BlackVue DR650S-2CH Review - The Revolutionary Premium Korean Dual Channel DVR

Published on November 23, 2016

BlackVue DR650S-2CH Review - The Revolutionary Premium Korean Dual Channel DVR

    Greetings dear readers Geektimes! With you again Alexander Shub - the leading Russian expert in the subject of car DVRs! My experience of testing devices of this type is more than five years, and the number of closely studied models has exceeded two hundred.

    Over the past couple of years, nothing revolutionary has appeared in the field of car recorders - and this, alas, is a fact. Well, not to consider serious HDR and WDR modes there, which in some cases not only do not improve the quality of the video, but even reduce it. Options like LDWS, in my opinion, also for some kind of technological revolution, alas, do not pull at all. In general, there have been no technological revolutions in the field of video recorders for a long time. And they would not have been further if it were not for the South Korean company BlackVue, which is known to Russian motorists since 2013 thanks to its premium-class recorders. In the summer of this year, Koreans essentially initiated a technological revolution, integrating ... a complex of cloud technologies into their newest models. The result was a registrar that is connected 24/7 to the Internet.



    An online registrar - yes, this is a real revolution. While the Chinese and different levels of inferiority, the Russian brands of registrars with stubbornness worthy of much better use, are selling the same stuffing in new cases, BlackVue actually confused and overtook the market for a year and a half, or even two. In general, in this post we will talk about the models of the newest line of BlackVue DR650S: BlackVue DR650S-2CH, BlackVue DR650-2CH IR and BlackVue DR650S-1CH. They cost 26,900, 28,990 and 20,900 rubles, respectively. Expensive? Well, yes, one and a half to two times more expensive than the top "tricked" Chinese. But it's worth it - perhaps I will run ahead and say it right now, and only later, in the review process, I will provide evidence. There are simply no analogs for the models of the DR650S line today - this also applies to the functionality (the same cloud services), and

    First of all, before proceeding to the review, in fact, the model of the new line, let me remind you what constitutes the brand BlackVue. This company, originally from South Korea, has been present in Russia since 2013, controlling today about 80 percent of the registrar market in the “from 20 thousand rubles” segment. That is, four of the five premium autoreggs sold in Russia have the BlackVue logo. In Korea, the situation is even better for the company: there it is the undisputed leader, the number one brand of DVRs. Selling more than a million devices per year (the total market volume of auto regs in Russia, by the way, in 2015 is about 2.5 million in units). BlackVue products are also sold in the USA, the UK and several other European countries. The registrars are assembled in their own factories in South Korea (no Chinese "contractors"!). Responsible for the development of a team of fifty professional engineers. This is you, damn it, not 4-5 Chinese after technical vocational schools - such “teams of pain and despair” usually stand behind the Chinese auto regs. As well as the overwhelming majority of “Russian” products: Chinese video registers with our, domestic logos. With the corresponding results in the form of poor build quality, unreasonably overpriced price tags and often absolutely no quality video.

    In general, BlackVue is a kind of technological leader in the development and production of recorders, and the company's position in terms of technology is about the same as Samsung in the field of smartphones.

    Among the know-how developed in BlackVue, in particular, it is worth highlighting the cylindrical form factor - for the first time it appeared in registrars in the BlackVue models. Later, this rather successful form was copied by both Chinese and less eminent Koreans - Thinkware, FineVu, Cowon (yes, the latter has long been engaged not only in MP3 players).

    Another proprietary chip innovation, the honor of the first development of which belongs to the “pen” BlackVue, is the ability to connect smartphones to recorders via Wi-Fi. Before the Koreans, no one in the “black boxes” implemented anything like that. Chinese is not even dreamed of. While Koreans from BlackVue have not shown how this is done.

    And finally, the most recent know-how of BlackVue is the very cloud services that allow you to connect the recorder to the Internet in real time, thereby turning it into a car alarm and a full system tracking machine. Plus, the most important thing is the ability to broadcast live video from the registrar to the Internet. It works like this:


    Today, there is nothing like this in any other DVRs of any other manufacturers - only in the top BlackVue family of DR650S, which, in fact, will be discussed in this post.

    I note that this line went on sale in Russia only in the summer of 2016. Actually, this is the very cutting edge of modern recorder production technologies. You will not find anything more fresh and modern on sale today.

    Cloud technologies in BlackVue recorders: how it works


    I am startled right away: in order to take advantage of all the "benefits" of cloud technologies, it is not enough just to buy one of the models of the line - BlackVue DR650S-2CH, BlackVue DR650-2CH IR or BlackVue DR650S-1CH. We'll have to buy more and a special set called “BlackVue Over The Cloud” with a price of 8,500 rubles. And that's not counting the price of the registrar. However, the result of technological overtaking of the market for a year and a half cannot but cost money, because in the case of the BlackVue DR650S with its clouds, we actually touch the future, to which most other manufacturers will come in a couple of years.

    So what does BlackVue Over The Cloud consist of? First, it is an accessory Power Magic Pro, which provides the ability to directly turn on the recorder in the electrical system of the car and, as a result, the BlackVue DR650S works even when the engine is muted. Secondly, it is a cigarette lighter splitter with a conventional round socket and an additional USB port. Thirdly, it is a hybrid of an LTE modem and a MiFi class device, that is, an access point. The accessory receives the mobile Internet (for which you still need to purchase a SIM card) and distributes it to the registrar. All the above listed accessories look like this:



    After installing and connecting all the necessary components, you should download the BlackVue application on your smartphone, create a new account and register the device in it. The latter can be done in two ways: either by scanning the QR code on the BlackVue DR650S using the camera of the smartphone, or by typing the BlackVue product serial number in the application. After that, you should connect the recorder to a Wi-Fi network created in the machine using a modem / access point. Actually, everything: you can enjoy the cloud services offering the following features.



    Visually, the whole process can be seen in the video:



    1. Video from the recorder can be uploaded to BlackVue servers. Each owner of the BlackVue DR650S family of models is issued with 5 GB of cloud space (enough for 30 minutes of Full HD video). What is it for? And to create a copy of the emergency video before transferring the flash drive to the traffic police inspector or to the court. You never know where the card can disappear - you know. And so you will have a copy of the video, which may help prove your innocence. In some expensive "Chinese" for the purposes of such a "backup" there is 512 MB of internal memory - this is better than nothing. But much worse than 5 GB in the cloud. Really?


    2. The clips from the recorder's memory (well, that is, from the memory card located in the auto regs) can be played on a smartphone screen anywhere in the world. What can it be for? But you never know ... Suppose you left the registrar with a memory card in the car, and when you went home, you remembered that you saw some interesting incident - and you can immediately show it to your family members.

    3Car tracking in real time on Google Maps - because BlackVue DR650S has a GPS receiver. We can cite a lot of examples when this possibility will be useful - from hijacking (unless, of course, the attacker guesses to immediately tear out the recorder with the roots and throw it out the window) to trying to figure out where the wife went on your swallow, or where the tow truck took carelessly parked vehicles. When used in a service car, you can control whether your hired driver doesn’t drive gasoline at night and “shoot” beautiful girls who are greedy for premium foreign cars.


    4. Video Broadcast on the Internet: you can allow everyone to look for your movements. Specifically, in my case, it is useful in order to show elderly parents that everything is fine with you. When I'm driving in a long trip, they are afraid to call on the mobile, and so they can connect to the receptionist and see - yeah, the record goes, the road curls with gray ribbon ... So their child is alive and well.


    5. Video control: you can watch what is happening in the car (if you send the camera to the salon) or in front of the car. Actual in the event that you have left somewhere and left the car in the garage. Well, or gave it to someone to use - for example, a friend. You can see how carefully he drives and, say, whether he smokes in the cabin (which was strictly forbidden to him!). If you pass the car to the service station - you can control the work of car mechanics.





    6Voice communication - a kind of Skype in the registrar. You can talk to the driver (if you, again, lend a car to someone or talk about official vehicles) or even scare off the thief. He thinks that there is no one in the cabin, and the registrar doesn’t give out his work in a visible way. And then the thief hears a terrible loud voice ... In general, the only negative - then you have to wash the seat. You understand from what. :)

    7. Receive notifications on your smartphone. They come in the following situations: at the beginning of the shooting; when triggered motion sensor or accelerometer; when the parking mode; when speeding. Naturally, you can turn off specific notifications, leaving only those that are necessary in your particular case.



    In general, it turns out a kind of car control system with elements of car alarms and tracking systems. Understand the settings and all the variety of functions, which is very important, easier than easy. And it works very stable and without failures. The only possible failure is associated with the SIM-card - do not forget to replenish its balance. And then everything will be tiptop.

    Ruler




    The main difference between the models inside the line of cloud recorders BlackVue is the type of cameras. The youngest model, BlackVue DR650S-1CH, single-channel. Two cameras can be connected to the BlackVue DR650S-2CH, and the BlackVue DR650S-1CH IR offers a rear camera with night infrared illumination - to see even in pitch darkness.

    I received a sample of the BlackVue DR650S-2CH for review, but considering the small difference between the models inside the line, what was said about this device is also relevant for the other two 650 models of the BlackVue brand.

    The BlackVue DR650S-2CH delivery set is wide and includes the following “ingredients”:

    • Instructions in Russian (electronic version here ).
    • Warranty card (branded warranty - 1 year, valid throughout the territory of Russia).
    • Power adapter under the car cigarette lighter 12-24 V (suitable for a car, a bus, and a truck).
    • Rear camera (bundled with BlackVue DR650S-2CH and DR650S-2CH IR only).
    • Rear camera connection cable (BlackVue DR650S-2CH and DR650S-2CH IR only).
    • Fastening on the windshield with 3M adhesive tape for the recorder.
    • Fastening on glass on an adhesive tape 3M for the back camera.
    • Additional / spare sites with 3M tape for the recorder and rear camera.
    • Blue plastic lever-spoon for otkovyrivaniya 3M adhesive tape from the glass and the laying of wires under the interior trim. Convenient, but if you pick with a screwdriver, you can scratch the glass, break the pad, and ruin the skin.
    • Eight hooks on 3M adhesive tape that will hold the cable in the process of laying it through the cabin of your car (so that it does not dangle, but gently pass around the glass perimeter).
    • USB card reader for microSD card. To easily watch videos from the region on the computer.
    • Class 10 microSD card for 16 GB. In the store, when purchased separately, such a card would cost about 2,000 rubles.

    The appearance of the box and configuration - in the photo below:





    Design and installation


    The fact that we are dealing with an expensive and high-quality thing that really costs its money, you know, already when you take the recorder in your hand: monolithic, and at the same time light, strong, but catchy.



    Below a very large lens is the LED indicator. The lamp blinks slowly when shooting in normal mode, quickly - in event mode (when a shock sensor responded or, in parking mode, at a motion detection signal). Outside, the blinking of the LED is noticeable, but it is suggestive of an alarm not about the recorder. A small black BlackVue can be seen behind the rearview mirror, only after looking closely.



    The driver is addressed to the speaker, loud female voice reading out all sorts of warnings and notifications. For example, “record set” or “parking mode activated”. It would be funny, say this lady with an accent, but no - everything is in pure Russian. Two LEDs next to the speakers report on the operation of the GPS receiver and the shooting status (this indicator blinks synchronously with the light bulb, which is located next to the lens). I removed the sticker with the QR code for registration in the BlackVue cloud services and pasted it on the first page of the instruction book. But if it will not annoy you - you can score and leave.



    On the left side of the left, the recorder has a LED that signals the operation of the Wi-Fi module and the proximity sensor. You spend your hand next to the left side of the recorder - and the sensor turns on / off the microphone. It is more convenient about a thousand times than trying to find a small button on a small case with your hand. Turn on or turn off the microphone even on the go, if the traffic situation allows you to remove your right hand from the steering wheel for a second. And if you do not have the habit of showing obscene gestures to pedestrians through the windshield - there will be no false positives.



    On the right, on the case of the BlackVue DR650S-2CH, there are connectors for the power wire and the rear camera cable, the Wi-Fi on button and the emergency formatting key of the memory card. You never know, I signed up some kind of dirt or just wanted to make room on the card - we hold down the key for 10 seconds and voila! Done! The card is formatted and ready for new entries. The plug on the silicone leg hides the memory card slot. To remove the memory card, you have to unplug the power cord.



    At the top and bottom of the cases of the BlackVue cloud line recorders - ventilation grilles. Without them in any way: the case is small, the iron is powerful, without an active heat sink everything would easily overheat.



    There are no controls on the BlackVue DR650S-2CH rear camera. Only a lens, a port for connecting a cable connecting the rear camera to the main module and a work indicator light. In the case of the model with the IR prefix next to the lens there are infrared lamps for shooting in the cabin in complete darkness.







    The windshield mount is a traditional “blackview”: a plastic foot on 3M scotch tape and a ring that includes a recorder. Turning the recorder left and right in this mount will not work. But inside the ring, the device rotates 180 degrees in increments of about 10 degrees - for sight on the road. You can quickly turn the camera into the cabin, and since the lens is wide-angle, what is happening in the cabin and the face of the inspector approaching the driver will be in the frame.





    Sorry for the tautology, but the recorder attachments are strong. Unlike the ever-shaking vacuum suckers of typical Chinese recorders, as well as their Russian counterparts (clones), even on the most powerful jumps and turns, BlackVue recorders and the back camera sit firmly in holders, do not shake or creak.



    Naturally, the holder on the 3M velcro has some drawbacks: you need to glue it in the right place the first time, it is problematic to peel it off the glass even with the help of the complete blade. But how well the registrar keeps on the 3M-scotch pays off all the flaws - this is really the case when “hooked and forgotten”, and not as with suckers - “hitched, fell off, hitched again, afraid once again to hurt so as not to fall off .. " Well, in general, you understand me, huh? :)

    Both wires are long and thin. With the power cable, that the cable to connect the rear camera without problems can be stretched across the entire cabin, even a large car - enough for installation in the BMW 7-series, and in long SUVs like the Chevrolet Tahoe. A small wire thickness is relevant, because the registrar for 20 thousand rubles, most likely, will fall not into the VAZ 13-shku, where the gaps between the pieces of the skin are almost thick with a finger, but into a middle-class or executive class foreign car, where the elements of the interior lining are usually very tightly fitted to each other . This is where the complete paddle comes in handy for laying the wires.



    Nutrition


    BlackVue DR650S-2CH is not equipped with a built-in battery and can shoot video only when connected to the car's power supply system - through the cigarette lighter or through a special accessory Power Magic Pro, which was mentioned at the very beginning of the text (see the section on cloud technology).

    Why there is no battery? There are two reasons.

    A) It is not needed - outside the car you can take a smartphone, it is more convenient, the recorder is without a screen!
    B) With a battery worse - lithium-ion batteries do not tolerate cold, heat and constant temperature fluctuations typical for our climate. And just that inflated like popcorn in a skillet. They can even spoil the board.



    The built-in supercapacitor provides several seconds of work without external power supply — so that the BlackVue recorder can finish the shooting correctly and save the current file. The supercapacitor is not afraid of cold, so the temperature regime of the BlackVue DR650S-2CH is from minus 25 to plus 60.

    Settings and software for PC and mobile devices


    Like all BlackVue recorders, the new model is not equipped with a display. How to set it up? There are two ways. The first one is the usual one by connecting the recorder's USB flash drive using a card reader (included) to the computer and launching the BlackVue Viewer application from the card.
    The second method is from a smartphone, via the Internet via Wi-Fi connection. The application on the PC is available for Windows and Mac, the mobile is available for iOS or Android.

    The BlackVue recorder setup program is called, actually, “BlackVue” and allows you to watch the video and cut out fragments of the timing you need. Sorting is available for viewing depending on the shooting mode (parking video, regular video, video in event mode, etc.). In parallel with the video, you will see the route of the car, superimposed over Google Maps and the schedule of the accelerometer. Why do we need a schedule for an ordinary user is unknown, but it doesn’t interfere, so that God would be with him.











    The application allows you to quite fine-tune the "cloud" recorders. Among other things, in BlackVue Viewer, you can set the resolution of shooting (Full HD or HD, 30 or 15 frames per second), choose the quality of shooting (maximum, high or medium), the duration of the video in different modes. You can also edit the overlaid video stamp (date-time-speed and so on), adjust the sensitivity of the G-sensor on each of the three axes so that it does not mark each bump with an “event” and adjust the microphone operation - whether the sound recording is by default enabled or off Also in the application, the following cloud service settings are available:





    The most important section of the review: video quality


    Before you show examples of video, I will give a little theory. The BlackVue DR650S-2CH DVR has a lens with six lenses made of glass with a special coated coating. Optimal optics for the DVR, allowing you to shoot well under different lighting conditions. The viewing angle on the diagonal is 129 degrees. Information in the frame abound, with no distortion at the edges of the frame, as in models with a viewing angle of 170 degrees diagonally.



    Naturally, even the most high-aperture "glass" will not give a good effect without a high-quality light-receiving electronic matrix. And, of course, the Koreans did not greed and put in the model line of BlackVue DR650S-2CH Japanese Sony Exmor module with a resolution of 2.4 megapixels. OmniVision, whose matrices are the vast majority of expensive and cheap Chinese recorders, is very far from Sony. Further, looking at the examples of the video, you will understand what I'm talking about.

    The third component of high-quality video (after the lens and the receiving matrix) is the processor responsible for processing the received image. BlackVue uses Ambarella, which is not popular among Chinese manufacturers of recorders, but is rather unique to the HiSilicon recorder market.. "Hi Silikon" is a subsidiary of Huawei, one of the three largest manufacturers of smartphones in the world. Since 1991, HiSilicon has been developing integrated circuits as one of the divisions of Huawei, in 2004 it was separated into a separate company.

    Today HiSilicon is a huge staff of engineers and developers (about 2,000 people), over 500 patents and intellectual property on more than 100 types of semiconductors. This is really a top-class microelectronics manufacturer specializing in professional solutions rather than household ones.

    Some lyrics. Over the past 5 years, over two hundred different brands of DVRs have passed through my hands. From frank Chinese consumer goods to luxury models, BlackVue devices and their closest competitors.

    And with all the responsibility, I will tell you honestly and directly: I simply did not see the best quality video. Never! Not a single model of any manufacturer!







    Cloudy autumn day. The correct white balance without blue shades, sufficient contrast, color reproduction without distortion. Clear frames without a clear lack of light.






    Night shot. High sharpness remains, there are no “noises”, the saturated correct color rendition still remains.










    HD-camera is more likely to be used for general assessment of the situation behind the car, readability of state numbers is provided at a distance of 2-3 meters in front of the lens.




    At night, high-aperture optics and a highly sensitive matrix make themselves known, otherwise the recorder would not have been able to achieve such a bright image without “soap”.

    So, the color rendition, lighting processing, detailing - all at the maximum possible level. The actual visibility of the rooms during the day is from 20 to 25 meters. Not “from 20 meters, if the car is standing directly in front of us motionless in clear sunny weather,” but from 20 meters it is in dynamics , that is, in motion. After seeing the video examples below, you will be convinced that I was right.

    So ... Those who do not believe me - let's go in the comments! Feel free to offer competitors for comparison, if you have decent counterparts in mind, to which I have not yet reached or who have not had time to pay enough attention. Just mind it, send titles and links to videos of really worthy competitors - do not waste your and my time on empty disputes.

    Shooting Modes


    In the recorder settings for the main camera, you can choose to shoot video at a resolution of 1920 by 1080 pixels or 1280 by 720 pixels. The back camera only writes in HD 720p.

    There are three video recording modes. The first one is cyclic, it is also “normal”. In this mode, new clips are written over the old video when the memory card is full. Clips are saved with a time of 1, 2 or 3 minutes - you can choose in the settings. The second mode is parking. The BlackVue DR650S-2CH automatically switches to parking mode when the car is not moving for 5 minutes with the engine turned on. With the engine turned off, the Power Magic Pro accessory described above is useful for shooting in a parking lot, which can protect the car battery from being completely discharged. In the parking mode, the recorder constantly writes video, but does not save it to the card if there is no movement in the frame, and the G-sensor does not note bumps-shaking-movements of the car itself. So, leaving the car at night you will not get 12 hours of video of an empty parking in excellent quality. But if someone parking next to, say, a mirror for you, the BlackVue DR650S-2CH records a video clip of 1, 2 or 3 minutes on the memory card (depending on the settings), which includes 5 seconds before the sensors trigger. Actually, the third mode - event mode - is also activated when the G-sensor is triggered during normal shooting. To force the recorder to go into the "event" mode can be a blow, shaking, sharp acceleration or steep maneuvers.

    A complete 16 GB microSD memory card will fit about 3 hours of continuous video recording from both cameras or up to 4.5 hours of video recording only from the main module. BlackVue DR650S-2CH recorder supports cards up to 128 GB. The bulk of even expensive DVRs support microSD up to 32-64 GB maximum, so the ability to install a “big” flash drive is also a remarkable feature of the very top Korean BlackVue recorders.

    Internal layout


    Of course, the build quality is also noticeable to the naked eye - simply turning in the hands of the recorder. But I am a meticulous man and decided to arm myself with some tools and “dissect” the new recorder of the BlackVue cloud line. Partly because, in a good way, research of any non-typical gadget should be carried out, including looking inside the case, “under the hood”. And in part, because it personally gives me pleasure to admire the work of electronic masters, and the Koreans in this regard have never disappointed me.

    The case turned out to be disassembled with great difficulty - strong. The boards are also fastened together by three connectors almost tightly. The payment of its own production, marked “BlackVue, March 2016”, all wiring boards done very carefully. There are no divorces of glue (in the slang of repair specialists they are called “Chinese snot”) and there is no mention, the mark with a felt-tip pen and dirt naturally also. Presumably, BlackVue collectors for such shoals are forever sent to Shenzhen for reference, to the semi-basement factories to collect recorders for most local Russian brands, in which “miracles to Chinese” assemblies bloom in full color. :)



    All cables inside BlackVue recorders are mounted with connectors. The soldering thing is unreliable: more than once and not two, I came across reviews of registrars who were disconnected from shaking on Russian potholes inside some wiring, from which the device failed.



    The screening of all elements that could theoretically interfere with the GPS module is very well thought out and organized.





    In general, the new BlackVueinside no worse than old ones. An autopsy revealed the presence of "traditional Korean quality" as is. What traditions are we talking about? In BlackVue over the past 5 years, there is no more than 1.5% of factory marriage. And for most of them, problems are solved by flashing the recorder, that is, BlackVue really doesn’t really break. The average market for registrars is from 5 to 8% of the marriage, and in the case of very cheap Chinese, you can even talk about 10–20 percent (and I suspect that as many as 10–20%) do not reach the service center and simply sent by their owners straight to the trash).

    findings


    Not so long ago, Xiaomi announced the Mi Mix smartphone with a frameless screen, ceramic body and other "fentiflyushki" buns. The developers have called this device "the smartphone of the future, which you can buy now." Here, such an analogy came to mind.

    The BlackVue DR650S is the same example - just the recorders of the future, available on sale today. Indeed, the number of high-tech chips with the models of this line can not match any other "black box". No other manufacturer. And the matter is not only in unique cloud technologies, which, of course, are very important. It is also a matter of the extremely high (by the standards of all other recorders) video quality, which is the central place of any DVR. So, in terms of the quality of the commercials, there is no equal to the BlackVue DR650S line models either. While others are pursuing all sorts of “marketing and public relations,” like Super Full HD-resolution that is present only on paper, BlackVue did not rely on the numbers in tech inspections, but on real quality. And they achieved really stunning results. In general, if you can afford - take, never regret it. BlackVue DR650S-2CH, BlackVue DR650-2CH IR and BlackVue DR650S-1CH, I recall, are estimated at 26,900, 28,900 and 20,900 rubles, respectively. But this is really the best there is today in the market of video recorders.

    PS Anyone wishing to discuss with me on the choice of a registrar - welcome in the comments. You can also ask me questions directly by email - schub.alexandr@yandex.ru.