Alongside the large assortment of cat videos found on YouTube, there appears to be an increasing number of driving videos making their way to the video sharing website. With many of these uploads coming from places like China and Russia, you can find videos showing accidents, falling asteroids, bad drivers, people who inflict self-damage against a car, and much more.
If you have ever been in a car accident, you may have experienced the situation of the person at fault attempting to lie their way out, claiming that YOU were at fault. With accidents mostly being a two person event, it can be hard for law enforcement to get an accurate report on who was actually at fault.
Wherever automobiles are present there’s bound to be some bad drivers, people who lie their way through an accident, hit and runs, or even people who attempt to claim against your insurance.
In places like China and Russia, these situations happen on a daily basis and the same is beginning to arise in the United States and Europe. Due to these events, it may be time to begin looking for something that will never lie and allows you to record your every move.
In the US and Europe, major intersections are watched by cameras to better understand accidents and help catch criminals, but when the road is free of the watchful eye, you end up on your own. Therefore, a car dash cam allows you to take that watchful eye along with you, capturing your moves and making sure you have the proof needed in times that you least expect.
When searching the web for a car dash cam, I found a large assortment of companies who sell all different shapes and styles of dash cams. Eventually, I stumbled upon a Korean based company who for the past few years has been selling dash cameras in the Asia market. With the company making their first attempt inside the United States, it was something that I had to check out.
Welcome to my review of the BlackVue DR600GW-HD car dash cam by Pittasoft. Throughout my review, I will be covering the following topics: the unboxing and setup, design, my usage report, and my overall thoughts. I would like to thank BlackVue for providing me with the camera for this review. It should be noted that the term “camera” will be in relation to the DR600GW-HD.
The Unboxing and Setup
Being a Korean based company, your shipment will be processed directly from South Korea which, surprisingly, travels quickly over the sea and right through U.S. Customs. In addition to the fast shipment, the camera arrived unharmed and in a well packaged box.
The DR600GW-HD is one of two new dash cams that BlackVue has introduced to the US market, and shipped to me was an international version. The product box of the camera is ridged and filled with some information about the unit itself.
Make your way inside the box and you find the camera unit itself, surrounded by a protective soft-touch foam block. Underneath all of that is some user documentation, a micro SD to USB adapter, a car power adapter, and some very strong 3M cable management pads followed by an additional mounting pad.
Next, we venture into the setup phase of the DR600GW-HD. Your camera will come preinstalled with a micro SD card for recording and is upgradable up to 64GB. Users should position the camera behind their rear view mirror, making sure that it avoids the tint bar and views a clean area that is covered by your wiper blades.
Connect the power cable to the unit and begin to wire the power cable across the very top edge of your windshield, this is where the 3M cable management pads come in handy. Afterwards connect the power adapter into a power port. It is crucial that you select a power port that is only active when the car is running, otherwise you may return to a dead car battery in need of a charge; this is only the case if the car sits for a few days.
At this point the camera is positioned and most of the work is done. Unfortunately, the user manual ends here and does not assist you with the BlackVue mobile application for a complete setup. The setup becomes more about you figuring out what to do next.
Speaking about the user manual, the English terminology used within both the manual and mobile application could certainly be improved. For example “firmware” means “settings” within the mobile application.
Nevertheless, download the BlackVue mobile application to begin your full user customization. I will be speaking more about the application below, but after this step is complete, your camera setup will be finished.
Constructed from a high grade plastic, the DR600GW-HD provides a stylish modern look by having a solid matte black color scheme that blends well with your car. When installed, the camera is pleasing to the eye, yet offers a stealth appearance for the walking bystander.
First impressions of the camera surprised me with how large the unit actually is. Measuring in at a length of 4.6 inches (118.5mm) followed by a depth of 1.4 inches (36mm), the camera still fits perfectly behind most rear view mirrors.
The shape of the unit is a full cylindrical design that has a detachable mount brace if you need to quickly take down the camera. Likewise, the mounting brace also provides full 360 degree movement which always remembers its set position even while driving.
On the front of the unit, you will find the high quality 1920×1080, 133 horizontal viewing degree, 30FPS, CMOS camera sensor, a security LED, and some product branding. Flip the unit around and there are two status LEDs indicating recording and GPS lock which rest aside the built in speaker. On the driver side of the unit is a Wi-Fi on/off indicator as well as a microphone recording on/off touch button. The passenger side contains the power in, Wi-Fi on/off button, a built in microphone, and finally the micro SD card slot.
One dislike I had about the camera was the constant blinking and solid LEDs. The front indicating security LED is a bright white and voids all stealth of your camera whereas the recording and GPS LEDs may shine in your eyes at night. Don’t get me wrong, these LEDs can be useful and helpful, but my dislike is more of a personal nature. Luckily for users who may agree with me, BlackVue provides an easy and quick way to turn off every single LED within the mobile application.
My Usage Report
Your entire experience with the DR600GW-HD is accessed through the mobile application. Provided for both iOS and Android devices, users have the full capability to personalize each and every function the camera performs. By connecting your phone to the wireless network provided by the camera, the application receives access to the video files, a live camera view, and the ability to adjust settings.
The settings include everything from enabling or disabling LEDs, turning off the microphone, adjusting when the camera uses the built in speaker for voice, and a one-touch self-format function.
Next, we have the outstanding software that BlackVue uses within the camera itself. Using GPS, the camera records your speed and location to assist when needed. Additionally, the software categorizes the recordings into three different modes: normal mode for everyday driving, event mode for stops and turns, and parking mode for when the car is parked. The recordings can be set to 1, 2, or 3 minute recordings for it to log.
Sent to me was a 16GB model that, in my opinion, is more than enough space. To create an easy and user-friendly experience, the camera will automatically overwrite old recording events so the SD card never fills up. For users who do want more space, they can opt for the 64GB version.
When it comes to picture quality, the video playback is quite superb and provides some good detail on what it records. Day driving provides adequate views, with license plates being readable, while night driving shows only what your lights see; there are no built in IR-LEDs. When recording at 30FPS the playback is smooth and never stutters and the 1080p quality allows for accurate detail when viewed on the PC.
All said and done, once you’ve finished personalizing your unit the camera sits quietly and waits for the time it’s needed. Your hope is to never need it, but when the time comes, it always has your back and will never lie.
My Overall Thoughts
In conclusion, the BlackVue DR600GW-HD is an excellent dash cam that is a highly recommended product. It’s priced on the high side at $298.99 for the 16GB model, but the unit is priced favorably with companies selling the same or a similar product. The setup guide and process could be improved, but once it’s up and running it becomes quiet and protects you against the world. Being an entry device into the US market, it certainly is an outstanding first shot.
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Tagged BlackVue, cam, car, dash, DR600GW, DR600GW-HD, DR650GW, DR650GW-HD, GoPro, HUD, Pittasoft, protection, quality, review, web.