BlackVue DR900S Long Term Review

The DR900S-2CH from Blackvue has been with us for about 7 months now and with all its premium features, we can safely say this is one of the top recommendations from BlackboxMyCar.

The BlackVue DR900S-2CH was first released back in April of 2018. Since its launch, it has remained one of our best-selling dash cams thanks to its high-quality 4K video and features such as parking-mode recording, Blackvue Over the CLOUD and WiFi/smartphone app integration. To support their top of the line product, BlackVue has also since updated the unit’s firmware to address any issues of overheating.

After some long-term testing, we wanted to let our audience know our experience with this dash cam. With just over 6 months of improvements, BlackVue has implemented numerous changes that make the DR900S-2CH one of the best 2-channel dash cams on the market today.

RECAP

Here’s a quick recap of the what the DR900S-2CH is capable of. It is a full-featured two-channel, UHD dash cam, with excellent video capture quality thanks to the superior Sony STARVIS sensors and a high bitrate processor. The 8-megapixel CMOS sensor in the main camera, the DR900S-2CH captures 4K Ultra High Definition video—four times as many pixels as Full HD (1080p). The rear Full HD Sony STARVIS image sensor ensures the best image quality under any lighting condition. Thanks to the H.265 (HEVC) compression, your videos look better but the file size is kept as small as ever. With the faster processor chip, the camera can pick up even more information. Depending on the selected mode, the DR900S-2CH is able to capture up to 1080P at 60 frames per second for the front camera or 4K UHD at 30 frames per second. With 60 frames per second, the footage is smoother and more details are captured over the more commonly-found 30 frames per second other cameras. Likewise, with the 30 frames per second, the 4K quality truly shines despite having a lower frame rate. Recently BlackVue has released a new firmware for the DR900S-2CH to enable, what they call, "Timelapse-Mode". The new firmware allows for 1 frame per second for an even more storage efficient mode that keeps temperature and energy consumption down.

The DR900S 2-CH uses the same design as the DR750S. This, however, is beneficial for those looking to upgrade, as everything (mounts, wiring, etc.) is fully compatible with the DR7500S-2CH. Only the front and rear cameras need to be swapped out.

VIDEO QUALITY

The introduction of 4K translates to vast improvement in video resolution. The DR900S-2CH offers excellent video quality in the daytime with good dynamic range and minimal loss in optical clarity. This was truly displayed as we review footage daily and during different times of the day.

At a wide 162° front lens angle, The DR900S-2CH offers a wider viewing angle compared to any 1080P camera meaning that as previously mentioned, the DR900S-2CH can capture more detail than other dash cams. This was great as when we encountered close calls, our camera was able to capture plates clearly without issues. The license plates are easier to see thanks to twice the resolution and 4 times the pixel count.

As for the rear camera, there are no improvements as it is a carryover from the DR750S-2CH, featuring the same excellent FullHD 1080p Sony STARVIS sensor.

We were especially impressed with the “Night-Vision” mode that works either in Driving and Parking mode or strictly parking mode. In our case, we only used that feature while parked. This helped in situations where we are parked in low light settings.

NOTABLE FEATURES

What’s new in the DR900S-2CH is the inclusion of Wi-Fi with the 5Ghz band at the faster 802.11ac standard. This was a special touch that truly helped with the convenience factor.

While most dash cams utilize the 2.4Ghz network, this higher band and standard allows for faster transfer rates as well as the ability to connect to more hot spots within the area. In real-time, this translates to a more efficient connection and quicker downloads of videos as well. The 2.4Ghz band is still available for those using older smartphone devices.

DR900S VS. THE COMPETITION

While the DR900S 2-CH offers significant upgrades over the DR750S 2-CH, we must also look at how it compares with other leading market dash cams such as the Thinkware F800 Pro and BlackSys CH-200.

On paper, the DR900S 2-CH has an advantage in terms of video quality. It records at the highest bitrates and is the only one with a 4K/60 FPS option. When we reviewed the videos, we found that the DR900S 2-CH did a better job of picking up license plates than its competitors at various speeds as well.

In terms of low light performance, however, we found that the Thinkware F800 Pro still offers the clearest video.

Overall the differences in video quality among all three of these devices are close, but the DR900S-2CH edges out competitors with its overall crisper and clearer quality.

PARKING MODE

As always, BlackVue cameras have a remarkable parking mode recording built-in. In the DR900S-2CH, it even has voice notifications similar to Thinkware products. When parked, the dash cam will self-detect that the vehicle has stopped moving and will then switch over to parking mode. With the help of a trusted Power Magic Pro kit or even a BlackVue B-124 battery pack, the dash cam will be able to offer around the clock surveillance for the vehicle. While the driver is away from the car, the camera will activate recording by detection of motion as well as shock.

Once triggered, the camera will create an incident file in a separate folder on the memory card with these distinctive folders, there's no need to worry about regular recordings overwriting critical footage. One of the newest additions to the DR900S-2CH, which hasn't been available on the older models, is the time lapse mode. This was great in terms of be space efficient and keeping the unit cooler when parked for longer durations.

We mentioned earlier that the DR900S 2-CH has event partitioning just like the DR750S-2CH, but this is still one area that we feel BlackVue could improve upon. Firstly, this feature is turned off by default, so you'll need to turn it on through the settings if you want to use it. Believe it or not, a lot of customers don’t go through the settings and leave everything at default. Secondly, is the fact that parking events, manual events, and driving events are all combined in the same file space, making it a bit more of a chore to sift through the footage.

It would be nice if motion detection and driving clips are separated so as to sift through vandalism incidences where the G-sensor was triggered. Rest assured, these are suggestions that we have passed along to BlackVue.

BLACKVUE OVER THE CLOUD

As this is a top-of-the-range camera from BlackVue, the DR900S-2CH also has some other useful features as well. One essential item is BlackVue’s Over the Cloud. To date, BlackVue is the only manufacturer that has the most completed and functional Cloud services for dash cam usage. With BlackVue Cloud, you're able to remotely log in to the camera to view live footage and previous footage, as long as you provide the dashcam with a cellular connection. Thanks to its built-in GPS, the dash cam is also able to record vehicle speed and location, allowing users to track every move. Live view is also enabled to give the user the ability to see precisely what the camera sees. With the built-in mic and speakerphone, you’re even able to talk to the occupants. This two-way feature is handy for fleets, as communication can easily be used when needed. This is especially helpful now that there is a 5Ghz band.

VERDICT

The BlackVue DR900S-2CH is the first 4K dash cam in the market from one of the leading dash cam manufacturers in the world. As a cloud-connected dash cam, BlackVue is still the market leader and we suspect they will be for quite some time.

Overall, we're very happy with the DR900-2CH. With every firmware update, the camera just gets better and better. The new time-lapse mode allows this camera to exceed past a lot of its competitors, and its 4K UHD features allow it to go head to head by the best in the market. With its heritage, there's no doubt that BlackVue will get better with every update and we can't wait to see what else BlackVue can do with this fantastic camera. For those who are looking for a simple to use, sleek profiled, 2-channel dash cam and has the best quality, the DR900S-2CH is a top contender by all means.