Back in August last year (oh how time flies) I reviewed the amazing Thinkware F770 Dashcam. Since then I’ve been contacted and asked to review the latest iteration – the Thinkware F800 Pro.
- This is a feature-packed device (see main body of the review)
- 140 degree field of view.
- Improved night vision features.
- Camera is unobtrusive on the windscreen.
- Camera footage can be viewed/downloaded to smartphone via the Thinkware app
- Can be DIY fitted or professionally installed
- Easily removed.
- Ability to add a rear camera.
- Parking sentry mode.
- Driver assist modes.
- Cloud functionality.
- No need for 3rd party app to review footage, now has built in viewing app.
- Large SD card required as it’s full HD recording (I couldn’t find a way to reduce resolution).
- Parking modes, especially the motion detection is a little sensitive.
- No easy way to quickly mute the camera voice announcements.
- 1080p Full HD & Full HD 2CH.
- Super Night Vision2.0.
- Time-lapse energy saving parking recording.
- Safety Camera Alert.
- Road Safety Warning System
- Lane Departure Warning System.
- WiFi hotspot. (Smartphone can connect to the camera, change settings and download footage to the smartphone).
- Impact detection (if a bump or crash is detected footage is retained)
- Dual Save facility. Footage from impact detection or manual record is saved to the SD card and to internal memory to prevent loss.
- Vehicle location embedded in the video and can be viewed on mapping software (PC/Mac software required free download from Thinkware.
- Parking mode, records if the vehicle is bumped while parked up, maximum of 48 hrs after being parked.
- Motion detection, records motion in the camera “view” while parked up, maximum of 48 hrs after being parked.
- Vehicle speed embedded in the video.
- Forward Collison Warning System.
- Urban Forward Collision Warning System.
- Front Vehicle Departure Warning System.
- 140° Wide Angle (Front & Rear).
- Advanced Video Clear Technology.
- Built-in WiFi.
- Built-in GPS.
- Format Free 2.0
- Mobile APP (Android/iOS)
- Windows/Mac Viewer
Whats In The Box :
Thinkware ships the F800 with everything you need to get up and running right away. The dash cam is accompanied by a windshield mount, a 12V/24V power cable, two sets of 3M double-sided tape windscreen mounts, a 16 GB microSD card, a USB microSD Card reader and a set of instructions.
Installing the F800 in your car is very easy, but it is important that you get the alignment right so you can take full advantage of all the features that the dash cam has to offer. The sensor must be right in the middle of the windshield and the dash cam itself parallel to the top side of the windshield. If it is not installed correctly, you may get unreliable alerts from the driver assist functionality, depending on the situation.
Once you have the positioning correct, just pop in the microSD and plug in the power socket. The cam powers on automatically and will start recording right away. Depending on how your vehicle is wired, it may or may not provide power to the dash cam when the engine is turned off and the key out of the ignition, which may again limit some of the enhanced features of the dash-cam (such as the parking features). This can be overcome by using the hard-wiring kit with can also be purchased from Thinkware.
Controlling the F800 is done using the Thinkware Cloud app, which is specifically designed for the F800 and F800 Pro. It is available through Google Play or the App Store. You can also get the PC Viewer, which is available for PC and Mac from Thinkware’s website.
Here’s some screenshots of the mobile app in action..
The F800 is rammed to the gills with useful features. I particularly liked the driver assistance alerts, which will let you know when the car is drifting out of a lane or you’re perhaps getting too close to the car in front. This sort of kit is becoming standard equipment on modern cars, but this camera gives older cars access to those features – including my old camper-van! You can even adjust the sensitivity according to your preference and change from a car, 4X4 or to a lorry. The system gives you a beep when the dash cam senses that something is wrong.
The F800 can sense if you have been involved in an accident, based on in-built sensors. I did find that the system would beep far too quickly if you bumped the car when it was stationary, and would be triggered by driving over a speed bump or one of the many potholes in our roads. Any files created by this feature are automatically recorded to a special folder on the microSD card, so you can quickly find that footage. Files in here will not get overwritten in case the card gets full.
Like the F770, the F800 has a GPS sensor built-in and it obtained a GPS signal far quicker than the F770. This means that you get the coordinates embedded in the video too. You can see where you were at an exact moment just by looking at the video using the PC Viewer software. The GPS also allows for the speed to be recorded in the video.
Like other products in the range, Thinkware also provides speed camera data for the F800. You simply have to download the file and upload it onto the microSD card to take advantage of this functionality. Countries that are supported include the USA, Canada, UK and Australia, to name but a few.
The new generation of F800 cameras comes with a 2.13MP Sony Exmor R Starvis sensor, and a 140-degree lens, which records 1080p video at up to 30FPS. This provides really good quality videos. Keep in mind that the videos you’re about to watch below have been subjected to YouTube’s compression algorithms. Also, the footage was recorded through an old camper van windscreen, which adds reflection and impacts quality a little.
Thinkware makes a big deal about the Sony Exmor R STARVIS (probably for Star Vision) sensor inside the F800’s 140-degree camera, especially touting the images it produces at night. It’s only 1080p, but I found that wide colour gamut and high dynamic range (Thinkware calls it “Wide”, plus the processing had as much to do with a nice image as pure resolution. Most dash cam optics can’t do much with resolutions beyond 1080p, and you wind up just wasting storage space, or using a compression level that undoes anything that the extra resolution provides.
I captured daytime footage in bad weather, because let’s be honest, even a poor quality camera will capture good footage on a bright sunny day. I also grabbed some night footage using something Thinkware calls “Super Night Vision” mode. I felt that it was these two scenarios that will show the picture quality to its best.
Have a look at the clips below.
The F800 is arguably the best of the best. For night time use, ditch the qualifier – it is absolutely the best we’ve seen other than the F770. As to the lack of a display, well that is one less driver distraction within the car, and after a while, you don’t miss it.