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Thinkware U1000 In-Depth Follow-Up

Even before the Thinkware U1000 hit the shelves in October 2019, it was one of the most talked-about dashcams of the year. With high-quality 4K Ultra HD recording resolution and best-in-class parking mode features, the U1000 has topped every Best Dash Cam of the 2019 list.

questions from our customers and viewers alike, so feel that it is time for a follow-up review.

Recap

What we loved about the U1000 back in September 2019:

  • Eye-popping 4K Ultra HD @30FPS with the option of 2K QHD @60FPS from the front-facing camera
  • 150° wide viewing angle
  • Advanced video enhancement technologies including Advanced Wide Dynamic Range, Intelligent Automatic Exposure and Super Night Vision 2.0
  • Real-time vehicle tracking with push notifications via Thinkware Cloud
  • Driving and Parking Incident Notifications with a 20-second clip of footage
  • Extended parking surveillance coverage with Energy Saving Parking Mode 2.0
  • Smart road cameras and driver safety alerts
  • A new, modern design

Discover all the specs and features of the U1000.

What we have to say about the U1000 now

And now that we’ve had a few months to further test the dash cams inside and out, as well as gather more customer feedback, here’s what we think of the U1000:

Recording Resolution: Front & Back Cameras

The recording resolution of the U1000 continues to impress us day after day. When the U1000 first hit the shelves, many people were skeptical about its 4K recording capabilities, and often compared it to the BlackVue DR900S series.

But before we jump into any comparison wars, we need to state that the BlackVue DR900S was released in late-2017. With advancements in image sensors and processors in the last 1-2 years, the newer 4K dash cams, like the Thinkware U1000, have better technologies that were simply not available back in 2017.

This is particularly true when we look at the low-light and night time footage between the two cameras. Thanks to improved camera hardware and Sony Starvis image sensors, the U1000’s Super Night Vision 2.0 is impressively good at capturing light, producing crisp and clean low-light and nighttime video. We also find that the U1000 does a better job of capturing small but important details, like license plates. So while the DR900S is still churning out daytime footage videos in 4K-clarity thanks to the higher bitrate, it does fall a bit short when comparing low-light and nighttime footage.

The rear camera is where the U1000 stands above the competition - Thinkware is the first manufacturer to push out a 2K QHD rear camera and thus making the U1000 the highest resolution dual-channel system on the market, with a 4K UHD Front Camera and a 2K QHD Rear Camera. The other 4K dash cams currently on the market (the BlackVue DR900S-2CH and the VIOFO A129 Pro Duo) only comes with a 1080p Full HD rear camera.

Many customers and viewers have also asked if the 2K rear camera is anywhere as good as the 2K QHD Front Camera of the Q800PRO, the previous Thinkware flagship. Frankly, they are essentially the same camera - Thinkware basically took the Q800PRO’s front camera hardware, gave it a new casing and made it a rear camera for the U1000. So, if you’ve been a fan of the Q800PRO, you won’t be disappointed with the U1000’s rear camera.

Smart Road Cameras and Driver Safety Alerts

Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS)

Forward Collision Warning System
(FCWS/ uFCWS)

Red Light Camera Alert

Speed Camera Alert

We have always been a fan of the safety camera alerts on the Thinkware models. Just like the Q800PRO and the F800 Pro, the U1000 offers an audible alert for speed cameras as well as red light cameras - like "speed camera in 300 yards, the speed limit is 70 miles per hour."

And whilst you are driving, the lane departure warning system pings if you change lanes, or get too close to the car in front of you whilst coming to a stop in traffic. It will also send a ping if the car in front of you slows down when you are driving at speed.

We have had customers tell us that these alerts are a bit on the chatty side, and we’ve also had customers tell us the alerts need to be louder and chattier, so it’s a bit of a toss-up there. But, we do agree that Thinkware dash cams can be quite chatty on startup, and unfortunately, we can’t individually turn them on or off.

Overall, we can say that the ADAS on Thinkware has been quite accurate and it does come in handy more often than expected. It’s a waste not to use the ADAS on the U1000 - after all, it’s the only 4K dash cam that comes with this feature. If you have yet to make use of the function, give it a try and see it yourself.

Extended Parking Surveillance with Radar Module

The U1000 supports several parking mode options, including the Energy Saving 2.0, Time-lapse, and Buffered Parking Mode. But what makes an already-powerful parking mode even better is the RADAR Sensor.

The RADAR Sensor is an optional radar module that you can purchase separately and hook it up to your U1000 setup. The radar module is designed to enhance the U1000’s Energy Saving Mode with buffered recording, something that is an “either-or” previously.

So, instead of relying on the U1000’s own built-in motion detectors, you will be using the RADAR module’s ultra-high-frequency radar detection technology. You will still get a 20-second footage clip, but instead of post-incident, you will get a 10-second pre- and 10-seconds post-incident, in other words, “buffered” footage. The RADAR also allows your dash cam to stay “asleep” longer, which significantly conserves power usage, giving you a true energy-saving performance. Pair it with the Cellink NEO battery pack or the Thinkware iVOLT BAB-50, to extend the parking mode run-time up to 170 hours - that’s 7 days!

Note that the RADAR Sensor only covers the front of the vehicle, and we have had viewers asking for all-around RADAR coverage. While the option to add a RADAR Sensor to the rear camera is currently unavailable, it makes perfect sense for it and we are working with Thinkware on this, so we have our fingers crossed!

Thinkware Cloud

We recently released a video on the Thinkware Cloud that gives you an overview of the various Cloud features that come with the U1000, Q800PRO and F800 Pro. We have had many customers praising the Cloud features and push notifications.

In order to take advantage of Live View and the other Thinkware Cloud alerts, you need to have your U1000 permanently connected to the Internet. If you use a mobile WiFi device or an car-embedded router as a hotspot, then you could configure it to stay permanently connected to the dash cam. Whether you're using your smartphone's WiFi hotspot or a Mi-Fi device, you will still need to download the free Thinkware Cloud mobile app from the App Store or the Google Play Store, and then use your smartphone's WiFi hotspot to establish the initial connection and then proceed to connect to the Mi-Fi hotspot. Unfortunately, there are no clear instructions from Thinkware on this process outside of the troubleshooting tip.

It is also known that the smartphone’s Bluetooth or other Bluetooth devices in the car may interfere with the WiFi connectivity. If you are having connectivity problems, you may want to shut down all Bluetooth devices when you are using your smartphone to connect to the U1000.

*Interested in learning what the Cloud can do for fleet managers? We have an article on that!

Installing the U1000

As far as the installation process goes, the U1000 is pretty much the same as previous Thinkware models. However, one thing to note is that, because of the new elongated design, the U1000 is not as easy to mount in an aesthetically pleasing way in vehicles that have a large rain sensor. And the job gets trickier if you are adding in a RADAR sensor. The RADAR sensor needs to be mounted alongside the U1000 front camera, and doing so also increases the surface area the camera plus radar unit requires, resulting in a less stealthy setup. To get around this, you typically would have to mount the camera on the passenger side of the rain sensor and then mount the radar on the driver side. And if your vehicle has a very oblique windshield, you may need to swivel the front camera lens to get the best view of the road ahead.

Need help installing the U1000? If you are in the Greater Vancouver area, why not book a Dash Cam Installation Service appointment at our Service Centre in Richmond? Our skilled technicians have installed the U1000 in many of our customers’ vehicles to date, including Japanese and domestic passenger cars and pickup trucks, as well as exotic supercars. We have equipped the McLaren 570S, the Lamborghini IP570, Ferrari 458, Rolls Royce Ghost, Porsche GT3, Lamborghini Aventador, McLaren 12C, the Rolls Royce Cullinan, and many more with a U1000.

Firmware Update

Thinkware released a firmware update for the U1000 - 1.00.09 - recently that addresses the G-Sensor sensitivity that many users have voiced their concerns about. The new update allows users to set the G-sensor sensitivity to 1.5 and 2 (previously 3 and 4).

What does that mean?

Previously, the setting for the U1000’s Strong Impact Notification While Parked” IMPACT 1 was a 3G force, and IMPACT 2 was a 4G force. A G-sensor level of 3 or 4G force is equivalent to the force of an earthquake. In other words, unless your vehicle was hit by another vehicle or object at the force of an earthquake, you will not be receiving any Strong Impact Notification While Parked alerts from your dash cam. Unfortunately, we haven’t had the chance to test that out yet, but when we do, we will give you all an update then. But kudos to Thinkware for listening to their users.

Common Customer Questions & Feedbacks

We would like to end this follow-up review with several customer questions and feedback.

1. Image quality: Thinkware U1000 vs. VIOFO A129 Pro

Yes, this question comes up a lot and some viewers have commented that the VIOFO A129 Pro delivers a better 4K image quality than the U1000.

Video quality depends on a lot of factors, it could be something as technical as the image sensors and processors, or as simple as a better microSD card or a cleaner windshield. Even the device you are using to view the footage video somewhat makes a difference.

Our stance remains that you purchase the Thinkware U1000 for the overall features, like a 2K QHD rear camera, Advanced Driver Assistance System, true parking mode, smart camera alerts, strong cloud features, the ability to use ultra-high-frequency radar motion detection, etc. and not just for the 4K image quality.

Our Recommendations: If your priority is solely a sharp 4K video of the road ahead, then checking out the VIOFO A129 Pro or even the BlackVue DR900S is what we would do, too. However, if you are in the market for a best all-round dash cam, then the Thinkware U1000 is still our go-to recommendation.

2. Scalability: Adding a Rear Camera and the RADAR Sensor to the Single Channel Front-Only Camera

When Thinkware first launched the U1000, it came in two buying options: a Single-Channel Front-Only camera and a Dual-Channel Front-plus-Rear camera system. In a way, it was a an "either-or" situation, with no optional rear camera you can purchase separately and if you want to beef up your Single-Channel Front-Only with a rear camera, you were pretty much out of luck.

But that's now all in the past - the U1000 Rear Camera will be available at BlackboxMyCar very shorty, if not already by the time you read this review. If you currently have the Single-Channel U1000, you can now add on a rear camera to capture comprehensive front-and-rear footage.

Our Recommendations: If you are still in the research stage, we recommend the Dual-Channel variant right off the bat. With the Dual-Channel, you get both the front and rear cameras, as well as a bunch of freebies: Thinkware Hardwiring Kit and Thinkware CPL Filter.

The RADAR Sensor is compatible with both the Single-Channel and Dual-Channel systems.

3. Stock memory card

The U1000 comes with a stock 32GB microSD card. As we all know, that’s more than a tad too small for 4K. Like the Q800PRO, the U1000 records in 1-minute increments but its 4K resolution bumps the file size up significantly. Add in the rear 2K footage and your total data per minute is over 300mb. The stock 32GB SD card will give you about 90 mins of footage if you’re recording both front and rear.

The maximum SD card size for the U1000 is 128GB, which will save 10 hours of front camera footage or about 6.5 hours of front and rear footage.

Our Recommendations: Get an extra 128GB SD card and keep the stock 32GB as a backup card.

4. IR or 3-Channel Setup

It seems that many customers and viewers are interested in a 3-Channel setup using the U1000 Dual-Channel, or wondering if there is a compatible IR cameras for the U1000 for in-cabin recording. Unfortunately, there is no U1000-specific IR cameras at this time and the U1000 is not compatible with existing Thinkware IR models. We will be working on this with Thinkware and will keep you posted!

Our Recommendations: If you are looking for a 4K UHD system with in-cabin recording capabilities, perhaps pair the a U1000 Single-Channel with the BlackVue 2-Channel IR system, like the BlackVue DR590W-2CH IR. This setup will give you 4K UHD capture of the road ahead, and a Full HD capture of the traffic behind as well as in-cabin.

5. Heat Resistance

Due to the fact that the U1000 has yet to go through a full summer heat cycle, there hasn’t been much opportunity for any real heat testing of the U1000. However, we have customers in the hot and humid southern states and many of them have reported that the U1000 is more heat-resistant than the other 4K models on the market. After all, Thinkware dash cams are known for their reliability in heat conditions.

Final Thoughts

The bottom line is Thinkware continues to raise the bar. The U1000’s 4K video capture, smart-features, and energy-saving are impressive and definitely set the standard.

Thinkware U1000 In-Depth Follow-Up

Based on 4289 reviews
85%
(3654)
11%
(462)
3%
(143)
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(11)

Why are these not more popular? Easy setup and operation. and will work to protect the system battery nicely.

It's a nice dashcam but I don't like the fact that I couldn't zoom into my videos on the phone app but only on a computer,so I sent it back and get the blackvue dr900s 2channel which is very awesome. But I really like the customer service at blackboxmycar, they are very helpful and answer all your questions.

Good but not perfect. But darn, they just announced an improved model!

Easy installation. I installed this to replace a 360 view dashcam that had terrible image quality. I’m very technically experienced and the app/install was not intuitive, but it all worked. Many of the online reviews that said the app was totally unusable seem a bit harsh. Image isn’t quite as crisp as I had hoped, but reasonably good. Candidly, the biggest disappointment is that the day after installing the camera, I received the announcement from BlackVue that they’ve announced at CES improvements to this camera and an even better 4GLTE camera! I depended on the advice from BlackboxMyCar and would have waiting for the updated models.

A must have for your car

The picture quality is great even in night mode very clear. A good investment for your safety.

Price and Quality sweet spot

My first dashcam, I installed with the additional 3-wire ACC kit in my 2010 Colorado Crew Cab. My only gripe is that I wish the rear camera could also be connected through the GPS module so that I don't have to disconnect the cable when removing the camera from my truck to look at footage. I find it easier to pop off the camera from the GPS mount, then connect with the supplied mini-USB cable to my laptop. Otherwise, the image and audio quality is really great, and it has all the necessary functions.

Really good dashcam, but......

Have really no complains withe the cam itself but the rear cam I can't use as the is no place to stick it to as the back of my truck is all fabric. If your gonna buy a dashcam that has front and rear cameras make sure there somewhere to stick it to. It would be nice if there were a small suction mount for rear camera as well. All in all I would recommend buying this dash cam!

love it

had mine installed Monday 1/20/2020 and it is working great

Hi John, thanks for leaving a review!
The best!

So professional and so knowledgeable. There was no question I had that they didn't have an answer for. They helped make my decision easy for what is a relatively expensive purchase.

Hi Kevin, thanks for leaving a review. Glad to hear that our team was able to help you out with all your needs!
BlackVue Power Magic EZ

Excellent products, prices and customer services very helpful.

Hi John, thanks for leaving a review! Let us know if you have any questions in the future.
2nd day of usage records crash

I installed two A119V3s - front and rear on my vehicle. I never got the chance to review any recordings. On the morning of the second day using them, while stopped at a STOP sign, I was rear-ended by a pick-up truck. I was pleasantly surprised to see that both units performed flawlessly.

What are the odds,lol?

During installation, I had a few questions which were quickly answered by the BlackboxMyCar staff. A truly professional business! BTW, video quality was excellent !!!

Hi TV, thanks for leaving a review! Glad to hear that you're loving your VIOFO, but even happier to hear that you're okay. Let's hope you don't get in any more accidents, but do reach out at anytime if you have any other questions.
Great camera setup, with one flaw...

Great camera setup, with one flaw...
I purchased the Viofo A129 Pro Duo with the Cellink Neo battery and HK3 ACC Hardwire kit, including an extra CPL filter for the rear camera. The video quality of the cameras are quite good. I've had four others made by Rexing and the Vantrue X1 and X3. The feel of these cameras are substantial, feels well made compared to others I've had and the mounts really hold. The CPL filters also appear to be made from quality materials and the wiring harnesses are excellent.

One of the features that I really wanted to take advantage of was the Auto Event Detection, while in parking mode. This feature buffers several seconds of video in memory ahead of an event so that when something does happen, it commits what is in memory to the microSD card and you don't lose the initial impact of the event. Otherwise, when nothing is happening, the camera is always watching but it is not writing to the microSD card. A great feature, but it does not work if you use the included GPS mount...what? So you have to decide, do you want GPS data or do you want Auto Event Detection; you can't have both!

I have sent a request to the support team to see if they can submit this as a future feature enhancement through a firmware update. I hope they can make that work, but for now this is why I can't give this a five star review.

Hi MWood, thank you for the feedback. We will keep that in mind and will relay that over to the VIOFO team as well. They do continuously upgrade their dash cam firmware, so we wouldn't be surprised if this gets addressed in the near future. Do let us know if you have any other feedback. Thanks for leaving a review!
Great camera setup, with one flaw...

I purchased the Viofo A129 Pro Duo with the Cellink Neo battery and HK3 ACC Hardwire kit, including an extra CPL filter for the rear camera. The video quality of the cameras are quite good. I've had four others made by Rexing and the Vantrue X1 and X3. The feel of these cameras are substantial, feels well made compared to others I've had and the mounts really hold. The CPL filters also appear to be made from quality materials and the wiring harnesses are excellent.

One of the features that I really wanted to take advantage of was the Auto Event Detection, while in parking mode. This feature buffers several seconds of video in memory ahead of an event so that when something does happen, it commits what is in memory to the microSD card and you don't lose the initial impact of the event. Otherwise, when nothing is happening, the camera is always watching but it is not writing to the microSD card. A great feature, but it does not work if you use the included GPS mount...what? So you have to decide, do you want GPS data or do you want Auto Event Detection; you can't have both!

I have sent a request to the support team to see if they can submit this as a future feature enhancement through a firmware update. I hope they can make that work, but for now this is why I can't give this a five star review.

Hi MWood, thank you for the feedback. We will keep that in mind and will relay that over to the VIOFO team as well. They do continuously upgrade their dash cam firmware, so we wouldn't be surprised if this gets addressed in the near future. Do let us know if you have any other feedback. Thanks for leaving a review!
Very Satisfied

Installation and setup was easy.

Hi David, thanks for leaving a review!
Easiest way

This plug is the easiest way to plug in your dash cam.
Shipped fast and was a good deal.

Hi Colin, thank you for leaving a review! Glad to hear that you love your purchase.
First Dash Cam purchase

After searching the internet for dash cam retailers, I settled on BlackBoxMyCar and I am very happy I chose them. I'm very pleased with my Viofo A129 Duo. I was able to have several questions answered on-line and that was a key factor in selecting my dash cam and BlackBoxMyCar. They will be my go to vendor for my next dash cam.

Hi John, thanks for purchasing from BlackboxMyCar. We're glad to have you as a happy customer :) Let us know at any time if you have any questions in the future.

VIOFO A119 V3 QHD+ Dash Cam

Hi Laenard, thanks for leaving a review!
Great item

Getting installed Monday 1/20/2020

Hi John, thanks for leaving a review!
Very Satisfied

I purchased the suction cup mount to allow me to transfer my Viofo A119V3 between vehicles.

The A119 V3 fits very securely onto the suction cup mount. This mount is superior to those I have used with other devices e.g. GPS in that it offers adjustment in both tilting and rotating, both of which can be locked in position, and when coupled with the titling lens it is very easy to get the best position for the Dashcam.

I found it very easy to secure the mount to my windshield.

Recommended if you intend to move the Dashcam between vehicles or to rental cars.

Hi David, thanks for leaving a review! Glad to hear that the suction cup mount was exactly what you were looking for.
Right fit

I ordered a part for my new car , It all worked out thank you.

Hi Spencer, thanks for leaving a review. Glad to hear that it all worked out for you. Let us know if you have any questions!
Awesome Rideshare Setup!

First of all! Very nice and knowledgeable people at blackboxmycar! Second very nice setup with power magic pro wiring kit! Also very discrete design! Love the video quality! Especially at night with the Sony Starvis! Overall good setup! Can barely see the cams. Thanks again Blackboxmycar.com/BlackVue!!! 👍👍👍

Hi Eric, thanks for purchasing from BlackboxMyCar. Glad to hear that your dash cam worked out for you! Thanks for including pictures as well :) Looks great!
Very Good - not yet great. But getting there.

I purchased the BlackVue DR900S 2 channel with interior facing IR after an attempted theft of my 2019 F-150 Lariat. It was already a purchase I had been considering in order to add a layer of security during both active and passive vehicle usage and I didn't hesitate to go with BMC given the number of positive reviews.

After a fast and painless exchange via email, BMC matched a lower price point offer for the kit that I had found on the internet. BMC even included a slightly larger storage card. Shipping and receipt went smoothly.

If I can fault BMC it is in the install and "commissioning" of the dash cam. Though I had done a fair bit of research and certainly am not one to shy away from peeling off some trim or crimping some wires, there was no step-by-step guide to installation that would have given an illustrated and comprehensive explanation of the process; now, this information exists and I was able to access it, but it was still a bit of a patchwork construction and an installation that I thought might take one hour took 2 days.

All said, though, the system is now up and running, so far flawlessly, in my vehicle. There has been a lot of trial and error, but the dash cam community is helpful and all of the information is available. You just need to look for it.

I will post a video review of my installation shortly - including hardwired battery installation.

Hi Alexander, thank you for leaving a review! We're glad to hear that we were able to help you with your order. You brought up some great points, and we will definitely take your feedback to heart for the future. We hope that the dash cam works out for you. Please let us know if you have any questions in the future.

BlackboxMyCar Add-A-Fuse Kit

Hi Brian, thanks for leaving a review!
VIOFO A119 12V Auto Hardwire Kit

Quality hardwire kit with reasonable length to the A119 and to the 12V battery source. Voltage reducer is small enough to fit in small spaces with rounded corners for ease of fishing into place. Fuse holder streamlined but difficult to open at first, 2nd time ok.

Hi Chester, thanks for leaving a review! Glad to hear that you were able to figure it out and install your VIOFO. Let us know if you have any questions. Thanks!
the ONLY place I can find this replacement part online

Blackboxmycar is the only place I could find that sells the cigarette socket power output cable for the Cellink Neo.
Fast shipping. Item as described.

Hi J. Kim, we're glad to hear you were able to find what you were looking for at our store. Thanks for shopping at BlackboxMyCar!
Great Kit- Everything you need

Our techs were able to install the dash camera and the Power Magic Pro with no problem by using this Essential Kit. We've bought 13 units so far. Very pleased.

Hi Jennifer, thanks for leaving a review. We're glad to hear that you have found everything you need in our Essential Installation Kits. Thanks!