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« The Belkin Ultimate Keyboard Case for iPad | Main | The DR32 Dashcam - A Full HD car camera from the team behind the 808#11 & 808 #18 »
Sunday
Mar312013

Blackvue DR500GW-HD WiFi GPS Car Camera

Most people will have heard of Sony, Samsung or Panasonic but the names of dashcam manufactures are less familiar. One of the biggest name in car cameras at the moment is the Blackvue range, from the Korean company Pittasoft. I was very happy then when they got in touch and asked me to review their latest and greatest model, the DR500GW-HD.

This is a fully featured, highly specified, yet easy to use device which warranted a very complicated review. With the built in GPS, WiFi and supplied software there was so many things to demonstrate that I that I ended up creating what is possibly one of my most detailed (and quite probably long winded) videos yet.

Normally once I complete a review of a car camera I immediately remove the mount from the car so I can move on to the next one... but with this one I've left it in place. That's because I hope to be able to revisit this one again if a firmware update is released which resolves the issues I experienced during my week of testing.

This specification of camera commands a premium price (£250-£300) and the best place to obtain one appears to be eBay.

I have uploaded a zip file containing original 1080p & 720p clips here.

Update - Thanks to Stefan Leone in the youtube comments for providing the fix for the GPS mislocation bug. This is resolved by downloading the latest V1.001 of the Player software from the Blackvue website here.

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Reader Comments (50)

Excellent video of a very interesting camera, thanks Matt. Looking forward to seeing your results of the update of the firmware when/if it happens.

But at the best part of £250 - £300 is does seem to be pretty expensive....

April 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterVoyager03

Far too expensive.

April 1, 2013 | Unregistered Commentergus

Its very expensive for anyone who just wants a straight forward dash cam and since the 808 #18 DR32 costs £67 (inc P&P), I cant see in the review what amazing things the Blackvue does to tempt me or anyone else to shell out over £183 more.........Even the video quality looks worse than the DR32, which is laughable when bells and whistles (gimmicks) takes centre stage than video quality.

Thank you for the review.

April 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTerry

great review again. great camera but too expensive and too big.

April 2, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterjohn

The bloody cheek of the company to even charge such a high price for that inferior car camera.

In conclusion the Blackvue DR500GW-HD is overpriced, has worse video quality than el cheapo 32 and its features do not justify in anyway its ludicrous price.

At least Dick Turpin wore a mask.

April 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMan from Salford

Surprisingly flawed for this company. If they wanted to show up the cheaper brands, i think they just made them more appealing!
A shame really as they normally carve out great products and it looks like this model was rushed to market.

April 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew

Late last year I decided to make a change from my cheapo car cam to one with GPS. I reckoned having a record of GPS and speed could be most useful in the unfortunate event of an accident. I therefore had a good look at the market and my final choice was between this one and the Roadhawk HD. I love the style of the Blackvue but the ones I saw were a dark silver so they looked eminently pinchable. There were mutterings too about overheating problems.
Therefore after reading many revues and watching video samples, I decided to go for the Roadhawk at a similar price. The software is not so good but adequate for my needs. It doesn't have parked car recording but I don't need that. It fits behind my car mirror (Hyundai ix35) and is not glaringly obvious to a passer by. Bit rate has a large range of adjustment.
If Roadhawk had any sense they would let you have one to try.

As always - Thanks for making it.

I agree with comments made about the prices but having tried several low cost ones I can only say that you get what you pay for.

April 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDerek

I wonder if they had to lower the video bitrate to get the wifi streaming working?

April 12, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterjazzist

I will say the review was top notch, having owned a few of the no named cheap Chinese ones, the video quality on this DR500GW-HD is not that much greater for the sum of £300 ish, there are much cheaper 1080p HD ones out there, in fact side by side when there was too much information for the camera to handle the image quality was the same or below the £25 - £35 DVR cameras from ebay, so if it's image quality you're after, for the cost of it, my opinion is give this camera a miss as it's not worth the 5 to 6 times the cost of the cheap ones on ebay, from another forum I was informed that the clips Pittasoft BlackVue show on their website were shote at a bit rate of 12000 giving great image quality, but for reasons best known to them (Pittasoft) they reduced the bit rate on the DR500 to around 7000 so when there is lotos of information sent to the SD card the camera can't handle it and image quality suffers. when you think that the "Go Pro" cameras are anywhere up to 20000 or more bit rate

someone brought out a custom firmware for the DR500GW HD (unofficial) to get the bit rate up to the 12000, I've tried to get it to work on mine but haven't yet managed to get it to work, but those that have say the image quality is good once installed, Pittasoft needs to address this issue of image quality on a camera of this price point

April 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterStefan Leone

Up date, I've managed to install the (unofficial) firmware that has uped the bit rate to 11.86 Mbit/s from what was 7.46Mbit/s I'll do some testing over the weekend and see if the quality of the image is much better

April 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterStefan Leone

What about reviewing the JAEWONCNC IROAD IONE-3800FU
Looks as good as this blackvue but way cheaper?

April 17, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterjazzist

Great review, thanks Matt.

It costs £150 selling in Singapore which is few times higher than other China made camera set. I have been using several in-car cameras and I find that this Korean brand gives me peace of mind once I start the engine with the announcement voiced out from the unit. It never fails even during critical accidents I had faced. I had good visual evidence to show I am 100% no fault, clear video pictures even from the old DR350 unit saves me many trouble.

I need a small size camera which is hiding nicely behind the rear mirror, no wire visible, 101% reliable, clear number plate pictures captured day and night, wireless recording check occasionally. Which brand/model fits my need?

I am thinking upgrade to this £150 unit from my DR400 for the sake of WIFI live view. Is it worth to spend £150 for this wireless feature?

May 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEddieluen

I wouldn't...because I'd never use the wifi feature. After I've got the camera pointed in the right direction I'd never need the live facility again. I don't find it too difficult to remove a memory card to transfer
footage either. But that's just me, only you can decide what's important to you.

May 5, 2013 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

I bought one of the Chinese cameras you were very impressed with a couple of months ago, the one with the wired rear camera. (Though I bought the rearless option since I drive a van!)
Image quality was pretty good, better than the one I had previously and I was quite pleased with myself until my son (who has more money than me) bought the BlackVue 400 version 2 (it had overheating issues which are now sorted I believe in v2).
His image quality is superb compared to mine. The software is excellent and it just seems an allround totally good package.
He and I both looked at the 500 but thought the wifi was gimmicky and unnecessary and it bumped up the price. But with regard to the impact on image recording quality with the reduced bit rate - we never spotted that, nor would we have understood it if we had!
Side by side, my cheapo needs resetting from time to time (his doesn't) I have zero confidence in the g settings on mine I cannot seem to get them to do anything. The motion detect is slow to react, and so on. But when it does it's primary job - recording while moving, it is reasonably good.
When it breaks down, which I'm sure it will, I will buy a BlackVue, but probably not the 500 as it stands at the moment.
Having said that, new products always have a few wrinkles, which I am sure they will iron out like the issue you had with gps. At least they are a company that puts their name on their product and support it.
I also think they are quite expensive, but also that they are worth the extra for the all round quality of the product and it's functions. All the functions work, and the software package is just SO functional. Remember they are doing the R&D which the other companies are just doing cheap rip offs of.
You get what you pay for in this case - all round quality.
Good review as usual, Thanks Matt.

May 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMartin

it seems like most of this camera have overheating problems. what I see from the video taken from this unit is not so good at night. when it enter the dark place is very bad there

May 26, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterkelvin

The advantage of the WiFi feature is that with a smartphone you can show the cop who shows up after your accident what happened. If I'd had that for my recent crash (unlicensed driver speeding and ran a red light, then fled the scene until he gave up being chased), the cop would have given him more citations. It seems in any red-light-running case, instead of one person's word against another's, being able to show the replay on the spot has value. It can let the cop determine who's at fault. Without that, what do you do, send a CD of the video to the insurance companies? The insurance company in my recent experience doesn't do email with the public.

May 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEngineer

Hi,

I live in a hot climate region. I hear Blackvue has overheating problems. Has this been sorted out yet?

Also, I wish to instal another camera on my rear windscreen with a rear footage. Is this advisable from the technical aspects? For eg will two cameras, front and rear drain the car battery?

Appreciate advice from anyone. TQ
regards
edd

June 1, 2013 | Unregistered Commentereddie

I run two cams, front & rear, absolutely no problems at all. Battery drain is not noticed.

June 1, 2013 | Unregistered Commentergus

Thanks Gus. So u have two blackvues, front and rear. Both cameras' wire connections are linked directly to the 12v battery in the engine compartment? And you experienced no battery drain? Any messy wiring from both cameras? I presume the cigarette lighter in the car's central console is not used at all as a power source for either cameras. Do you also install the magic pro device to prevent the battery from draining completely?

I have just found out that the cylinder blackvue got into the way of the rear windscreen blind. Do you find any advantage at all for having a rear fitted blackvue?

Appreciate any advice from you Gus, or anyone else.

TQ and regards
edd

June 1, 2013 | Unregistered Commentereddie

Just brought this from Amazon, sending it straight back, runs red hot burnt my hand touching near lense no way are any semiconductors gonna stay reliable unser this amount of heat, left it on for two hours just to see how much hotter it got and it felt like the casing was going to start melting.......avoid these cameras they wont be reliable !

June 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterG Hewson

Hewson, thanks for your feedback. Sorry u had this bad experience to share. I understand that Blackvue has an upgraded version that supposedly resolves this heat issue. But I guess I ought to skip Blackvue too. Anyway, I am considering the Inavi FDX900 from Thinkware Korea which has both front and rear camera. Apparently they claim that it can withstand heat up to 80celcius. Well, these are all claims. If I do buy it, we shall see.

July 10, 2013 | Unregistered Commentereddie

I believe the .3GF files contain accelerometer information. Some more info here: http://www.hatted-one.co.uk/blog/?tag=blackvue

Does anyone make a similar camera where the GPS info is overlayed on the video (like the date and time)?

July 15, 2013 | Unregistered Commenteraltis

thanks Matt for the review.
Blackvue has a latest firmware update and upgraded their bitrate a bit.
What 's your comment on that?
Still wondering which dash cam to buy lately.

September 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKefira

Thank you so much for sharing. ! I think it has the best camera too.
I bought it on Ebay too. You can find reliable seller there.

September 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLukcyme80

Yes, DR500GW HD is such great product ! Thank you so much for your great review wit details.
I also bought one on Ebay, dream-seller has the lowest price at the moment. It's kind of expensive but,
worth buying I agree with you. there are so many things to demonstrate with this little thing.

December 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHappy83ei

I have a bleckvue 500. It does not overheat but does get slightly warm after a long drive. I am very disappointed with the video quality. It's jerky and glitchy on playback. The screen image goes dark in many bright light situations. I have to rotate the lens down so much that I get more dashboard than road view. It's mounted just inter the rear view mirror as I have a large blob of plastic covering the rain and light sensors at the top of the windscreen. Mounting it any ware else will cut out a good portion of the view. The transition from one clip to another is not seamless by any means. I don't know how you managed to get excellent video clips for your review but I wish mine were like that. Has anyone tried putting a filter over the lens to help to cut the sky exposure. Very very disappointed with this and a total waste of money. It's only 3 months old and my well end up in the bin. Can anyone help

January 8, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGraham

Wow Graham, that's a revelation. I thought the only bad report was on its over heating problem. And yet here you are reporting on other equally important issues that fall way short. Luckily I have not jumped onto Blackvue so fast. I am still waiting for reports on the Thinkware FDX900 before I make up my mind.

Thanks for the input.
cheers
eddie

January 9, 2014 | Unregistered Commentereddie

Hi Eddie. Don't take my comments to put you off buying one. This may be a faulty camera. Other comments on this blog and other reviews are very positive. I have ordered another bracket and will try and reposition the camera again to see if that makes a difference. Will let you know the outcome. If the camera is faulty not sure what to do. I got it on amazon uk and have tried contacting the seller to no avail.

January 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGraham

Hi everyone. Have now resolved all my issues and the blackvue is now working as it should do. It was mainly due to setting and positioning. Having a rouge computer to play back clips diddnt help either. I am so glad I percivereed with it. Please ignore my previous entry. The blackvue is excellent now. So much so I am going to buy the 550 dual camera for my car and put this one in the works van. Now I feel it's the best buy I've made

January 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGraham

Great review as per usual Techmoan. The Blackvue DR500GW is truely a popular dash camera amongst consumers. Although there have been complaints pertaining to the video bitrate although not sure if this has been addressed by the manufacturer.

February 7, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterdashcams

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