If there’s such a factor as a venerable vendor within the sprint cam market, it’s Thinkware. The firm has been at it for a number of years, and usually been nicely forward of the function curve with issues equivalent to voice command and bad-driver aids. However, whereas the corporate’s $150 X700 is handsome and incorporates a touchscreen interface, the video seems extremely compressed, and GPS is out there solely as an exterior choice.
This evaluation is a part of our ongoing roundup of the best dash cams. Go there for data on competing merchandise and the way we examined them.
Design and options
The X700 (at present $150 on Amazon) is by far one of many classier-looking sprint cams I’ve reviewed. It’s tough to explain precisely why, so simply have a look at the image two paragraphs down and inform me when you don’t agree. Thinkware additionally despatched me the exterior GPS module (at present $40 on Amazon) and the rear digicam module (currently $80 on Amazon), so consider it as a $190 entrance digicam and a entrance/rear combo (at present $270 on Amazon) if you’re evaluating.
The draw back of exterior GPS is yet one more wire, which means a barely sloppier set up. The X700 has loads of room for GPS, being just below 4 inches huge, two inches tall, and simply over an inch thick on the lens, and there are many sprint cams at this worth that include GPS included.
However, there are none within the worth vary with GPS that function a touch-enabled 2.7-inch shade show, in order that worth shouldn’t be truly out of line. It took operating the calibration a number of occasions earlier than it grew to become really usable for my calloused fingers, however contact on a touch cam makes an enormous distinction in usability. This is very true at night time, when it may be tough to see the same-color-as-the-body buttons that almost all sprint cams make use of.
The solely management of any sort apart from the show is the ability change simply above the SD card slot on the digicam’s left facet. Nice.
Note: what the image beneath doesn’t let you know is the ring across the lens on the entrance is a safety gentle that may come on if the X700 senses a disturbance whereas it’s in its 2 body per second parking mode.
The entrance digicam presents a 140-degree sight view, and it takes 1080p video. You’ll discover sexier-sounding1440p and 2160p sprint cams round, however with out superior optics and processing to again it up, the additional decision is usually only a waste. The recordsdata are considerably bigger and very often, as a result of the CPU has to work more durable, there’s much more warmth generated. I’ve seen some high-resolution video from sprint cams that I like, but it surely fills up SD playing cards so rapidly that I usually retreat proper again to 1080p.
Thinkware makes use of a non-USB energy cable. This could also be extra environment friendly (I don’t know that, I’m throwing the corporate a bone) but it surely’s additionally much less handy and more durable to switch on the street than the standard micro/mini/Type-C different distributors use. It additionally forces you to make use of a SD Card reader to switch video to your laptop. The GPS and rear digicam cables are three-lead 3.5 mm cellphone plugs, which aren’t as straightforward to switch both. Just maintain observe of them and all might be nicely.
The X700’s onscreen interface is straightforward to make use of and usually nicely organized, although when you’re new to dashcams it’d take some time to suss out all of the options. And as I discussed up prime, Thinkware is huge on unhealthy driver aids and contains its car departure (the automotive in entrance of you has skedaddled when you dawdle), lane departure (you’re driving badly), and ahead collision (decelerate in a hurrydude!) warnings. There are additionally warnings for pace zones and security (huge brother) cameras. I counsel you flip all of them off and drive responsibly in a peaceful and alert method.
I’ve reviewed a number of Thinkware cameras, and whereas the video has all the time valued clean over sharp with some artifacts, it appears to have gone from desire to obsession with the X700.
The digicam does a really good job with shade and video stabilization (preserving the picture regular over bumps), however particulars are muddled with closely blended edges. It seems a lot as if it have been overly compressed, nevertheless, the h.264 compression getting used ought to nonetheless have the ability to ship sharper detailed 1080p/29.97 fps video with the chosen 10Kbps stream price.
Whether by alternative or for technical causes, video particulars are what a good friend of mine would name smooth and puffy. It’s usually usable, and never solely disagreeable to take a look at from a distance, however up shut… Judge for your self from the captures beneath (click on to enlarge).
The rear digicam’s considerably huge (for a rear digicam), 125-degree sight view caught the rear defroster wires in addition to what was in again of the car.
As you’ll be able to see beneath, the X700 offers with headlight and streetlight flare fairly nicely. The picture will present extra element when you add brightness, however the digits on the license plate instantly in entrance truly turn out to be much less distinct.
Note that my rear window wasn’t the cleanest it’s ever been (I did wipe it with a microfiber towel), however that’s not the only real motive for the blurry look and incapacity to tell apart the license plate numbers.
With the headlights on, surrounding element was higher, however the license plate was truly more durable to learn.
Glass half full, the X700’s video will do the job legally, but it surely’s completely not the sprint cam I’d select for documenting my travels.
Nice digicam, so-so video
Considering the value, it’s onerous to advocate the Thinkware X700 over the competitors given the not-so-sharp video and exterior GPS. On the opposite hand, the contact show is a pleasure to make use of, and all the pieces simply works. Thinkware is a recognized amount in a sea of less-established distributors, and given the variety of “failed after a couple months” stories I’ve been getting and seen in on-line opinions, that’s price greater than a little bit one thing. If you just like the video, by all means. I’ll go for sharper.