THINKWARE F800 PRO

TJVideo

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Hi. I have recently purchased the F800 Pro. It's OK, but it needs some improvements.
Although I have installed the camera into the car, I have not yet hardwired the camera into the car because I have found a few issues with the camera already and I am deciding what to do next.

After researching over 30 dash cams and testing a few I felt that the Thinkware F800 Pro would be the best choice.

Here is my review so far.
  • The camera arrived the next day after ordering it directly from Thinkware.
  • The unit is surprisingly much smaller than I had expected, which is a good thing. I don't know why I thought that it would be bigger. I guess it was due to the reviews and the images that I had previously seen.
  • It's great to be able to change the settings of the camera on a PC, if you are not able to set the camera settings on a smartphone.
  • The build quality seems quite solid.
  • The lead from the front camera to the rear camera is very long for my Ford Focus. I had to hide the wire in the roof panel, but this could be an advantage for some people with bigger cars.
  • Speed camera notifications are quite good.
  • The guidance sound can be turned off, which may be good for some.
  • Support have been good so far.

Some minor improvements that could be made:
  • A CPL Filter would be useful to help stop the reflection of the dashboard on the windscreen from picking up on the camera. You would think a pro camera would include this really.
  • It would be nice if Thinkware also included the fuse tap leads.
  • The video quality is very good, but I have seen better!
  • The microphone level could be a bit better as voices can not be heard.
  • It takes a while to load the GPS in the app at first.
  • Motion blur could be a bit better as it is not always easy to see licence plates, although it is clearer if you pause the video sometimes.
  • It took around 30-40 minutes to remove the 3M sticker to fix the rear camera to the rear window.
  • Don't forget to turn your Portable Wi-Fi Hotspot on, on your smartphone, otherwise your camera will not connect to your phone.
  • There is no way of connecting the camera with a smartphone without going on to the internet and using the Portable Wi-Fi Hotspot at the moment, although I did manage to disconnect from the internet after the camera had connected and still use the app.
  • The LED's reflect in the windscreen at night so they show up on the camera recording.
  • The Lane Departure Warning and Front Collision Warning are not very effective. You would had crashed into the car in front by the time it sounds, and that is on the high sensitivity setting.
  • A Kingston 32GB and 64GB class 10 SD card worked well with the unit for a few days and then the unit would not recognise the card. It is recommended to use the Thinkware SD Cards, which are much more expensive and only has a 6 month warranty. My last camera allowed any card to be used and for the price tag of the F800 Pro, this should also allow the use of multiple cards so if you do not have a Thinkware SD Card as a back up then you are pretty much screwed if the one in the camera fails.
If you would like the parking mode and battery protection to work then you need to use the hard wire option. It will not work with a cigarette lighter socket, even if the socket does not turn off with the ignition.

My main issue with the device, other than the SD cards, and it is only a minor one, is the positioning of the rear camera socket on the main front camera and the lack of a right angled lead for the connection on the rear camera. The issue with the positioning of the rear camera socket on the main front camera is that it is very close to the power input so the power input should be moved down slightly so that both of the right angled leads can be positioned upwards.

It took me roughly 8 hours to install, because I hid the wires properly, by removing some panels. The hardest bits were removing the 3M sticker on the rear camera, feeding the wire through to the rear window, replacing one of the panels around the windscreen and hiding the excess wire in the roof.

Thinkware Customer Support are very good. Also Technical support are very helpful too. I am having a problem connecting the camera to the phone, due to an issue with Android Version 4.3 which technical support are looking in to. I did somehow manage to connect the camera to the app and get past the main set up screens. I am not able to change any settings yet with the app or use the app properly.

My last camera was a T-EYE and has lasted around 8-10 years. (I can't remember the exact date that I purchased it). It is still going strong, but the video quality is not that great.

I got the F800 Pro camera because it has potential and it seems well made. There is a major software/firmware upgrade coming later in the year for the F800 Pro, but not for the F800 apparently.

This is the reflection problem...

Reflection.jpg Reflection01.jpg Reflection02.jpg

Conclusion:
This is a nice camera and one of the best I have been able to use.
If you want a good camera then I would recommend this one, as long as you do not mind spending the money on the camera and also spending out on Thinkware SD cards. It does need some adjustments in order to qualify as a pro camera in my opinion.

I hope this helps.
 
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EFTC

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Thanks for the detailed review.

If possible, can you kindly post some photos related to the install? There is no need to rip open panels, but I would like to see the product sitting on the front and rear window.

Thanks so much.
 

TJVideo

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Hi. No problem.
It is a bit dark here now so I can't really take some high definition photos, but I have some photos that I took with my phone camera after I installed the F800 Pro, which I have attached.
DSC_0069-Copy.jpg DSC_0071.jpg DSC_0073.jpg DSC_0075.jpg
 
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TJVideo

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Wow! I have just hard-wired the Thinkware F800 Pro to my car and I must say that I am very impressed with the parking mode.
It takes a while to switch from parking mode to continuous mode, but it's all good.

Wiring for fusebox.jpg
Sorry it is not a clear photo as the connections to the camera are on the left, using the fuse taps. I connected them to the rear fog and the hazzard lights. I couldn't believe how easy it was to install in the end. I must say that it can get a bit awkward if you need to use or change a fuse next to a fuse tap as the fuses from the fuse tap overlap them.

I have also ordered one of the expensive 64GB Thinkware SD Cards. I have seen in reviews that people recommend them. I am hoping that they last a long time as a couple of my SD cards have lasted for around 8 years and they were a fraction of the cost.

I don't know if the following will help anyone as I know that you can download the app for the PC, but it is not possible to view the settings until you record your first video on to the SD card from the camera. Also, if you are like me and you have an older phone then you will need this app for your PC to change any of the settings on the camera. This is the advantage that Thinkware have over some other dash cams that do not allow the settings to be changed other than on a smartphone with limited versions of Android or IOS.

Here are the settings for the camera that some people may find useful.

Cam Settings 01.jpg

Memory Card Settings:
Memory Card Settings.jpg
Memory Partition:
Memory Partition.jpg

Camera Settings:

Brightness for front and rear camera. Dark/Mid/Bright
Rear camera rotation. Enable/Disable

Record Settings:
Record Settings 01.jpg

Continuous Mode:

Continuous mode recording sensitivity can be set as follows: Disabled/Lowest/Low/Mid/High

Super Night Vision:
Super Night Vision.jpg

Parking Mode:

Parking mode can be set as follows: Disabled/Motion Detection/Time Lapse/Energy Saving

Impact Sensitivity:
Impact sensitivity can be set as follows: Lowest/Low/Mid/High/Highest

Record Timer:
Record Timer can be set as follows: Disabled/12 hrs/24 hrs/48 hrs/72 hrs

Battery Protection: (Using Hard-Wire Only)
Battery Protection.jpg
I am not quite sure why it says winter months, yet summer months are shown too. I know the weather is different in all countries at different times of the year, but maybe all of the months should be shown so that there is more of an option.

Road Safety Settings:
Safety Camera and ADAS Settings:

Safety camera alerts can be set to: Enable/Disable
Mobile Zone camera alerts can be set to: Enable/Disable
Vehicle type can be set to: Sedan/SUV/Truck (Bus)
LDWS (Lane Departure Warning) Speed can be set to 30 mph/40 mph/50 mph/65 mph
FCWS (Forward Collision Warning) can be set to Low/Mid/High
Low Speed FCWS can be set to Low/Mid/High
FVDW (Front Vehicle Departure Warning) can be set to: Enabled/Disabled

System Settings:
System Settings.jpg

Language:
Language.jpg

Security LED:
Security LED.jpg

A security LED might sound like a nice feature, but it also attracts unwanted attention to the car. I have not tested it yet for that reason.

I hope this helps for anyone who is thinking about purchasing this cool camera.
Please ask any questions if you have any and hopefully I will be able to answer them.
 

TJVideo

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I have just discovered something else today. I switched off the camera this morning, by the power button, and I was not able to switch it back on again this-afternoon when it was in parking mode. I found that I had to switch the ignition on in order to turn the camera back on again.
 

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Thanks for posting all of that. It feels like I am sitting the passenger seat watching you explaining all the features of the F800 pro.
 

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This is a reply/ comment to TJVideo,

Your post actually pushed me to join the board and make a post. You covered so many things that are true about the F800. Having read what I can find over the internet and here, I came to similar conclusions on many points you made. It seems the F800 is not too much a development from the F770. I bought the F800 and the BCFH-200, along with a Cellink Battery pack. Install took around 1.5 hours, that was running all wires along and under trim around the back camera, and up and over the windscreen fro the front one. The battery pack was situated under the drivers seat. I have had no problems with connections between the F800 and the phone app, data update worked fine. and the units is running the latest firmware.
Now the things I agree with.
  • A CPL filter would be very useful, but given CPL support for dash-cams as a whole it might be a long time (if at all) coming. I tried a supplier who had one for the F770, and "in August" they did not have a F800 let alone a CPL filter.
  • Video quality is based upon the sensor and bit rate of video stream, At 10MBPS per camera, that's a 20MBPS throughput, not bad. Clearly a 20MBPS single camera would look better.
  • My audio recordings are not flat. What my mean is there is a pronounced extension of the lower end frequencies.
  • I did find it a challenge to separate the 3M sticker, I found a razor blade worked. And if you think your separation was bad. Try removing the 3M sticker of the screen, cleaning the mounting plate and your screen, just you can re-site the front F800.
  • My big complaint has to be the "safety functions" that have been utilized as far back (in theory, I don't have experience with that hardware) as the X550. Since that's the user manual were I found some useful info. Yet having tried to get it to initialize (on many, many times) to a functioning standard that a car OEM has. Just has not panned out. It's not that the camera does not have the data stream (it's getting the camera feed), it's just seems that data feed is not being turned into a set of rules that the safety system can use. maybe a firmware update will fix this, unless its a hardware issue.
  • The cards seem to be a sore point for many people. With cost and capacity being the top two issues voiced. Given we're talking video streams and in a two camera system a high data rate. I think in 2017 128Gb is not a unreal request. As far as why Thinkware are "touchy" about with cards are used. It most likley is due to the way the features are implemented for the recording. To save issues, Im only using Thinkware cards until there is clear support for other brands. The last thing you want is failure of a card, just when you on the back end of some-one else s, bad driving decisions, let alone damage by hand etc.
  • I use the parking feature but use time lapse with impact set at high.
  • Using the battery, and the spliced cabling for the F800, the camera has functioned as its supposed to.
Overall its a nice camera package. Yes there are areas that needs to be addressed and improved. Lets hope those that buy into the product are not left wanting. The product still has a few promises to live up to. Of another note the Video's are better on a mac than pc, that has to be a codec issue. And the mac and pc app hopefully will get some features and improvements. I would buy a third party app if they and when they provide F800 support, I prefer their layout.

Just my two pennies, in the mix.
 

TJVideo

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Hi Maverick,

Thanks for the reply.

I have now had the chance to test out the camera properly as I have been travelling around the country for a few days.

The parking mode is quite impressive. It picks up when the car has been knocked. You do need to be careful closing the car door sometimes as it also picks up on that too.

I am also quite impressed with the 2 hours of video that I managed to save to the computer after driving down the promenade in Blackpool for the illuminations. The quality of the image was much better than someone taking photos in the car with a digital camera. I plan to make a video of this eventually, but it might take a bit of time to do.

I have caught a few people being idiots on the road as well as drivers going through red lights. I used the manual recording for this.

I have a suggestion for Thinkware on the manual recording function and that is to extend the recording time to 20 seconds or more before you press the button as I missed some vital footage that may have been used in a legal battle as I was concentrating on the road ahead before I pressed the button. I did notice that the manual record button didn't work at one point and I had to press it a few times to get it to work. It has been working OK since.

A CPL filter would be great, but I have been informed that it could affect the night vision and make recordings darker.

I now have a 64 GB Thinkware SD card in the camera and I am keeping the 32 GB as a spare. It sometimes helps to have another card if you wish to record long journey's for video footage or in case you miss the manual recording for an important incident that may have happened.

I see that the app has been updated within the last few days for Wi-Fi, but I am still not able to use the app on my Android phone.

It does worry me a little about the removal of the 3M sticker on the front camera, but apparently it can be done using dental floss. I am hoping I do not need to do that job for a very long time. I forgot to add that I used a very small screwdriver to get the end of the 3M sticker removed on the back camera. I think anything sharp or pointy would work, but try not to damage the camera in the process.

I have grown to really like the F800 Pro. It does need some small attention here and there, but it does the job.

I still haven't left the car long enough to see if the battery cutoff works as it should. I will probably find that out within the next few days as my car will be sitting for a week, after driving over 800 miles in the last 4 days and waiting for it's next service.
 

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Hi TJVideo,
I'm glad you're getting a better feel for the camera. You're never going to catch what you need, using manual record, that just life. I set the record options to favor continuous recording, for that reason. I'm either continuous or parking mode all the time. Unless the unit is switched off, and out of the car.

In parking mode, you really want the door being closed to register as an event. That way you know the sensitivity is right. It's easy to set via the app. Your good if most times, you come back and the only "parking event" is one, that's you. Too sensitive and you'll have false positives.

As far as the manual recording time, the fact you get pre-record time is great. A lot of camcorders don't have that. The time is dictated by the capacitor used for the video buffer. 10 seconds is actually the standard for most products that offer the function.

The CPL filter, I'll put on hold, I've got a dash carpet coming that will reduce the dash reflections. The rear cam is good, the tint on the rear window, provides a better balanced image. Than can be done via the settings. Once the carpet is in place, maybe I'll look at a lens filter to mimic the tint.

I'm surprised your phone app does not work. I'm on Android and never had an issue. What do you think is failing? If you want I could post how I'm completing the connection.

Final note. Ooh the days of Blackpool and the lights. Born in the UK, moved to the U.S..
 

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Hi,

I think the Android version I am using, combined with the phone I am using could be the issue.
Screenshot_2017-08-18-16-50-03.png
What happens is: I am not able to view all of the text on the screen. I am not able to scroll left, right, up, down or pinch or zoom the screen. If I set up the hot spot then it will connect to the camera so that I can view the camera through the phone, but that is all I can do. I am not able to change settings on the phone. I have to do it on the PC.
Screenshot_2017-08-18-16-41-34.png Screenshot_2017-08-18-16-41-50.png Screenshot_2017-08-18-16-42-18.png
I thought about getting a new phone, but I don't really need one at the moment. The phone works fine so I am not going to buy a new phone just to use an app.

My T-Eye ADR-3000 records 3 minutes total time when the manual button is pressed. I think it is either 1 minute before the button is pressed or 1 minute 30, I am not sure. I think It can be adjusted to what you desire. I actually have a custom button fitted in the dashboard for that camera, but I removed the camera to fit the Thinkware F800 Pro. I may re-install the camera because it films inside of the car and I am still looking for a dash cam that films inside the car with good night vision that records in complete darkness. I have tested a few, but the one I kind of liked was a single dash cam and it had a screen on the back so it could not be used on the windscreen because the screen of the camera would be facing the oncoming traffic.

I am not sure if a dash carpet would work in my car. The air bag part of the dash shows up as well as the air vents etc and I can't really cover those up.

I did have the camera set to highest sensitivity in parking mode, but I now have it set to high and it still works effectively.

Blackpool Illuminations is nice. Unfortunately they had a storm a while back and had some damage done, but it still looks good and well worth the visit. I also have nice memories of the USA. :)

I'll try and get a video together soon that is filmed with the Thinkware F800 Pro, which will give a good idea of how well the camera films footage at night. I was really surprised.
 
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Maverick.AVS

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Hi TJVideo,
You phone from a quick Google look on my phone. The screen resolution is too low. Yet that also highlights issues where an app, can use a web based interface, but due to the page data, you doing have sizing to window issues. A lot of the "buttons" are probably pictures so don't scale. Your other screens confirm that concept.
This highlights, they should spec the minimum resolution for the app.

On you night cam, try looking at the ones that are marketed to Uber and taxi drivers. I have seen some, and the provided video looks good. But as we know a real hands on is the only true test.

As far as the dash carpet, it should be home by the time I get home. As per your comment. Dash cam carpets are cut to accommodate air bags. You have a flap over the air bag area. Given the U.S. Tendency to sue, the companies that make these, do have a financial incentive too do it right. At least the good ones. Most are U.S.based.
 

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Ah. That may explain it. I remember having website issues with pictures and it was an easy fix on the server side of things. A little bit of programming in the app should help solve the issue. I have mentioned something similar about the development of Android screen sizes already to support and a link to help fix it.

It appears that the UK no longer show an interest in developing things anymore. Not like it used to be. I have seen a couple of sites where someone has developed a CPL filter. It would be good to test one out to see what it would be like with the F800 Pro.

I have tested a couple of dash cams that have been advertised for commercial use. One of them was not much use at night. It did not record anything in the dark so it would be useless if anything had happened to a taxi driver if they were in a dark street. It has been a challenge to find a good night vision camera for the interior part of the car.

The T-Eye has infra-red, and does the job, but the video quality could be much better. The Conbrov DC6000 is quite good for night vision, but it lacks in build quality and has quite a few faults. After reviewing the camera it became unavailable.

I know that Thinkware do a good night vision camera, but it is not a stand alone camera and I would need to purchase a front camera to go with it. (I may do this eventually) I am looking forward to the days when there can be 3 cameras or more running off of one unit and with good video quality. I have seen some around, but the reviews for the updated versions of the cameras are not good. It seems like manufacturers are trying to save as much money as possible on building the product and it does not last as long. I would rather pay more money and have a product last longer than pay for something that is only going to last for a few days, weeks or months. This is one reason why I am quite fussy when it comes to purchasing something because I like things to last for a long time and I will recommend the product to others if it does.
 

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Here is my drive along the Blackpool promenade filming with the Thinkware F800 Pro.
 
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TJVideo, I just got home and have downloaded your video. I always prefer local copies over streaming for playback. Without viewing it in full I notice dropped frames in the video stream, within what I looked at, is that deliberate or not? I'm going to review shortly.
As for your driving, I travel around 95 miles each way, going to work, from P.A. to N.Y.C. Since I now have the dash carpet installed I'm making an effort to pull the video and see how it looks. Also I have given the front camera a real test. Traveling westbound into the sun. It'll be interesting to see how it handled the diverse lighting. Thanks for the upload.
 

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Hi Maverick,

The full video is 2 hours long. I have edited the video to make it shorter. Thinking about it now, maybe I should have added transitions between the scenes to make it clearer. There are no jumps in the original footage. The video on the Thinkware F800 Pro is continuous with no dropped frames, which is actually perfect as there are a lot of cameras out there that drop frames all of the time.

Hope this helps.

EDIT: Thank you for commenting on the look of dropped frames as this will now help me with future videos. I have updated the info on You Tube and my website.
 
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TJVideo

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Thanks again for pointing this out to me.

I have just looked at the edited footage closely and I can see what you mean now about the dropped frames. I have checked the original footage and it is smooth video. I will have to look into why that is happening. I think it has something to do with the way the video was rendered. When I figure it out I will update the video. (Another 5 hours of rendering and 5 hours of uploading to You Tube). The joy of editing. :)
 

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Hi TJVideo, Finally watched your video, it brought back memories that would be around close to 37 years ago. Also your showing something that is uniquely British. Not forgetting the "sweets" such as sticks of rock. Do they still do those? The video shows the camera handling the light level well. Flaring of lights sources also is not too pronounced. And given the lens its most obvious that legibility of the all important license plate is clearer "on axis" compared to "off axis".

My one way trip from work footage, came in at 2hours 26 minutes. The great thing is due to the timing of it, I have the range of lighting, contrast, low light that I can look at. I did notice that as suspected, in complete darkness (since I live out in the country) there is video noise in the footage. I'm going to cut the two cameras together and see about reduction in time "cherry picking the footage". Attached are a few screen grabs of the video's (yes, never as good as camera stills), I wanted to show little reflection in the front and rear. The dash carpet works really well, I can see it has money well spent. And if I want to produce "record of trip/ view" videos, I have acceptable sources.
 

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TJVideo

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Your images look good. I am not sure how I would reduce the reflection in my car other than with a filter as the rear window shows up a shadowed reflection of the parcel shelf, which is already a carpet material!

They still do sticks of rock here! LOL.

I have updated the video and I am waiting for it to finish rendering so that I can upload it to You Tube. I am hoping it is of better quality this time. I did a test and it looked fine. I also received a comment to remove the Thinkware details on the bottom left to make the video look more professional. I did this by zooming in slightly instead of covering the details with something. Admittedly, this may not look as good or show the wide angle as well, but we'll see.
 

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Rear parcel shelf, video 101 use a dark martial, you know this. That's why I went with black for the dash. Oh, it's not true carpet, like you stand on. Foam backed, suede texture on top. I'll upload picture over the weekend. And yes vent cut outs and air bag flap, spot on. As far a resolving the reflection, as we know a CPL or any filter that manipulates light, degrades the source. Treatment of the reflection area is better, for the camera, but not always an option. As the adage goes, do you paint the camera and adjust lightning for the room or do you paint the camera and lighting for the record. Professionally we know were this goes, for general public and clients... That's a different comment.

Video, I see and handle video everyday at work, never mind at home. I know your source is good. Your local rendered copy should be good. There are two places of issue, when rendering. When you render you copy, depending on your rig. And I believe YouTube re-renders uploaded videos (I looked this morning on my account, seems like they do, and they let you know when it's done). I do have cheat sheets somewhere for YouTube and Vimeo on the codecs etc. they like too see. On my rig I have a mix of SSD and 72,000 rpm spindles, plus a 1070 with x3 LG 4k monitors, nothing like overkill... Hah, ha, ha.

I've re-rendered video for a few camera gug's, using Adobe media converter, set to Vimeo standard (while taking care of an issue, he had from the company who did the transfer from flim) and the finished product looked good and Vimeo did not re-render the files. They have free accounts where you can upload up to 500Mb clips for free. My spec was 720, and drop bit rate until the clip would render to under 500mb.

Cropping the info. You're original concept was to show what the F800 does, this is aided by including the bottom data. You did that great.

Cropping the frame to remove the data obviously can be done by zoom and keep aspect, but lose some of the the original shot. Or Blank the bottom. Or just alter the aspect. They all work, it's a matter of preference.

On the issue you have with the app interface, I tried it on Galaxy S7, HTC M9, Galaxy Note 2, that's highest resolution to lowest (1280x720), it looked good. So we need someone try offer a lower resolution to see what the base is.

On another note, what do you really have, feature wise, that makes the pro worth the money over the regular F800 ( given the base hardware is the same). And having had time to test those features?
 
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Dash Cam
Thinkware F800 Pro, Vantrue N2 Pro, T-Eye ADR-3000,168CarDVR
I have updated my original video post. I see there are still a couple of frame drops here and there. I don't normally have this issue, but then I have never edited dash cam footage before. I had the frame rate set up wrong in Vegas Pro.

I got the F800 Pro because it is all black, apart from a single silver ring around the left hand side of the camera. I was also informed that the pro can be updated to Air later on in the year, but the F800 can't. Not that it matters to me. The important thing for me was the colour and being able to use the camera without running the car battery down. Apparently the F800 does not have the lower power consumption and the extended parking mode that the pro does.

The hard wire seems to work well. The camera switched itself off before the car battery went flat. :)

Hopefully something will be done with the app so that those with older phones can use it too.
 

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