I’ve been lucky enough to recently get a chance to look at a few different dash cams and review them. I have definitely become one of those drivers who will always use a camera when driving now because firstly, it’s good to have your own personal eye-witness at all times when you’re on the road. Secondly, just having a camera installed in your camera is enough to lower your car insurance premiums. Thirdly, I like being able to watch the videos back sometimes or show friends or family where I’ve been. The videos are particularly entertaining if you’ve been on a road trip or had to drive in hazardous conditions! I was given the chance to try the Thinkware F800 Pro Dash cam and was given a sample in exchange for a review.
In the box you get the camera itself, the power cable, a bracket and sticky pads for attaching to your windscreen, a USB stick, a 16GB micro SD card and transflash adaptor, a comprehensive quick start guide and warranty booklet and the obligatory packet of silica gel. My first impression was that this was an attractive little camera. In fact, this is probably my favourite design of all the cameras I’ve looked at in the last few months. It’s shaped like an old fashioned camcorder, but obviously miniature. The controls and power lights are on one side of the camera and you connect the power cables on the narrow end of the camera. The lens is swivels so you can adjust where it films while it is stuck to the windscreen. The micro SD card goes into the bottom of the camera, where you can also find the mic and the reset button.
My initial grievance with this is the same as I have with the majority of dash cams. The power cable only connects to an in-car cigarette lighter and there is no USB cable supplied. This is problematic because as I’ve mentioned in previous reviews, I don’t have a cigarette lighter. The 2010 Fiat Panda wasn’t given anything as sophisticated as a power point. I know I am in the minority, but it would still be nice to be given the option of how this is powered as even cars that have a power point might want to use multiple devices. For example, someone might desperately need to charge their phone using the car’s power source but still have to use their dash cam for insurance purposes. I would really like it if dash cam makers would include two different types of charging cable. So, this review is written based on set up and use in my husband’s car.
It’s easy to attach to the windscreen. The camera comes with one large flat square mount that attaches easily to the windscreen. There’s also a spare backing in case you need it. So far, the easiest to set up in the car, by far. There’s also some small square sticky-backed hooks that you can arrange around your windscreen so that the dash cam’s charging cable doesn’t obstruct your view. This was one feature that I really liked and haven’t seen so far in any other camera – at least not included with the camera.
Some of the main features of this camera are pretty impressive. For example, it has night-time recording whether you’re in your vehicle or not. There’s also Thinkware Cloud Services which you can download from the Thinkware website. It enables car owners to track their vehicles, set Geo-Fencing alerts when your car leaves your chosen zone and will send you alerts and video evidence if your car is involved in an accident while in parking mode. The vehicle location features are handy if your car is ever stolen. This is something that really appeals to me and I think it’s probably the reason for the hefty price tag on this camera.
It’s possible to access recordings on the camera and edit the camera’s setting from your phone. This is another feature I liked as I was able to watch footage without putting removing the micro SD card and using my laptop to view the videos. You’ll have to download an app called Thinkware Cloud and create an account. The app itself is easy to navigate and doesn’t take up much space on a phone, being only 35MB. You can view your file list, dash cam settings, dash cam info and connection settings using the front screen, and there’s a very easily located live view button too.
There are so many other nifty features with this camera like safety camera alerts and integrated thermal protection that it really does justify the price charged. It’s currently being sold for £269 on Amazon. Overall, I thought it was a good quality camera and worth paying a little bit extra for, and the app was excellent. To find out more about this dash cam, you can visit the Thinkware website.