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Thinkware U3000 vs. VIOFO A139 Pro 4K UHD
Dash Cam Comparison Review

2023 is indeed a stellar year in the 4K dash cam scene, starting off with the launch of three new dash cams from some of the most popular brands – the BlackVue DR970X, the VIOFO A139 Pro, and the latest addition, the Thinkware U3000.

While the BlackVue DR970X has improved 4K video resolution with new SigmaStar CPU and ISP tuning software, it’s the competition of the VIOFO A139 Pro and Thinkware U3000 that is making a louder buzz in the dash cam community, considering these two are the industry’s first dash cams equipped with the most advanced Sony STARVIS 2 image sensing technology.

Even if both the VIOFO A139 Pro and Thinkware U3000 have the same image sensor, there are still a lot of differences and individual features to distinguish between the two, and we will go through them for you in this review, one by one. We’ll dive into image and video recording capabilities, parking mode, safety and convenience features, Cloud connectivity, and pricing comparisons to see which among these 4K dash cam kings are more worthy of the crown.

This will be a tough competition between these two titans, so strap in!

Thinkware U3000 vs. VIOFO A139 Pro Form Factor

Let’s start off with the Thinkware U3000 and VIOFO A139 Pro’s physical attributes. The Thinkware U3000 is a 4K UHD dash cam, available in front-only and front-and-rear configurations. On the other hand, VIOFO made the A139 Pro available in single, dual, and triple-channel systems which are highly recommended if you’re driving a ride-sharing vehicle, or simply want to record what’s happening inside your car.

Talking about its form factor, the Thinkware U3000’s head unit is built with a premium, matte black finish, designed with cross ventilation grills underneath to improve the dash cam’s cooling system. Its head unit is longer, with a vertical lip that hangs down from the front camera as the U3000 had a radar sensor built into its front and rear cameras. Overall, still looks discreet, though it will hang lower.

On the other hand, the VIOFO A139 Pro, unlike the previous, chunky VIOFO models like the A129 Pro, is now designed screenless. The unit hugs the windshield much more than the Thinkware U3000 with no overhang, however the body itself is wider overall.

In terms of design, we think that the Thinkware U3000 displays a more premium feel than the A139 Pro. Other than that, both are easy to hide and install behind the rearview mirror of any vehicle. Both are built without a screen, and recorded footage can be viewed in the dedicated Thinkware Dash Cam link app or VIOFO app.

Thinkware U3000 vs. Garmin 66W Image Quality and Video Resolution

Now we come to one of the most crucial aspects of these dash cams – video resolution. We mentioned earlier that the Thinkware U3000 and the VIOFO A139 Pro are the first dash cams to be built with the Sony STARVIS 2 image sensor, promising enhanced performance in low-light situations while also improving the clarity and sharpness of their videos. However, this doesn’t mean that they record exactly the same.

With the Thinkware U3000, the front camera sports an 8MP Sony STARVIS 2 IMX 678 image sensor, capturing 4K @ 30 frames per second, which can be scaled down to 2K @ 60 frames per second if you prefer a higher frame rate, best for highway driving. It’s also equipped with Super Night Vision 4.0, which is a big leap from the Thinkware U1000’s Super Night Vision 2.0 version. The VIOFO A139 Pro also records in 4K and has night vision, although its resolution for the front camera is locked at 4K @ 30 frames per second. When we tested both the U3000 and A139 Pro’s front camera recording, we can see how clear and crisp the details have been, although we did notice that the VIOFO A139 Pro’s visuals are more vibrant and clear – regardless of the lighting situations. Take note, the VIOFO A139 Pro also has HDR and WDR so we’re not surprised with how better the results are for them.

However, if we’re going to talk about the rear camera, the Thinkware U3000 does a better job of recording details. While the A139 Pro’s secondary cameras only record 1080P Full HD @ 30 frames per second, the U3000’s rear camera captures 2K QHD @ 30 frames per second. Angle-wise? The front unit of the A139 Pro is also a tad narrower at 140-degrees, compared to the U3000’s wider 158-degrees. However, the rear (and interior) camera of the A139 Pro has a 170-degree field of view, while the U3000 only covers 128-degrees. In terms of capturing more lanes, we think that the front camera is more important, so we appreciate how the Thinkware U3000 covers a wider field of view.

The flagship variant for the A139 Pro is the 3-channel dash cam composed of a 4K front, 1080p interior, and 1080p rear. However, when the A139 Pro operates in a 3-Channel setup, the image quality can be set to 1600p at 30fps, or 2160p at 24fps, both 4k. Basically, as the number of cameras or channel configurations increases, the video quality of the A139 Pro also reduces.

Beyond the video resolution and angles, both the Thinkware U3000 and VIOFO A139 Pro come with a CPL filter in every package. During our testing, we also applied these filters, along with a BlackBoxMyCar Aqua Shield to reduce glares and keep our footage safe from raindrops and dust.

Thinkware U3000 vs. VIOFO A139 Pro Parking Modes

We appreciate how they upgraded their lenses, but we also want to acknowledge the advancements they have made for these dash cams’ parking modes, especially for the U3000. We are fans of Thinkware’s Parking Mode recording features – with new Smart Parking and Energy Saving mode options.

First and newest, the U3000 now has a Smart Parking Mode feature. This one is designed to protect your vehicle and prevent heat-related damage - reminds us of that AI Heat Monitoring feature in the FineVu GX1000 that we thought was extremely innovative and useful. So, if the temperature inside your car becomes too high or too low during Parking mode, the U3000 will automatically switch to a low-power mode. This means it will only record incidents triggered by impacts until the temperature is safe to resume Motion Detection or Timelapse Parking mode.

While Thinkware has energy-saving mode 2.0 in previous models, there have been unique improvements for it in the Thinkware U3000. When activated, Thinkware’s Energy Saving Parking mode saves a 20-sec video clip only after an impact has been detected. This allows the U3000 to reduce its power consumption and remain in Parking mode for a longer duration.

On top of that, the Thinkware U3000 also adds a built-in RADAR sensor to its unit, enabling energy-saving mode 2.0. Yup, it is what you’re thinking — that external RADAR module that costs more is now built-in to the U3000. This means that when a person or vehicle is detected in a low-power recording situation, the U3000 immediately wakes up and starts recording. Best of all, it’s not just equipped in the front cam, but on the rear camera as well, an industry first. There’s a lot to say about the U3000’s recording modes – the features, old and new, are crucial in keeping the dash cam’s life protected. We also love how Thinkware’s made parking mode activation more convenient by including an OBD-II power cable in every package. If you wish to hardwire it, you can still get a separate Thinkware hardwiring kit.

Comparing them, we think that VIOFO’s parking mode options are much more standard. Just like the previous VIOFO models, the A139 Pro still carries the standard parking mode capabilities – Auto-Event Detection with buffered recording, Low Bitrate Recording, and Time-Lapse Recording. Still, the A139 Pro does have an advantage in parking mode, that being that it can have all 3 cameras on the lookout for incidents at once. Still, recording 3 cameras in parking mode will increase the power draw from the camera, on top of the difference between Thinkware’s more energy-efficient modes. To activate this, you have to purchase a separate HK3-C or HK4 hardwiring kit.

Overall, we are convinced that the Thinkware U3000 has more recording features to ensure your dash cam and car’s 24/7, all-year-long protection, highlighted by its new Smart Parking Mode and Energy Saving recordings.

Thinkware U1000 vs. VIOFO A139 Pro Connectivity Features

Now, let’s cover the Connectivity features of the Thinkware U3000 and VIOFO A139 Pro. While both have dual-band 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi, and GPS, we found that the Thinkware U3000 goes another step higher with a new built-in Bluetooth feature.

While the VIOFO A139 Pro requires a Wi-Fi connection to connect to the app, the Thinkware U3000 has improved its Bluetooth connection so that it alone can be used to perform simple in-app actions like changing settings, overviewing parking mode events, and other basic functions.

On top of that, it also has Cloud connectivity, particularly through Thinkware CONNECTED. Through this, 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. It now has a full driving history map too, which can provide multiple months worth of driving data, if needed.

Though to be clear, the U3000 will still need an internet connection for the camera if you want to use the Thinkware Connected Cloud features. You’ll also need to have the unit in one of the more standard parking modes, as using the energy-saving mode with the radar will disable the cloud while parked, to conserve power.

Meanwhile, the VIOFO A139 Pro doesn’t have a Cloud service at all. Its app has an easy-to-understand interface, but users are only limited to activities such as watching footage, downloading them and sharing the videos to social networks. So if you wish to monitor your dash cam remotely, receive push notifications, send SOS messages, or generate driving reports, the Thinkware U3000 can serve you better than the A139 Pro. Apart from that, we’d like to note that the Thinkware U3000 also has ADAS and Safety Camera Alerts, which the A139 Pro doesn’t have either.

Thinkware U1000 vs. VIOFO A139 Pro Storage Capacity

We expected these dash cams to eat a lot of storage space, considering that both record in 4K. The Thinkware U3000 upgraded its storage capacity to up to 256 GB – unlike the previous U1000 that can only carry 128 GB. VIOFO made a strong statement in this segment, boasting a storage capacity of up to 512 GB – being the first VIOFO dash cam to have maximum space this big.

Thinkware U1000 vs. VIOFO A139 Pro Pricing

VIOFOs are known for their value-for-money offerings, so we are glad to see that they are giving drivers a chance to experience superior 4K and Sony STARVIS 2 performance without breaking the bank. The single-channel VIOFO is priced at $229.99 USD, while the dual-channel costs $299.99, and the three-channel is $369.99. Meanwhile, the Thinkware U3000 is placed under the premium dash cam category – and with all the high-tech features, the price is higher. True enough, the Thinkware U3000’s single-channel is priced at $429.99 USD, while the dual-channel is available at $549.99.

Verdict: Which is better? The Thinkware U3000 or the VIOFO A139 Pro?

We have done a couple of comparison reviews for the Thinkware U3000, and we must say that comparing it to a VIOFO A139 Pro is really tough. Aside from Sony STARVIS 2, we think that the pros of having a Thinkware U3000 are the solid tech advancements like 2k rear camera, Smart and Energy Saving Parking Modes, a built-in RADAR sensor, built-in Bluetooth, Thinkware Connected, ADAS and Safety Camera alerts, plus the peace of mind of having a premium dash cam that’s built to last in the long run.

Don’t get us wrong – we also love the quality of VIOFOs, and we trust how the A139 Pro can perform remarkably well. We have witnessed how superior the quality of its video recordings are compared to the U3000, and nothing can beat the value that it offers for its price with its multiple channel configurations. Sure, the features are quite basic compared to the U3000, but we can say that the A139 Pro is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a budget-friendly 4K option. However, if you want more advanced features, the Thinkware U3000 is the dash cam to go to. You may have to spend more on it, but the features and durability of the brand makes the purchase worthwhile.

Thinkware U3000 vs. VIOFO A139 Pro Dash Cam Comparison Specs

Specs Thinkware U3000 VIOFO A139 Pro

Video Resolution (Front + Rear)

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

4K UHD @ 30 FPS | 1080P @ 30 FPS
| 1080P @ 30 FPS

Image Sensor (F, R, I)

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

8MP Front Sony STARVIS 2 +
2 MP Rear and Interior Sony STARVIS
Sensors

Field of View (F|R|I)

158° | 128°

140° | 170° | 170°

GPS

Built-in

Built-in

Parking Mode

Yes

Yes

Radar Sensor

Built-in

Built-in

G-Sensor

Yes

Yes

Operating Temperature

-10°C - 60°C (14°F - 140°F)

-20°C - 65°C (-4°F - 149°F)

Loop Recording

Yes

Yes

Max SD Card

256GB

512GB

LCD Screen

None

None

Wi-Fi

Yes

Yes

Cloud Connectivity

Yes

No

ADAS | Safety Camera Alerts

Yes

No

Microphone

Built-in

Built-in

Speaker

Built-in

Built-in

Country of Origin

South Korea

China

Manufacturer Warranty

1-Year Manufacturer Warranty

1-Year Manufacturer Warranty

Thinkware or VIOFO? Which suits you best?

The Thinkware U3000 and VIOFO A139 Pro are both available at Exclusive Signature Bundle offers. If you wish to make the most out of these year’s best-selling 4K dash cams, check out our U3000 Bundle and A139 Pro Bundle and enjoy more savings on your shopping!