Thinkware X550 Review

The X550 is one of the latest high end dash cams from Thinkware and is available in 1-channel and 2-channel variants. It offers many of the same features as the best-selling Thinkware F770, but in a different form factor by way of a 2.7" LCD Screen instead of the WiFi of the F770. Normally we don't recommend LCD screen devices due to the increased risk of theft, but the Thinkware's smaller screen size and darker coloured body do a good job of keeping the size down. We also like the mix of textures Thinkware used on the X550 as it gives the camera a premium look and feel. The buttons on the back side are also elegantly integrated into the device.

Thinkware X550

Durability

The choice to go with physical buttons rather than a touchscreen should help with the X550's long-term reliability. Over the years, we've seen other devices with LCD touchscreens fail due to the constant exposure to heat that dash cams endure. Combined with Thinkware's automatic high temperature cut off and capacitor based design, the X550 should be one of the best LCD screen dash cams to use in a high heat environment. Furthermore, Thinkware's exclusive Dual Save feature offers an additional back up of high impact events, such as a crash, to the camera's internal flash memory.

Thinkware X550 Rear

Video Quality

Because the X550 shares the same Ambarella processor and Sony CMOS sensors as the flagship F770, the camera delivers the same great video quality. Dynamic range and light sensitivity at night are impressive, and the 140 degree wide angle lens offers a good balance of range and sharpness. As always, we love that Thinkware has implemented a Full HD Sony sensor equipped rear camera, which really offers a dramatic difference in clarity compared to lesser 2-channel dash cams. This is particularly important for night time recording on vehicles that have a tinted rear window.

Parking Mode

Thinkware's high end 2-Channel dashcams are some of our favourite choices for parking mode dashcams. When paired with the dedicated hardwiring kit, the X550 can record in either time lapse mode or motion detection modes. The camera has built-in voltage detection and timer settings to protect the car's battery if hardwired, these settings can be configured using the LCD menu interface. In our testing, the X550 proved to be incredibly energy efficient and ran for about 30% longer than comparable 2-channel Korean dashcams. Due to the higher bitrate recording of the X550, we highly recommend going with 64GB or 128GB if the parking mode feature is used. The standard 32GB card only offers about 1 hour of parking motion recording on the 2-channel X550 setup.

Verdict

The Thinkware X550 is one of the first LCD screen dashcams that we've seriously considered putting in our own cars here at BlackboxMyCar. The sleek and premium design combined with its impressive recording capabilities and Thinkware's track record for quality make it a great choice for anyone shopping in the 2-channel marketplace. Furthermore, the button and screen interface is very straight-forward and perhaps a better choice for those that are less tech savvy. Those that are looking for the most discreet setup should still go for the Thinkware F770.