We’ve all seen the seemingly endless stream of wild dashcam videos from Russia. Apparently the roads there are littered with random sinkholes and exploding Soviet-era cars, and all of that is captured by camera equipped drivers. However, this is 2016 ladies and gentlemen. The year of MAKING AMERICA GREAT AGAIN! And what better way to start the process by making the good ol’ U.S. of A. the leader in quality dash cam videos? That’s right Boris, we’re coming for you! U S A! U S A! Of course, a good dashboard camera may also prove useful in more mundane situations, like proving who is at fault in case of a fender bender… but if it can capture that, it can capture all the other mayhem on the road!
To ensure American dash cam video superiority, we’re going to need a quality dashboard camera. This is where the BlackVue DR650GW-2Ch comes in.
The DR650GW-2ch is one of the higher end offerings in the BlackVue line up, and ranks among the best when it comes to dash cams overall. It comes in an attractive, compact shape that makes it easy to install discreetly out of the way to capture 1080p video while you make your way around town. Thanks to the even smaller second 720p camera, you also get a rear view. The video quality is very good in both day and night conditions, as evidenced by the actual video below (captured by Yours Truly!). With removable Micro SD memory, you can buy in at the lowest price point and then upgrade to a larger memory card later. Using the included 16 GB memory card, I was able to capture around 8.5 hours of front and rear video.
What really sets the DR-650GW apart are its additional features. It has a built-in, adjustable shock sensor that marks areas of interest in the recording, to make them easy to find upon playback through both the mobile app or on your PC. Its built-in GPS receiver not only measures your speed and location, but also allows for a ‘parking mode’, which makes the shock sensors more sensitive to any disturbance. Combined with the Power Magic Pro, the camera can continue recording when your car is parked and you are away. The Power Magic Pro keeps the camera powered while the ignition is off, but shuts it off once the battery voltage dips below a certain level. There’s nothing more frustrating than coming back to a damaged car. Finally there’s a way to catch hit and run drivers in the act!
I saved the best for last, however. With recent updates, BlackVue added Cloud support to the device. Using its wifi connection, the camera can connect to the internet, allowing you to view what is going on, from anywhere. It can even send notifications to the BlackVue app in your phone when any sort of disturbance is detected. I don’t have an always on wi-fi connection in my car, so I connect to a nearby access point where I park, but if you are so inclined, you can install a portable wi-fi hotspot and always know where your car is and what is happening. It’ll even let you carry on a two-way voice conversation via the device!
I had a few minor gripes with the device, but none that would change my decision to make this my primary dashcam set up. For example, although the LED indicators and sounds are configurable, you cannot disable the white LED on the rear camera. There are settings within the app to disable LEDs for the front, however. I have read that Koreans prefer to have their cameras as visible as possible, but here in NYC, the more compact and discreet, the better. Also, while it feels sturdy and well made, the long cable used to connect the rear camera is round and a bit thick, making it a bit tougher to squeeze into the crevices of your headliner or elsewhere. Finally, many others complain that the video quality of the camera is not as good as it can be due to the lower bitrates used. I personally don’t agree with this sentiment, as I find the video quality rather impressive and sufficient for the task at hand. There are 3rd party firmwares available on the internet that modify this and other functionalities of the camera, however.
Surely, with this device, we can achieve the goal of American supremacy in wild dash cam videos. So grab one and let’s get to work!
BlackVue DR650DW-2Ch w/ PMP$389.00
- High definition video
- Compact form factor
- Second camera for rear view
- Expandable memory
- Cloud features
- No way to disable on/off voice prompts
- Rear camera is only 720p
- Cannot disable LED indicator light on rear camera
- Slightly thick rear camera wire