In direct response to the massive increase in demand for equipment to protect fleet and rideshare operators, we have the latest offering from Thinkware and their partnership with BlackboxMyCar. The Thinkware FA 200 IRC BlackboxMyCar Edition has stepped into the ring to claim the crown as the best value for money available on the market today.
What does the winning formula for great protection look like when it comes to not only the outside but the inside of your vehicle as well? The folks at Thinkware teamed up with the industry authority in North America, BlackboxMyCar, to bring infrared to the masses without draining your wallet - now that's what we call a game changer!
With so much competition in the budget infrared space from dash cam manufacturers, there is only one choice Thinkware could make: partner up and innovate! That means making the functionality of their amazing app, called Thinkware Cloud, work perfectly with an entry level system while optimising the infrared interior recordings; all of this allows customers to compromise on price without compromising on quality!
Quality comes in many forms but with 1080p in the front and 720p in the cabin, there is plenty of detail to go around. You don't have to worry much about heat with this dual camera system since it has operating temperatures ranging from 14°F and 140°F (-10°C to 60°C) and storage temperatures between -4°F and 158°F (-20°C to 70°C). Furthermore, this entry-level system can even handle a 128gb micro SD card meaning you won't lose a second of valuable video or audio from your new silent witness!
In an industry that has moved from 240p to 4K quality in the same time it took TVs to go from LCD to LED, the interior-facing camera's 720p doesn’t sound mind-blowing but the numbers don’t tell the whole story. After testing this unit extensively here at the office I can personally attest to the camera catching every detail of my reaction to nearly being t-boned by a late night distracted driver.
One of the wonderful byproducts of marketplace competition is the power to drive up quality while driving down price and that crossroad is where you find the Thinkware FA 200 IRC BlackboxMyCar Edition. The front-facing camera boasts a 2.12 megapixel Sony Exmor sensor with a 140° viewing angle Full HD 1080P @ 30 FPS. Meanwhile, the cabin or interior camera has an infrared enhanced 1.1 megapixel Pixelplus sensor that records at HD 720P @ 30 FPS. As noted earlier the technical specifications only tell part of the story; bang for your buck, the quality exceeds expectations at every turn.
The front-facing 1080p performed without fail in every situation it was placed in, from direct sunlight to late into the evening in areas with no street lights. The true star of this package though is the infrared camera recording the interior. There was never an environment this camera didn’t perform well in, capturing every detail day or night. It’s that last point that can be reliably focused on because that is the whole point: this system is designed as the perfect silent witness for the inside of your car. The viewing angle of the infrared camera allows for perfect visibility of the front for the driver and passenger but more importantly there is great visibility for the rear of the cabin. Rideshare and fleet driver/operators rejoice, your cost-effective asset protector is finally here!
In a world where 4k is available in a camera essentially the size of a fountain pen cap one would think having built-in WiFi would be a standard feature. Although it is slowly being a standard, pricepoint still plays a big part in whether it is or not included. Thankfully, the Thinkware FA 200 IRC BlackboxMyCar Edition has it built in! WiFi turns out to be quite the handy feature as it lets you take advantage of the mobile app that can be used with it, called Thinkware Cloud. In Thinkware's higher-end dash cams you can actually use Cloud technology to monitor your vehicle remotely (this is not available for the FA 200 IRC BlackboxMyCar).
When it comes to Thinkware Could, this is where the magic happens, as they say. The functionality control made available in this smartphone app really brings this smartly priced dual camera setup to life! You have the ability to control recording quality, parking mode, file storage prioritization, and access recorded material which is stored in easy to download (doesn’t use phone data) one minute clips. While inside the app you even have the ability to see which files you have downloaded and delete them off of your phone without having to leave the Thinkware Cloud app! It isn’t a world-changing feature but it is a prime example of how Thinkware peppered their ecosystem with little details to make using their products as easy as possible.
You don’t have to look around the marketplace long to see the distinct style and aesthetic elements that are key features of each brand and the Thinkware FA 200 IRC BlackboxMyCar Edition is no different. At a glance, this is clearly a Thinkware product and that’s not a bad thing; they have a winning design formula and they know how to put together an inconspicuous, natural looking dash cam that isn’t going to draw the wrong kind of attention.
The light gloss of the case and the dimensions mean the Thinkware FA 200 BlackboxMyCar Edition looks incredibly well blended between a windshield and a rear view mirror which is exactly what we did with our testing unit. Ergonomic buttons make manual recording and connecting WiFi a breeze even sandwiched up against the rear view mirror. The design cues pulled from their top of the line F800 Pro D Plus fit perfectly giving this budget 2-channel dash cam a premium look and feel.
This is where the Thinkware FA 200 IRC BlackboxMyCar Edition really flexes its value for money. Thinkware really hit it out of the park bringing these features to this camera. First and foremost is the Time-Lapse mode which is a motion activated capture option that cuts recording down to 2 frames per second and consumes impossibly small amounts micro SD card storage or battery. The triggering of this has several levels of sensitivity to make sure a leaf going by doesn’t it off but ensures that when something happens that you need recorded the camera will respond!
The second Parking Mode that not only cuts battery consumption but also cuts memory consumption as well is the aptly named Energy Saving mode. This mode functions by putting the camera to sleep and awakening it once the G Meter senses impact or if there is motion enough in front of it to trigger the sensor. There are massive advantages and disadvantages to this video capturing method, the greatest advantage of which is the massive length of time before battery cut out occurs and the disadvantage is that there is no video recording prior to the triggering event.
The final parking mode is the industry standard Motion Detection that works in an always-on state that records the moments just before the event of motion or impact. Although the availability of the other two modes is present, motion detection parking mode recording is still the best option to ensure important footage is captured, since recordings are buffered. If you really want to get the most out of your Thinkware FA 200 IRC BlackboxMyCar Edition we highly recommend a 128gb micro SD card and a battery pack bundle.
The Thinkware FA200 IRC BlackboxMyCar Edition was this reviewer's first ever dash cam and dash cam installation; it only took 20 minutes to install from test fitting to cleaning, installing and wiring, and finally powering on. The technology is straightforward, the unit works as simply and perfectly as you expect and there are lots of resources available to make sure you get this up and running without breaking a sweat.
As a dual channel system at the intersection of quality and budget, you can’t go wrong with the FA200, especially when protecting yourself and your cargo matters the most. The mobile application has incredible functionality built into it and the video recording features are superb. The outstanding infrared camera quality and the faultless front facing camera ensure that day or night you have a silent witness protecting your investment in ways you have never experienced before. The only way to make this package better is a second FA200 for the rear window and a battery pack bundle to make the coverage absolute, and with the price point where it is there is almost no reason to not take this to the next level.
Check out our First Look of the Thinkware FA200 IRC Dual Channel Dash Cam