The Thinkware F800 Pro and the BlackVue DR750S-2CH are perhaps the most talked about 2 channel dash cams over the past few weeks. These are the flagship devices offered by two of the best known dash cam manufacturers so it's understandable why they've generated so much buzz. Our team at BlackboxMyCar have been testing both models before they were released on the market and know these devices inside and out. Both cameras offer similar video resolution, 128GB card support, and a discreet form factor. Here are our thoughts on how these two cameras compare.
Video quality is often one of the first things shoppers consider when looking for a dash cam. Both cameras offer Sony STARVIS sensors on the front and rear cameras but the F800 Pro uses an Ambarella A12 chipset while the DR750S-2CH uses a HiSilicon chipset. One notable difference is the DR750S-2CH front camera is capable of 60 frames per second recording which results in a smoother effect during playback. In theory, the 60 FPS setting should help the camera pick up license plates when there is a larger speed differential but we did not find this to be the case with the DR750S-2CH.
Both cameras offered similar legibility during the day but the Thinkware F800 Pro seemed to offer a sharper and clear image at night. Particularly when night vision mode was turned on with the BlackVue we noticed a very grainy and fuzzy image. Many users online have noted better results with night vision turned off on the BlackVue. We suspect that firmware refinements may improve the video quality over time but as it stands the F800 Pro seems to be the stronger performer in low light. In terms of audio quality, the BlackVue is noticeably better than the Thinkware.
The Thinkware F800 Pro utilizes a brand new design for Thinkware while the DR750S-2CH has more or less the same dimensions as the outgoing DR650S-2CH. Comparing the two cameras, the Thinkware has a narrower body and a shorter height which allows the lens to stick right up against the windshield. The BlackVue's mount offsets it making it a bit taller as well. That being said, the BlackVue mount also allows 360° of rotation whereas Thinkware only allows for about 90° of rotation. With the F800 Pro, it uses a black adhesive and the bracket is offset from the lens so on vehicles that have a dot matrix on the windshield, the bulk of the camera can be hidden making it incredibly discreet. On vehicles that have more upright windows and no dot matrix, the BlackVue may be more discreet.
Another major difference in the design of these cameras is the user interface. With the BlackVue there are two controls on the body, a WiFi button on the right and a touch sensor on the left. The WiFi button lets you turn WiFi on and off and can also format the card if held down for about 10 seconds. The touch sensor can either control audio recording or activate manual event recording. The F800 Pro on the other hand has 5 buttons that we find to be more intuitive as they are individual labelled and quite obvious.
Both cameras use WiFi apps to do the initial setup. With the F800 and F800 Pro, Thinkware added a new feature which allows the camera to connect to your smartphone using the hotspot function. The benefit to this is that it will not interrupt your data connection while your phone is connected. However this method is a bit more complicated to setup and can be frustrating for some users. Luckily you can still connect to it with the normal direct wifi method but the camera will bug you about setting up the hotspot if that step hasn't been done. In contrast, the BlackVue WiFi doesn't have this feature but is arguably easier to setup.
Both cameras have fairly intuitive WiFi apps that should be reasonably easy to setup. It's hard to say which is better as it will really come down to personal preference. We like that you can configure the cutoff voltage through the Thinkware app while Blackvue has still stuck with the unintuitive dip switch design with their Power Magic Pro. We do like that you can see all your videos in chronological order with the BlackVue whereas Thinkware forces you to go into each individual folder to find the clip you want.
For users who want Cloud connectivity, BlackVue is a step ahead with a number of advanced features and more than 2 years of experience fine tuning their cloud system. It's not 100% perfect but Thinkware has pushed back the release of their cloud feature with the F800 Pro and an exact features list has not been finalized (at the time of this comparison). If Cloud is important to you, we would recommend the DR750S-2CH over the Thinkware F800 Pro, at least for the time being.
As a parking mode device, we believe the Thinkware F800 Pro is a better option for quite a few reasons actually. First off, the power consumption is lower resulting in longer recording time regardless of whether you're hardwiring or running a battery pack. Second, the Thinkware offers a much more advanced parking mode feature which separates parking motion clips and parking incidents. BlackVue's partitioning must be manually turned on and only separates parking events. Third is the better notifications when you've gotten back into your car. The F800 Pro will tell you how many events and motion clips were recorded whereas the DR750S-2CH will only tell you that an impact was detected, regardless of how many there were. Because an impact is typically triggered when the driver returns to the car, this alert is not very useful on the BlackVue.
Furthermore, Thinkware offers neat features like a timelapse mode to conserve card space and a low energy parking mode that disables the motion sensing and pre-buffered recording to triple the recording time. The Super Night Vision 2.0 can be set to activate only in parking mode, unlike BlackVue's night vision that is either on all the time or off. The problem with having night vision on all the time is that it can result in overexposure when the headlights are on which would not be a problem in parking mode.
As an all-rounder, we feel that the Thinkware F800 Pro is the better system but it's also important to note that it's a bit more expensive than the BlackVue DR750S-2CH. For similar performance and features at a lower price point, you may want to also consider the standard F800 with the lighter color body, 64GB card support, and no cloud feature. Next to the Thinkware flagship dash cams, the DR750S-2CH came up a little short in terms of low light video quality and parking mode integration but they offer an excellent cloud feature that may appeal to some customers.
As a side note, for those that want the best bang for the buck, we might recommend the BlackSys CH-200. This system combines some of what's good about the BlackVue and what's good about the Thinkware at a much lower price point. The video quality at night is pretty clear thanks to the A12 processor and Sony EXMOR sensors and it does not suffer from the type of graininess found on the DR750S. It has a lot of customization and offers similar performance for 15-25% less money.