The Blackvue DR500GW In-Car Camera is an excellent Ultra High Definition dash cam.
The DR500GW-HD dashcam is fully WIFI enabled allowing the owner to view video – either live, or recorded from past journeys on a smartphone. The manufacturer has provided smartphone apps for iOS, Android and Windows Mobile. With a sleek, black body and small form factor (due to the lack of LCD screen) this camera blends in well and makes it much less noticable.
The camera’s wifi funcionality can be used for initial install, viewing the live output on your smartphone in order to position the camera in an optimal position. With a 156 degree viewing angle, placing the camera directly behind the rear view mirror is an ideal position, meaning it does not hinder your line of sight whatsoever.
- Parking Mode (Via Motion Sensor – no dedicated button)
- Wifi Streaming
- Mobile App (iOS/Android/Windows Mobile) for instant playback over WIFI
- MAC OSX Compatible
The dashcam is very easy to install and once it is set up you don’t really need to touch it again – it’s a set and forget type of device (unless of course you wish to download the videos from the camera – but this can be done easily over wifi, no need to connect an additional cable or remove the SD card).
Like every device, there are some pros and cons to be aware off which will help you make your final decision on whether or not to purchase.
- The cylindrical shape makes the DR500GW-HD seem smaller than it actually is, so takes up a lot less of your screen real estate
- Wi-Fi (& the Smartphone Apps). The Wifi functionality makes both the setup, positioning, and indeed playback/downloading of videos a doddle. Simply connect to the wifi and use the smartphone app to view the camera’s field of vision in real-time.
- GPS System – The GPS in this camera seems to be as accurate as any other we’ve tried
- Long charger cable – installation isn’t an issue with the long power cable provided, it is easily routed to ensure it isn’t in your way when driving.
- The lense’s viewing angle – whilst a large viewing angle is great in theory, when it rains or snows the edges of the video look “blurred” (really this is just rain on your windscreen or peripheral vision) – if it was possible to switch the viewing angle between full and a lesser 110 – 120 degrees depending on weather, this would be perfect.
- Sketchy translation in some of the manual/software. Like many electrical items which were originally created in Korea, China, or Japan, the manuals were written in their respective languages and then translated to English – it makes for some interesting sentences, although in general it can be understood.
- Night time quality – whilst it is of fairly good quality, it isn’t the best we have seen – occasionally night recording can be hard to read the number plate of other vehicles due to the dazzle of oncoming headlights
- Low bitrate as standard – but this is easily increased, so more of a nag than a con.
Summary Of The DR500GW-HD Dashcam
In summary, we think this is a great little device for the money, out of the box it performs as good as more expensive cams on the market, and with a few little tweaks (for example a custom firmware install) it can outperform the higher end cameras out there.
Fitting is simple, and although it can’t be moved horizontally once fitted, getting the position right first time is simple and pain free due to the excellent little smartphone app – we tested the iPhone and Android version’s both of which worked flawlessly with very little setup required. The apps themselves had more features than the instruction manual made out – not a bad thing per-se, but it does mean a little playing around to see what each option does, you can set up the camera without though, so unless you’re curious or like to tinker, you don’t ever need to touch the more advanced options.
The motion sensor and parking mode worked well, we tested this out both in a quiet cul-de-sac and also out on the main road to see how it handled both types of monitoring, there were no issues in either case.
So – do we recommend the DR500GW-HD?
We’d say yes – the price is good, it looks good and takes up very little space, easily tucking behind your rear view mirror. The video playback is good, and it’s easy to use.
There are better cameras on the market, but for the money, this is a winner.