BlackVue Watch Over Me – A BlackVue DR750S-2CH Car Dash Camera Review

October 24, 2017 at 7:47 pm by

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Warcraft is well known for its many, many fantastic character quotes and sound effects. The sounds in the game are so iconic that they are still used today in many games outside of the Blizzard universe.

One of those sound effects is when an Orc Tauren chieftain is spawned into the game and he softly says “May my ancestors watch over me”. The words to me are so powerful because it’s as if he is asking the heavens to watch his back and protect his actions.

In a bizarre way, I relate this quote to a car dash camera. It’s an all-seeing eye that watches over you and protects you in legal claims for accident reports. Like the heavens the Tauren are speaking to, the dash camera is silent, not responding, but will act when they are needed.

For those living in Western Europe, Russia, or North-Eastern Asia areas, car dash cameras may be more common in vehicles. With the high rate of insurance fraud in those countries, dash cameras allow you to prove your innocence with video evidence, evidence that cannot be disputed or disproven.

Here in the United States, insurance fraud is far less, but nevertheless still happening. In a better relation to the higher fraud outside of the US, we here have a higher rate of those who lie in police reports, blaming others for an accident that they clearly caused.

Accidents are typically two-person events, so when the police try to write down the story of what happened, there is often a “Your word versus my word” scenario. Yet, if someone had a dash camera, then there wouldn’t be any need for that scenario.

In 2014, I reviewed the BlackVue DR600GW-HD dash camera. That camera was BlackVue’s first attempt at entering the American market and with over three years of experience now, they’ve hit the nail right on the head.

Like most brands, BlackVue relies solely on the few products that they make. Specializing in dash cameras, the last three years’ worth of reviews for BlackVue has been an absolute pleasure. Thankfully, I have never been in a car accident but knowing that the “ancestors are watching over me” is always a constant relief.

Since BlueVue’s entry into the American market, Amazon’s market place has been spiking in car dash cameras. There are hundreds to choose from, all with different prices but not the same quality.

With government sellouts, many American products are made in China; this is not the case with BlackVue. Made directly in their home country, BlackVue dash cameras are South Korean designed and manufactured, even for the US market.

There’s also another advantage with BlackVue and that is that it doesn’t just protect the front of the car, but the rear too. I’ve seen far too many YouTube videos of people getting rear-ended and then the culprit running away, just hoping that the victim didn’t get their license plate or face.

All previous BlackVue reviews for Tech Support Forum have been for 600-series dash cameras and ironically look similar to one another. Today, we jump to BlackVue’s latest 700-series dash cameras with a front and rear configuration setup.

Refined design, reinvented performance, 60FPS, and cloud-based technology, BlackVue’s latest is a monster dash camera that is ready to be your car’s all-seeing eye. Welcome to my review on the BlackVue DR750S-2CH car dash camera.

Design

I mentioned in the introduction how Amazon is now filled with dash cameras and I must say that a lot of them have some ugly looking designs. Look at how this one can be seen as a radar detector and why is there a huge flip down screen?

BlackVue has done perfectly on their dash camera designs since day one. Designed as a tube, the DR750S stealthily hides towards the top of a windshield and is hidden from sight as it looks like it is a part of the rear-view mirror when viewing the camera from the outside.

Wrapped in a matte black finish, on a sunny afternoon you can’t even tell there is a dash camera in my car unless you specifically look for it, and even then it’s still hard to find.

I find the tubular shape to be the perfect size too as it is only 1.5 inches in total diameter. When attached to the included windshield mounting bracket, the cylinder shape allows the camera to rotate up and down which allows you to position the offset camera lens perfectly angled. There are a lot of cameras on Amazon which are a fixed position, meaning the camera may look up at the sky or down towards the hood. This means BlackVue’s design is a one-size-fits-all.

I’ve reviewed a lot of BlackVue cameras and the one-size-fits-all model holds up to be true. Each I’ve reviewed has had its fair share of time in different cars and every single one of them always lines up perfectly.

Not only does the mounting bracket offer perfect alignment, but it has a quick release for the camera. When the power cables are unplugged, you can detach the camera from the windshield and put it into a glove box for safe keeping when not in use.

Looking just like it’s big brother front camera, the rear camera included with the DR750S is what the 2CH letters, tacked on to the model number, stand for.

Significantly smaller in size, the rear camera is a tiny little thing that unobtrusively mounts to the rear window using the included mounting bracket. Like the front camera, the rear’s mounting bracket allows the camera to rotate both up and down for the perfect position.

Back to the front camera: carrying over the familiar design from the previous series, the DR750S has some user buttons that can be used to interact with the camera.

On the right-hand end of the camera, there is a plastic cap that unclips to reveal a microSD card slot for the camera’s storage capability. Included in the camera is a 16GB card, but it can support up to 128GB. For a quick format of the SD card, there is a button next to the SD card slot that will format the card when pressed and held. Otherwise, a single press of that button will activate the camera’s wireless mode. More on this later. Also on this end of the tube there are inputs for power and the cable that runs to the rear camera. The rear camera does not have any buttons, only a single input jack that carries power to it and sends data back to the front camera.

On the opposite end of the tube-shaped camera, there are status indicator LEDs for wireless and a hidden proximity sensor that will quickly turn on or off the internal microphone of the camera. Being a sensor means you can activate it quickly just by tapping the camera instead of fussing around with a button.

Facing you, the front camera has two additional status LEDs that indicate recording and a GPS signal. Just to the right of those LEDs is a metal speaker grill that allows the camera to talk and make noise. Additionally, this grill also houses the internal microphone.

The front of the front camera (the side that faces the road) is mostly barren. There are only the Sony recording camera that is off centered, a white LED and the BlackVue logo.

Something I wish BlackVue would omit from their dash cameras is the white status LED that faces the road. Found on the front camera, a white LED is flashing to tell the other drivers you are recording. Luckily, this can be disabled in the Application which will be spoken about below.

The rear camera’s design doesn’t have many talking points and is mostly barren. There are a couple of BlackVue brandings and a rear facing LED strip that allows the driver to know that it’s running by looking in the rear-view mirror. The camera on the rear camera is offset just like the front camera.

You know BlackVue got their design right when you see that LG’s car dash camera is an exact clone of BlackVue’s. So much so that some may accidentally mistake one for another.

Setup

BlackVue makes a true quality product that is meant to be perfect in every way. However, as great as they make their products, it’s up to you to set up the camera to your preferred settings.

Pre-applied to both cameras’ mounting brackets are *super* strong 3M gel sticky pads that mount themselves to the windshield when pushed with a little force. The gel pads are protectively covered until it’s setup time, but make sure you get the heights and positions on the windshield and rear window correct before you go and apply the cameras’ sticky pads.

These pads are a one-time use and are difficult to remove after use. If you do happen to mess up the positioning on the glass, no need to worry. BlackVue includes an additional set of pads and some dental floss will help get the current gel pad separated from the glass. Whatever you do, do not apply a dash camera to a broken windshield or rear window and do not try to pull the gel pads off.

For positioning, I recommend using a little bit of painter’s tape and putting the camera in a position that seems best for you. The higher up on the windshield, the better and you’ll want the front camera to hide behind the rear-view mirror, so you can’t see it while sitting inside the car.

Using a friend is best as they can move it as you stand outside of the car looking at it head-on. Otherwise, you can use the free BlackVue app to check the live camera feed of the camera. More on this later. Once you’ve gotten the position of the camera, apply those gel pads to stick it firmly.

There are two cables that need to be run to the front camera. One cable is for power and the other cable is a link to the rear unit. Both of the included cables are acceptably lengthy and should be fine for coupes, sedans, SUVs, and even trucks.

My recommendation is to hide as much of the cable as possible in the car’s plastic frame and hidden compartments. Ideally, you shouldn’t see any of the cables at all.

To help route the cable on the windshield BlackVue includes small cable routers that hold the cable in place. These are mounted using the same 3M gel pads.

While it’s lengthy to type and a lot to read in the included 30-page manual for the dash camera, take your time during setup. Rushing the process will lead to an unprofessional setup and leave it messy. I would set aside two hours for new dash camera users and an hour for those who are used to doing it.

Powering the camera to some people is a no-brainer as you just connect the included power cable into the car’s cigarette lighter outlet. However, in some car models, like mine, the cigarette lighter outlets stay powered even when the car is turned off. This means if my car sits for a long period of time, the camera will eventually drain my car’s battery to zero.

To prevent this, BlackVue offers a couple of tools. The first is their Power Magic Battery Pack which is a power bank for the dash camera and it allows the camera to stay on for an extended period while the car is off. Think of this as a power bank for your smartphone.

Alternatively, there is the Power Magic Pro which is a cutoff switch from the car’s battery to the dash camera. This unit detects the current output of the car’s battery and will cut off the power to the camera if it drops below a certain voltage. It can also have the power cut off after a set amount of time. Both products have been previously reviewed and can be accessed using the links above.

If you are a little strapped for cash, you can skip all three power solutions above and manually hardwire the dash camera into a non-essential fuse in the fuse box using a fuse-tap. In my case, I opted for an inside dome light as the car cuts power to the lights after a few seconds of shutting down. In other cars, I’ve tapped into fuses like the rear seat heaters.

Functionally

As with most things today, the BlackVue DR750S is run using a free mobile application for either iOS or Android. There is also a Windows and Mac OS application, but the app has received a great user interface facelift over the years and is now more practical.

When the camera is running, you can use the button mentioned earlier to turn on the wireless that is built into the camera. When on, the camera emits its own SSID which you use your smartphone to connect to. The default password is written in the user manual.

When connected to the application, the colorful and informational menus help use the camera and see what the camera is seeing. When tapping BlackVue Wi-Fi on the home screen, you can control the camera directly.

There is a view for live video of both the front and rear cameras as well as a Google map to show you the current position of where that video was taken. This is helpful if you want to look back at a road trip and remember when the footage was taken. The built-in GPS module is accurate and reliable too.

Every setting for the camera is adjusted within the settings menu in the application. Status and security LEDs can be disabled, storage and video recording length can be changed, and features like voice recording can be turned off completely.

On top of settings adjustment, the application can also load stored video from the camera to your smartphone so you can show others or view for yourself the recorded content. A bit of advice is to save the file to your phone first and then watch the content. Buffering the video from the camera itself can be a little slow.

While included, I find that 16GB of storage for a two-channel dash camera is a little lacking. Within a day or two of driving, the storage is filled up on the micro SD card. The camera does automatically delete and write over the oldest video content, but that doesn’t help if you are on a long road trip and want to save that footage.

For me, I only want to save recent activities in case something bad happens, so 16GB is enough for my liking, but 32GB if far more ideal.

If you happen to be in an accident, within the application you can set video files to be locked from deletion. Meaning, no matter how old the footage is, the camera will not delete the locked content for new content.

Speaking of content, each video file is marked as one of three scenarios. There is ‘normal’ for normal driving, ‘event’ for actionable events like hitting a pot hole, turning, or when one of the internal sensors spikes, and ‘parking’ which puts the camera into a sleep mode and will only record when motion or a sensor detects something or someone.

As previously mentioned, the greatest benefit of a dash camera is the ability to watch over your car while you are not there. With the battery options listed above, the dash camera will go into Parking Mode and will only record data when it detects something is wrong.

Since there is a loop recording option, you can set the camera to only delete parking events and not normal or event events. There’s also an option to enable scheduled reboots to prevent errors from stopping the recordings from working.

Lastly, one of BlackVue’s latest pushes is for Cloud-based recording. Using a car’s 4G LTE signal, a BlackVue camera can be connected to the cloud and receive commands and send data to BlackVue’s servers. This is ideal for companies who want to keep an eye on employees who are using company cars. This is a paid service, but the cloud-based tool allows for remote live view, push notifications, view recorded content from afar, two-way voice communication, GPS tracking, and much more.

For consumers, there is a free service for this cloud that includes 10 minutes of live video per day, 5GB of cloud storage, and 100 downloads or replays per month. This is perfect for those wanting to watch over their children who may be new to driving. The only catch is it needs an active 4G signal. The service is explained in greater detail here, but I’ll be sticking to local use of my dash camera.

Performance

The claim to fame for the DR750S is the new 60 Frames Per Second recording addition to this camera. Previously, all BlackVue cameras ran at 30FPS which was suitable for most, but not as smooth for fast moving options. Now, smooth and clear 60FPS has made its way to your car.

Built into both the front and rear cameras is a Sony STARVIS CMOS Sensor capturing video at 2.1 megapixels. The front camera records at a maximum of 1920×1080 @ 60FPS, while the rear’s maximum is 1920×1080 @ 30 FPS.

The STARVIS camera is a special type of lens that is optimized for low-light performance. The front camera has the benefits of the headlights at night, but when the car is off, the DR750S will boost the low-light intake and turn on a high ISO sensitivity; in everyday words the camera turns up the exposure. The result is a stunning picture of clear visual objects without headlights.

On the rear, it’s the same case, but it doesn’t have the headlights for visibility. So, at night while driving or parked, the Sony Starvis camera really shines and allows you to see objects and make out shapes with practically no light around. These tests were done during a full moon.

You can see this lighting in the videos below during a 6 o’clock drive home. It’s not totally dark, but a twilight setting that really shows a lot of clear detail as if it was still mid-day.

This is the first dash camera that I know of that is a 60 FPS camera. Recording at 60 FPS is double the performance of a 30FPS unit and provides double the clarity at speed.

The difference I’ve noticed from a 30FPS camera to a 60FPS unit is that license plates, signs, and other road objects are far more noticeable in the post-recordings. Before, license plates could sometimes fade, blur, or not be seen at all if the vehicle was moving too quickly. Not any longer.

One thing I love about BlackVue’s cameras is the fact that they are superiority clear and crisp. Of course, I should let the videos do the talking. The first set of videos is for the new DR750S while the second set is the predecessor DR650S. Change the YouTube quality to 1080p!

My Final Thoughts

The BlackVue all-seeing-eye does it once again and impresses me in a brand-new way. The new DR750S-2CH dash camera is a 60FPS masterpiece that records any harm that may come your way while driving. Furthermore, it’s another way of sharing a long road trip with family and friends.

The front and rear protection is perfect with a 360-degree view of the road and the Sony Starvis camera is great for low-light recording. Viewing all of this recorded footage on the BlackVue application is also a pleasure with everything working as it’s intended to.

Everything about the DR750S is done with excellence and there isn’t a single item or feature that I would change. Additionally, BlackVue’s cloud-based service allows remote management of business vehicles for a secured and active location finder for a business owner or even a parent that would like to keep tabs on their young drivers.

Priced at $379 for the 16GB edition with a Power Magic Pro box, I find that the dash camera is worth every dollar. Just like car insurance, you won’t need to use it until you need to use it. It’s an additional layer of protection by showing your innocence in court, to the police, and offers peace of mind.

It’s a must-have for all drivers in my mind and I couldn’t praise the DR750S-2CH enough.

Buy it now:

© 2017 Justin Vendette

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