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What the F200 PRO Tells Us About Thinkware's Forthcoming Product Line

What the F200 PRO Tells Us About Thinkware's Forthcoming Product Line

If there’s anything we have learned about the dash cam industry in the past nine years, manufacturers have a great sense of humor. Take Thinkware, for instance.

Thinkware introduced the U1000 4K UHD in late 2019 as the best dual-channel dash cam you can buy: impressive 4K UHD front, 2K QHD rear, best-in-class parking surveillance, advanced Cloud features, and so much more. It’s an expensive investment, but it is the best. It is not difficult to see why we all fell victim to Thinkware’s specsmanship.

Now, it’s been a year and a half since the U1000 was released, and you’d think that Thinkware would have come up with another revolutionizing creation to knock our socks off and show the competition who’s the boss once and for all.

Ladies and gentlemen, we proudly present the latest Thinkware dash cam - the F200 PRO! A non-Cloud Full HD dash cam that requiires an optional external GPS antenna for speed and route tracking, ADAS and other alert systems.

If you’re familiar with the Thinkware dash cam lineup, you will know that they already have a few Full HD dash cams: F200, FA200, X700, and the now-retired F800 Pro. So, why another Full HD dash cam, and what makes the F200 PRO better than these other models? And more importantly, what does the F200 PRO tell us about Thinkware in general?

Why another Full HD dash cam?

In just the last two to three years, video technology’s revolution has changed what we expect from dash cams. Since the launch of the BlackVue DR900S, the pace of the super high-resolution dash cam making a landing on our shelves has not stopped. From Thinkware U1000 to the latest VIOFO A139 3-CH, we are truly amazed at the innovative ability that Thinkware, BlackVue, VIOFO and IROAD led. And who are we kidding? We love seeing our customers pick up the latest 4K UHD and 2K QHD models - many of them do offer much more than just better video resolution: Cloud/LTE connectivity, driver safety alerts, extended parking surveillance, and the list goes on. But is 4K UHD worth double, sometimes triple, the price of a good old Full HD entry-level dash cam? Do you need a 4K dash cam?

Thinkware certainly understands that the not every driver needs the added resolution and fancy features - often, a simple no-fuss camera would do the trick. Perhaps, less is really more.

What makes the F200 PRO better?

Let’s do a little compare and contrast.

From this chart, we can see that all four cameras gives you the same 1080p Full HD at 30FPS with a 140-degree field of view from the front camera. In other words, if you're looking for a 1-Channel front-only dash cam, they are all essentially the same. The main differences between these dash cam are the rear camera, the touchscreen display, Cloud-capabilities, and the smartphone viewer app.

All these Full HD models got you a bit confused? Here's a little flowchart we put together to help you find the perfect Thinkware Full HD dash cam for your drive.

What does the F200 PRO tell us about Thinkware's forthcoming product line?

Looking at the release date of the dash cams, we can see that:

  • Thinkware released the FA200 and F200 in 2018, and today (3 years later), Thinkware replaces them with the F200 PRO
  • Thinkware released the now-retired F800 Pro in 2017. It's successor? The Q800 PRO 2K QHD, released in 2019
  • The X700 was released in 2019, and we have been testing its next-gen for awhile now.

In other words, it appears that Thinkware phases out its older models every two to three years. We know that a new Thinkware LCD-dash cam is slated to hit shelves very shortly - and it ain't Full HD. Perhaps, the F200 PRO will be the last-standing Full HD in the lineup?  We shall see.

Should I hold onto my FA200, or should I upgrade to the F200 PRO?

There is a saying, "if it's not broken, don't fix it," right? If your FA200 single or dual-channel is still satisfying your needs, there really is no reason you need to replace it with the new F200 PRO. Of course, if you want a better rear camera or if you want the Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS), upgrading to the F200 PRO would be the right thing to do.

Keep in mind that when upgrading from the FA200 to the F200 PRO, you will need replace both the front and rear cameras, as well as the rear camera connecting cable. In other words, you can't simply plug the F200 PRO rear camera into your existing FA200 front camera unit. But, the good news is, you can keep the rest of your existing setup: GPS, hardwiring cable (or battery pack, if you're using one), and the CPL filter. You will still be using the same Thinkware Dash Cam Link app.

We actually did an experiment a couple of week back to see how they differ underneath the casing. Check out what we found:

The F200 PRO and the FA200 are very similar from casing to interior. Just like the FA200, the F200 PRO "hangs" off your front windshield, and you will use the vertical swivel to adjust the camera viewing angle. The F200 PRO build does feel sturdier but weight-wise, both dash cam are virtually identical as well.

Once we took off the casing, we saw that Thinkware used the same supercapacitor. For those new to dash cams, the main function of the supercapacitor is to store the latest file on the SD card after the car is turned off. In other words, it won't power your dash cam for parking mode record, but it will make sure the last footage clip before your turned off the ignition (and abruptly cut off power to the dash cam) is saved onto the SD card.

The circuit board and the camera lens are again, very virtually identical. Though we saw that the image sensor is different and Thinkware did mentioned that the F200 PRO comes with an updated Ambarella processor. In other words, If you are looking for a Full HD dash cam system that is easy to use and covers all the essentials, then the FA200 and the F200 PRO are pretty much the same - both are great Full HD Entry-Level dash cams that you can depend on for your daily commute and more.

And, if you love dash cams like we do, then you for sure don't want to miss what Thinkware has in store for all of us in 2021!

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