After more than a month of testing, we’re happy to share our review of the Thinkware F800 dash cam. Like the F770, it’s available as a 1 channel with an optional rear camera to mak it a 2 channel setup. The F800 still offers 1080P Full HD front and rear video but with brand new Sony STARVIS sensors and the Ambarella A12 processor. That being said, during the day, the difference in video quality between the F770 and F800 is not all that noticeable. That’s not too surprising though as the F770 already had some of the best video quality among 2 channel parking mode devices. When you do drive in darker areas at night with limited street lighting, then the improvements with the F800 are more obvious.
Thinkware F800 Review
In terms of design, the front unit of the F800 is slightly smaller than the F770. The materials used on the F800 also feel a bit more premium, however some customers have complained that the silver colour around the lens is too bright. We find that it’s still fairly discreet when mounted in the vehicle, but a black F800 Pro model is on its way for those that really need a darker coloured device. It’s also done away with the cable hiding flap on the F770. While this flap made for a cleaner install, it was also very difficult to plug the cables into the device. The new camera now has the input ports on the right side with a different right angle cable going to the rear camera. This means that the rear camera cable for the F770 will not fit on the F800.
One of the biggest changes with the F800 is the WiFi connection which now connects to your phone’s hotspot. While this took a bit of getting used to, we actually found it to be quite handy and reliable. With the new setup, because your phone isn’t connecting to the camera’s wifi network, you can still use services like email or maps that require a data connection.
It also connects to your phone automatically and very quickly, as long as the hotspot is turned on. The WiFi app itself is quite snappy as well but we wish you could use it while the car is parked. It’s also important to note that when you’re going through settings or downloading files, the camera will stop recording. This is in contrast to competitors like BlackSys that will continue recording even if videos are being downloaded.
With the new camera came new firmware settings as well. We like that you can now turn off the rear camera LED, turn off the parking mode event alerts, and flip the rear video all through the wifi settings. These were common complaints about the F770 and we’re glad to see Thinkware address these with the new device.
We also like that you can now dedicate a lot more memory card space to parking mode recording. As a parking mode dash cam, that makes the F800 better than the F770. Another addition is the recording status LED that tells you when the camera is recording. The old camera would only show if GPS or WiFi was on but would not actually tell you whether the camera is recording.
There are a few areas we’d still like to see Thinkware step it up with the F800. 128GB card support is still not available and the audio quality is relatively poor compared to the BlackSys or BlackVue dash cams. However, despite using the same Sony STARVIS sensors, the night time video quality on the F800 is better than the new BlackVue DR750S-2CH.
Overall we think this is the best 2 channel parking mode dash cam currently available. The user experience is well polished and its by far the best dash cam for Mac users. As an all-rounder, the F800 is a good fit for the needs of most customers. Those looking for cloud features should wait for the F800 Pro to be released.