Traffic in Taiwan is interesting to say the least. Most of Asia is like that and it's no wonder that Car Video Recorders have taken off exponentially! If an accident happens now you have proof it was that blasted scooter that cut you off...
Pittasoft in South Korea send us their latest model car camera, the BlackVue DR500GW-HD and it has quite a different feature set than the Taiwanese Papago! P3 car video recorder we reviewed half a year ago.
It is often said – with a bit of grim humour- that these things will just take you to the scene of your next accident but we all have many near-accidents as well.
Soon after I installed the BlackVue in my car we drove back from Perth on a rainy day. A truck decided to suddenly pull out to overtake an even slower truck. Trouble was: I was already overtaking them both and indicated as such. Fortunately, he just saw me in time after I had already moved over into the lane of the oncoming traffic, right before the crest of a hill...
A heart-stopping, brake-thumping moment, recorded on the BlackVue, in glorious Full HD.
I forgot to export that segment a few days after reviewing the incident so it has been written over on subsequent trips. So, we'll show a different part of the scenery here in Western Australia just so that you can see that beautiful, smooth (30fps) and wide view of the road.
Let's Talk Features.
I love the form factor of the BlackVue! It's a very well-designed unit that sits in a rotating ring so that you can easily adjust the lens. That lens is probably the best one out there which doesn't distort so much as some of the very wide lenses. 123 degrees across the bonnet is wide enough to capture all the action in front of your car and on both sides of the road.
Most action cameras (and this is in a sense also an action camera) sport Wi-Fi these days.
Wi-Fi allows you to replay any event directly on your iPhone or Android. What is handy with this WiFi equipped unit is that you can see exactly what the lens is seeing on your smartphone. Live. Or watch the recorded videos straight on your phone.
Probably the most useful feature is the optional Power Magic Pro which connects directly to your fuse box so that the BlackVue is always "on" even when parked. If you are stationary and someone misjudges his parking spot next to you (or someone tries to break in!) you'll have some good evidence to give to the police. Depending on which way the camera is angled of course... But who says you can't use two BlackVues? :)
A 16GB microSD card will give you well over 4 hours of Full HD at 30fps at normal compression rates. Or even 7 hours on high compression.
As with the PAPAGO! unit we reviewed earlier, the playback screen gives you a full picture of what happened. The files are served up continuously in one to three-minute segments and a map indicates precisely where the vehicle was at the time and how fast it was going. Date and time are also provided, of course. You can sort the files according to Normal/Event/Parking categories where Events are where the G-sensor in the BlackVue senses the vehicle's sudden sideways or deceleration movements. So it is impact-sensitive as opposed to the Parking mode which is motion sensitive.
The main one is that the adhesive tape supplied for sticking the BlackVue on the windshield is not up to the task. About a fortnight after I had mounted the unit to my windscreen it dropped down whilst driving. The glue had completely melted! Now, Australia is a pretty hot country but I live in a more temperate zone...
I tried the second patch of sticky tape supplied but that didn't even stay on for more than a few seconds! Get some mounting tape from 3M or some other strong stuff and you should be alright. Pittasoft is aware of the problem and undoubtedly will come up with a stronger adhesive patch.
The BlackVue DR500GW-HD is a great dashcam and has all the features you would want in a car camera. Here's a short list of the aspects we liked best:
1. Smart looking device with great quality recording
2. WiFi to enable live viewing and checking the recorded MP4s on your smartphone
3. Good software interface with flexible recording settings
With a price of around the AUD350 this BlackVue unit provides good value for money.
My best recommendation has to be that I have the BlackVue now permanently installed in my Ford Territory. Most review units have a shorter lifespan here at DigitalReviews.net...
Finally, what I remarked in my PAPAGO! P3 review fully applies to this BlackVue as well: Realising that everything is being recorded I tend to drive more carefully and stick to the speed limit. Yes, that is a good thing when you realize the evidence could also be used against you...
In summary: Highly Recommended!