It’s a pleasant afternoon and there you wait behind a few other cars at the fast food drive up lane. You take a slight glance out your driver side window and ponder the day; when all of a sudden you hear a loud bam. What just happened? You look forward and quickly notice how the person in front of you accidently reversed their car into yours.

Accidents like those happen every single day; some minor repairs, others that cause death. In civilized areas of the United States accidents are handled without caution and after a police report is filed your vehicle goes under insurance repair. However, what about the other events that happen on the roads? A hit and run, you being a witness, or some road rage driving?

In a court of law evidence is given in the form of paper documents, expert witnesses, and most importantly unedited video of the event. Since we never know what the future has in store for us, having a constant recording of our driving lives can help ready ourselves in the unknowing future.

In the past, I have had the great opportunity to take a close look at car dash cameras as well as read reviews on other car dash cameras. With previous experience using BlackVue cameras, I took interest in their base model; a unit that does one simple function, record video.

Recording at the desired Full HD 1080p @ 30FPS resolution, BlackVue’s base unit model takes out any complications or interaction to provide a stable and well working device. In return, that drops the price dramatically to a budget-friendly buyer.

Welcome to my review of BlackVue’s DR3500-FHD in-car dash camera. Throughout this review, I will be discussing the following: the design, functionality and my final thoughts. A special thank you to Pittasoft for providing me with this unit.


Like all of BlackVue’s dash cams, the DR3500 arrives in a flat black color that is then decorated with LED notification symbols and some branding.

The back of the camera contains your red recording light alongside the optional GPS status LED. Following suit is a small speaker and microphone that allows the camera to speak commands which can be turned off using the BlackVue computer software.

On the sides of the camera are the GPS-in connection, power in, and the included 16GB microSD card. Opposite to that is the blue LED lit ring that indicates power and surrounds a one-touch button that allows you to either self-format or turn on/off the internal microphone for voice recording.

BlackVue keeps their body styles the same, therefore, the DR3500 uses cylinder body layout and a slight fish-eye lens for the 2M pixel camera.

When it came to setting up the DR3500, I was quite familiar with the setup process and was expecting a painless operation. Already attached to the camera is a sticky paste that allows you to firmly secure the dash camera onto the windshield.

Included in the box is a long power cable that then connects to a car electrical socket. It should be noted that the unit can be wired to a fuse in your fuse box if you use a fuse tap.

I briefly mentioned the GPS functionality of this camera and how it was an optional feature. Unlike the other BlackVue dash cams on the market, the DR3500 uses an external GPS that is sold separately. Unless you wish for the camera to constantly record your location and speed, it’s not needed.


When setting up a BlackVue dash camera, typical setup includes a smartphone that connects to the BlackVue's application, which in return connects to the emitting wireless field from the camera. The DR3500 lacks this feature, therefore, to adjust settings or watch recorded video, you must use the BackVue computer software.

You must first allow the camera to format the SD card then it can be connected to any Windows or Mac computer and be used with the BlackVue Viewer. Straight away the software picked up the card and displayed the already recorded video.

I adjusted the settings to my liking and once reunited with the camera, all of the settings took place and worked flawlessly; so much so, that I have yet to alter the SD card since installing it over a month ago.

The question to ask is how well did it perform? As a base model camera, you may expect lesser performance over its bigger brothers. Quite the opposite as the DR3500 recorded crisp and clear video that allows you to capture every image, even license plates at a far distance.

BlackVue kept the three set modes for driving, parking and events that allow you to sort through them to find the recording capture you desire.

When driving during the day and night, the video quality is more than acceptable with everything in the front of the car fitting into frame. BlackVue shows live video that can represent the true quality of what you’ll see as well.

I noticed that at faster speeds, the camera began to get fuzzy and had a hard time picking up the fast moving surroundings and instead had more of its focus on the front of my hood.

On the highest possible setting, the camera records just over three hours of video, which is enough to hurry home and save the desired three minute clip(s).

Lastly, you may ask the question on visibly of the camera for both inside and outside of the vehicle. While inside the car, the camera is mounted behind the rear view mirror, which if placed properly makes the camera nearly invisible to the driver. Outside of the car, the DR3500's black body allows it to stealthily hide in the glare of the sun or even in the shadows of the night. If a user was unaware of the camera, they would never notice it.

In the end, the DR3500 performs just as I want it to. Sitting there, watching, recording, and not doing a single thing until I need it. In a world that is filled with insurance fraud and reckless drivers, you can never be too careful.

BlackVue Photo

My Final Thoughts

BlackVue’s dash cam lineup offers some excellent cameras and I’ve loved using every single one of them. Knowing that there is an all-watching eye while driving puts my mind at ease and the DR3500-FHD is just like the rest. Priced at $175, it’s affordability and reliability makes it a must have as long as you can go without the additional features like GPS and smartphone support. As I said in the beginning, you never know when you might need recorded video.

Buy it Now:

© 2015 Justin Vendette