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Thinkware U1000 4K Dash Cam Review

Thinkware U1000 4K Dual Channel Dash Cam

The U1000 is Thinkware’s latest flagship dash cam. It is a 2-channel boasting all the features of its predecessor, the Q800PRO. But with a 4K UHD resolution for its front-facing unit and a 2K QHD resolution for its rear camera, the U1000 is currently the highest resolution 2-channel dash cams available on the market.

Key Features

  • 4K Ultra HD
  • 2K QHD Optional Rear Camera
  • 150° Wide-Angle Lens
  • 8.42MP Sony Exmor R Starvis IMX3343 (front)
  • 5.14MP Sony Exmor R Starvis IMX335 (rear)
  • Energy Saving Mode 2.0
  • Super Night Vision 2.0
  • Live View (Driving/Parking)
  • Geo Fencing
  • Locate Vehicle
  • Driving/Parking Impact Notification
  • Road Alert Systems
  • Safety Camera Alert
  • Built-in WiFi

Pros

  4K UHD front recording
  2K QHD rear recording
  Real-time vehicle tracking via Cloud
  Geo-fencing and alerts
  Driving & Parking Impact Notification
 Unobtrusive, modern design

Cons

Large 4K footage files requires larger capacity memory card

Key Features

  • 4K Ultra HD
  • 2K QHD Optional Rear Camera
  • 150° Wide-Angle Lens
  • 8.42MP Sony Exmor R Starvis IMX3343 (front)
  • 5.14MP Sony Exmor R Starvis IMX335 (rear)
  • Energy Saving Mode 2.0
  • Super Night Vision 2.0
  • Live View (Driving/Parking)
  • Geo Fencing
  • Locate Vehicle
  • Driving/Parking Impact Notification
  • Road Alert Systems
  • Safety Camera Alert
  • Built-in WiFi

Pros

  4K UHD front recording</span
  2K QHD rear recording
  Real-time vehicle tracking via Cloud
  Geo-fencing and alerts
  Driving & Parking Impact Notification
 Unobtrusive, modern design

Cons

Large 4K footage files requires larger capacity memory card


In-Depth Video Review

Watch this review in video:


Design

With the U1000, Thinkware has gone with a completely different design from their previous cameras. Dimensions-wise, the U1000 is very similar to the Q800PRO. But instead of having the camera lens on the long side, it is now on the narrow-side of the unit. This way when you attach it on your windshield, the U1000 looks less bulky and more discreet.


Front Camera Video Quality

The front camera is excellent. The lens has an 8.42MP Sony Exmor R Starvis image sensor to deliver crystal clear 4K UHD video quality at 30FPS. Ultra high definition is twice more detailed than 2K quad high definition and 4x more vivid than 1080p Full HD.

The 150° wide-angle lens view minimizes blind spots so you can capture every little detail you may have missed before.

Advanced video enhancement technologies including Advanced Wide Dynamic Range (WDR), Intelligent Automatic Exposure and Super Night Vision 2.0 cover a good span between day and night, bright and dark environments to ensure videos are of pristine-quality during the day, and crisp and clear with good definition and minimal noise and blurring at night.


Rear Camera Video Quality

Unlike the Q800PRO which simply adopted the F800 Pro rear camera, Thinkware developed a new rear camera specifically for the U1000.

The U1000 rear camera is equipped with a 5.14MP Sony Exmor R Starvis image sensor. It is essentially the same image sensor that was used in the Q800PRO front camera, allowing the U1000 rear camera to record in 2K QHD. The rear camera also comes with a 150° wide-angle lens view and the advanced video enhancement technologies found in the front camera to deliver crystal-clear quality in all lighting situations.

Currently no other 4K or even 2K dash cams on the market offer such a powerful rear camera, making the U1000 the most powerful front-and-rear dash system you can purchase at this tim


Cloud Capabilities

The U1000 is Cloud-enabled so you can stay connected anytime, anywhere as long as you have the THINKWARE CLOUD app on your smartphone and an Internet hotspot in your car.

The mobile app for the U1000 is the same THINKWARE CLOUD app that the Q800PRO, and the F800 Pro use. The app is available for download on the Apple Apps Store and the Google Play Store. Both the THINKWARE CLOUD service and mobile app are free.

The U1000 brings to the table all of the premium CLOUD features that the Q800PRO, had on board, including Geo-Fence, Locate Vehicle and Driving Impact Notification.

Live View function allows you to watch what is happening in real-time. Monitor your vehicle with your smartphone, no matter where you are.

With Geo-Fencing, you can set up up to 20 different geographic zones, which will send a push notification through the CLOUD app if the vehicle enters or leaves a pre-configured zone.

The Locate Vehicle function will let you discover the current location of the vehicle using the THINKWARE CLOUD app.  

In the event of an impact, such as a collision, while driving, a Driving Impact push notification will be sent through the THINKWARE CLOUD as well.

There are a couple of new CLOUD features that are currently exclusive to the U1000: Remote Live View and Parking Impact Notification with Video. With Remote Live View, you can follow your vehicle and watch what is happening in real-time with your THINKWARE CLOUD app. With Parking Impact Notification, not only will you get a push notification of the incident, but you can also access the recorded incident footage through the THINKWARE CLOUD app.


Parking Surveillance

Just like the Q800PRO, the U1000 comes with all the advanced parking mode features with Energy Saving recording mode, Time Lapse, Motion and Impact detection.

  • Time Lapse - Records footage at a lower frame rate to cover surveillance and reduce power consumption and video file size
  • Impact Detection - Built-in G-Sensor to monitor any impact to the vehicle and will wake up the U1000 within a second to start recording
  • Motion Detection - Motion detector with customizable sensitivity level to monitor any motion around the vehicle

Optional RADAR Sensor Add-On

As an optional add-on, the RADAR Sensor gives you the option to extend the U1000's parking mode capabilities for a longer period of time.

The RADAR Sensor detects moving objects within a 7m (23ft) range using a feature called Ultra-High Frequency Radar Motion Detection.

If an object is detected, it will trigger the U1000 to go from Energy Saving Parking Mode to a recording standby mode for 30 seconds. If an impact is detected within this 30 seconds period, the U1000 will save 20 seconds before and after footage. With the Parking Impact Notification feature enabled, the U1000 can send a push notification of the incident through the THINKWARE CLOUD app, along with the recorded incident footage.

But if no impact or motion is detected within the 30-second standby mode, the U1000 will automatically switch back to Energy Saving Parking Mode.

As you can see, with this Ultra-High Frequency Radar Motion Detection, the U1000 can stay asleep longer, waking up only when an impact has actually been detected. Power consumption is greatly reduced, allowing the U1000 to remain in Parking Mode longer than before. Thinkware calls this Energy Saving Parking Mode 2.0 and is designed to extend parking mode runtime for a long period of time for peace of mind. Thinkware stated the duration in RADAR mode is around two weeks, but exact duration depends on the size and charge of your vehicle's battery as well as any external battery packs you have in place.

Radar motion detection requires the optional Thinkware U1000 Radar Sensor, which is purchased separately.


Alerts

In addition to the Driving and Parking Impact Notifications, the U1000 has several driver assistance systems that can deliver audible warning alerts through the front unit to prevent potential impediments in your journey. These alert systems rely on the U1000’s built-in GPS, which can track the vehicle’s location, speed, and direction of travel.

Safety Camera Alerts

  • Red Light Camera Warning - When approaching a fixed red light camera the U1000 will warn you "Red light camera in ### meters"
  • Fixed Speed Camera Warning - When approaching a fixed speed camera the U1000 will warn you "Speed camera in ### meters, speed limit is XX"
  • Mobile Speed Camera Zone Warning - When approaching an area where mobile speed traps are common the U1000 will warn you "Mobile speed camera zone"
  • Average Speed Zone Warning - When approaching an average speed zone (timed point to point) the U1000 will warn you "Average speed zone, speed limit is XX"

Road Safety Warning Systems

  • Lane Departure Warning System - Prevents accidents by alerting the driver when the vehicle departs unintentionally from its driving lane.
  • Front Vehicle Departure Warning - After stopping at an intersection, it alerts the driver when the vehicle in front has started advancing while your vehicle remains stationary.
  • Forward Collision Warning System - Warns the driver to reduce impact speed or avoid a potential collision with the vehicle in front.

Recommendations

As the dash cam industry embraces 4K and other high-resolution imaging formats with high bitrates, video file compression has become one of the main challenges for both the manufacturers and users.

The industry’s video compression standard for HD resolutions is H.264, which handles Full HD as well as 2K QHD videos quite well. However, 4K videos stored in H.264 creates a proportionally larger file. H.264 is the default codec on the U1000, so, you will need to consider getting a larger memory card for the U1000. The U1000 supports microSD cards up to 128GB.


Who Should Choose the Thinkware U1000

The Thinkware U1000 will make a lot of sense for a lot of different types of drivers.

For those who demand the best recording quality: We're talking about 4K Ultra HD. The U1000 is currently the highest resolution dash cam system in the market. With a solid 4K Ultra HD front-view and 2K Quad HD rear-view recording capability, impressive night vision and exposure correction features, your drive will be captured in crystal-clear, movie-like quality.

For those who demand the best parking surveillance: The U1000 comes with all the advanced parking mode features with Energy Saving recording mode, Time Lapse, Motion and Impact detection. Pair it with the optional RADAR sensor and you can further extend parking mode runtime as well as record a longer pre- and post-incident footage.

For those who demand the most inclusive road safety systems: The U1000 comes with several driving assistance systems that can deliver audible warning alerts to prevent potential impediments in your journey, including red light and speed camera alerts as well as lane departure and front collision warning.

For those who demand 24/7 connectivity and control: The U1000 is Cloud-enabled so you can stay connected anytime. You can literally open the mobile app and take a look through the camera in real time, driving or parked.


Final Verdict

The Thinkware U1000 is the highest resolution 2-channel, as well as the most advanced parking surveillance dash cam system on the market and it is now available at BlackboxMyCar.

Apart from the video file compression, the U1000 is a really superb dash cam that delivers video footage in eye-popping 4K UHD quality. While it is a top-tier dash cam with a premium price tag, you are certainly getting a lot of value with the U1000. It is more expensive than the Q800PRO, but you get double the recording resolution and exclusive advanced parking mode capabilities. The U1000 is priced almost the same as the BlackVue 4K DR900S, but again, with much more advanced parking mode capabilities and 2x the recording resolution from the rear camera. With the U1000 onboard, you can sit back and relax knowing that your drive is well-captured and well-protected.

We do recommend getting the Thinkware U1000 2-Channel bundle kit as it comes with both the front and rear cameras, a 12V power cable, an adhesive windshield mount, cable clips, a 32GB microSD Card and a USB microSD card reader, as well as a Thinkware Hardwiring Kit and an Anti-Glare CPL Filter.

ABOUT THINKWARE

Thinkware is a world-leading Korean dash cam company. Since founded in 1997, Thinkware has established itself as the market leader in the realm of smart car technologies and dash cams. Today Thinkware is one of the most trusted names in the dash cam industry and its flagship products continue to raise the industry bar with strong, innovative and impressive features.


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