FineVu's CR500HD is one of our most popular single channel dashcams thanks to its excellent Sony CMOS Sensor and great balance of features and price. The cylindrical form factor is a pretty cool shape that's fairly discreet and attractive although Blackvue's DR600 with its fully matte black body is even more inconspicuous. The materials and the click of the buttons all feel like they belong on a premium device, a quality often overlooked in reviews.
The CR500's cylindrical body has a premium look and feel that still remains discreet
Inside the Box
Being a premium device, the CR500HD comes with a pretty wide assortment of included accessories. The USB cable and cigarette adapter are a given but FineVu has gone the extra step and included a yellow RCA video output cable to plug into a TV or screen as well. For mounting the clipped on adhesive mount keeps the overall design quite low profile and makes the main unit easy to remove. The adhesive mount also allows for inverse mounting for those that would rather stick their dashcam on their dashboard instead of their window. FineVu also has included a number of adhesive cable retainers to provide for a cleaner wire tuck job. A 16GB micro SD is also included which is fairly sufficient for 1080P video.
The slim adhesive mount keeps height down while a few buttons on the back let you quickly change settings and even take pictures!
Unlike the more expensive Blackvue DR500/600, the CR500 doesn't include an internal GPS or have support for WiFi streaming. Instead an optional GPS antenna can be added for a low cost which we appreciate because not only does it keep the base price down but it also allows for a smaller packaging which is always great in a dashcam. What it does have which we think is of utmost important is an excellent parking mode that utilizes motion detection. Compared to Chinese dash cams, the parking mode on the CR500HD actually helps reduce storage and battery consumption while also keeping internal temperatures down thanks to the low-energy mode.
The other option which we highly recommend, is a magnetic CPL (polarizer) filter that reduces distracting glare/reflections and really makes colours look beautiful especially in daytime video. One unique function of the CR500HD is the easy to use photo button which will take a screenshot as you drive by, this sounds gimmicky at first but I found myself using it a lot when I wanted to take a picture of something like a cool car but didn't want to use my cellphone out of safety/wasting time. Another notable mention is FineVu's excellent configuration app which you can open when you plug in your CR500HD into your computer via USB cable, it's much easier for non-Korean users to understand than say the Finevu T9.
Where the CR500HD outshines most dashcams is its video quality thanks to great optics and a brilliant Sony EXMOR CMOS Sensor. The daytime video when paired with the CPL filter has beautiful colours and great dynamic range where even the darkest portions of the screen have a good amount of detail. While there is an expected loss of sharpness in low light video, the dynamic range still remains excellent with great resolution even where the vehicle's headlights do not reach. The lens angle of 135 degrees works quite nicely in my car where it frames from A-pillar to A-pillar almost perfectly if positioned properly.
FineVu's CR500HD is a nice update to the very successful CR300HD and offers great night video with an attractive exterior. The current pricing makes it a mid-range device but also one of the cheapest models on the market that feature a true parking mode. It's worth noting that without a hardwiring kit you would not be able to take advantage of this excellent feature. Anyone looking for a great all rounder single-channel dashcam and doesn't mind the lack of WiFi should definitely consider this offering from FineVu. (Also see: Blackvue DR600GW, Blackvue DR500GW, Blackvue DR3500)
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