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Old 12th September 2015, 01:11   #1
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Default DashCam Review : Blackvue DR500GW-HD

It's been over a year since I got my hands on the Blackvue DR500GW-HD, and wanted to post my review of this rather expensive gadget. There is a plethora of options when it comes to Dash-cams, ranging from a couple of thousands to over ten grand. Why the Blackvue? To be honest, I didn't do any serious research before I placed the order. However, I was impressed with quite a few reviews of the Blackvue DRx00 series, and the specs looked better than many popular ones. As an icing on the cake, I got a really sweet deal from Amazon, that I paid a lot less than half the list price.

DashCam Review : Blackvue DR500GW-HD-img_20140722_071339.jpg

A summary of the specs:
Camera: 2MP
Max Resolution: 1920x1080 @ 30fps
Bit rate: 10Mbps
Angle of view: 156deg (diagonal)/123deg(horiz.)/90deg (vert.)
Operating temp range: -20deg C to +70deg C
Memory: up to 32GB microSDHC supported
GPS - built-in
Other features: WiFi, Loop recording, G-sensor, Park mode, voice alert, Speed & Date stamp on video, Android & iPhone app to control the camera from a smartphone, Blackvue Player SW application for PCs to play recorded videos off a microSD card & change settings

Unboxing the Blackvue DR500GW-HD:

DashCam Review : Blackvue DR500GW-HD-img_20140722_071444.jpg

DashCam Review : Blackvue DR500GW-HD-img_20140722_071642.jpg

Contents of the box:
DR500GW-HD dashcam
Mount + 3M double-sided tape to fix it onto the windshield
microSDHC card reader
Power adapter
wire clips to route the power cable
User's manual

Here's how it's mounted in my Ritz:

DashCam Review : Blackvue DR500GW-HD-img_20150111_133109.jpg

The broad, silver coloured ring is what holds the camera in place, and the gear-like grooves keep it fixed in position

DashCam Review : Blackvue DR500GW-HD-img_20150111_133544.jpg

As can be made out from the pic above, the power cable is tucked in behind the upholstery, and routed through the A-pillar panels, and then taken to the foot-well...

DashCam Review : Blackvue DR500GW-HD-img_20150906_134732522_.jpg

...and then to the power socket:

DashCam Review : Blackvue DR500GW-HD-img_20150906_135039723_.jpg

Now, my views follow...

What I like:
- Stable - the hardware, software and the mount - all are stable. No overheating, no restarts, no vibrations, no falls
- Excellent video quality (videos follow), good enough to decipher vehicle number plates/texts a few metres ahead
- Features - built-in GPS, WiFi access to change settings, Smartphone app to view live video as well as recorded video, G-Sensor to detect and record events such as hard-braking, fishtailing/skidding, bumps, crashes etc.
- Snug-fit power adapter and long cable
- Super-capacitor in place of Lithium battery, so, less dangerous and longer life

The not-so-good bits
- Size - I find it a size bigger than what I would've liked in my car. But this is the right size for a bigger vehicle, such as an SUV or a D-segment sedan
- Hardly any customisation possible wrt what gets watermarked on the video - either the GPS speed or nothing, in addition to date and time
- Transition from bright to dim-lit areas takes a while to get adjusted to, causing loss of detail in those couple of seconds

Time for some video samples:

Normal lighting



A night-time video



Some screenshots (too lazy to upload videos)

Normal lighting, with a clean windshield:

DashCam Review : Blackvue DR500GW-HD-blackvue_normal_lighting_clean_glass.jpg

Normal lighting, with a not so clean windshield

DashCam Review : Blackvue DR500GW-HD-blackvue_normal_lighting.jpg

While facing the light:

DashCam Review : Blackvue DR500GW-HD-blackvue_facing_sunlight.jpg

Night shot, with a not so clean windshield

DashCam Review : Blackvue DR500GW-HD-blackvue_night_shot.jpg

And here are a few screenshots from the PC application:

The right-side pane lists the videos
DashCam Review : Blackvue DR500GW-HD-blackvue_player_screenshot01.jpg

Clips ending with 'N' are normal videos, of 1 minute duration
Clips ending with 'E' are Event recordings - the G-sensor onboard can be configured to detect sudden movements and record the event. Hard braking, hitting potholes/humps at speed, jerks caused by vehicle crashes all fall under this category

The right-side pane can also display the location on a map, provided the PC has an internet connection
DashCam Review : Blackvue DR500GW-HD-blackvue_player_screenshot02.jpg

Video playback in Full screen mode
DashCam Review : Blackvue DR500GW-HD-blackvue_player_screenshot03.jpg

Here's a sneak-peek at the settings available in the PC application:

DashCam Review : Blackvue DR500GW-HD-blackvue_player_settings01.jpg

DashCam Review : Blackvue DR500GW-HD-blackvue_player_settings02.jpg

DashCam Review : Blackvue DR500GW-HD-blackvue_player_settings03.jpg

This is how the Android App looks like:

DashCam Review : Blackvue DR500GW-HD-screenshot_20150910214314.png

The app can connect to a compatible Blackvue dash-cam through WiFi. Once connected, the phone appears to have latched to a regular WiFi hotspot, but without internet connection:

DashCam Review : Blackvue DR500GW-HD-screenshot_20150910214453.png

The recorded video clips can be seen listed down.

DashCam Review : Blackvue DR500GW-HD-screenshot_20150910214339.png

They can also be played back, while the cam continues to record.

Additionally, to adjust the camera, the app also lets us watch the live feed from the cam...

DashCam Review : Blackvue DR500GW-HD-screenshot_20150910214356.png

... and also change settings for the best recording:

DashCam Review : Blackvue DR500GW-HD-screenshot_20150910214422.png

This is a VFM dash-cam setup if you're able to get some discounts. Else it's a little bit overpriced, at the list price in Amazon. Moreover, this model is now getting replaced with DR750 series, which are available in 2-channel configuration as well.
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Old 14th September 2015, 11:31   #2
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Default Re: DashCam Review : Blackvue DR500GW-HD

A refreshing post on something different. T-BHP always surprises me. Thank you for this. Please let me know the advantages of such a dedicated camera Vs a capable mobile phone. I know that some of the advantages are self-evident from your post, but I want to know a key difference (or several), which I am not able to make out. Is a phone like iPhone 6 achieve 60-80% of what this can achieve. The intention is to make the best of my current situation.
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Old 14th September 2015, 12:28   #3
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Default Re: DashCam Review : Blackvue DR500GW-HD

Interesting thread. Its always worth spending the extra money, instead of buying something mediocre and then regretting over it for losing precious details, during critical times! Money well invested I must say.
Regarding operating temperatures, it withstands a range of -20 to 70 deg C. During the scorching sunny days, the temperatures go north of 35 and 40 deg C. And when a car is parked during the peak temperature hrs in open sun, with all windows UP! I am skeptical about such after market electric component, surviving in a heat chamber. Opening half an inch of windows might help, but again we have birds and theives waiting for that to happen.

OT: What might be the temperatures in the car in such a scenario?
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Old 14th September 2015, 13:22   #4
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Default Re: DashCam Review : Blackvue DR500GW-HD

Quote:
Originally Posted by bsdbsd View Post
advantages of such a dedicated camera Vs a capable mobile phone
1. Getting a sturdy mount for a mobile phone, good enough to hold it steady over time, is a challenge
2. Mobile cameras have limitations in correcting the vibrations associated with an automobile environment
3. A mobile phone is a piece of consumer electronics, not designed to the standards that apply to automotive electronics

Quote:
Originally Posted by shree_shell View Post
Regarding operating temperatures, it withstands a range of -20 to 70 deg C. During the scorching sunny days, the temperatures go north of 35 and 40 deg C. And when a car is parked during the peak temperature hrs in open sun, with all windows UP! I am skeptical about such after market electric component, surviving in a heat chamber.
Temperatures may go above 70 deg C in a car parked in the hot sun, but it's up to us, the users, to ensure that a device that can withstand only up to 70 deg C, is not kept in operational mode. I take the camera off the mount and stow it away safely if the car is parked in an open space. In my case, the camera is not hot-wired, hence it shuts down when I turn off the ignition - therefore the camera is never operational while parked.
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Old 14th September 2015, 13:51   #5
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Default Re: DashCam Review : Blackvue DR500GW-HD

Quote:
Originally Posted by silversteed View Post


Temperatures may go above 70 deg C in a car parked in the hot sun, but it's up to us, the users, to ensure that a device that can withstand only up to 70 deg C, is not kept in operational mode. I take the camera off the mount and stow it away safely if the car is parked in an open space. In my case, the camera is not hot-wired, hence it shuts down when I turn off the ignition - therefore the camera is never operational while parked.
Excellent review. Does it have a battery or a capacitor. If its a battery, I would suggest you take it off the windshield when parked in sun as direct heating due to sunlight can bulge the battery.

That said, it says 70 degree C, so most probably it has a capacitor
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Old 14th September 2015, 14:48   #6
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Default Re: DashCam Review : Blackvue DR500GW-HD

Quote:
Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
Does it have a battery or a capacitor
I think you missed this part:
Quote:
Originally Posted by silversteed View Post
What I like:
<snip>
- Super-capacitor in place of Lithium battery, so, less dangerous and longer life
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Old 14th September 2015, 22:59   #7
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Default Re: DashCam Review : Blackvue DR500GW-HD

A friend placed this camera on the rear windshield and a bigger Blackvue WiFi DR 750LW -2CH on the front windscreen of his car for his travels.

The HD recordings were quite impressive and the clarity was quite good even in compressed form. He showed me quite a few near misses and accidents (other vehicles) in front of him in his images. No doubt this can save you legally in similar situations (or perhaps implicate you, as the case may be).There is no doubting its' value as a travelogue. Although I am not sure about it's longevity, I think it is definitely worth considering.

Thanks for your review.

Last edited by psispace : 14th September 2015 at 23:01.
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Old 14th September 2015, 23:46   #8
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Default Re: DashCam Review : Blackvue DR500GW-HD

Excellent review there! After a few disappointing experiences with Chinese dashcams I was looking at DOD for my next cam, however a reseller suggested I get the Blackvue instead since even the basic cams get a sony sensor which results in much better clarity.

The screenshots look very promising, can say none of my previous dash cams had this clarity.Do post a few 1080p videos.

Its good to know the camera's been reliable so far. I hope they run similar offers on the 2ch range as well!
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Old 15th September 2015, 00:24   #9
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Default Re: DashCam Review : Blackvue DR500GW-HD

Excellent review, thanks for sharing
Would be great if you can post a short comparison with other popular dashcams like the Transcend Drivepro 200 and SJ1000/4000.
And what was the final price you paid after discounts ?
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Old 15th September 2015, 01:15   #10
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Default Re: DashCam Review : Blackvue DR500GW-HD

Quote:
Originally Posted by NPV View Post
Would be great if you can post a short comparison with other popular dashcams like the Transcend Drivepro 200 and SJ1000/4000.
And what was the final price you paid after discounts ?
I've never used any of these dash-cams, so I'm not the right person to do a comparison. However, I do feel that dedicated dashcams such as this one come with an excellent mount which is not the case with most other models that use suction mounts. And having a solid mount helps a lot with clear videos.

I paid ~100$ landed price, including the 12V multi-socket and a mobile phone mount.
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Old 15th September 2015, 11:18   #11
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Default Re: DashCam Review : Blackvue DR500GW-HD

Quote:
Originally Posted by silversteed View Post
I've never used any of these dash-cams, so I'm not the right person to do a comparison. However, I do feel that dedicated dashcams such as this one come with an excellent mount which is not the case with most other models that use suction mounts. And having a solid mount helps a lot with clear videos.

I paid ~100$ landed price, including the 12V multi-socket and a mobile phone mount.
Actually the suction mount is not the problem. the problem is the mechanism where the camera connects the mount. Some all in one cameras are mostly designed to be action cams, but also function as dashcams. Due to this, they do not connect to the car mount securely sometimes. Case in point SJ1000

However, SJCAM M10 and the SJ4000 do not have this problem(unless mount is faulty). Even mobius does not have this problem at all. In SJ1000 the problem was compounded because of the heavy metal front plate which made it a very heavy cam.
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Old 16th September 2015, 08:51   #12
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Default Re: DashCam Review : Blackvue DR500GW-HD

Excellent review mate. Ownership reviews are always the best since it takes all the practical challenges that we face day to day. Only issue I feel is the size, hope Moore's law will kick-in and bring down it's size in next model .
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Old 16th September 2015, 11:17   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
Actually the suction mount is not the problem. the problem is the mechanism where the camera connects the mount.
When I meant suction mount, I implied the whole mechanism that is not part of the camera. Suction mounts give way in course of time, as the materials used for the suction cap deteriorate with temperature, and result in loss of vacuum. This is compounded by the stress caused by vibrations - worse if the camera is rather heavy, like the SJ1000 you mentioned.

The point that connects the camera to the mount, usually found with a screw mechanism and sometimes with a spring-loaded clip mechanism, is another source of vibrations in the camera. A mobile phone or a camera on the heavier side will compound this, and the strain on this point will cause problems in the long run. On hot sunny days, the plastic material will soften, and the metal screw embedded inside will result in different rates of expansion, resulting in minute cracks or fault lines.

Quote:
Originally Posted by classact View Post
Only issue I feel is the size, hope Moore's law will kick-in and bring down it's size in next model.
As with chips, the challenge is to contain the heat generated, reliably. Things will improve, and we can see more compact cameras
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Old 18th September 2015, 07:16   #14
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Default Re: DashCam Review : Blackvue DR500GW-HD

Hey silversteed, thanks for sharing the details of this cam. Can you please upload a Full HD 1080p video? Also, how accurate is the km/h reading?
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Old 18th September 2015, 09:28   #15
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Originally Posted by Cruzerman View Post
Can you please upload a Full HD 1080p video?
Stay tuned. The next major "event" on the road will be uploaded in FullHD
Quote:
how accurate is the km/h reading?
Pretty accurate, as it derives the speed from GPS coordinates. It matches with the GPS speed displayed by Torque App on my phone
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