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Thinkware U3000 vs. BlackVue DR970X 2-CH 4K UHD

Dash Cam Comparison Review

Looking for a premium 4K dash cam? Look no further than BlackVue or Thinkware.

This year, the dash cam industry was taken by storm as these two premium dash cam brands announced the launch of their new generation of top of the line 4K dash cams, the BlackVue DR970X-2CH and the Thinkware U3000 Dual Channel dash cam.

Both dash cams are fully equipped with the smartest and most advanced features in terms of video quality, parking mode, Cloud connectivity, and overall convenience. While the BlackVue DR970X was launched months earlier than the Thinkware U3000, we think that the latter has more cutting edge features that made it even more worth the wait.

How close is the competition between these two 4K premium dash cam gods? Let’s find out.

Thinkware U3000 vs. BlackVue DR970X-2CH Design

Like other Thinkware dash cams, the Thinkware U3000 looks sleek in its smooth matte black finish. Compared to the U1000, the front lens area is much bigger, with a ‘RADAR’ label beside the lens. Its rear camera also has the same RADAR label beside its lens, and the unit is quite larger but still fairly discrete.

While the front itself doesn’t rotate, the plate with the lens can be rotated about 60 degrees. Plenty for the vast majority of vehicles, but a bit short for vertical windshields. For its rear camera, we found that it’s designed to be rotated with a coin slot, where you can also use your key to do so. More importantly, we appreciate that the Thinkware U3000 has a new ventilation system underneath. It has a stylish crossed ventilation grill design for better cooling.

While the front camera of the Thinkware U3000 stands more on the larder, edgy side, the BlackVue DR970X-2CH keeps its award-winning all-black tube shaped design like the previous DR900X. The head unit's proximity sensor has been upgraded to a touch sensor to avoid unintentional triggers from dangling air fresheners and sunrays. Now, the dashcam’s proximity sensor can be triggered by pressing on the side of the unit, which will trigger manual recording.

The DR970X also has a matte black finish, with ventilation grills but not as obvious as the U3000's. However, we also want how BlackVue designed theirs to be compatible with tamper-proof cases for additional security for the files, and mounting.

Thinkware U3000

BlackVue DR970X

Thinkware U3000 vs. BlackVue DR970X-2CH Video Resolution

When it comes to video resolution, we are confident to say that the Thinkware U3000 tops the BlackVue DR970X. In fact, it stands on top of all the dash cams we have tested! This is because this 4K UHD premium dash cam that sports the most advanced 8MP Sony STARVIS 2 IMX678 for its front camera, covering a 158-degree field of view, which we learned is the widest among Thinkware dash cams. For the Thinkware U3000’s rear camera, the secondary cam is equipped with a 2K QHD 5-megapixel Sony STARVIS IMX335, covering an angle of 128-degrees.

On the other hand, the BlackVue DR970X-2CH dash cam sports an 8MP Sony STARVIS sensor for the front that captures a 155-degree field of view, yup, not as superior as the Sony STARVIS 2 but still excellent! Its rear camera is equipped with a 2MP Sony STARVIS sensor, recording at 139 degrees in 1080p full HD.

Upon checking both dash cams, we noticed the enhanced white balance, dynamic range, and overall video exposure in both daytime and nighttime videos. Thanks to their significant upgrades, a new SigmaStarCPU with ISP tuning software. However, in terms of low light conditions and night driving, the Thinkware U3000 delivers the greatest with its Super Night Vision 4.0!

Thinkware U3000

BlackVue DR970X

Thinkware U3000 vs. BlackVue DR970X-2CH Parking Mode

Both the Thinkware U3000 and the BlackVue DR970X-2CH can do parking mode. To enable these features, BlackVue included a hardwiring kit in its DR970X package. Meanwhile, and quite different from previous models, the Thinkware U3000 comes standard with an OBD power cable. This OBD cable allows for a plug-and-play connection, while offering the exact same functionality of the hardwire kit.. But don’t worry, because if you want to hardwire your U3000, you can still do so by getting a hardwiring kit separately!

Now, in terms of parking mode recording options, the BlackVue DR970X-2CH has the standard motion and impact detection, buffered recording, and time-lapse recording. While we already find BlackVue’s parking mode advanced, the Thinkware U3000 beats the BlackVue standards. It can do motion and impact detection, buffered recording, Energy Saving Parking mode, and a super useful feature called Smart Parking mode.

Aside from having more parking mode options, the Thinkware U3000 now has a built-in RADAR sensor- yup, external radar needed no more! This means that when a person or vehicle is detected in a low-power recording situation, the U3000 immediately wakes up and starts recording. The RADAR sensor, which is built into both the front and rear cameras, allows the camera to be more energy efficient than any other camera on the market, more than tripling the duration of parking mode. Read more about RADAR here. 

On top of these features, both the BlackVue DR970X-2CH and Thinkware U3000 have built-in voltage monitoring systems, so it ensures that your vehicle battery stays protected as well.

Still, if you are looking to extend parking mode for either of these cameras, a battery pack is firmly recommended. Find our PowerCell 8 here.

Thinkware U3000

BlackVue DR970X

Thinkware U3000 vs. BlackVue DR970X-2CH Advanced Features

We can say that both the Thinkware U3000 and BlackVue DR970X have gathered all the premium features of a dash cam and squeezed them all together in these sleek devices. For example, in terms of connectivity, both are equipped with GPS, 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi connectivity, and Bluetooth. With these options, connecting to the Thinkware App and BlackVue app is easier compared to other dedicated dash cam smartphone apps.

However, we want to put a stress on Bluetooth connectivity. While other premium dash cams heavily rely on Wi-Fi for pairing, the Thinkware U3000 has been designed to be the first dash cam to have built-in Bluetooth that allows hassle-free dash cam pairing with your compatible Android or iOS device via Thinkware app. Once paired, manage your dash cam’s settings and check on recording notifications with the app even without connecting to the Wi-Fi. Once wifi is needed, the Bluetooth of the camera will seamlessly pair to the camera’s wifi. BlackVue also has Seamless Pairing, although the built-in Bluetooth of the U3000 is a bit more involved. Regardless, these are both kings of connection.

Beyond that, the Thinkware U3000 also has Advanced Driver Assistance Systems and Speed Camera Alerts. With its Safety Camera Alert feature, you will receive audio warnings from your U300 when approaching a wide variety of road safety cameras, including Red Light Warning system, Speed Camera Warning system, Red Light and Speed Camera Warning system, Average Speed Warning system, and a Mobile Zone warning system. For the Advanced Driver Assist System, it keeps you protected with the standard Thinkware ADAS like Forward Collision Warning system, Front Vehicle Departure Warning, Lane Departure Warning, and a new addition, Rear Collision Warning system.

Thinkware U3000

BlackVue DR970X

Thinkware U3000 vs. BlackVue DR970X-2CH Cloud Connectivity Features

We love the fact that on top of the safety features of the U3000, it also added Cloud connectivity through Thinkware Connected. Going over the features, the U3000 lets you enjoy Impact Notifications when Parked and driving, Send Emergency Messages, Remote Live-View, Vehicle Status and Geo-Fencing. Some recent add-ons that we think are particularly impressive are the ability to monitor the live voltage of the vehicle, and remotely turn off the camera through the app as needed. Beyond that, they now have a full driving history map too, which using the Cloud, can provide multiple months worth of driving data, if needed.

On the other hand, there’s our all time favorite BlackVue Cloud for the BlackVue DR970X-2CH. Compared to Thinkware Connected, we must say that the BlackVue Cloud is way more advanced in terms of overall features.

Talking about the Cloud features, it has Video Playback and Remote Live View feature that allows you to check on your car from anywhere. This is useful if you leave your car unattended, or when someone else drives your vehicle, or when you’re managing a fleet for your business. Moreover, the moment an impact or even motion is detected, your BlackVue will automatically send a notification to your phone or your web browser, accompanied by a snapshot for reference.

The latest addition to the BlackVue Cloud features is the Event Map. It combines data from the dash cam with a crowd-sourced map to display events such as impacts, hard brake incidents, and even playback videos - making it ideal for both fleet management and personal driving. It also has Two-Way Voice Calls, and a Cloud Storage that can support up to 5GB of storage for free.

If you wish to connect to the Cloud instantly, the DR970X-2CH is compatible with the CM100G LTE module, which you will get for free if you purchase a new BlackVue from us during this period!

Thinkware U3000

BlackVue DR970X

Thinkware U3000 vs. BlackVue DR970X-2CH Pricing

Both are under the premium dash cams segment, so expect a high price tag for both compared to other budget 4K dash cams like VIOFO A139 Pro. The BlackVue DR970X-2CH is priced at $469.99 USD while the latest Thinkware U3000 2-channel costs $549.99 USD.

This price difference can be attributed to the built-in radar sensors, and included OBD cable with the Thinkware U3000.

Verdict: Which is better? The Thinkware U3000 or the BlackVue DR970X-2CH dash cam?

The Thinkware U3000 and BlackVue DR970X are the frontrunners for each brand, and we highly appreciate how these 4K dash cams have taken standards way up high. Both will have a long-lasting home in our catalogue. However, since this is a comparison review, we will put an emphasis on the areas where we think one excels at from the other.

First, they are both designed to be discreet, just like how most premium dash cams do. We love how Thinkware added cross ventilation grills for heat dissipation which we believe extends the life of the dash cam. On the other hand, we also love BlackVue’s simple design, especially the fact that it’s compatible with tamper proof cases. 

Next, video resolution. Although the BlackVue DR970X-2CH did a pretty good job in capturing videos with its 4K UHD and ISP tuning software, the Thinkware U3000 is still the champ here. Just think of the Sony STARVIS 2 image tech, plus the Super Night Vision 4.0 features, it will surely provide you with cinematic and superior footage, whichever time of the day it is. Beyond that, the 2k rear camera with a 5MP image sensor is quite the jump up from BlackVue’s 1080p rear.

In terms of parking mode and security, the built-in radar detector, energy saving mode, smart temperature parking mode, and ADAS and Safety Camera alerts of the Thinkware U3000 also had our votes. These are all super advanced features that no other dash cam can offer, so we believe it’s worth noting especially for those who want to go big in car security.

Connectivity wise, we love how both are equally equipped with Wi-Fi, GPS, and Bluetooth. However, the built-in Bluetooth of the U3000 has made our lives easier.

The one thing that made us prefer BlackVue over Thinkware is the Cloud. The BlackVue Cloud is still the best for us, especially for its Cloud features that keeps you in the know of your vehicle, wherever you are in the world. And of course, in terms of pricing, BlackVue DR970X is still more affordable than Thinkware U3000 - but we can’t really question it as the U3000’s superior features are totally worth every cent.

Specs Thinkware U3000 BlackVue DR970X-2CH

Video Resolution (Front + Rear)

4K UHD @ 30 FPS | 2K QHD
@30FPS

4K UHD @ 30 FPS | 1080p Full
HD @30FPS

Image Sensor

8MP Front Sony STARVIS 2 +
5MP Rear Sony STARVIS
Sensors

8MP Front + 2MP Rear Sony
STARVIS Sensors

Field of View

158° | 128°

155° | 139°

GPS

Built-in

Built-in

Parking Mode

Yes

Yes

G-Sensor

Yes

Yes

Operating Temperature

-10°C - 60°C (14°F - 140°F)

-20°C - 70°C (-4°F - 158°F)

Loop Recording

Yes

Yes

Max SD Card

256GB

256GB

LCD Screen

None

None

Wi-Fi

Yes

Yes

Cloud Connectivity

Yes

Yes

Radar Detector

Built-in

No

ADAS | Safety Camera Alerts

Yes

No

Microphone

Built-in

Built-in

Speaker

Built-in

Built-in

Country of Origin

China

South Korea

Manufacturer Warranty

1-Year Manufacturer Warranty

1-Year Manufacturer Warranty

Get the Most Powerful Dash Cams of 2023

The Thinkware U3000 and BlackVue DR970X-2CH are the best ones we recommend if you’re looking for 4K dash cams with maximum safety, Cloud, and security features. Get yours now only here at BlackboxMyCar!