We recently went through the reasons why you should get a dashcam or car DVR. Personally, I didn’t need to convince myself once I actually started using one. It’s a nice way of recording your journey or even protecting yourself from dishonest people on the road, and Thinkware is at the forefront of this.
The folks at Uncharted Inc. recently let us try out their Thinkware FXD700 two channel HD car DVR. Thinkware is a Korean technology company which manufactures tablet PCs, GPS devices, and car DVRs.
The FXD700 is Thinkware’s flagship In-Car DVR product. The FXD700 is a 2.4-megapixel Full-HD front camera with dual channel capability which has built-in GPS, a 3-axis acceleration sensor, a shock sensor, a motion sensor, a built-in super capacitor, compatibility with 32GB micro SD cards, a HDMI personal navigation device port, AV input/output and a Micro USB port for powering the device and connection to your PC. Also, the FXD700 allows for an optional rearward facing camera (either to the cabin or out the rear windscreen) to be installed. It measures in at 105.2mm x 61.5mm x 41mm and weighs in at 140.5 grams. The secondary rear view or in-car view camera is available as an optional purchase.
The device can be mounted via a quick release slider mount which you attach to your vehicle (preferably the upper part of the windshield) via a high bond double adhesive tape. They will soon have extra mounts available to make transferring between vehicles easier. The device can be powered either through a continuous power cable wired to your car’s electrical system or an optional cigarette lighter plug adapter. The first power option allows for ‘Parking Mode’ which records specific events while the vehicle is parked.
In Parking Mode, the device automatically records a 20-second video when an impact occurs (10 seconds before, and 10 seconds after); it also has a motion sensor which also records a 20-second clip with the same before and after sequence. The clips are saved in their respective folders on the memory card for future reference. The system also has a built in safety shut off feature that automatically shuts down the device when battery power goes below 12.2V (by default) so it does not drain your battery.
Configuration of the FXD700 is done via the PC Viewer software (Unfortunately, it doesn’t work on Apple OSX). Either plug your device to the PC or simply insert your MicroSD card to a card reader. You can adjust the many settings like brightness, audio recording, voice guidance, video resolution and quality (VGA, HD or Full HD), impact sensitivity, motion sensitivity, safety voltage, and memory card partition. Configuration data is saved to the memory card. The unit comes with a 16GB 'class 10' Micro SD card but you can upgrade to a 32GB for more storage. Make sure you buy a 'class 10' rated card for efficient Full HD recording.
The ‘Continuous Recording’ function saves files in 1-minute intervals to H.264 compressed AVI files with quality dependent on your settings. I just left it on Full HD to achieve the best recording quality. The front camera records at a 140-degree angle which basically covers your front periphery. Video quality is very crisp and clear during the day and still very good at night despite have a lightly tinted front windshield. Unlike another product we tried, the FXD700 automatically adjusts its video settings depending on the lighting condition.
Finding the right impact sensitivity setting is quite tricky however, as I find my device making too many ‘event recordings’ when going through potholes at setting number 4 out of 10. Setting it too low however might not make event recordings in case you actually need one, so better to be safe than sorry.
The proprietary PC Viewer software is recommended to view both front and rear video clips as well as display GPS data outputted to a Google Map sync. It comes with a user friendly interface that is pretty straightforward.
Overall, the Thinkware FXD700 offers good value for a two-channel dashcam with GPS and its many features, however I wish they recorded longer clips for the continuous recording mode. It retails for PhP12,500 (installation not included) at selected service shops and car accessories stores. For more information about Thinkware Car DVR products visit www.unchartedcorp.com.
Day time with varying light