Blackvue DR900S Dash Cam Review
The Blackvue DR900S-1CH and DR900S-2CH boasts the highest video resolution yet from the Bluackvue brand. The 8-megapixel CMOS sensor allows for 4K UHD video resolution with four times as many pixels that regular HD video. This won’t change daytime viewing much but might provide better nighttime quality, which is important when you’re trying to read the license plate number of a car driving down a poorly-lit road. The frame rate is still at 30fps and the viewing angle is 162 degrees: not wide enough to distort the image too terribly but it still provides coverage of multiple lanes of traffic along with some periphery.
With the increase in video quality, some may worry that this will affect storage. With bigger videos, you need bigger SD cards and to transfer files more often. Fortunately, the Blackvue DR900S-1CH and Blackvue DR900S-2CH has better compression technology to combat this. High Efficiency Video Coding allows 4K videos to take up the same space as regular HD video, eliminating this problem. This is also a great way to reduce storage space if 4K video isn’t that important to you. Simply record in regular HD and you’ll take up much less space on your SD card as with a previous model of the Blackvue camera. This allows you to take more footage, which is great if you are a frequent user of parking mode.
Like most higher-end dash cameras, the Blackvue DR900S has a built-in GPS and a dual channel WiFi hotspot. Vehicle speed can be overlaid onto the video and the companion Blackvue app visualizes the route you took on that specific trip. The WiFi can be used to download video to your smartphone just like with any other camera but there is a new Over the Cloud feature that allows the user to view live video remotely and get push notifications on their phone. There is also free cloud storage and two-way voice communication. This can be helpful for small business owners who want to check up on where their company vehicles are and to communicate with them with the Blackvue App. It is important to note that the Blackvue website recommends that you use a dedicated mobile router for the Over the Cloud service which you can get from most mobile services.
The camera also boasts a sleek design with intuitive controls. You can turn on or off audio recording by waving your hand in front of the proximity sensor, which is great if you want to record something without others noticing. Turning the WiFi connection on or off, setting or resetting your WiFi password, and formatting your SD card can all be done by pressing the same button with a voice prompt guiding you to the correct option. The mobile app is called the Blackvue App and Viewer and it is very similar to other high-end camera apps. You can change your camera settings, view your video footage, and check the Live View to setup the camera and later on if anything happens to your vehicle during parking mode.
There is also a parking mode, but the Blackvue DR900S has some newer features that amplify the feature. Parking mode is automatically switched on when the vehicle is turned off but only writes onto the SD card when an incident occurs, making sure to add the few seconds before the incident to ensure the entire event is recorded. When you turn the vehicle back on again, the camera will tell you if there were any issues it recorded while you were away and gives you the option to view the footage right away. The camera also reboots daily to prevent errors when you need the camera most. This could be a potential issue but fortunately you can change the reboot time and it will only do so in parking mode, not while the vehicle is on. Finally, every light except for the interior recording light can be turned off during parking mode so the camera is as inconspicuous as possible.
Some final pros are in the installation and additional accessories. There are three ways to install this camera for the different types of people who use it. The first option allows you to use the cigarette lighter in your car as a power source. This eliminates the need for an additional hardwire kit and gives the camera a 12-hour battery life. If you want a more advanced installation you can use a hardwire kit and the Power Magic Pro instead of the regular Power Magic Battery Pack. This is a more secure option that allows for more battery life. The most advanced solution involves the Power Magic Ultra Battery. This battery charges the fastest and has up to 24 hours of battery life. The website also provides a handy feature to compare the newest Blackvue camera with older models and tells you what accessories you can reuse and which ones you need to repurchase for that specific camera. This eliminates a lot of the guesswork for previous dash camera owners.
So is the Blackvue DR900S dash camera worth the steep $389-$500 price tag? It depends on who you are and your preferences. Someone who’s not looking to spend a lot of money on a dash camera might not find this appealing, since the only significant improvements are the video quality and compression technology. The gesture technology and the enhanced parking mode features are nice, but those things alone are not a reason to spend that much on a camera. If you are a dash camera enthusiast or you simply want a piece of tech that’s the best of the best, this camera might be a good fit. Blackvue has a great reputation in the dash camera market. They make cameras that have superior performance and are always trying to improve and innovate. Blackvue cameras usually cost a bit more than other brands but you know you’re getting a quality product. Additionally, if cutting edge video quality is something you care a lot about, then a camera with 4K video is probably exciting to you. While this camera is a great first venture into 4K resolution for dash cameras, the average driver will probably wait until this technology comes at a cheaper price.
Dimensions: 4.6 inches x 1.4 inches (118.5 mm x 36 mm)
Video: 4K UHD (3840×2160) @ 30fps (Extreme), 4K UHD (3840×2160) @ 30 fps, Full HD (1920×1080) @ 60 fps, Full HD (1920×1080) @ 30 fps
Video Codec: H.265 (HEVC), H.264 (AVC)
Video File: MP4
Sensor: 8-Megapixel CMOS Sensor
Lens Angle: Diagonal 162°, Horizontal 136°, Vertical 77°
Display: None, view through smartphone APP
Storage: microSD (class 10) up to 128GB
Motion Detection: Yes
Parking Mode: Yes
WiFi: Yes, 802.11n 2.4GHz / 802.11ac 5GHz Dual band
Operation Temp: -20 °C − 70 °C (-4 °F − 158 °F)
Storage Temp:-20 °C − 70 °C (-4 °F − 158 °F )
Battery or Capacitor: Capacitor
Audio Recording: Yes (on/off option)
APP: Yes, Android and Apple iOS
Dual Dashcam: Yes (optional)
Model Name: DR900S
PDF user manual for DR900S: Blackvue-DR900S-Manual.pdf
What accessories are included?
- DR900S-1CH Dash Cam (2nd cam optional DR900S-2CH)
- Car power charger cord
- microSD card (16GB -- 128GB)
- microSD card reader
- Cable clips (5)
- Extra adhesive sticky pad
- Plastic pry tool for tucking wires
- User Manual
Sample Videos of Blackvue DR900S Dash Cam
Daytime video from front DR900S cam
Night vision footage from front and rear DR900S cameras