BlackVue DR500GW-HD

Pittasoft BlackVue DR500GW-HD WiFi

The Pittasoft BlackVue DR500GW-HD WiFi is a new dash cam released for the start of 2013.  This DVR is manufactured the Korean company Pittasoft.  Like most Korean built dash cams and there are not many  clones / fakes available.

While many owners have been disappointed with the BlackVue DR400G-HD and BlackVue DR400G-HD II due to reliability issues (particularly overheating), there is optimism that DR500GW-HD will not suffer from the same issues. Note that the DR500GW-HD does not replace the DR400G-HD II (even though Pittasoft should be well aware of the problems with that cam).

The DR500GW-HD has a few new features.  The camera is covered with over 50 cooling holes.

Pittasoft BlackVue DR500GW-HD WiFi Cooling Holes

Note that some owners of the DR400G-HD II have drilled holes into the case but have not seen any reduction in the overheating issue.  Hopefully Pittasoft has done more than just adding cooling holes to address the overheating issue.

The camera is also larger than the DR400G-HD at 118.5 x 36mm (vs 102 x 32mm).  Perhaps the larger size allows for a better layout of internal components or some heat dissipation devices

The DR500GW-HD comes with WI-FI capability.  This allows the user to view videos (live and recorded) on a WI-FI capable device like a Smartphone.  There are apps available for Android and iPhone.  Another improvement is that the camera is black in color making it less noticeable from outside the vehicle.

From a video quality perspective, this version is quite similar to the DR400G-HD models.  It can record HD video (1080p at 30FPS) and the picture quality is excellent in the day.  Night video appears to be good as well. However many users complain of pixelation / macroblocking when recording scenes with a lot of moving items (trees and leaves are a big problem).  This is due to the 7.5Mbps maximum bit rate of the camera. NOTE:  Bitrate has been increased 10Mbps with firmware v1.008 which gives improved video quality but does not eliminate the problem.  Hacked versions of the firmware allow for the bit rate to be increased and this dramatically reduces / eliminates this problem.

The camera still uses a 2MP sensor but he haven’t been able to confirm if it uses the Texas Instruments TMS320DM368 Digital Media System-on-Chip.

The DR500GW-HD does not come with an LCD screen given its small size but once it is set up and installed, there is no need to move it around.  You can also use the Wi-Fi capability to set the angle correctly.  The built-in GPS records the vehicle speed and status information, which can be synchronized with Google Map to display the driving path.

This dash camera also has a G-sensor and parking mode.  If you are using parking mode, you may want to consider a Battery Discharge Prevention Device.

Comparison with DR400G-HD II

Here are some pictures comparing the size of the DR400G-HD II (on the left) with the DR500GW-HD (on the right).

DR500GW-HD WiFi  Compared with DR400G-HD II 1

DR500GW-HD WiFi  Compared with DR400G-HD II 2

DR500GW-HD WiFi  Compared with DR400G-HD II 3

Known problems

While the original DR400G-HD and the DR400G-HD II were plagued with reliability problems, the DR500GW-HD is a new design.  This camera has been released for a while now and there have been a few problems identified by users.

Macroblocking / Pixelation

The main problem is macroblocking or pixelation.  This is due to the 10Mbps maximum bit rate of the camera.  Hacked versions of the firmware allow for the bit rate to be increased and this dramatically reduces / eliminates this problem.  The custom firmware can be obtained from one of our members Mio.  See this thread for more details.

Virus

Some owners have complained that the SD card came with a virus.  Typically the Conficker.B Worm or Win32.TrojanDownloader.Fraudload.  There is a belief that the computer in Korea that tests the cameras and writes the firmware is infected.  It would be wise to scan the SD card with an antivirus program before using.

Video Quality

There have been occasional complaints of poor video quality, beyond the pixealation problem.  Replacement cameras appear to solve the problem.  Might just be an occasional quality control issue but we will keep a lookout to see if this problem is more pronounced.

Some owners complain that the angle of the lens is too wide resulting in poorer video quality.

Mounting the Camera

Standard Mount

Pittasoft BlackVue DR500GW-HD WiFi Mount 1

Pittasoft BlackVue DR500GW-HD WiFi Mount 2

Pittasoft BlackVue DR500GW-HD WiFi Mount 3

Disassembling the dash cam

DR500GW-HD WiFi  Internal 1

DR500GW-HD WiFi  Internal 2

DR500GW-HD WiFi  Internal 3

Sample Videos

Day Video

Night Video

Comparison Video at Night compared to FineVu CR-500HD and FineVu Pro

BlackVue PC and Mac Players

The latest BlackVue player for the PC is v2.032

The latest BlackVue player for the Mac is v1.002.

The following file contains all of the SD Card Contents including the BlackVue player.

SD Card Contents

Should I Purchase?

The design, video quality and features for the BlackVue DR500GW-HD are very good.  The BlackVue cameras are very popular due to these reasons.  The only real outstanding question is reliability.  Reliability appears better than the previous versions.  The biggest problem is the macroblocking / pixelation.  This could be fixed with a hacked firmware but this will likely void the warranty.  Going back to the original firmware may not be possible or may brick the device.  Overall, video quality could be better for the price   See our complete comparison on the dash cam comparison page.

Where to purchase for lowest price

This camera is available on Amazon and eBay right now for approximately $300.

It is available on Amazon, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.de

dreamseller on eBay has this dash cam for sale

BlackVue has provided a list of authorized dealers.  Prices are more expensive but may offer piece of mind for some purchasers.

The DR500GW-HD was part of a Mass Drop group buy for $239.  It was quite popular so future group-buys might occur as well.

Firmware

WARNING!  MAKING CHANGES TO YOUR FIRMWARE ARE PERFORMED AT YOUR OWN RISK.  WE ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY DAMAGE TO YOUR DASH CAM AS A RESULT OF THESE INSTRUCTIONS.

Firmware Update Instructions

  1. You must use an SD-Card reader to perform this operation.  Do not attempt to do this directly on the dash cam.
  2. Insert the micro SD card into your PC.
  3. Download the desired firmware from the section below.
  4. Double click the firmware upgrade file. Follow the onscreen instructions.
  5. Insert the microSD card with the newly downloaded firmware into your BlackVue. Please make sure it is turned off.
  6. Turn on the Blackvue. The firmware will automatically update. Please ensure there is a constant power supply during the upgrade.
  7. Use your dash cam with the latest firmware.

Latest Firmware

The latest English firmware can be downloaded from the BlackVue site.

Previous Firmware

DR500GW-HD_v1.005E(2013_0315)_Setup.zip

User Manual

You can download the manual here.

Specifications

BlackVue DR500GW
Price$270
Read Review
ManufacturerPittasoft
CountryKorea
Specifications
ProcessorTexas Instruments TMS320DM368
CMOS
Channels1
Screen
GPS
G-Sensor
Wi-Fi
Parking Mode
Lock FilesAuto
Video
Max Resolution1080p 30fps
Max Bitrate (Mbps)10
Video FormatMP4
CompressionH.264
Diagonal Viewing Angle156°
Recording
SD Card TypeMicroSD
Max Size (Spec)32GB
Max Size (User)64GB
Other
Size (mm)119 x 36
MountAdhesive
Power Supply12V
Operating Temp-20˚C to 70˚C
BatteryCapacitor
Release DateNov 2012
AppsPC, OSX, Android, iOS
Unique FeaturesBuffers video in parking mode (saves 5 seconds before impact / motion detection and 55 seconds after)
Rating
AdvantagesGood form factor
Decent reliability
Buffers in parking mode
DisadvantagesPixelation problem when lots of moving objects
Expensive
Video Day
Video Night
Reliability
Size / Discreetness
Price
Available Support
Overall Rating
Final WordWiFi is great but bitrate causes pixelation in some settings.

Published: January 4, 2013

Last Updated:  August 29, 2013