review

Thinkware Q800 Pro 2k Dash Cam Sony Exmor Sensor & Ambarella A12 SoC

Thursday, January 02, 2020

It does not come as a surprise that hit and run driving is more common than it is reported because even people who do not think to drive off after hitting someone or someone else's car, end up actually doing it!
Front and/or rear end shunts while driving or while the car is parked unattended comes with the territory of owning a car but, you can easily manage these car woes with a dash camera.
the Q800 Pro measures 10cm long x 6cm wide and 3cm thick
That said, getting a dash camera can be a woe itself unless you clearly know what to look for and you will only know that, after doing lots of research. Easy to set up, quality of camera and parking mode are, probably, the most popular features people look for in a dash camera.
The quality of the recorded footage is, obviously, the most important feature in a dash camera since not being able to capture clear events and/or number plates defeats the main purpose of a dash camera.
The performance of a dash cam comes down mainly to its sensor and processor. One of the best performing dash cams one can buy are Ambarella A12 processor based dash cams such as the Thinkware Q800 Pro.
The Q800 Pro features a Sony Exmor R sensor that supports 2K QHD resolution, as well as GPS/Speed recording, which is worth having on a dash cam, especially when trying to prove a speeding ticket and/or location of an incident.
Anything between 1080p 60fps and 1440p 30fps will make a dash camera worth the investment. That said, resolution isn't the end-all-be-all unless the camera sensor supports the resolution natively because otherwise, you are simply getting an upscaled image, which is the last thing you want in a dash cam. The highest dash cam resolution you can get is, currently, 4k, followed by 3k, 2k and 1080p.
The higher the resolution, the more expensive the camera so, a 4k dash cam will cost more than a 2k camera unless, it's a fake 4k dash camera, which won't have a real 11 megapixel (or higher) image sensor not the ability to shoot natively in 16:9 aspect ratio.
Having a 4k, 3k or 2k dash camera is worth it because with a higher resolution dash cam recording, you can zoom-in on the footage with a video player such as VLC without degrading the image. This is useful when trying to view the number plate of a car.
Dash cameras can also come with a screen or without screen, which does make the dash cam a little bit cheaper in price. Having a screen can be useful for aiming and aligning the camera lens.
While the Thinkware Q800 Pro doesn't have a screen built-in, it supports Wifi radio, as well as Wifi hotspot (uses mobile data) connectivity to connect to the Thinkware Cloud mobile app.
The Thinkware Cloud app has a useful camera alignment feature with green and blue lines so, you can properly centre the camera. The Q800 Pro camera housing is able to rotate up and down approximately 90 degrees.
The Q800 Pro camera lens provides a 140-degree view, which is great for capturing peripheral action. That said, a really wide angle lens is not ideal in lower resolution dash cams (i.e. 720p, 1080p) because everything appears further away, making it hard to read vehicle number plates because zooming-in on low resolution video degrades the image.
The Q800 Pro wide angle lens is not a problem because of its quality lens, which supports 1440p (2560 x 1440) resolution natively at 30fps.
From the Thinkware Cloud app, you can also live stream and playback recorded footage and parking incidents, which is better than playing a video from a small dash cam screen.
Most settings of the Q800 Pro dash cam are accessed and controlled via the app so the app is very much needed.
From the app, you are able to do things like format the memory card and change the Memory Partition where you can prioritize what doesn't get recorded over. You can choose from continuous priority, incident priority, parking priority and manual priority.
From the Thinkware Cloud app, you can also adjust brightness and adjust the motion detection sensitivity and impact sensitivity in parking mode so, you can make the dash cam so sensitive that it can detect when someone touches the car or when a car drives by.
There are also two battery protection features to prevent the dash cam from draining the battery of the car. One is a record timer which can be set up to 48 hours to turn off the dash cam. The second battery protection feature turns off the dash cam after the car battery voltage goes below a set level.
Once your phone has been connected to the Thinkware Cloud app successfully, there isn't any issues reconnecting. That said, compatibility with Android seems to be higher than what the user guide states (Android 4.4 and higher). The Thinkware Cloud app is not visible on the Google Play Store when using an Android 6 device..
The volume level of the voice prompt can be adjusted also. Voice prompts have been added for all the main functions of the Q800 Pro dash cam, including impact/motion detection, GPS connection, Wifi connection and micro SD card detection. The speed stamp and microphone can be disabled from the app also. The voice prompts cannot be disabled.
The Thinkware Q800 Pro also integrates a 3-axis accelerometer G-sensor, which is designed to trigger recording after the sensor registers an impact or motion, which is handy when the car is parked and you aren't around. The Q800 Pro has an impact buffered recording mode and a motion buffered recording mode so, you can choose whether you want the dash cam to record after impact or when sensing motion.
Buffered parking mode is not the same as parking mode, which is a standard feature in most dash cams. The Q800 Pro though, features buffered parking mode, which is an upgraded version of the standard parking mode that saves the recording in a separate folder. With buffered parking mode, the recording also starts 15 seconds before impact and ends 30 seconds after.
Other safety features included in the Thinkware Q800 Pro dash cam are road lane departure warning, forward collision warning, low speed forward collision warning, front vehicle departure warning, red light camera warning, and super night vision 2.0, which increases the exposure automatically in low light conditions.
The super night vision on the Q800 Pro works a bit like infrared but, instead of using an infrared sensor, it uses the camera sensor, which requires some light. Infrared works in pitch black conditions, whereas the Q800 Pro dash cam cannot.
Version 2 of super nigh vision improves on the previous version by turning on automatically when the car is parked with parking mode enabled.
You cannot turn on super night vision while driving, which is probably a good thing since the increase of exposure can potentially white-out the car number plate. Since super night vision 2.0 only works in parking mode, you will have to have the Q800 Pro hardwired to the fuse box of the car.
inline safety fuse
When buying the Q800 Pro dash cam you can select the hardwire kit option or the 12V car charger cable to power the Q800 Pro from the 12V cigarette socket of the car, which is convenient but won't work for parking mode because once you remove the key from the ignition, the 12V cigarette socket turns off.
The Thinkware Q800 Pro parking mode feature can only work if you hardwire the dash cam to the internal fuse box of the car. While the wires are provided, the hardwire kit doesn't come with the necessary fuse tap, which is specific to the car as some cars use mini fuses while others use standard fuses.
Something else worth mentioning is that there is no battery built-in so, once the camera loses power it powers down and stops recording. The Q800 Pro can be powered from a car or truck that uses a 12V or 24V battery.
The Thinkware Q800 Pro comes with various accessories, including a cleaning cloth and a micro SDHC 16GB UHS-I Class 10 memory card, although the dash cam can support up to 128GB memory card capacity. A Thinkware CPL filter is also included to minimize dash cam windscreen glare.
The mount brackets and clips have a 3M VHB (Very High Bond) adhesive backing that allows the Q800 Pro dash cam to be strongly stuck to the windscreen. Once stuck, the Q800 Pro dash cam will not fall down and it's reusable.
The Q800 Pro dash cam is very light weight (108 grams) and, while it's not the smallest, it only takes minimal space on the windscreen.
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