After having reviewed several dash cams , mainly those made by Pittasoft who make the BlackVue range, we have become quite a fan of the ability to record everything in front of you and even behind you just in case we see something amazing or a car or plane crash. And if you are involved in an accident yourself these recording devices could prove your innocence.
Today we are looking at a different form factor from the slimline cameras we wrote about before.
The BlackVue WiFi LCD Dashcam is a large 4 inch touch LCD screen.
Is that a good thing?
The mantra for most digital devices these days that it needs to have a touchscreen. And indeed that is an improvement in a lot of situations. I'm not too sure about the need for a big touchscreen when it comes to dash cams. And I'll explain why in a moment.
Let's first look at the overall beauty of this device. Like all BlackVue cams they are very well built and have a high quality look about them. This system is not much different functionally from the one we reviewed before. The main forward-looking camera sports a 2.4 megapixel Sony Exmor CMOS sensor and the smaller rear facing camera has a two megapixel CMOS sensor. That is quality enough for full HD videos over both channels. Just have a look at the earlier reviews for the video quality.
It has Wi-Fi and a 16 GB microSD card.
What is missing in the standard unit is a built-in GPS -it is however an optional external extra.
That's a bit of a surprising move as GPS receivers are very inexpensive and built in most mobile devices these days. The external unit is rather large, I suspect mainly because it needs a bit of a surface area to put the adhesive on! And also the cord is one meter long which means there's quite a bit of cable to get out of sight.
And that is in addition to the power cable and the coaxial cable for the rear camera connection which also needs to be hidden from view.
With such a large unit, the size of a decent smart phone, placement on the windscreen means that you are obstructing a bit of the forward view. That wasn't an issue with the slimline cameras that could be hidden behind the rear view mirror but with a big LCD screen it needs to be within view and reach.Frankly, I haven't found a good spot for it yet as I would like to have an unobstructed view through my windscreen.
So what is the purpose of having a large screen for your dash cam?
It might make setup a little bit easier but all that can also be accomplished with the BlackVue app. I find it rather a distraction to see the live camera screen in my peripheral view. Sure, you'll know that the camera is working but that has never been an issue.
I'm struggling to find a good reason for having an LCD screen on a camera that needs to be almost hidden from view.
And I also question the wisdom of leaving out the GPS functionality in the basic unit. It is very handy to superimpose any trips on Google maps and to have a readout of your actual GPS speed in case you need to prove your innocence before the court. Of course, it could also work the other way in case you were speeding!
The BlackVue WiFi LCD unit is known under the model number DR750LW-2CH.
It's an interesting concept but personally, I prefer the slimline dash cams that you can put away out of sight behind a rearview mirror.
Come to think of it: as I have written before probably the best combination would be an integrated dash cam with the rearview mirror and in that case I would not mind having a bit of the real estate of the mirror taken up by a small screen for the camera. Perhaps a screen that you can switch off as well. And if Pittasoft are working on such a concept we would love to be the first to review it as long as it includes a GPS module!
As for pricing: in Australia it's around $550.
For more information you can hit their website: www.blackvue.com/en