Thinkware F550

Thinkware F550 Dual Camera

The Thinkware F550 Dual Camera is a Korean dashboard camera which sells under the name Inavi FXD900 in Korea.  Inavi Thinkware is one of the most popular dash cam brands in Korea and they recently focused outside of that country.

The front camera records at 1080p, 30fps with a bit rate of 10 Mbps. The rear camera records at 720p, 30fps at a  bit rate of 6 Mbps.  Video quality during the day is very good and night is good for the front camera in most conditions. Rear camera is average during the day and grainy at night.  When the camera was released in 2013, the video quality was very respectable.  However, as of 2015, a number of 1080p front and rear dual cameras are available making this camera less attractive.

The F550 front camera is based on the Texas Instruments TMS320DM8127 processor and Sony Exmor CMOS sensor.  The rear camera can be purchased separately and is known as the BCH-300.  Overall, the image appears a bit dark at night which is surprising given the Sony Exmor CMOS.  It also can be grainy in some driving conditions, a common issue with Texas Instruments based processors.

Beyond image quality, the F550 has some nice features:

  • Low profile design of main unit and small rear camera size allows discreet installation
  • Built-in GPS, G-sensor and parking mode (buffers video and saves 10 seconds before and after the event on both cameras)
  • Dual Save technology records to the MicroSD card as well as internal memory in the event of a crash
  • Built in battery discharge prevention / low voltage shutoff (11.7V to 12.4V, changeable by 0.1V)
  • Thermal sensor which triggers automatic shut down if the camera gets too hot

While the shape of the camera is discreet, the front camera is quite large at 105.2mm x 161.5 mm x 41mm.  Also the lens surrounding is a silver / chrome color, which makes whole unit more visible from outside the vehicle.  All black would be preferred.  On the other hand, the rear camera is much smaller and very stealth.

One of the biggest negatives with the FX500 is that it takes about 70 seconds to “boot-up” from parking mode to driving mode recording.  The following video shows the boot-up sequence.

We would like to thank our member niko who provided the review for this camera on our forum.

Size Comparison

Thanks to niko for this size comparison photo.

Known problems

Video Gaps

When recording in 2 channel mode ( front + rear camera ) and later joining video clips, there is a very small gap  or  “jump” between for the front camera videos.  This does not occur if only the front camera is recording.  Thinkware is looking at correcting this problem.

Mounting the Camera

Thinkware F550 InCar Front (1) Thinkware F550 InCar Front (2) Thinkware F550 InCar Front (3) Thinkware F550 InCar Rear (2) Thinkware F550 InCar Rear (3)

FX550 Teardown

Thanks to our member niko for providing this teardown.

Inside Thinkware F550 (1) Inside Thinkware F550 (2) Inside Thinkware F550 (3) Inside Thinkware F550 (4) Inside Thinkware F550 (5)

Sample Videos

Day Video – Front

Night Video – Front

Should I Purchase?

While we like the form factor of this dual camera, the video quality, while decent is not great.  The 70 second boot time is a huge negative as well.  Considering the front camera sells for $300 and the rear camera is an additional $100, it is hard to recommend this camera.  At that price range there are newer dual 1080p cameras available which should be a consideration.

Where to purchase for lowest price

This camera is primarily available on Amazon.

Firmware

The latest English firmware and player can be downloaded from the Thinkware site.

User Manual

You can download the manual here.

Specifications

 Thinkware F550
Price$400
Read Review
ManufactureriNavi Thinkware
CountryKorea
Specifications 
ProcessorTexas Instruments TMS320DM8127
CMOSSony Exmor
Channels2
Screen
GPS
G-Sensor
Wi-Fi
Parking Mode
Lock FilesAuto and Button
Video 
Max ResolutionFront: 1080p 30fps
Rear: 720p 30fps
Max Bitrate (Mbps)Front: 10
Rear: 6
Video FormatAVI
CompressionH.264
Diagonal Viewing AngleFront: 143°
Rear: ?
Recording 
SD Card TypeMicroSD
Max Size (Spec)32GB
Max Size (User)64GB
Other 
Size (mm)Front: 105.2 x 161.5 x 41
Rear: ?
MountAdhesive
Power Supply12V
Operating Temp-20˚C to 65˚C
BatteryCapacitor
Release DateJul 2014
AppsPC
Unique FeaturesBuffers video in parking mode (10 seconds before & after motion detection)
Dual Save technology
Rating 
AdvantagesOK video quality for a dual camera
Battery Discharge Prevention
Disadvantages70 second boot time
Video Day
Video Night
Reliability
Size / Discreetness
Price
Available Support
Overall Rating
Final WordGood form factor but 70 second boot time is a huge negative. At this price consider dual 1080p cameras.

Published: January 12, 2015