently asked is: “Why are these particular cameras so much more expensive than ones on Amazon that are priced around $100 or lower?” There are a few reasons as to why this is the case, and these reasons make a huge difference.

To start, the premium brands that we work with, Thinkware, Blackvue and IROAD, are the largest dash camera manufacturers in South Korea; a country that also produces the best dash cams in the world. As a result of this, they have large R&D departments dedicated to developing the best dash cams available - incorporating the best in cutting-edge technology, recording capability and teams actively working to improve their existing products in frequent firmware update releases.  


Features to Consider

The sleekness of the Thinkware Q800PRO makes it almost unnoticed from the exterior of your vehicle, able to avoid attracting unwanted attention.

Premium Designs

The first thing that you will notice about cameras in this premium category are their designs.

These are sleek, thin and go almost-unnoticed from the exterior of your vehicle; as they should be to avoid attracting unwanted attention. They utilize high-quality plastics that match the OEM equipment suited to a regular vehicle. For notable accolades, the Thinkware F800 Pro was the winner of CES’ Innovation Award in 2017, one of the largest electronics show in the world.

When compared to their unbranded competitors, it is very easy to notice this contrast right away.

Another issue here is that most of the cheap dash cams you find elsewhere have LCD screens. Although we carry a limited number of LCD screen dash cams, the vast majority of customers do not prefer one due to the bulky and attention-grabbing design of an LCD screen. One of our sleekest and more discreet unit would be the BlackVue DR900S-2CH.

4K UHD / 1080P FHD Recording

As technology advances, so do the capabilities of these devices. The new BlackVue DR900S-2CH features 4K Ultra HD recording to provide the sharpest imagery of any dash-cam available. There is not only an improvement in the hues of the surrounding colors, but the visibility of license plates and road-signs as well.

It's important to understand that the clearer and better your video resolution is, the more protected you will be in the event of hit-and-runs, accidents, theft and more.

While the Thinkware Q800PRO may not record in as high a resolution compared to the BlackVue DR900S-2CH, it makes up for its lack of pixels with its ability to record in low-light conditions. The Sony STARVIS imaging sensor it is armed with in the front and rear effectively gets the job done while on the road or parked while its top-in-class Ambarella A12 processor packs a punch.  

While most budget dash cams that you find on Amazon will advertise that it is 1080P/1440P, that similar to point-and-shoot cameras, it's not just about the resolution. It is about the hardware, its sensors, and software within the dash cameras that translate to better video quality - all of these features that only a higher-end dash cam would have perfected.

Watch the 4K UHD sample footage of the BlackVue DR900S-2CH. We would recommend changing the quality to '2160p 4K'.

The premium dash cams that we carry are fitted with super capacitors instead of batteries. Those fitted with batteries can explode under high heat.

High Heat Battery Durability

Fitted with super capacitors instead of batteries, higher end dash cams are able to tolerate high temperatures much more effectively than the less expensive dash cameras. Especially when almost all the ones on Amazon are battery-based, which are prone to explode under high heat.

Opposed to a battery and can only withstand a certain amount of heat, supercapacitor-based cameras are able to withstand 60-70 degrees Celsius or 140 -158 degrees Fahrenheit.

More expensive dash cams also utilize better manufacturing, for better fitment as well as stronger materials. All of these things contribute to a much longer longevity for the dash cam.

Parking Mode

Last but not least, premium dash cams have the ability to offer parking mode recording. This is a highly important feature reserved only for the best dash cams. This allows for the dash cam to record and offer protection even when the vehicle is turned off and the driver is away from the vehicle.

With more bad drivers on the road and insurance premiums on the rise, parking-mode recording has become a feature that is more actively sought out. With the premium price tag of these systems, these cameras have a heightened ability to record in parking mode as a result.

The Thinkware Q800PRO has the ability to record in a variety of modes tuned to the preference of the end-user, providing options to increase the amount of time the dash camera is able to record for in parking mode. The Blackvue DR900S-2CH comes shipped with hardware to support Over-the-Cloud features when combined with a wireless hotspot, such that the dash cam owner is able to receive push notifications and tap into their footage live.

Learn more about parking mode and how it keeps you protected, especially when you're away from your vehicle.

Learn More

So what are the differences between a high-end vs. budget dash cam? See our feature comparison infographic to understand the differences in features.


Recommended Dash Cams with Parking Mode

Take a look below, our top selling dash cams with parking mode.

Thinkware F800 Pro

  • Resolution: Front 1080p @ 30FPS, Rear 1080p Full HD @ 30FPS
  • Bitrate: Front 10Mbps, Rear 10Mbps
  • Video sensor: 2.13MP Sony STARVIS CMOS Sensor
  • GPS: Built-in
  • G-sensor: Built-in
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi (Android and Apple compatible)
  • Viewing angle: Front 140°, Rear 140° Field of View
  • Maximum MicroSD card capacity: 128GB
  • Microphone: Built-in
  • Speaker: Built-in
  • Rear Camera: Optional
  • Parking Mode: Yes, with buffering and motion & impact detection
  • Lane departure warnings: Built-in
  • Forward collision warning: Built-in
  • Red light camera warning: Built-in
  • Power Cable: Included
  • Voice Control: None

Thinkware Q800PRO

  • Resolution: Front 2K 1440p @ 30FPS, Rear 1080p Full HD @ 30FPS
  • Bitrate: Front 10Mbps, Rear 10Mbps
  • Video sensor: Front - 5.14MP Sony STARVIS | Rear - 2.13MP Sony STARVIS
  • GPS: Built-in
  • G-sensor: Built-in
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi (Android and Apple compatible)
  • Viewing angle: Front 140°, Rear 140° Field of View
  • Maximum MicroSD card capacity: 128GB
  • Microphone: Built-in
  • Speaker: Built-in
  • Rear Camera: Optional
  • Parking Mode: Yes, with buffering and motion & impact detection
  • Lane departure warnings: Built-in
  • Forward collision warning: Built-in
  • Red light camera warning: Built-in
  • Power Cable: Included
  • Voice Control: None

BlackVue DR900S-2CH

  • Resolution: Front 4K @ 30FPS, Rear 1080p Full HD @ 30FPS
  • Bitrate: Front 25Mbps, Rear 10Mbps
  • Video sensor: 8MP Sony STARVIS CMOS Sensor
  • GPS: Built-in
  • G-Sensor: Built-in
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi (Android and Apple compatible)
  • Viewing angle: Front 162° Wide Angle, Rear 139° Field of View
  • Maximum MicroSD card capacity: 128GB
  • Microphone: Built-in
  • Speaker: Built-in
  • Warranty: 1 Year
  • Rear Camera: Included
  • Parking Mode: Yes with Buffered Parking Mode & Motion and Impact detection
  • BlackVue Cloud: Available
  • Memory Card: Included
  • Voice Control: None

Consider a Premium Dash Cam Today

Let’s be honest - a lot of times door dings on our new car or even acts of vandalism are the absolute worst to deal with. Without any witnesses, these claims are not only hard to resolve with insurance companies but could cost thousands of dollars in damages.

A dash cam in your vehicle will help you in whatever situation you're in. So what are you waiting for? Explore our collection of dash cams today. If you have any further questions, comments or suggestions, then don't hesitate to reach out to our product experts today!

Explore Our eLearning Guides

Dash Cam Buyer's Guide

New to dash cams? Try out our dash cam buyer's guide to start your journey.

Dash Cam Accessories

Get more out of your dash cam! Find an accessory to get more out of it.

Our Best Dash Cams

Make great purchasing decisions with the right dash cam for you.

Installation Guides

Let us show you how to install your own dash cam & accessories.


Got More Questions?

Not to fret, our in-house product experts are here to help. We have spent years curating helpful content and video guides, helping customers with their dash cams, but we understand that we can always do better. Contact us using the form below and we'll get back to you as soon as we can. We love what we do, because we're here to help you make the most informed purchasing decision.

High-End Dash Cams vs. Budget Dash Cams

Based on 4468 reviews
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I don’t install yet

Less Strain On Car Battery (2020 Hyundai Kona Ultimate)

It has been 4 days since the installation of the Cellink NEO Battery, serviced by a fantastic installation team. The NEO gives me an ease of mind knowing that it has added an extra 13-15 hours of running time to my Dual Channel Thinkware U-1000 dash cam system whilst my vehicle is turned off (parking mode). First off, it has been less stressful for me when starting my car because I don't see the "Battery Discharged" warning anymore, knowing that the NEO has put less strain on my car battery. Additionally, with a 40 minute drive-to-charge time frame, it isn't bad at all as my commute to and from work equates to approximately 45 minutes. Therefore, I get a full charge on the NEO that gives me 20-22 hours of run-time on my dash cam. One advice I would give to potential dash-cam buyers in making the jump to buy this battery is: if you haven't gotten a dash cam yet and if you are opting for the installation service, purchase your dash cam and the NEO together and pay for just 1 installation. I made the mistake of having to pay for 2 separate installation services because I decided to buy the battery later on and could have saved $200.

Hi Kevin, thanks for leaving a review. Great advice! Hope you're loving your Cellink NEO. Come back anytime if you have any other questions.
Fits 2020 Rav4 XSE hybrid

I installed this on the small space right hand forward of the spare tire. The thickness of the Cell link Neo is just perfect. It it was a little bit thicker the rear cover will not be flush with the floor. Negative connection was done directly to the vehicle 12V accessory battery as it is mounted at the right rear tail. ACC input was connected to the accessory rear 12V outlet. Cell link Neo powers 2 Garmin dash cam minis.

I wish the Cell link Neo have an option to change the name in the app. I have another Neo battery on another vehicle and it is hard to remember the serial numbers. But overall it works great.

Hi there, thanks for leaving a detailed review. Glad to hear that the Cellink NEO is everything you're looking for :) let us know if you have any questions in the future.
Easy installation

Works as described

Hi Vinh, thanks for leaving a review!

Great service

Thanks for leaving a review, William!
Product and shipping

Shipping and blackboxmycar are great.

Product is expensive and 3m tape will not fit properly. For an expensive product from thinkware i would assume products would come with vehicle specific or general items to install properly. Other options than the 3m tape.

Keep in mind to take measurements for placing the main unit. It may not fit or able to be placed under your seat.

I have spent more money on a front stand and bolted the camera. The rear camera ive made brackets and bolted it.

Hi Blkhze, thanks for leaving a review! Sorry to hear that, but glad to see that you found a solution. If you have any future questions, please don't hesitate to reach out to us directly.
A pricey dash cam

Very pricey, yet not quite the "jump" in video quality I expected for the huge pricetag.
When the vehicle is not in motion, then video quality is very crisp and clear. However, as soon as your vehicle is in motion (driving...) the video becomes extremely "contrasted" almost like it is over-correcting for image quality, and in-turn making it worse. I had a rexing V1 (1080p) for 3 years, and saved me through 2 hit & runs... simple, good quality, cheap. I expected the jump to 4k to be huge... The video is "brighter" at best, but my Rexing V1 was definitely smoother while driving. Hopefully this is something a firmware update can fix. I have messed with the 2K @ 60fps, but the video quality drops noticeably... to worse than my 1080P Rexing V1. (Doesnt add up)
I have had my eyes on this camera since before it came out, but I am still hoping it can pull through...

Hi Kyle, thank you for leaving a review. We will definitely relay this feedback back to Thinkware. They're constantly working on new firmware for their models, especially the U1000, so we do expect it to get even better over time. That said, have you updated your dash cam to the latest firmware? If you need help, please don't hesitate to reach out to our team. We're here to help!
BlackboxMyCar is Excellent!

Incredibly fast service! Excellent price! Perfectly packaged! Thank you.

Hi Theo, thanks for leaving a review. We try our best! ;)
Excellent item

Bought this filter for my sister and my brother in law they both love it

Hi Michael, thanks for leaving a review! Glad to see that your sister and brother-in-law loves it.
Convenient

I purchased a spare ScanDisk SD card for my BlackVue. Not much to say.. Good quality and value.

Hi DJ, thanks for leaving a review!

[$50 OFF] Thinkware U1000 4K UHD Dual-Channel Cloud Dash Cam

Thanks for leaving the review, Pavlo!
Service

The best in customer service and advice.

Thanks for leaving a review, Alan. We try our best ;)
Awesome Product and Support

BackBoxMyCar helped me make figure out which Dash Cam system was best for my 2015 Lexus RX350. Their live chat team is great to work with and they made figuring out the best dash cam for me very easy. After having it installed I am very impressed with the reliability and capability of this product. Also it was shipped out to me in less then 3 business days, which I found really impressive. Going forward I will continue to purchase from BlackBox due to this wonderful experience.

Hi Ben, thanks for leaving a review! We try our best to help our customers, so we're glad to hear that you had a great time with us! Come back anytime.
Excellent Purchase and Service from BlackBoxMyCar

This radar module was a great addition to my Thinkware U1000 dash cam system. The setup was very straight forward and this accessory is a must for passive parking mode. BlackBoxMyCar helped me with decision to make this smart purchase through the help with one of there representatives on live chat. Their customer support team is world class and very helpful.

Hi Ben, thanks for leaving a review! We try our best to help our customers, so we're glad to hear that you had a great time with us! Come back anytime.
Fast shipping and great communication

I found this website after looking at youtube videos with vortexradar after searching for dash cameras. I have a 4 year old a119 that I have tried for hours and hours over the years to update the firmware on with no luck. It also isnt 4k and it doesn't have wifi. I find it a pain in the butt to take the memory card out and have to use the computer to download files. Now I can do it via wifi with my phone. Wifi is working fine for me with their app. I liked the a119 wedge shape and this is essentially the exact shape. The mounts are not compatible but not a big deal. This a129 pro has a much more substantial feel to it but isn't any bigger than the old model. I kind of wish I had ordered the rear camera bundle at the same time but I can always order the rear camera later. Everybody needs a dash camera to avoid the he said/she said bs that happens when there is an accident.

These guys ship fast. I am in Washington and ordered on a Monday. Camera arrived 2 days later on Wednesday. I had several texts and emails during that time keeping me updated on the progress of my order. I was so impressed that I am thinking about buying my next radar detector from them, the 360c. I am not sure if I am getting that one but that is the only one they carry.

Hi David, thanks for leaving a review. We hope you're staying safe out in Washington! We're glad to hear that you're loving your VIOFO and it's everything you need. Do reach out anytime if you have any other questions. One more thing, if you're interested in any other models of radar detectors, do reach out and ask. We may be able to source it for you at a great price. Thanks!

[LOW QUANTITY] VIOFO A119 V3 QHD+ Dash Cam

Hi Larry, thanks for leaving a review!

[$50 OFF] Thinkware U1000 4K UHD Dual-Channel Cloud Dash Cam

Hi Gerald, thanks for leaving a review!
The complete package!

I recently purchased a thinkware F800 front and rear camera combo for my M4. After researching, I heard that BMWs are sensitive to voltage drops when the camera is in parking mode.

I purchased the battery and searched youtube for a camera install video. Ironically the video I watched was a video blackbox my car made specifically for the BMW M4! Great products provided and great tutorials that helped me get it installed, thanks again Blackboxmycar!!

Thanks for leaving a review, and an image as well! We're glad to see that you had a great experience with us, Rob. If you have any questions, come back anytime!
A nice dash cam with GPS capabilities

I am very satisfied with the Viofo A119 V3 camera after using it for a week or so. It takes great video and is simple to operate. With the included GPS base I can select the speed and/or location to be recorded on the video. I just installed the optional wiring harness but have not experimented with the parking mode as of yet. Overall I am very satisfied with the build quality. The menu is easy to maneuver through and the buttons on the front are easy to use even when driving. I would definitely purchase this again!

Hi David, thanks for leaving a review! We're glad to hear that you're loving your VIOFO as much as we do.
Excellent cam

Good rear view cam with great picture. Awesome thank you!

Hi Raymond, thanks for leaving a review!
So far so good.

Good tracking notice. I’ve only had it for a short time so I’m still playing with it to get it figured out. Video is very good quality (I’ve only used it in daylight so I can speak for nighttime). Instructions are minimal but I was able to get it figured out since it is pretty simplistic (I had to search the internet to get the time zone properly set). As it stands now I would highly recommend it for anyone looking for a good and simple dash cam.

Hi Jeff, thank you for purchasing at BlackboxMyCar, and thank you for leaving a review! We're glad to hear that the VIOFO was everything you were looking for. That said, if you have questions in the future, please don't hesitate to reach out to our support team. We are always here to help!
Viofo 3 Hardwire Kit

Installation seamless and easy. Made for cleaner setup. Highly recommended over using the provided cigarette lighter/USB.

Hi Mark, thanks for leaving a review!
Alex

I wrote one over a week ago didn’t you bother to read it?

Let me know if you lost it!

Hi Jim, we definitely read it and responded to it ;) We have let our Marketing team know to adjust the amount of review requests that get sent out. Thank you for leaving another review regardless!
courteous and prompt communication, item shipped promptly

I ordered dash cams and accessories from blackboxmycar and have been very happy with their services. I had to communicate with them several times regarding my order, including talking to them over the phone and emailing them. Every single time I received very courteous response and satisfactory answers. The items were shipped promptly and I had them professionally installed. Overall, I am very satisfied. Thank you.

Hi Chin, thank you for shopping at BlackboxMyCar, and for visiting our office! Glad that our team was able to help you with everything that you needed.
Easy to install, easy to use!

BlackBoxMyCar sent everything I needed to install my Viofo A119 V3. A quick YouTube search gave me the easy steps for burying the wires and finding my fuse box for my F-150. And I was off and running! Thanks a bunch!

Hi Adam, thanks for leaving a review! Glad to hear that it all worked out for you :)