If you took a dash camera and cracked it open, programmed in Wi-Fi capability, stuffed an action camera inside, put it all back together and connected it to the cloud, you would have BlackVue. Suffice it to say this is not your run-of-the-mill dash camera.
The fact that Formula Drift joined forces with the company starting with this year’s championship circuit and locked them in for a 3-year contract should further attest to that. That is exciting for sure, but what really makes BlackVue stand apart is their incorporation of the cloud technology to take you beyond simple damage control and broaden the use for some actual fun.
Their unique perks include features to manage recordings, communicate with the driver, monitor location via GPS, remotely operate the camera, and even deliver push notifications for motion detection events.
Do you even drift bro?
I don’t drift. Tried a few times in high school and didn’t have great results. But I love watching the pros from Formula Drift shred some rubber and slide around corners with ultimate precision. It’s the perfect combination of raw power and refined skill. Watching the 1,000 horsepower-plus cars tear around the track in a tandem, almost choreographed performance teeters between control and chaos. If you haven’t checkout out professional drifting and the rev of an engine makes your stomach flip, I highly suggest that you do, but be warned- the rush is addicting.
The Formula Drift circuit is currently in their final stretch of the Championship, and October 7-8 they will be at Irwindale Speedway (just a stone’s throw from Newegg HQ and the location of the first sanctioned drift event) for the final competition. The championship run actually started in Long Beach back in April, and has since made its way all over the US and even stopped in Canada and Japan.
BlackVue is the presenting sponsor for Formula Drift, and each driver competing has the 2-channel model installed on their cars. The top 14 drivers of the competition have Wi-Fi installed in-car as well, which allows them to live stream to the app during throughout the event, which makes for some awesome footage.
- Full HD 1920×1080 @ 30fps front camera (HD 1280×720 @ 30fps rear camera on the 2- channel model)
- Sony EXMOR CMOS sensor
- 129° FOV (both front and rear-facing)
- Front: 96g
- Rear: 28g
- Front- Width 118.5mm x Height 36mm
- Rear- Width 67.4mm x Height 25mm
- Up to 128GB MicroSD card capacity
- GPS, G-Sensor, Wi-Fi
- 5GB cloud storage
I am so glad that I have finally found an automotive camera without a screen. I know the sub-3” LCD screen is a huge point of emphasis for other dash cam manufacturers out there, but it is a big distraction when driving. Yes, on most models you can turn off the display (my preference), at which point then the screen is just used for navigating through the menu and really not all that necessary. When dash cams have a screen as part of the design it also increases the size of the unit- typically not a characteristic you want from something attached to your windshield.
The rear camera is a mini version of the main front-facing camera in both looks and function. The only difference between the 2 channel version and the 1 channel version is the additional rear-camera, and of course the input on the main camera unit. Otherwise, all the same specs are carried over.
- Remote live view
- See what is happening around your vehicle from anywhere via the mobile app and Cloud service.
- Remote video playback
- Play videos stored in the Cloud or on the BlackVue MicroSD card via mobile device.
- Emergency alarm
- Receive push notifications on your phone of preset events, like motion or a G-force change.
- GPS tracking
- Visualize your car’s speed and location on a map.
- Video backup to the Over the Cloud service
- Manage video files and move them from the memory card to the Cloud storage or to device storage from the app.
- Two-way voice comms
- Communicate with people in the car from the app
- Loop recording & intelligent park
- 1yr warranty on the camera
- 6mo warranty on the memory card
- 4 main recording modes: normal, event, parking, and manual.
Over the cloud and in the app
Without the screen to navigate through all the settings, the app is your best friend to manage all the different features available with the cams. The app functionality can be a bit confusing to use the first time around, so I would check out the BlackVue app manual to make the process smoother.
Basically everything you need to ensure that your footage is backed up is available through the app, where you can also save a hard copy to your device and manage the MicroSD card files. A cool point here is that for the “motion detection” setting you can adjust the sensitivity, which means that if you have frequent action where you park (under a tree or near a flag perhaps) you can tone it down so there aren’t a workday’s worth of videos clogging up your card.
The videos are classified by recording type, and you can set individual push notifications based on a variety of factors, depending on what you need to know about before checking the card.
It would be cool to see BlackVue bump the resolution to 4K for the front-facing camera, especially since this is aimed at auto enthusiasts who would likely be exporting the footage for video use. Plenty of the other dash cams on the market have (advertised at least) 4K resolution and I think this could be a point of interest. That being said, the quality of the camera is very- very good. From all the dash cams I have seen to date, this is the best quality all around. The daylight recording is bright and crisp, and the night is still pretty clear in the low light without becoming unbearably grainy.
BlackVue is not targeting the people who just want basic dash cam coverage, that much is clear. Their audience is auto enthusiasts: gear heads who are nuts over their cars and doing more than just commuting to work and home. If you have a performance vehicle that you put through the paces, or just want to have extra assurance that your ride is safe and sound when you are out of eyesight, BlackVue is calling your name.
DR650S- 1CH 64GB – $249.99
DR650S- 2CH 64GB – $319.99