The BlackVue DR650GW-2CH has been the most popular choice for customers looking for a discreet 2 channel dash cam offering good video quality and parking mode by motion detection for a while now. With our launch of the BlackSys CH-100B however, many customers wanted to know what the differences were between these two devices which seem relatively similar on paper. After several months of testing we wanted to report back on the various differences we found and the pros and cons of each system.
One of the compliments we hear time and time again for the BlackVue DR650 is the sleek cylindrical design that has been a staple for BlackVue cameras over the years. It looks great and is definitely one of the best packaged 2 channel systems on the market, that being said there are things about the design of the BlackSys CH-100B we prefer as well. For starters the unit is narrower and shorter in height making it slightly more discreet. When placed side by side you can really see how the front and rear cameras are even smaller than the BlackVue which was quite impressive. The first impressions many users had about the BlackSys was that it looked bulkier due to the flat rectangular shape but in reality it's almost half an inch narrower than the DR650GW-2CH.
Despite the added height, we did prefer the mounting of the BlackVue which uses a ring instead of a flat bracket. We preferred the Blackvue's confident clicks and quick release mechanism to the CH-100B's sliding mount and screw in bracket. The ring mount not only feels better but allows the BlackVue cameras to rotate 360 degrees, this made the cameras particularly popular with Uber drivers who wanted to use the rear camera to face the interior instead. In contrast both BlackSys front and rear mounts only allow for about 90 degrees of adjustment, so they can't be rotated around to record the interior once they're attached facing the exterior.
The CH-100B has quite a different approach to its interface using 4 large buttons on the back. We liked the Event recording button and found it useful when we captured any interesting clips on the road worth sharing. BlackVue doesn't really offer a function like that and the design is very minimalist with a motion sensor on the left side and a WiFi button on the right. Some might prefer the DR650GW-2CH's cleaner design while others might enjoy the CH-100B more tactile interface.
In terms of WiFi connectivity for dash cams, BlackVue was the pioneer for this technology and we were blown away with how handy it could be on the DR500GW series. With that in mind, other manufacturers have caught on and developed WiFi technology for their dash cams as well and after using the BlackSys app we really appreciated the more intuitive interface and layout. We preferred the customization options to configure the CH-100B to your exact specification and loved how responsive the camera was to settings changes. Generally speaking it was also easier to connect our phones to the BlackSys WiFi network than to the Blackvue's.
Blackvue's app settings layout wasn't as intuitive in our experience and at times settings wouldn't change, however there are some strengths to the DR650GW's WiFi integration as well. In our experience the download speeds on the DR650GW-1CH/2CH were significantly faster than its predecessor as well as the CH-100B. When live streaming on the CH100B there was considerably more lag than with the DR650. Furthermore, for iOS users, it was much easier to upload videos downloaded to internal storage from the BlackVue app than through the BlackSys app. With BlackSys you had to open up File Sharing in iTunes to retrieve the files whereas BlackVue provides the option to copy from the app's storage into your photo album making it much easier to share.
As a constant innovator in the industry, BlackVue also pioneered Cloud technology in consumer level dash cams and is the only one to offer a true Cloud solution. Many customers in North America won't use this internet technology on their DR650GW-2CH but in our testing we loved the features it provided. Live tracking via cloud is valuable for fleet managers or parents, and the backup/download function lets you access saved files from anywhere in the world. In comparison, BlackSys does not have any plans to integrate cloud functionality at the moment.
Hardwiring and Parking Mode
In terms of installation, there are some noteworthy hardware differences between BlackSys and Blackvue. The DR650GW-2CH uses the Power Magic Pro hardwire kit to offer parking mode recording, voltage detection, and timer cutoff functionality. In comparison to the BlackSys's direct hardwire kit this is a lot more wiring and bulk to manage which makes a clean install more difficult on some vehicles. The Power Magic Pro is nice as it's a modular system that will work with a new camera, should you choose to upgrade a few years down the road, and also offers an on/off switch which lets you disable parking mode recording. With that being said, the BlackSys voltage cutoff settings are built right into the app and we found that much more intuitive, especially for our customers who don't regularly do dash cam installs as the pins on the Power Magic Pro can be hard to understand.
In terms of the parking mode by motion detection we have to give the win to the BlackSys CH-100B due to the customizability through the WiFi app. In the BlackSys app, you can set which parts of the video frame activate parking mode recording and you can do so for front and rear independently. If you park in a condo and back up against a wall you can also turn off the parking mode recording for the rear camera to save energy and storage space with the BlackSys as well. BlackVue only uses a sliding scale for motion sensitivity and many users are reporting an excessive amount of video recorded with their motion detection. Another notable difference with the CH-100B's motion detection is that rear motion is separate from front motion, that is to say if the rear detects motion, the front camera isn't necessarily writing to the card. With BlackVue the front camera will record even if motion was detected from the rear. This is a matter of user preference but personally we like the way Blacksys has implemented motion detection.
The Direct hardwire cable provided by BlackSys was very easy to hide and especially nice to have on a luxury car where we would not want to mount a Power Magic Pro anywhere visible. We also like how the camera could switch into parking mode right away since it knew immediately when the car was turned off via the connection to an ignition switched fuse. If we had a complaint for this cable, it would be that the length is too short for some larger vehicles and vehicles with rear mounted fuse boxes such as newer BMW's and Mercedes models.
One area where it was hard to choose a winner was the connecting cable between the front and rear camera. BlackVue is unique in the marketplace as they have opted for a high quality coaxial cable, this cable is thin and easier to install/tuck compared to thicker USB type cables but the pins at each end can be damaged if not handled with care. These are not replaceable under warranty as they are considered physical damage and with USB style connecting cables like the CH-100B, it's rarely ever an issue. Not only is excess wire management a bit easier with the BlackVue design but extended length options are available for large trucks and commercial vehicles as well.
Video Quality and Specs
For video quality we did find that the front camera of the BlackVue produced crisper video than the CH-100B at night with less graininess in dark areas. Both cameras use Sony CMOS sensors in the front but the Blackvue's is a 2.4 megapixel variant while the BlackSys uses a 2.1 megapixel sensor, we suspect this to be the cause of the slight difference in video quality. We did however prefer the rear video of the BlackSys which was clearer during the day and also has independent brightness adjustment, perfect for vehicles with tinted windows. Overall we found the video performance to be pretty similar and a little too close to call.
In terms of lens angle the two cameras are also too similar to really notice a difference (135° vs 129°). Where the BlackSys had an advantage over the BlackVue was it's operating temperature range which is rated up to an impressive 70° C (158°F) versus the DR650GW-2CH's 60°C (140°F). For this reason we often recommend the BlackSys CH100B over the BlackVue DR650GW-2CH for customers living in hotter climates. As a flagship dash cam however, BlackVue does offer a built-in GPS at no extra cost whereas it's an option for the CH-100B. The built-in GPS can be set up to display speed on the video timestamp which our fleet customers appreciate. Some customers however prefer to not have GPS altogether and find the speed stamp to be a bit of a liability in certain cases. Both cameras work without a hitch on our 128GB Samsung Evo+ micro SD card and have dedicated Mac/PC viewing software.
We found the BlackSys CH-100B to be a formidable competitor to the BlackVue DR650GW-2CH although not an outright replacement for the tried and true Blackvue. There are some advantages and disadvantages with both devices that are really interesting to note and we think this guide will help customers make their decision. For the advanced user wanting all the bells and whistles such as cloud integration, built in GPS, and an optional IR camera, the BlackVue DR650GW-2CH would be the best choice. The CH-100B does offer a simpler hardwiring kit, easier WiFi app, and more durable connecting cables that may make it a better choice for a first time user. Given that the price point of the CH-100B is about 10-20% lower than the Blackvue, we would recommend the BlackSys for most customers.
If you have any questions about choosing between these two devices, be sure to contact us with some details of your commuting style, familiarity with hardwire installs, vehicle model and any other information that may be relevant, and we can help you make a decision.
More Sample Videos
BlackSys CH100B 2CH
*keep in mind these are YouTube links and their compression does degrade video quality a bit