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Two 1-Channel Dash Cams vs. 2-Channel Dash Cam (2016 Edition)

This topic has been brought up by our customers since we started carrying 2-channel dash cams. Our first 2-channel dash cam system was the Blackvue DR550GW-2CH which offered Full HD recording on the front camera, and HD (720P) recording on the rear camera. This camera only supported a 32GB Micro SD and had a few compromises such as the rear camera video quality that made people consider running separate 1-CH systems such as our CR500HD/DR500GW combo seen on this install video from 3 years ago. At the time, this was a good option as it offered Full HD recording on both front and rear units, while maximizing memory card storage space as 32GB was the largest SD card that was really obtainable at the time (for a reasonable price). 

With dedicated 2-channel dash cams, both channels of recording write onto the same card so it fills up faster and loops sooner than two separate cards. One could expect similar results with two 16GB cards on two 1-channel dash cams as they could on a 2-channel system running a 32GB card. While some micro SDXC cards (64/128GB) were available, they were expensive and costly to replace when they failed, and not a lot of dash cams supported them. Even in 2016, many dash cams that do support Micro SDXC format them in a way that isn't plug and play with Mac computers. 


With the history lesson over, we're happy to report that things have moved forward with some of our latest dash cams. In particular, the Thinkware F770 which is our favourite flagship 2-channel system, offers a number of features that make it a great choice over two separate 1-channel dash cams. Here are just some of the reasons why we prefer this dedicated 2-channel system: 

Price and Ease of Installation

Despite being our flagship 2-channel system, the cost of the Thinkware F770 with all the necessary wiring is still 20-40% cheaper than going with two separate 1-channel systems from Blackvue or Thinkware. It's also much simpler in terms of wiring as you only need one hardwiring kit to cover both front and rear cameras. The dedicated 2-channel system is also a lot sleeker as the rear camera doesn't have a memory card slot, processor, or buttons on it that require a much larger unit. Even compared to the smallest 1-channel systems such as the Blackvue DR3500 or Thinkware F50, the rear camera of the Thinkware F770 is less than half the size! 

Reliability and Compatibility

The first 2-channel dash cams simply weren't as reliable as their 1-channel counterparts, but that simply isn't the case any more. Dedicated 2-channel systems are just as reliable, and cameras like the F770 are built with high quality components that can handle two channels of Full HD recording consistently and reliably. Furthermore, With SD prices coming down and improvements in long term durability, many more customers are opting to go with Micro SDXC memory cards to maximize the amount of video that can be saved before looping. We've had great results with the Lexar 633X line of cards with the Thinkware F770 and as an added bonus, the F770 formats them in a way that is plug and play with Mac Computers! 

Uncompromised Video Quality

While many of its competitors are still pushing 720P or lower bitrate recording on the rear channel, Thinkware offers an affordable rear camera that offers uncompromising video quality in its 2-channel setup. Thanks to the use of the Ambarella chipset and Sony CMOS sensors on both front and rear cameras, the F770 offers amazing video quality on both front and rear cameras. The tiny rear camera on the F770 really packs a punch and offers Full HD 10 Megabits per second recording that rivals most high end 1-Channel parking mode dash cams. 

Check out how the Thinkware F770 Rear Camera performs against another popular Korean 2CH dash cam! (Start at 02:00)

Low Energy Consumption (Parking Mode)

One of the best reasons to go with the Thinkware F770 2-channel system is that it offers extremely low energy consumption in Parking Mode. This means that whether you go with a battery pack or a traditional hardwiring kit, you will get more recording time out of the Thinkware F770 than other 2-channel dash cams. In our testing, this 2-CH system proved to last 50% longer than its rivals on a fully charged Cellink and it's easy to see why. Here's a breakdown to illustrate just how efficient the F770 2-Channel setup is: 

Dash Cam Power Consumption
Thinkware F770 2CH 3.5W
2x Thinkware F770 1CH  5W
Blackvue DR650S-2CH 4.9W
2x Blackvue DR650S-1CH 6.6W

Conclusion

Given the advancements in 2-CH dash cams over the last 3 years, we feel pretty confident in recommending Thinkware's dedicated 2-CH setup over two separate 1-CH cameras. Not only is it more cost effective but it's sleeker and more energy efficient as well. There really aren't many Korean 1CH dash cams that can outperform the video quality of the F770's rear camera so it's not usually worthwhile to invest in the more complicated setup.