I have reviewed a good number of dash cameras through out last decade. Blackvue DR650S might very well be my favorite. As was mentioned in my other reviews, dash camera is one of the most important and needed accessories any car or motorcycle owner may need to consider getting. I currently have a camera on my older Infiniti i35 and I have two different cameras on my motorcycle. I contacted Blackvue to see if they will supply me with a camera for review and they supplied me with Blackvue DR650S-2CH. Blackvue does have a nice and pleasant customer service.
Anytime I am looking for a dash camera, most important characteristic of a camera is reliability. I have reviewed cameras with exceptional reliability and cameras with reliability where I did not even know whether cameras was recording or not.
Second important feature is simplicity. I want camera to be easy to use and want to have an easy access to the recorded footage. In all previous cameras I reviewed, I had to remove flash card and manually transfer footage through computer. Blackvue DR650S allows user to transfer video files through smartphone. I definitely love that feature and will review it further.
It's also nice to have different features and settings on a dash cam set. Blackvue has many features and settings, which will be explained and reviewed as well.
I received the camera pretty fast. Blackvue comes in a nice box with logo and images of the camera. I also received a "Power Magic Pro", which enables parking mode recording. Not every camera offers parking mode recording, so I was really happy that Blackvue provides that option for consumers.
Blackvue DR650S-2CH comes with 2 cameras (front and rear), needed cables, and other accessories, including additional 3M stickies, zip tides, and plastic crowbar (not sure how to name it). You will also get manual, which is in english. Back in the days, most manuals were in Chinese and other languages not understandable to American population.
Power Magic Pro comes with cigarette plug socket, screws, 3M pad, and Parking Mode Switch.
Installing the unit to Infiniti G37 was easier than I thought. First thing you need to do is connect cable from rear camera to the front camera, then power the front camera.
Now, take your phone and connect to the camera using wi-fi. You will also need to download BlackVue app. The default wifi password for the camera is Blackvue. Once you connected to the camera, open the BlackVue app, then go to BlackVue Wi-Fi.
In that section, you will be able to see live view of your camera setup. Use that to aim your front and rear cameras in the correct spot. Once you got exact location for the placement, peel 3M adhesive cover, and secure the front camera to the windshield and then secure rear camera to the rear window.
Now you need to pull some wires. Rear to front wire is easier to pull. Start from the back, gently pry out between pillars and headliner and hide wire there. Slowly move from back to the front. At the front, remove the front pillar by gently pushing it out. You will need that room for two reasons, to pull power wire and to hide extra wires.
* Some cars may have airbag systems inside A-pillar. You may need to pull wire from the front to the back and hide coaxial cable in C-pillar or in the rear headline.
To pull power wire, you have to start from the bottom due to unit's cigarette plug's size. Remove the dash cover under steering wheel. You should have enough room to feed wire from under steering wheel to where driver's side pillar used to be. Once you do that, keep pulling wire towards front camera, hiding it under headliner.
Once that is done, it is time to install Power Magic Pro. It comes with three wires. Once is for ground, one for constant, and one is for acc. I used brake light for constant and BOSE amp for acc. It took me some time to find a good ground connection, and eventually I found a bolt under the fuse box. I loosed the bolt a little, and wrapped ground wire around it and then secured it. To reach there, you might have to remove an additional piece or two.
That's when I noticed that my Power Magic Pro switch had a loose connector. I noticed that constant power came off the connector, but when connector is plugged in the switch, it holds very well. Since I am not going to plug and unplug my connector to the switch, that was not a big issue.
What I dislike about Power Magic Pro is for correct installation, the switch have to be secured somewhere with an access to turn it on or off. In my opinion, that is not necessary and I'd rather have my switch hidden. Instead of mounting my switch, I just hid it under switch box. If I have to turn the switch off, I had reach under the switch box and turn it off.
Once the switch is installed, you can either hide it like I did, or secure it somewhere under steering wheel. You have to plug cigarette plug into Power Magic Pro socket. It will take some space, but I was able to hide that connection above fuse box.
Once that is done, look at your pillar placement and hide all remaining wires there. I did it by twisting wires around some rubber looking pipe under the pillar.
I also used couple 3M wire clips above mirror to make sure wires won't come off headliner.
Now put your pillar back in and then put under steering wheel dash piece back in.
You are all set. Check to make sure everything is working.
Now its time for testing.
I am really impressed with everything. Front unit has a light on a side and one at the front. Rear camera has light on a corner of front (towards driver) and side.
The way it works (by default) is rear camera will have light on anytime camera is operating. Front camera has a light on the side anytime is operating and at the front anytime camera is in the parking mode.
My recommendation is to slightly modify the rear camera and put an electrical tape or something on one side of the camera, that way you can see that light is on only from the front of the car and not from the outside.
I tested the video in day, night, raining, and I was really impressed with the video quality. I heard that some users were claiming quality not to be that great, but after checking video footage myself, I was impressed. Video quality is so much better than any dash cameras that I have tested so far.
I tried to collect videos of day, night, and rain, but since video quality is amazing, each video file takes a good amount of storage. I kept videos for day and night, but so far don't have one with rain.
Here are short videos.
Front View Daytime
Rear View Daytime
Front View Nighttime
Rear View Nighttime
My unit came with 32gb. I think eventually I will upgrade the size to 128gb. With parking mode on, I don't think 32gb is sufficient amount of space. I was able to store about half a day to a day of video files on the card.
As was mentioned before, unit has voice notifications. When you start your car and your camera starts recording, you will be notified that unit is recording. When you park your car, you will be told that parking mode is on. When you drive off, it will tell you parking mode is off. Also, if there was impact detected, you will be alerted and you can check your video footage.
At the bottom of the video file, to the left is date, time, and speed. You can choose between MPH or KMH. To the right is camera's brand and model.
I have absolutely nothing to recommend to BlackVue on video quality. It is simply amazing. Sound quality is amazing too.
So video and audio quality get 100 out of 100.
Let's look into BlackVue app.
It is available for iPhone and Android. I used it on my iPhone. I tried it on iPhone 6 and iPhone 7. Connecting to the camera is very simple, you just connect to it by wi-fi. Default password is blackvue, but you are encouraged to change it.
Once you open the app, there are three options. BlackVue Cloud, BlackVue Wi-Fi, and Internal Memory.
The way BlackVue Cloud works is you connect your BlackVue dash camera to a hot spot. That enables you to live stream or access recording from anywhere in the world on your phone. That option is not common for regular everyday users, since you'll have to pay for the hot spot unit and internet subscription, but it can be very useful for business owners who have cameras installed on their company vehicles.
BlackVue Wi-Fi - That option I used the most. In that section, I was able to change lots of settings of the unit. I was also able to live stream the video, which helped me align cameras correctly. Also, that's where you copy needed video files to your phone. Front camera recordings take some time to copy, so my recommendation is to keep video duration files to 1 minute,
Once video files are copied, go to Internal Memory section. Over there, you can copy the files directly to your iPhone camera roll. Video files can be viewed on you iPhone and also can be edited, which I am really excited about.
Well this is it. I think I covered everything, but I could be wrong, so if you'll have any question, feel free to post it here and I will get back with you as soon as I can.
I really enjoyed reviewing the camera and having this unit in my car gives me peace of mind. I know that this unit will not let me down. I am really impressed with the unit's reliability, video quality, and ease of use.
BlackVue DR650S-2CH gets Editor's Choice for being the best dash camera there is.