Complete Review 2Ch Thinkware F550/FXD900 1080p Sony CMOS + 720p (BCH-300). GPS Logger. 24/7 Parking

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  1. niko

    niko Well-Known Member Retailer

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    Inavi Thinkware is one of the strongest and well known dashcamera brand names on Korean market.

    Thinkware F550, aka FXD900 on Korean market.

    Thinkware F550 Dual Channel ( F550 Front + BCH-300 Rear cam)

    It's a world first 2 channel dashcam with Dual Save technology and Sony Exmor CMOS sensor. It was presented at the end of April 2013 in Korea under Inavi FXD900 Mach. Despite its out over 1.5y, it's still going strong and within this time it has matured and gained popularity in many countries ( especially in Korea ).


    Front camera 1080p ( Sony Exmor CMOS ) + rear camera BCH-300* ( 720p ).

    Low profile design of main unit and small rear camera size allows quite discrete installation.

    Built in supercaps ( capacitors ) battery alternative for fails-safe operation even in extreme temperatures conditions. 24/7 parking monitoring recording ( motion- and g-sensor rec. ). Built in GPS receiver for data logging. Dual Save technology records to the MicroSD card as well as internal memory in the event of a crash.


    Main features

    • FullHD + HD video with several different quality options
    • WDR ( Wide Dynamic Range )
    • Front camera 140 degree ( diagonal )
    • Rear camera 120 degree ( diagonal )
    • date/time stamp on the videos
    • Built-in GPS receiver for data ( location, speed ).
    • 4 recording modes: Continuous (normal operation), Manual (if you wish to record something and ensure you keep it), Event recording (crash/accident/impact), and Parking Surveillance Mode records your vehicle if motion detection or hit and runs occurred while it’s parked.
    • Rear camera ( optional )
    • Front Security LED, which is visible to outside and may warn that the dash cam is enabled and in use, which can help to prevent break ins. LED can be turned On / Off.
    • Voice recording ( On / Off )
    • Dual Save © technology, records to the MicroSD card as well as internal memory in the event of a crash.
    • The Active Impact Monitoring System uses a 3-axis G-Sensor to continuously monitor any impact to the vehicle, and triggers the incident recording mode whenever an impact is occurred.
    • Battery Voltage and Timer Settings monitoring for Parking Mode.
    • Can be used on all vehicles with 12 or 24 Volt.
    • THINKWARE PC Viewer allows you to access the recorded videos with time, speed, and location data on your PC or Mac computer. You may also use the application to configure the device, as well as accessing firmware upgrades.

    Advanced Video Clearing Technology for Auto Image Correction.

    With the Sony Exmor CMOS image sensor, the Advanced Video Clearing Technology automatically adjusts the level of exposure, contrast, and image noise to improve video quality in bad weather conditions or at night.


    Intelligent Auto Exposure
    The F550 is equipped with an automatic exposure control which always ensures ideal exposure and superb image quality in any lighting conditions.

    Smart Focusing System
    A combination of a high performance camera and the Sony Exmor CMOS image sensor makes sure that the recorded video footages are always accurately focused for maximum clarity even in rain or foggy conditions.

    Noise Reduction System

    The Advanced Noise Reduction System improves video quality by removing unwanted noise that occurs when driving in a tunnel or at night.
    - ACCE (Adaptive Colour & Contrast Enhancement)
    - ACCE automatically adapts to the surrounding environment and adjusts the image color and contrast level to enhance video quality.

    Recording Videos While Parked

    This feature is available only when the dashcam has been hardwired direct to the vehicle battery. Separate purchase is required for the hardwiring cable accessory and installation is required.

    - Incident Recording
    When the dash cam detects impact while parked, it will immediately store the previous 10 seconds prior to impact and start recording video for next 10 seconds which is then saved in a secure location on the microSD card under folder named “parking_rec”.

    - Motion Detection Recording
    The dashcam and optional rear view camera are both equipped with motion detectors which are used to detect motion that initiates video recording while the vehicle is parked.
    When the dash cam detects impact or motion while parked, it will immediately store the previous 10 seconds prior to impact or motion and start recording video for next 10 seconds after the "motion is gone" from camera FOV, which is then saved in a secure location on the microSD card under folder named “motion_rec”.

    - Manual Recording
    In addition to recording accidents, the dash cam allows the user to initiate manual recording mode to capture scenery and/or places while driving. This feature can also be used to save video as witness where the installed vehicle is not directly involved in an accident. Video files saved during manually recording mode are stored in a separate location on the memory card and will be protected from video overwriting in continuous recording mode.

    Probably one of the unique features on F550 is Dual SaveTM (Internal Memory Backup)
    Dual Save is a Thinkware proprietary technology that utilizes built-in memory as secure backup in addition to microSD memory card. Dual Save technology guarantees incident video recording using internal memory in case of an accident that causes damage to the microSD memory card.

    - Press and hold REC button and Capture Still Images button at the same time for 3 seconds to copy incident recording from microSD memory card to internal Dual Save memory.
    - When Dual Save is activated, it will immediately store the previous 4 seconds prior to impact and start recording video for next 2 seconds for total of 6 second video clip.

    Another interesting feature is Road Safety Warning System
    Using embedded GPS and road data, related road safety information will be notified to the driver. Unfortunately this feature may not be available in some countries.


    Technical Specifications

    F550 Specifications.jpg

    F550 Overveiw

    F550 overview and specs.jpg


    Unboxing



    Main unit F550 box content ( basic set )

    Thinkware F550 Packaging (1).jpg


    - Main Dashcam unit
    - Mount with 3M tape
    - 3.9 metre Car cigarette lighter charger with L-shape micro usb connector.
    - 5 x Adhesive cable holder / clips
    - 16Gb MicroSD card with SD adapter. Can use up to 32Gb Fat32 or 64Gb Fat32*
    - USB MicroSD card reader
    - Spare 3M tape for F550 bracket / mount
    - Quick Start Quide / Warranty / User Manual ( English )

    P.S. 32Gb MicroSD card is maximum size of memory card that can be used on F550 ( read from specs and user manual ).
    I have tested 64Gb MicroSD card formatted from exFat to Fat32 and it also works fine, does overwrite files and no issues within few weeks of use when I tested 64Gb. However I can not say how it will behave over longer period, so it is recommended to stick to what recommended by manufacturer, 32Gb !

    User manual / PC Viewer and latest Firmware can be downloaded from HERE


    F550 Unboxed 1.jpg

    F550 Unboxed 2.jpg

    F550 Main unit Front Camera (1).jpg

    F550 Main unit Front Camera (2).jpg

    F550 Main unit Front Camera (3).jpg





    - MicroSD card + SD card adapter / reader with Thinkware logo
    - 3M cable clips
    - MicroSD card USB reader

    MicroSD and Reader.jpg

    Cigarette Lighter Power Adapter ( 3.9m long )

    - Input 12/24V Car Cigarette lighter Charger ( 20AWG cable )
    - Output 5V / 2Amp
    Cigarette Lighter Power Adapter.jpg
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2014
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  2. niko

    niko Well-Known Member Retailer

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    Accessories ( sold separately )
    - Rear camera
    - Hardwiring Cable
    - Mount

    Packaging

    Thinkware F550 Packaging (2).jpg

    Thinkware F550 Packaging (3).jpg

    Thinkware F550 Packaging (4).jpg


    Rear camera BCH-350
    Rear camera video cable has L-shape MCX connectors, which makes rear camera installation quite discrete.
    Total video cable length of rear camera is 6 metre.
    Cable has from both ends a ferrite choke to eliminate video signal interference.

    F550 Rear Camera (1).jpg

    F550 Rear Camera (2).jpg

    F550 Rear Camera (3).jpg

    F550 Rear Camera (4).jpg


    Rear camera size comparison to match box.
    F550 Rear Camera (5).jpg
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2014
  3. niko

    niko Well-Known Member Retailer

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    MCX connector

    MCX Connector (1).JPG

    MCX Connector (2).JPG

    MCX Connector (3).JPG

    MCX Connector (4).JPG


    F550 Spare mount
    F550 spare mount can be used in case you have two cars and want to use F550 both cars.

    F550 Spare mount.jpg


    Hardwiring Cable PA-5
    Hardwiring cable is needed if you want to use F550 for 24/7 parking surveillance mode recording.

    - L-shape Micro USB connector
    - Input 12/24V, ( 3-wire: ACC, Battery, Ground )
    - Output 5V, 2Amp,
    - about 4 metre long
    - two ferrite chokes

    Hard wiring cable (1).jpg

    Hard wiring cable (2).jpg

    Hardwiring cable is truly a high quality built, with thick cables, ferrite chokes etc. The only "confuse" I found is not match of labels "Made in Korea" on the packaging box and "Made in China" of fuse box. Yes, nower days 9/10 electronics and / or accessories are made in China, we all know that. China makes different quality: low-, mid- and high-end products. But if branded product is Made in China, it is confusing to find mismatch of writing on the box vs what is actually on sticker. It's is minor "issue".
    Yes, I know I am probably being a little bit too picky, but because Thinkware brand is considered as a high-end, high-priced brand, thats why I am pointing out this small "issue" which is may be sort of misleading to end buyer.

    Hard wiring cable (3).jpg

    Hard wiring cable (4).jpg


    F550 Main unit size comparison to other dashcams

    F550 Size Comparison.jpg
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2014
  4. niko

    niko Well-Known Member Retailer

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    Mounted in car ( Front + Rear camera )

    Main unit ( front camera ) best mounting position ( in my car) is from the right side of the rearview mirror arm windscreen mount just below the sunshade dotted area. Lens shell almost sticks to the rearview mirror arm.
    In case I want to remove main unit, I can slide it out to the right. If you will mount unit from the left side of the rearview mirror arm, it will be difficult to slide-in / out. Of course it's all depends on the car make / model rearview mirror arm position. Most important is to mount as close to the centre of the windshield as possible and the way that it can be slide in / out easily and not too high to the car ceiling, because MicroSD card is located at the top of the main unit, so you need to leave at least 2-3 cm free space from the car ceiling in order to have access to memory card.

    Front ( main unit )

    Thinkware F550 InCar Front (1).jpg

    Thinkware F550 InCar Front (2).jpg

    Thinkware F550 InCar Front (3).jpg


    Rear camera

    Thinkware F550 InCar Rear (2).jpg

    Thinkware F550 InCar Rear (3).jpg


    In-car test

    Booting-up from Parking mode to Driving Mode.
    Voice Guidance Commands.




    It takes about 70 seconds to "boot-up" from parking mode to driving mode recording. After boot-up is finished, the voice guidance says "GPS Connected, Continuous recording will now start, During Parking mode - motion detection over (10) ... and, event detection recording ... (2) occurred".

    Voice Guidance can be turned ON or OFF from the main unit.


    Buttons and Voice Guidance test




    Driving to Parking Mode recording takes 30 sec




    MicroSD Card content

    MicroSD Card content.jpg

    PC Viewer

    To playback videos, you need to insert memory card from F550 into your PC / Laptop memorycard reader and for quick view you may use VLC Media player. It can playback front and rear camera videos at the same time in two split-screens.

    For more advanced playback you need to download Thinkware Dashcam PC viewer, where you may also adjust dashcamera settings.

    PC Viewer has basic functions of playback where you may pause / play / stop / save / zoom in-out video footage. View GPS logger data ( location and vehicle speed ), view front and rear camera recordings at the same time and switch ( swap ) main big screen view. between front and rear cameras.



    PC Viewer.jpg

    Thinkware Dashcam Viewer (1).jpg

    Thinkware Dashcam Viewer (2).jpg

    Thinkware Dashcam Viewer (3).jpg

    Settings

    F550 has variety of advanced options which can be found only on high-end dashcamera systems, like
    - voltage and timer settings to stop recording in Parking Mode.
    - different Impact sensitivity between Normal- and Pakring mode
    - different video quality between Normal and Pakring mode ( selectable Video resolution, FPS, bitrate )

     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2014
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  5. niko

    niko Well-Known Member Retailer

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    VIDEOS Samples

    Not in all cases you can read vital data like car number plates, - it's all depends on light conditions, car speed and other factors. This rule applies not only to particular dash camera, but to ALL other dash cameras as well.

    Big factor at night regarding reading car numberplate is what type headlights bulbs are used in your car.
    Read here:Reading License Plates at Night. HID / Xenon, standard bulbs

    When watching a YouTube videos, please select 1080p from YouTube screen menu options at the bottom right corner.
    P.S. - YouTube compresses files / data, so it does not show real video result.
    You may also download RAW video files to watch real footage ( check below )


    Below are YouTube videos are only showing Front camera.

    Because Rear camera video is embedded into one file, in order to view rear camera video, you need to download a raw / original video file and playback it using a VLC Media player or Thinkware Dashcam PC Viewer.



    2 Channel ( Front + Rear Cam ) Raw / Original video: DOWNLOAD



    2 Channel ( Front + Rear Cam ) Raw / Original video: DOWNLOAD



    2 Channel ( Front + Rear Cam ) Raw / Original video: DOWNLOAD



    2 Channel ( Front + Rear Cam ) Raw / Original video: DOWNLOAD



    2 Channel ( Front + Rear Cam ) Raw / Original video: DOWNLOAD



    2 Channel ( Front + Rear Cam ) Raw / Original video: DOWNLOAD



    2 Channel ( Front + Rear Cam ) Raw / Original video: DOWNLOAD



    2 Channel ( Front + Rear Cam ) Raw / Original video: DOWNLOAD



    2 Channel ( Front + Rear Cam ) Raw / Original video: DOWNLOAD



    2 Channel ( Front + Rear Cam ) Raw / Original video: DOWNLOAD
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 19, 2015
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  6. niko

    niko Well-Known Member Retailer

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    2 Channel ( Front + Rear Cam ) Raw / Original video: DOWNLOAD



    2 Channel ( Front + Rear Cam ) Raw / Original video: DOWNLOAD



    2 Channel ( Front + Rear Cam ) Raw / Original video: DOWNLOAD



    2 Channel ( Front + Rear Cam ) Raw / Original video: DOWNLOAD


    SCREENSHOTS


    Front camera FOV
    ( field of view )
    3 FOV Front.jpg


    1A
    Day City Front Cam 1A Day City Front.jpg

    1B
    Day City Rear Cam
    1B Day City Rear.jpg



    2A Day City Front Cam
    2A Day City Front.jpg

    2B Day City Rear Cam
    2B Day City Rear.jpg



    3A Day City Front camera ( 50 km/h speed )
    5A Day City Front 50 kmh.jpg

    3B Day City Rear camera ( 50 km/h speed )
    5B Day City Rear 50 kmh.jpg


    4A Foggy Morning Front
    6A Foggy Morning Front.jpg

    4B Foggy Morning Rear
    6B Foggy Morning Rear.jpg


    Side view numberplates reading at low speed
    4 Side numberplates at low speed.jpg
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2014
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  7. niko

    niko Well-Known Member Retailer

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    Highway Front
    7A Highway Front.jpg

    Highway Rear
    7B Highway Rear.jpg


    Evening City Front
    8A Evening City Front.jpg

    Evening City Rear
    8B Evening City Rear.jpg


    Evening Highway Front
    9A Evening Highway Front.jpg

    Evening Highway Rear
    9B Evening Highway Rear.jpg


    Car Park Day Front
    10A CarPark Day Front.jpg

    Car Park Day Rear
    10B CarPark Day Rear.jpg


    Night City Front
    11A night Front.jpg

    Night City Rear
    11B Night Rear.jpg
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2014
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  8. niko

    niko Well-Known Member Retailer

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    Night Front
    12A Night Front.jpg

    Night Rear
    12B Night Rear.jpg


    Night Front 50 km/h
    13A Night Front 50 kmh.jpg

    Night Rear 50 km/h
    13B Night Rear 50 kmh.jpg


    Night Front
    14A Night Front.jpg

    Night Rear
    14B Night Rear.jpg


    Night Car Park Front
    15A Night CarPark Front.jpg

    Night Car Park Rear
    15B Night CarPark Rear.jpg


    Night Front
    16A Night Front.jpg

    Night Rear
    16B Nigth Rear.jpg
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2014
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  9. niko

    niko Well-Known Member Retailer

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    Motion Detection Recording while car is parked.

    Hardwiring cable ( PA-5 ) is needed if you want to use F550 for 24/7 parking surveillance mode recording.

    2Ch F550 records videos at same time from both cameras ( front + rear ) simultaneously no matter if motion is detected only in front or in rear.

    F550 buffering video recording 24/7 into the built in RAM memory.

    When the dash cam detects impact or motion while parked, it will immediately store the previous 10 seconds prior to impact or motion and start recording video for next 10 seconds after the "motion is gone" from camera FOV, which is then saved in a secure location on the microSD card under folder named “motion_rec”.


    Front camera






    Rear camera

    Because rear camera video is embedded into one files along with front camera, it is not possible to upload it to view on YouTube.

    HERE you may download a raw / original video file from front + rear camera motion detection recording, where motion is triggered by rear camera. You may watch this file by useing a VLC Media player.


    Video files properties "MediaInfo".

    Video format: AVI
    Video codec: H.264

    1 Channel ( Front camera only )
    Video resolution 1080p
    Frame rate: 29.970 Fps
    Bit-rate mode: Variable ( 10Mbps )

    1Ch F550.jpg


    2 Channel ( Front + Rear camera )

    Front camera
    Video resolution 1080p
    Frame rate: 29.970 Fps
    Bit-rate mode: Variable ( 10Mbps )

    Rear camera
    Video resolution 720p
    Frame rate: 29.970 Fps
    Bit-rate mode: Variable ( 6Mbps )

    2Ch F550.jpg


    Inside Thinkware F550

    Finally, lets look inside main unit for components and built / assembly quality.

    Inside Thinkware F550 (1).jpg

    Inside Thinkware F550 (2).jpg

    Inside Thinkware F550 (3).jpg

    Inside Thinkware F550 (4).jpg

    Inside Thinkware F550 (5).jpg

    Having experience with disassembly of many dozens dashcams ( low-, mid- and high-end ), I must admit that Thinkware ( F550 ) for sure is one of the highest built quality inside and outside. All casing components ( shell, buttons ,etc ) they are up to high standards, precise fit, no squeaks or "lag" when pushing a buttons. For sure they used a very expensive tooling / moulding to achieve such results.

    Internally ( PCB and other components, soldering quality etc. ) are also can be named as a state of the art work ( in dashcam world ). Everything is nice and clean, well engineered / designed and put together.

    After full disassembly of the main unit, only then I realized why Thinkware brand is positioned in the upper highest price range. Yes, most Thinkware dashcams are higher in price than competitors, but as they say: "You get what you pay", - for sure here price reflects a built quality.
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2014
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  10. niko

    niko Well-Known Member Retailer

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    Con's

    - very long booting-up, about 70 seconds.
    Even if hardwired to car ACC and Battery, it still takes very long time to boot-up and start recording.
    Lets say you start you car, put safety seatbelt on, start driving, it's all takes about 5-10 sec. For furthure 60 seconds of driving, the unit will not be recording, - this is quite risky not having 60 sec footage recorded ! The only way is to wait total 70 sec from car engine start to F550 boot-up before you start driving a car.

    - grey colour 3M double sided tape to attach mount to windshiel. Greay colour tape is more visible to outside than if it would be a black colour. I guess this is minor issue and can be resolved by buying and replacing 3rd party black colour doublesided tape

    - front camera ( main unit ) lens surrounding is silver / chrome colour, which makes whole unit more visible to outside and can attract attention of a bad guys. Yes, from fashion point of view it maybe looks nice and modern, but dashcam should be discrete. While overall design of main unit is quite well designed to be discrete, for some reasons designers decided to make one part of the unit silver, which does not make sense. Of cours best would be if whole unit would be black matte colour for maximum stealth effect. I believe those who are good in DIY, - they can paint whole unit to black matte, but it's extra hassle and not every "average Joe" will decide to undertake this.

    - no LCD display, you can not watch ( playback ) videos if needed instantly even if connected to external display. However if you have a smartphone, you may insert dashcamera microsd card into smartphone to view and copy files, this is an extra hassle, but still doable in case of emergency. However you can not watch rear camera footage on the mobile phone with existing available smart phones video playback Apps, because rear camera video is embedded into one file.

    Also, not having a display its hard to aim camera. Its takes some test and try before you find correct aim, unless you have a portable- or in-car built in display that you may use to aim the camera.

    - video pixelation under so called "extreme conditions", especially near the trees.
    This is common issue on most high-end dashcameras which are based on Cortex / TI ( Texas Instrument ) CPU.

    - Settings can not be adjusted from the unit. most settings must be done on PC or laptop.

    - rear camera "noise" at night and "average" video quality in day time.

    - not a great video sensitivity at night, despite having a Sony Exmor CMOS sensor.
    Yes, from menu settings you may adjust video brightness, but when adjusting a brightness for night driving, it also will affect a bigness for daytime driving and video will be over-brightened at day time. All my video tests are done with default value of brightness and in most cases you can see that at day time video is bright enough ( with default value ). If I would add even more brightness, then video would be over-brightened at day. So, I dont see use of adding brightness value.
    Having experience with many other dashcams which uses a Sony Exmor CMOS sensor, I am sure night sensitivity issue can be resolved with firmware tune-up for better night vision sensitivity.

    - only 32Gb maximum officially confirmed memory card size that can be used with F550 unit. I am afraid, in many cases 32Gb is not enough space for unit with parking mode function and especially if you have also a rear camera. For example if you park your car on the street with heavy traffic or shopping centre parking lot, memory card space in parking mode ( motion detection ) will fill up quite quickly and will start overwriting older parking mode video files.
    Use of 64- and greater memory capacity memory cards would be necessary for such high-end dashcam systems.

    - also I have found a strange "bug" in 2ch video recordings.

    If only front camera recording, then there are no gaps between video clips. When joining videos together, its a nice smooth continuous video.

    If recording in 2 channel mode ( front + rear camera ) and later joining front camera videos, then you may find very small gap ( "jump" ) between video clips.

    For example: I have joined F550 14 x 1 min video clips and compared side by side to some other dashcamera which has 0 sec overlap. I got total 3.38 sec shorter video footage on F550 than on other dashcamera. Its about 100 frames missed during 14 min video.

    Just to remind, this "bug" happens only in 2 channel mode recording. If only front camera recording ( rear camera is unplugged ), then there are no gaps between video clips.

    P.S. - I have reported this issue to Thinkware Engineering department and good replay that this will be resolved soon.


    Pro's

    - discrete form-factor designed of main unit ( front camera ) and quite small rear camera for stealth installation of both cameras.

    - Supercaps ( Capacitors ) instead of battery. Can work in extreme weather conditions. Also having supercaps allows 24/7 parking mode recording, which is one of the biggest advantages over battery based dashcams.

    - CPU has a heat sink for better heat dissipation and stable performance.

    - good motion detection sensitivity recording for 24/7 parking model.

    - well designed cables connectors / plugs ( L-shape / 90 degree, MCX- and MicroUSB ) for better installation

    - Built-in GPS receiver for data logger ( location, speed ).

    - Dual Save © technology, records to the MicroSD card as well as internal memory in the event of a crash

    - Battery Voltage and Timer Settings monitoring for Parking Mode. No need to buy a separate battery discharge prevention device, which cost up to 50 usd.

    - different selectable values between Normal driving and Parking mode: Impact sensitivity, video quality ( selectable Video resolution, FPS, bitrate ), motion detection sensitivity etc.

    - truly high quality built product. No complaint to any of details quality, even internal ( PCB, components soldering etc) are made to high standards.

    - stable firmware, no crushes, no freeze-up or any other unpleasant surprises during 3 month of tests.


    Conclusions.

    Strong brand name, nice discrete design, easy of use and trully high-end quality built with variety of recording / functionality options are reflected in the price.
    To compare with other existing high-end 1080p + 720p systems it does it's job OK, however some issues I have pointed out in the Con's section must be fixed in order to fully "fit the bill". Those "issues" are mainly a firmware related, which may be fixed with upcoming firmware updates. So, stay tuned and keep watching for new firmware updates on official Thinkware website.
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2014
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  11. niko

    niko Well-Known Member Retailer

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    Reserved post ...
     
  12. Gibson99

    Gibson99 Well-Known Member

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    Dash Cam:
    Eh, one or two... ;)
    sounds like the CF-100 is a similarly equipped but much better performing unit... except for the CF-100's issue with not recording while searching for GPS signal (though this GPS issue may be fixed with recently released firmware - haven't had time to test yet). Cold boot time of 15 seconds (CF-100) is MUCH better than the 70 seconds of this unit, and aside from that it seems to give similar recording quality, has no screen, requires settings to be changed from the Windows app via SD card (this is my least favorite "feature" of the CF100) and the unit includes parking mode. However, this unit has a much better form factor than the CF100 which should reduce dashboard reflections, and has a smaller rear camera. That said, long boot times would be an absolute deal-breaker with this unit. Even if you could somehow rig it so that it starts booting up when you press UNLOCK on your alarm/remote, it still wouldn't be good enough. Here's hoping they can come up with a good fix and get them down to something reasonable. I don't understand how it can take so long - my cheap old F70 boots in about 3 seconds, and the A118 in about 2 seconds. I mean seriously - what the hell are they loading that takes SEVENTY seconds? A full version of Linux or something? My android phone doesn't even take that long to boot (though it does have a much faster dual core CPU)! Even the 15-second boot time for the CF-100 is curious to me. Are they waiting for the caps to be fully charged before starting recording? I guess that makes sense - to ensure that they're charged enough to close any file it opens, but compared to "lower quality" cameras, it just doesn't seem logical to me. especially since I know that caps can be charged REALLY fast, unlike batteries.

    Also, just like all the chrome/bling and flashy lights on car stereos, I despise chrome/bling on dashcams. They seem to know we want hidden/non-flashy dashcams because they're making better form factors (A118, this unit) and the tiny rear cam on this and some other units, but then marketing gets hold of it and says "WE NEEDZ DA BLING!!!!!11!" and boom - a perfectly good camera is ruined. I spent a few minutes with a black permanent marker covering up the chrome lens ring and white labels and LEDs on my CF-100, though I think I will need to go back with actual paint since the marker is fading. Thankfully the rear cam did not need any camouflage.

    Thanks for yet another amazingly thorough review, @niko!
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2014
    Dionic90 likes this.
  13. reverend

    reverend Well-Known Member

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    Dash Cam:
    Too many
    Wow - now that's a heck of a lot of work that has gone into this review thank-you @niko :)

    Quite a few dashcams seem to be going for darker night footage at the moment and I can't really think why as it's not as though they're cutting down on the blur etc?

    Just had a look at just the CPU and it's selling at £60 just for that alone so that shows they're really not skimping on the internals!!
     
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  14. sludgeguts

    sludgeguts Well-Known Member

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    Dash Cam:
    Mobius x3, G1W held as spare.
    Also not great for those of us with diesels, using a delay timer.
    Mine's only set to 10 seconds but that's still an age. 70 seconds is forever.
     
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  15. cacherjoe

    cacherjoe Member

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    Thinkware support is awesome also. I had some questions on my F550. They are quick and very informative in their replies. After sales support is sometimes just as important as all the other stuff.
     
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