Blueskysea B1W Budget 1080p Wi-Fi Dashcam Review

Paul Iddon

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Nextbase 612GW, Z-Edge Z3 Plus
#1
The camera arrived in a tidy but plain brown box - and contained the following:

The dashcam, 1 adhesive 3M mount (with 2 spare sticky pads), a power cable for your cigarette lighter socket, a micro USB cable, a small cleaning cloth and the manual. There is no memory card supplied. The dashcam is bullet shaped and a stealth model, measuring just 90mm x29mm x 38mm in size.





It's a nice simple looking dashcam, which I like the style of. The camera itself can be rotated through 360° so you can see what the kids have been up to if you want when they create havoc in the back! The lens is 150° wide angle lens, which some may find advantageous or might find too extreme. It does however give a full wide view of the road and for me, the corners of my car! It fixes directly to your windscreen via the built in mount.





The manual tell us that the camera has the Novatek GM8135S chipset, a 150° 6G Lens with two resolutions of 1920x1080p @ 30fps and also 1280x720p @ 30fps, for video at H.264 / MP4 .

The camera has a built in microphone, which is proficient (though I always leave the mic off) and on the end is a (lock) button to protect files, which also switches the wi-fi on or off with a long press. The power light glows red when the unit is powered up, and this goes green when recording begins. There is a nicely toned voice notification for recording, and this confirms also that a memory card is in place. Nice little touch. The voice notification is only in English though.



On the opposite end from the lock button you will find the socket for the power cable, and the slot for the micro SD card (maximum capacity is 64GB). These two are very close together which for me means unplugging the power lead to remove the card should I want to take the card to my PC.



Once in place in the car, the dashcam sits nicely at the top of the windscreen - it's small profile keeping it less obvious than larger dashcams.




The camera features a G-Sensor and a Parking mode (which requires a hardwire kit). Video can be recorded in 1, 3, and 5 minute lengths, and features loop recording if your memory card gets full.

Working temp purports to be from -20° to +70°.

You have the option to show the date and time (on by default) and the audio is set to ON by default, and the refresh rate has 2 option of 50 or 60 HZ.

I think the APP is very good - and it is through this that you apply all your choices.



In the above image you can see three bars which take you into the list of menu options to set up time and date (it's great for that, because a single press syncs the dashcam to the correct time in date instantly). Here too you can change the resolution, video length, mic on or off (you can mute the mic on the view screen on your phone within the main screen of the app) and change the refresh rate, change the wifi password and more - including formatting your memory card. It all works very well and very quickly.



It's a really nice app!

On to the video now, and given that the dashcam is aimed at the budget market, I think it does a decent job. One thing I did notice is that the video produce is rather on the blue side - noticeable especially at night. When you are close to vehicles ahead of you, the view is clear and nicely sharp, but the clarity falls off as vehicles are further away. This is expected. The camera has no HDR function of course, and this means that bright lights especially at night do fail to hold detail. Then unit is relatively inexpensive and this is reflected in the overall video quality - which if anything, may be too over-sharpened - which leads to some artefacts (look at road surfaces when stationary). License plates are blurred at even slow speeds but there is plenty of detail when stationary or moving very slowly, again, this is what I would expect to be the case.

Here are some video files (on YouTube, so some compression is going to be applied by the hosts).

First up are filmed in daylight :

Nice splash through the puddle in this...


This is clip which include the aftermath of a car's collision with a traffic light at the end. Driver had minor injuries, nothing serious but there are extensive delays from temporary lights while the main lights are repaired...



Finally, footage filmed at night - the first as it rained hard which impacted the video:


This one is on a journey to the shops (getting supplies of pain killers - i.e. 4 cans of beer for when I watch Everton (unless we win then it's 4 cans of celebratory ale!) for after this review is posted!).



My opinion then is that you get an reasonably decent dashcam that will be suitable to introduce to to the dashcam world, particularly if you want a stealth model to keep it low profile. It's not in the same league as my other 2 dashcams, though they cost more than double, and 5 times the retail price of the B1W. I would score this dashcam at 7.5/10 in the general market (but 9/10 in the budget market it is aimed at).

I really like the APP, which is simple and intuitive and makes integration of what you want the dashcam to do very straightforward. The app is available for Android < on Google Play and for IOS.

The dashcam can be bought from Amazon UK on the bold link to the left.
 
Last edited:

Nigel

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#2
The $50 B1W is surprisingly good at recording number plates, I've compared it with the $130 Mini 0906 and Gitup F1 recording in 4K resolution and the B1W actually wins a lot of the time!

If you are looking for cinematic video quality for making your holiday movies then it is pretty poor, skies are frequently over exposed and the low bitrate results in poor background detail and refresh rates, but as an accident camera those issues don't really matter, it does very well. Also the memory cards store nearly 6 times the length of video compared to the Gitup F1!

The difference seems to be a result of how the codec chooses what to throw away when compressing the video, its Grain Media processor contains a different codec to those used by the Novatec processor in the 0906 and the Amberella processor in the F1, both of which are designed for action camera use. The B1W would make a pretty poor action camera, maybe it's processor was designed more for security camera use where detail is more important than colour accuracy and smooth update rate. The B1W also seems to have a sharpening algorithm that enhances fine detail while the other two destroy fine detail when sharpening.

The first video is uploaded at 4K resolution since the F1 was recording at 4K. If you are watching on a 1080 resolution screen then you can't see the full detail of the F1 so watch the second video which was uploaded at 1080 resolution and where I have zoomed the F1 image in x2 so that they are all at native resolution and you can see the difference resulting from 4K but can only see the centre half of the F1 image.


Mini 0906 | Gitup F1 4K | Blueskysea B1W @4K


Mini 0906 Dual dashcam - IMX 291 1080 Starvis sensor,
Gitup F1 Action camera - IMX 317 4K sensor,
Blueskysea B1W - IMX 323 1080 sensor.

  • Video uploaded at 4K resolution since the F1 is 4K, the other 2 are upscaled from 1080 to 4K.
  • The conditions are not good for filming, being November, driving into a low sun with dark shadows, but good for testing.
  • The B1W is less than half the cost of the others, yet at times has the most readable number plates!
  • The F1 has the clouds correctly exposed at all times unlike the other two.
  • The F1 has no lens reflections unlike the other two.
  • The B1W isn't affected by scratches on the glass made by the window wipers due to it being mounted above the area covered by the wipers, thus it doesn't have the white halo lines from the sun, instead it has a few rain drops and some dirt from dried rain drops. Dashcams can't expect perfectly smooth and clean glass in real life!
  • The Gitup F1 is the only camera with a standard "29.970 (30000/1001) FPS" frame rate, the media info on the original videos shows the B1W with "30.000 FPS Variable", and the 0906 with "31.250 FPS "! They were merged at 30fps and as a result play smoothly without dropped frames but don't stay perfectly in synchronisation!
  • Bitrates on the original videos were 0906 - 20.2 Mb/s, F1 - 72.7 Mb/s, B1W - 12.5 Mb/s.

Mini 0906 | Gitup F1 4K | Blueskysea B1W @FHD with x2 zoom on F1

  • Video uploaded at 1080 resolution, the Gitup F1 was recording at 4K resolution, it has been zoomed in x2 so that all three are shown at native resolution when viewed at 1080. On the original video the Gitup F1 has twice the horizontal field of view shown, similar to the other two.
  • I was expecting him to reverse 3 meters, then pull forward and into the side!
 
Last edited:

SawMaster

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#4
It does seem to give a good accounting of itself in capturing details :)

Phil
 

speuk

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#5
Received mine on Thursday last week so only three days of use so far. I'm currently testing alongside my Mini 0906. Early days but initial thoughts are good value for money at £49.99. I was sceptical about it being 1080p at 30fps but on checking codec it is indeed 1080p 30fps.

Parking Guard works by recording when G Sensor is triggered. I currently have this set to medium and this triggers when tailgate is opened. Will try it on high next.

It is a bit of a pain to remember to manually start/stop video recording to switch between parking mode and normal recording. The first time I parked I forgot so it recorded all day while parked at the station. Interestingly it did not trigger battery protection or cause a battery discharging warning on the BMW idrive which the 0906 does from time to time so I'm guessing current draw is low.

It would be useful to have the option to flip video as power lead is at one end and not the right end to suit me.

Video quality is good but not quite as good as the 0906. The lens is a little more fish eyed than the 0906 and I miss not having a cpl filter to cut reflctions.

Audio quality seems poor so far but with test again.

I'll test more thoroughly over the coming weeks and compare more closely against the video quality from the 0906 and try and post some video clips
 

TonyM

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#6
The B1W holds up very well at night compared to the similarly-priced Mobius 1, and the more expensive A119. Here the Sony sensor in the B1W delivers good colours and contrast, whereas the A119 appears a bit soft and lacking detail. The M1 still puts on a good show with a fair amount of detail - compare the grass on the left in the second screenshot. The higher contrast and sharpening on the B1W do sometimes obscure the finer detail that the other cameras capture, but overall its performance is very good.

I did notice that the B1W drops 1 in 6 frames, so it appears to be recording at 25fps rather than 30fps. I will check my PAL/NTSC settings on the camera.

upload_2017-11-28_11-0-6.png

upload_2017-11-28_11-2-25.png

Mobius 1 / B1W / A119 night comparison

Mobius 1 - 1080p30
B1W - 1080p30 (1080p25?)
A119 - 1440p30
 

Nigel

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#7
I did notice that the B1W drops 1 in 6 frames, so it appears to be recording at 25fps rather than 30fps. I will check my PAL/NTSC settings on the camera.
The 6th frame is a duplicate of the 5th, so as you say it is recording at 25 fps but writing 30fps to the video files, the video files are also marked as variable frame rate which I haven't quite understood, not sure it always writes 30fps?
 

TonyM

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#8
The 6th frame is a duplicate of the 5th, so as you say it is recording at 25 fps but writing 30fps to the video files, the video files are also marked as variable frame rate which I haven't quite understood, not sure it always writes 30fps?
I'm going to investigate further with day & night recordings. I notice the A119 drops frames too. So far only my Mobius cameras stick rigidly to their pre-set FPS. Even at night the M2 will stick to 1080p60, whereas the A119 when set to 1080p60 drops to 1080p30.
 

Nigel

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#9
I'm going to investigate further with day & night recordings. I notice the A119 drops frames too. So far only my Mobius cameras stick rigidly to their pre-set FPS. Even at night the M2 will stick to 1080p60, whereas the A119 when set to 1080p60 drops to 1080p30.
Dropping from 60 to 30 is normal, the only cameras I have that don't are the Gitup cameras, dropping to 25fps in low light is unusual but it does help to see a little better in the dark, although it also gives more motion blur which is not so good. It is difficult to test it in bright light in the current UK weather! I can't find any video which is consistently 30fps, although some is more than 25fps.
 

TonyM

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#10
Dropping from 60 to 30 is normal, the only cameras I have that don't are the Gitup cameras, dropping to 25fps in low light is unusual but it does help to see a little better in the dark, although it also gives more motion blur which is not so good. It is difficult to test it in bright light in the current UK weather! I can't find any video which is consistently 30fps, although some is more than 25fps.
Well, as I mentioned, the Mobius 1 will do constant 30fps and the Mobius 2 will do constant 60fps even in the darkest conditions. However it might be better if they did drop the frame-rate to improve the exposure, rather than ramp up the gain to maintain those frame rates which is what happens at the moment.
 

TonyM

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#11
I did notice that the B1W drops 1 in 6 frames, so it appears to be recording at 25fps rather than 30fps. I will check my PAL/NTSC settings on the camera.
The 6th frame is a duplicate of the 5th, so as you say it is recording at 25 fps but writing 30fps to the video files, the video files are also marked as variable frame rate which I haven't quite understood, not sure it always writes 30fps?
There is no PAL/NTSC toggle on the B1W. There is a 50Hz/60Hz toggle, presumably to avoid flickering lights rather than set the video frame rate. I've tried changing this from 50Hz to 60Hz but it is still duplicating every 5th frame, (1,2,3,4,5,5,1,2,3,4,5,5...)
 

Nigel

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#12
There is no PAL/NTSC toggle on the B1W. There is a 50Hz/60Hz toggle, presumably to avoid flickering lights rather than set the video frame rate. I've tried changing this from 50Hz to 60Hz but it is still duplicating every 5th frame, (1,2,3,4,5,5,1,2,3,4,5,5...)
It doesn't always duplicate the 5th frame, if you can find some bright sunlight video then you will see it do better, might be difficult given the current UK lighting conditions!
 

Karlak

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#13
Just received mine and initial thoughts are that for the money, it is well built and feels pretty substantial. Agree with the comments above about the App, seems very slick and easy to use. Will post some vids once I have had a chance to get some footage. Very stealthy install and would be an ideal rear facing Cam.
 
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Paul Iddon

Paul Iddon

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#14
I just did another interesting little test.

A question was how far away from the dashcam could I get and still see the recording image live and uninterrupted on the screen on my mobile...

The vid below shows an old bloke on a cold, cold morning (it was -5 degrees out there). I watched the display on my phone and it reached the car on the opposite end of the car park though I think it kinda paused at the max distance on my phone screen. I think it would be a good estimation to say there was maybe 10 car park space widths between the dashcam and where the live video remained active on screen. You'll have to see if you can convert that in to relative distance but you'll get a good idea from the visuals... To much for brain to do the maths, lol...

 

TonyM

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#15
I just did another interesting little test.

A question was how far away from the dashcam could I get and still see the recording image live and uninterrupted on the screen on my mobile...

The vid below shows an old bloke on a cold, cold morning (it was -5 degrees out there). I watched the display on my phone and it reached the car on the opposite end of the car park though I think it kinda paused at the max distance on my phone screen. I think it would be a good estimation to say there was maybe 10 car park space widths between the dashcam and where the live video remained active on screen. You'll have to see if you can convert that in to relative distance but you'll get a good idea from the visuals... To much for brain to do the maths, lol...

Thanks for the test - I was considering doing something similar. I'm going to leave the B1W in the car parked outside, then see if I can pick up the video stream sitting inside my house.
 

dash riposki

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#16
With most of these wifi equipped dashcams, I've been able to see the cam signal 100-150 feet or more away, but not able to actually connect.
I've tried multiple times with the cam parked outside a restaurant, etc.
 

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