Blackvue DR650GW-2CH UK Review

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    Blackvue DR650GW-2CH UK Review

 

8.5 Total Score
Blackvue DR650GW-2CH UK

Video Quality
8
Ease Of Use
9
Features
9.5
Price
7.5
PROS
  • Front and rear cameras
  • Mic and Wi-Fi can be switched on/off
  • Wide compatibility with smart devices
  • BlackVue's Over the Cloud App
  • User-friendly system
  • Discreet design with easy installation
  • Includes a 32GB microSD card and supports up to 128GB
  • Warranty
CONS
  • Rear camera resolution is low
  • Glare
  • No built-in display
  • Does not protect Impact/Event Recording files
  • Wi-Fi has limited connectivity
  • Low Photo Mode resolution and short run time of the internal battery
  • One car only
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Highlighted Components

 

Front and Rear Camera: Unique to the BlackVue DR650GW-2CH UK is its unified front and rear cameras. The front camera records in Full HD, while the rear records at 720p. Each camera produces a fixed 129° field of view with minimal distortion; although, footage from the rear camera has a slight fish-eye quality. The DR650GW will record at three resolution levels, highest, high and normal. The front camera provides brilliant imaging and vivid detailing from daytime driving with some glare. Due to the lower resolution of the rear camera, daytime driving footage is not as defined. However, surprisingly the rear camera performs quite well during lowlight and nighttime driving, capable of picking up fine details, such as vehicle license plates and road signs.

Real-time GPS Tracking with Route Visualization: Through the BlackVue App on a smartphone or tablet, drivers are able to access and track routes on Google Maps™. Essential data, including direction of travel, speed and geographical coordinates are synched from the dual channel system and visible during video playback.

Impact/Event Recording: This mode is identical to “Emergency Recording” found on most dash cams. Employing its 3-axis G-sensor, Impact/Event Recording immediately records sudden bumps or severe impact. Files are saved automatically and color-coded in red for instant recognition and playback. Note: While most dash cams store video footage from Emergency Recording as overwrite protected files, the BlackVue DR650GW-2CH does not. Drivers will have to use the BlackVue App to manually lock the file in the app, or copy the footage to BlackVue’s proprietary “Over the Cloud” or a compatible device.

Wi-Fi and Live View: An integral aspect of BlackVue’s mission is creating products that keep users connected. The DR650GW dash cam includes Wi-Fi and connects to Android/iOS smartphones and tablets. These devices serve as the dash cam’s display, especially helpful while traveling using GPS. Wi-Fi can be turned on or off, according to user preference. BlackVue’s Live View feature (part of the BlackVue App) allows users to remotely monitor activity around vehicles as a live stream from distances over 9 metres when connected to Wi-Fi.

Parking Mode: Motion detection captures movement and impact without a driver present. Files are color-coded in blue for instant recognition and playback using either the Live View/Remote Playback features through the BlackVue App on smartphones or tablets, or BlackVue Viewer on the computer. Note: This mode requires a continuous power source, such as the Power Magic PRO Kit (sold separately).

Two-Way Audio: The innovative feature not only records in-vehicle audio, it enables drivers to speak directly to a connected smartphone or tablet for hands-free management of modes and settings on the DR650GW. The dash cam includes on/off control of recorded audio, capturing a supplemental source of evidence in the event of an accident.

LED Indicators: While the BlackVue DR650GW-2CH UK does not include its own LCD display, distinct LED indicators alert users to recording status, Wi-Fi connectivity as well as GPS activation.

360° Rotation: Drivers can rotate each camera within their brackets a full 360° for precision placement according to personal preference. Once installed, the sleek, compact design equips drivers with a security system that offers near seamless integration with vehicle interiors for ultimate discretion.

BlackVue Software: BlackVue App, BlackVue “Over the Cloud” and BlackVue Viewer serve as an intricate system to keep drivers connected to their dash cam and what is being recorded at all times. The BlackVue App functions as the DR650GW’s display screen and acts as a portal to the add-on BlackVue Cloud and its array of safety-driven practical features. BlackVue Viewer catalogues all recorded footage by day, hour, minute and even second as color-coded files depending on their initial recording mode (i.e. Normal, Impact/Event or Parking) for convenient access and retrieval. Video can be reviewed and played back with adjustments made to speed and zoom. Routes traveled are synched to Google Maps™ for detailed review in the case of an accident.

 

Day and Night Footage

***credit to James Lee channel for this video***

 

Pros and Cons

 

Pros

  • Front and rear cameras. Few dash cams in the UK market deliver the versatility and safety assurance of the BlackVue DR650GW-2CH and its dual-channel camera system. With continuous front and rear monitoring of vehicles (each channel synched, yet recording and saving footage as its own time-stamped file), drivers have complete coverage in the event of an accident. Urban drivers prone to being rear-ended will appreciate the addition of the rear camera and be able to capture license plates, as well as the vehicle’s make and model.
  • Mic and Wi-Fi can be switched on/off. While not essential features, audio recording and Wi-Fi can be switched on and off according to driver preference. Switching audio recording off can give passenger’s peace of mind that conversations in vehicles are kept private.
  • Wide compatibility with smart devices. Many dash cams have limited compatibility options, catering to PC users. However, this is not the case for the DR650GW. This dash cam is compatible with a range of smartphones and portable devices operating on Android, iOS and Windows systems, as well as Windows and Mac computers—leaving no one out.
  • BlackVue App’s “Over the Cloud” is a complimentary add-on Cloud-like service unique to select BlackVue products, inclusive of the DR650GW-2CH. Drivers can store recorded footage on the Cloud platform and retrieve them for playback from any portable device with the BlackVue App anywhere (i.e. to show police and insurers). “Over the Cloud” includes six novel features:
  1. Live View of vehicle. Keep tabs of your vehicle remotely with a smartphone or tablet. Live View lets drivers check in on live streaming footage of activity around their vehicle from distances over 9 metres. Grabbing a quick cuppa in an unfamiliar neighborhood, double-parked or pulled over in a no parking zone for a minute or two? No worries, keep track of your vehicle and those around it armed with a smartphone in hand.
  2. Two-way voice communication. Drivers and passengers alike can communicate to the DR650GW through smartphones to access varied modes and settings using voice commands. Family and friends not in the vehicle can remotely monitor your trip and give you tips for revised traveling routes pending traffic conditions.
  3. Emergency alarm. Set custom notifications so that smartphones and tablets immediately receive alerts when emergency events occur in or around your vehicle, whether driving or parked. A particularly useful feature to keep track and ensure the safety of new drivers when not in the vehicle with them.
  4. Back up video. Like standard Cloud storage platforms, move or back up recorded video files onto BlackVue’s Cloud and free up space on memory cards. While Loop Recording overwrites the oldest footage first, you may want to preserve some files for future playback or reference—principally files recorded from Impact/Event Recording. The Cloud is a convenient hub to house these files. Additionally, the Cloud allows users to move or back up recorded files onto connected smart devices directly within the app without having to first upload files to a computer from the microSD card.
  5. GPS tracking. Visually and accurately track routes, travel speeds and traffic patterns in real time through the GPS feature and Google Maps™.
  6. Remote playback. Once recorded files are stored on the Cloud, they can be played back remotely through connected smartphones and tablets. Video footage and photo images stored on the dash cam itself can also be remotely accessed through the app.
  • User-friendly system. BlackVue’s triage of interwoven software—BlackVue App, BlackVue “Over the Cloud” and the BlackVue Viewer—are intuitive and easy to navigate. The BlackVue App is a must in order to maximize the dash cam’s full potential as well as the Cloud features. Users can review and analyze recorded footage on a computer using BlackVue Viewer. Files are time/date stamped and organized by front or rear camera footage. Files in the video log are even color-coded according to recording mode for user convenience: 1) Green, Normal Driving; 2) Red, Impact/Event Recording; and, 3) Blue, Parking Mode.
  • Discreet design with easy installation. The BlackVue DR650GW-2CH UK has a matte black, sleek footprint made to discretely blend with vehicle interiors. A huge factor contributing to its compact frame is its lack of a display screen. Each camera rests comfortably in its cradle and rotates a full 360° for optimal placement. The front camera can be mounted behind the rearview mirror with its cable hiding along the headliner and passenger side for a wire and distraction-free view. The lengthy rear coaxial cable carries both power to and the signal from the rear camera. It easily runs along the interior roof of vehicles and can be secured using the included cable clips. The durable and flexible cable provides enough give, even for rear-lift gates.
  • Includes a 32GB microSD card and supports up to 128GB. Few dash cams on the market come with their own microSD card for straight out-of-the-box use, and none come with a memory card of this capacity. The BlackVue DR650GW-2CH UK includes a 32GB microSD card, giving users the ability to drive home from the store with the camera working at full force. And, if the standard 32GB memory doesn’t do it for you (approximately 10 hours of continuous recording at high image quality), this dash cam will support microSD cards up to 128GB.
  • BlackVue includes a 1-year limited warranty with free repairs for added confidence when investing in the DR650GW-2CH. They even offer worldwide express shipping, guaranteeing products get shipped out quickly once repaired.

 

Cons

  • Rear camera resolution is low. You win some and you lose some—it’s about compromise. While most dash cams on the UK market support Full HD recording as a standard, these dash cams are only one channel. In sum, while the rear camera’s 720p resolution is noticeably lower, especially when compared to the front camera during daytime driving, at least it’s there as another set of eyes.
  • While resolution and video imaging quality is solid, the front camera picks up significant reflection and glare through the front window. At night, performance is adequate. Playback footage contains streaking headlight beams, greatly reducing visibility of license plates and other key roadside details.
  • No built-in display. The DR650GW dash cam was devised to work in tandem with Wi-Fi enabled smartphones or tablets with the BlackVue App downloaded. Real time GPS tracking on Google Maps™, Live View of parked vehicles or playback of recorded footage is all displayed through smartphones or portable devices. This may or may not be a deciding factor for the casual dashboard camera window shopper, but it is certainly worth noting.
  • Does not protect Impact/Event Recording files. Most dash cams these days safeguard footage recorded from Impact/Event Recording as an overwrite protected file. The BlackVue DR650GW-2CH UK does not. Drivers will have to manually go through the BlackVue App on smartphones or BlackVue Viewer on their computer and mark which files need to be locked, or stored to devices and/or the Cloud service. Files are easy to locate with BlackVue’s date/time stamps and color-coding system. To stress, only video footage manually locked or saved as backup files are protected from overwrites. Otherwise, with Loop Recording functionality, the oldest footage, regardless of recording mode, will be overwritten.
  • Wi-Fi has limited connectivity. Wi-Fi connectivity on the DR650GW-2CH is intended for compatibility with smartphones and tablets only. Drivers unfortunately aren’t able to upload and send recorded footage directly to the police or insurers as evidence. Moreover, some users have noted that connectivity to smart devices has not always been reliable. In order to save or back up recorded footage onto computers, users will have to remove the microSD card and transfer files.
  • Low Photo Mode resolution and short run time of the internal battery. Despite the dynamic potential of the front camera’s Sony EXMOR CMOS sensor, photo resolution maxes out at a very low 2.4 megapixels and the rear camera fares far worse at 1 megapixel. While the DR650GW is equipped with a built-in super capacitor battery as a backup power source, its run time of 10 minutes gives drivers a meager time budget to document photo evidence in the event of an accident.
  • One car only. While installation is simple enough, this is not the dash cam for those wanting to quickly mount and dismount a camera between varied vehicles. The adhesive tape mount goes directly onto windshields and running the rear camera connection cable through the cable clips can be cumbersome and impractical for use with more than one vehicle.

 

Our Verdict

The DR650GW is a noteworthy dual-channel flagship product from BlackVue. From its total front and rear visual coverage of vehicles, to practical safety features all accessed from the palm of your hand, to its polished cylindrical form, BlackVue demonstrates their understanding of what it means to be a competitive force in the contemporary dash cam market. The BlackVue DR650GW-2CH UK thrives in forward-thinking innovations that make-use of smart technology outfitted with a savvy app to eliminate the need for a display altogether. With a smartphone, drivers have access to GPS data, can view parked vehicles remotely, receive vehicle monitoring alerts based on custom presets, transfer/save footage to BlackVue’s signature Cloud as backup, among other nifty practicalities.

However, the camera’s basic hardware and functionality lags behind the creativity of its software. A major disappointment is the inconsistent quality of recorded video despite the impressive Sony EXMOR CMOS sensor. The Full HD front camera performs well in daylight (if you can get past reflections in the windscreen), but not as well in low to nighttime driving conditions with headlight beams obscuring details. Meanwhile, the HD rear camera produces noticeably lower video resolution during daytime driving, but surprises at night, easily capturing license plates. The adequate video resolution carries over to Photo Mode, providing mediocre picture quality with 2.4 megapixels being the highest resolution. Another setback regards Impact/Event Recording (Emergency Recording). Footage recorded in this mode is not saved automatically as an overwrite protected file. Users will have to remember to lock the file from the BlackVue App, or upload the file to the Cloud or computers for safekeeping.

The major selling point of the BlackVue DR650GW-2CH UK dash cam is its smooth integration of front and rear cameras, giving drivers full coverage of vehicles while on the road or parked on the street—something that is truly hard to beat, and why it makes it into our Best Front and Rear Dash Cam list.

Dual channels, satisfactory video quality, accurate GPS tracking, a user-friendly file managing system and a companion app loaded with a host of features make the DR650GW a fun device for the early-adopters, but not quite worth the investment for the mainstream—not yet.

 

Average Customer Rating: 3.9/5 stars (Amazon UK, based on 51 reviews)

Price: High-Range £££+

 

 

 

Product Details

Spec NameModel Spec Details
LensSony EXMOR CMOS, 2.4 megapixels (front) | CMOS, 1 megapixel (rear), 129° wide angle (both cameras)
Resolution/Frame Rate1080p at 30fps (front) | 720p at 30fps (rear)
Low Light Recording-
Microphone/SpeakerBuilt-in (on/off capability)
GPSYes
G-Sensor3-axis
Wi-FiYes (on/off capability)
Date/Time StampYes
Parking ModeYes
Video FormatMP4
Video Output-
Power Source12-24 VDC car charger, 1x Super Capacitor battery (built-in, approx. 10 min run time)
Memory32GB microSD card (included), supports up to 128GB microSD cards, Class 10
CompatibilityWindows (Windows® XP or later), Mac (10.5 Leopard supported)
Display Type/SizeNo Display
Dimensions11.9 x 3.6 cm (front) | 6.74 x 2.8 cm (rear)
Weight120 g (front) | 30 g (rear)

 

Unboxed

  • BlackVue DR650GW-2CH UK front and rear dash camera
  • 360° rotating bracket
  • 12-24 VDC power adapter
  • Rear camera connecting cable (6 metre cable)
  • 32GB microSD card (with microSD to SD card adapter)
  • 8x cable clips
  • Dual-paneled tape
  • BlackVue Quick Guide
  • BlackVue Easy Tips for Wi-Fi
  • Warranty card (1-year limited)

 

Recommended Accessories

  • Lexar High-Performance 64GB MicroSDHC Flash Memory Card, Class 10
  • Power Magic PRO
  • Add-A-Circuit Mini Blade Fuse Holder
  • “CCTV In Operation for Accident and Security Purposes” Window Sticker

 

Where To Buy The BlackVue DR650GW-2CH UK Dash Cam

BlackVue DR650GW-2CH UK

Blackvue DR650GW-2CH US

 

Company History

Founded in 2007, Pittasoft aims to impress with dashboard cameras that deliver the combined strengths of vivid image quality and maximum connectivity to smart devices. Pittasoft paves the way in the industry with groundbreaking work in one and two-channel Full HD dash cams, living up to high standards of product manufacturing and their philosophy—Reliable. Simple. Connected.

 

Other Reviews

If you enjoyed our BlackVue DR650GW-2CH UK review, be sure to check out other cameras reviewed from the BlackVue range.

 


 

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