When you think about emergency necessities for your vehicle, there are certain items that should always be kept at hand. It used to be if you had an emergency kit, a set of jumper cables, and a tire pressure gauge you were pretty well set. But now there is a new item that is taking the motoring world by storm; a dash camera.
These little cameras are relatively inexpensive and will provide you with video evidence if you are ever involved in an accident or your vehicle is vandalized. Video evidence can prove to the police, or your insurance company that you were not at fault and possibly provide a license number of the hit-skip driver that was. The BlackVue DR590 and the Thinkware F200 are two of the best entry-level dash cams and in this review we will compare the different benefits and features from these two industry leaders. We think that the Thinkware F200 is a slightly better option (>>> Check on Amazon).
BlackVue DR590 vs Thinkware F200 side by side:
|BlackVue DR590||Thinkware F200|
|Resolution (front)||1920×1080 30FPS||720p HD 30FPS|
|View angle||139 degree||140 degree|
|Maximum capacity||256 GB||128GB|
|Price||Find on Amazon||Find on Amazon|
6 Must-Have Dash Cam Features
Video Quality – A dash cam should record in HD or High-Res at a minimum of 1080p. You want the video to be clear, not grainy and it takes at least a resolution of 1080p to provide that kind of quality.
Best for Video Quality: BlackVue DR590
Low-Light/No-Light Recording Capability – Most drivers spend a lot of time driving at night, so there is no sense in owning a dash cam that can’t record sharp images in low-light or after-dark situations.
Best for Night Vision: Slight edge to BlackVue DR590 due to Sony STARVIS sensor on front camera
Storage – Video recordings can take up a lot of space. You need a dash cam that comes with a large amount of storage space. Many dash cams come with MicroSD cards that can greatly increase their storage capacity.
Best for Storage: BlackVue DR590
Parking Mode/Motion Detection – You don’t spend 24 hours a day in your car, so what happens to it while you are away from your vehicle can be important. Motion detection is a dash cam must-have. Special G-sensors in the camera will automatically start a recording if an impact or motion is detected.
Best for Impact/Motion Detection: Tie
GPS – GPS tracking can automatically provide tracking data that will identify a vehicle’s location, a map of the route taken, and vehicle speed. This can be especially good if someone other than you is driving your car (think teenage drivers) and you want to know what is going on while they have the car.
Best for GPS: Neither camera offers built-in GPS functions
Bluetooth or Wi-Fi – Having Bluetooth capability will allow you to connect to the camera with a smartphone or other electronic device to manage storage or view footage. If the camera is Wi-Fi enabled, you will be able to upload and store your recordings directly to the cloud.
Best for Connectivity: Thinkware F200
BlackVue DR590-2CH Dash Cam
The DR590 is a mid-priced, entry level dash cam system that has front and rear cameras that record in full HD (1080p) at 30 frames per second. The front camera has a Sony STARVIS sensor and the rear camera has a CMOS sensor. Both cameras provide a 139° view angle. During daylight hours the video quality is good, in low-light situations the quality is only fair to good.
The BlackVue DR590 camera comes with a 32GB MicroSD card (will support up to 128GB) and uses Adaptive Format-Free technology, which allows for better organization and storage of video files on the card. Videos will be stored by type; normal, event, and parking. Once the SD card is full, the DR590 allows loop recording to overwrite older files first. Because this camera does not have Wi-Fi, you must remove the SD card and put it into a computer to view recordings or change camera settings. The BlackVue Viewer app is free to download and works with Windows and Mac.
There is no built-in GPS capability, but an optional GPS antenna is available separately. It does have a buffered parking mode, but the camera must be hard-wired into your car’s electrical system or you need connect it to an external battery pack. When an event occurs while in parking mode the camera will record approximately 10 seconds of video before and after the incident to the SD card.
The DR590 is BlackVue’s stripped-down, entry level dash cam system.
- Ease of installation
- Sony STARVIS image sensor – front camera only
- Will automatically enter into parking mode after 5 minutes with the ignition off
- No Wi-Fi capability
- No lock-out function to prevent important files from being overwritten
- No built-in battery protection
Thinkware F200-2CH Dash Cam
The F200 records with a 720p HD resolution at 30 frames per second (fps) using a Sony CMOS 2.12-megapixel image sensor for its front and rear cameras. However, at 720p resolution video quality is only mediocre at best. Both cameras have a 140° wide-angle lens. The F200 has built-in Wi-Fi, which you will need if you decide to change any of the camera’s factory settings, since there is no LCD screen to access the various camera functions. There aren’t a lot of options available through the Thinkware app other than to change the exposure settings for dark, medium, and bright lighting conditions or alter the sensitivity settings for the camera’s G-sensor.
Included with the system is a 16GB MicroSD card and the unit will support up to a128GB card for storing video recordings. It does offer loop recording, which will automatically overwrite older video files with no detected incidents as the SD card becomes full. The camera comes with a suction mount or a more permanent sticky pad mount, whichever you prefer to use. It does have a parking mode, but in order to access it you will need to hardwire the unit into your car’s electrical system. An external GPS module is an optional add-on.
Overall, the Thinkware F200 is relatively simple to setup and use, an economical mid-range dash camera.
- Wi-Fi configuration built-in
- 16GB MicroSD card included (supports up to 128GB)
- Wide 140° viewing angle
- Limited to full HD (720p) resolution only
- Mediocre image quality
- No LCD screen
The BlackVue DR590 is slightly less expensive than the Thinkware F200 with somewhat better features. The greatest advantage in choosing the Thinkware system is it does come with built-in Wi-Fi (>>> Check the current price on Amazon). Both systems are good entry-level dash cams for anyone who doesn’t want or need to invest a lot of money in one.