In this article: We'll unbox and review the features of three dash cameras from BlackVue. We'll explain what's in the box and describe all the main features of the X series cameras.
- BlackVue Dash Cameras: Unboxing & First Impression
- Common Design Features Shared by the X Series Cameras
- What’s in the Box?
- Quick Start Guide
- DR750X-2CH & 3CH Plus Specifications & Overview
- BlackVue DR900X-2CH Specifications & Overview
- BlackVue Cloud
- Which Camera is Right For You?
BlackVue Dash Cameras: Unboxing & First Impression
We will be unboxing three BlackVue dash cameras today. The cameras are the DR750X-2CH Plus, DR900X-2CH Plus, and the recently released DR750X-3CH Plus. All three make a great choice for a dash camera, and share some similar features and technology. in fact, the DR900X Plus is one of our top choices in our best dashboard cameras list. However, each model serves a slightly different purpose so understanding what those differences are and how they might apply to your situation is important and could save you money.
So in this article, we are going to take each model out of the box, look at it in detail, and discuss the features that make each camera a sensible choice. By the end of this article you should have a good understanding of those differences and which model best suits your own needs.
Common Design Features Shared by the X Series Cameras
Same Look and Mount Design
The first thing that you’ll notice about all three of the front-facing here cameras is their striking similarity in appearance. Each design uses a cylindrical body with a unique locking mechanism that lets you rotate the camera to the perfect angle, regardless of the slope of the windshield. The mounting bracket has a lock button that releases the camera body. The lens is positioned at the far side of the body from the mount.
Wiring these cameras is nearly identical for all models too, with some additional cables for various features. The cables all route to the side of the cylinder by the mount. The end of the cylinder with the ports has a cap that covers the micro-SD card slot.
The cable ports are labeled USB, DC in, and Rear. All three of these cameras have WiFi, so there is an on/off button on the side of the camera.
LED Lights and Functions
All three cameras have a front security LED located just below the camera lens. This LED will blink slowly during parking motion detection standby mode and is on when the camera is recording because of an impact, a manual recording, or motion detection in parking mode.
On the side of the camera that faces the driver, there are three LED lights that give you information about what the camera is doing. These indicators are set on a bar that also houses the speaker. The bar is an upscale bronze color on the DR900X Plus and Black on the DR750X Plus.
The recording LED is the left-most indicator on the camera. It is orange in normal mode, red when recording, or green in parking mode when motion is detected.
The next LED is the GPS indicator. It is blue when GPS is on and blinks slowly when GPS is off. All three cameras have a built-in Dual-Band GPS receiver that also works with GLONASS.
The final indicator is for Bluetooth/ WiFi, and LTE connections. It is yellow when LTE is connected, white for WiFi, and yellow to indicate when the camera is pairing or has completed the process. An external LTE module is required for all three of these cameras if you are looking to hook them into WiFi.
On the opposite side of the cylinder where the ports are located is where the proximity sensor is. A diode lights when the sensor is triggered. You can touch or wave a finger near the sensor to trigger customizable features. This feature enables you to turn on or off audio recordings, create a manual trigger, or to turn the camera off.
The DR750X Plus & DR900X Plus both have four recording modes: Normal, Event, Manual, and Parking mode. Parking mode requires that the camera be installed with a hardwire kit or a power pack.
- Normal Mode: This is the default setting the camera records video in. Files are stored in one-minute clips.
- Event Recording: This mode is automatically triggered when an impact is detected by the built-in g-sensor. This mode is available in Normal and Parking modes. Video files created during Event Recording mode are locked to prevent accidental overwriting. BlackVue cameras have a wide range of reasons why the camera may record an event including hard braking or accelerating, collisions, and when the vehicle exceeds the speed limit or enters a geofenced area.
The 750X-3CH Plus includes an interior camera that will also allow for Event Recording when Advanced Driver Assist features are involved. This includes drowsiness, distracted driving, or when no driver is behind the wheel.
- Manual Recording: This mode saves a file that is manually initiated. The camera uses the proximity sensor to trigger manual recording mode.
- Parking Mode: When the camera is connected to a full-time power source, the camera will record while the car is parked. Video recordings are done on a compressed time lapse that covers thirty minutes of recording on a one-minute clip. When parked, the camera can detect motion or impact and will automatically save recordings from five-seconds before the detection and for one-minute in length.
Rear Facing Camera
All three cameras in this unboxing include rear cameras as well. All three are identical and are similar in appearance to the front camera, only smaller. The connection cable connects to the mount-side of the cylinder. On the other side of the cylinder there is an LED indicator that is on to show the camera is working. The LED can be turned off on the app.
The rear cameras capture Full HD video using a Sony STARVIS sensor that has approximately 2.1 million pixels. The rear cameras capture video at 30 frames per second. The lightweight camera simply rotates in its housing to achieve the proper angle. The rear camera captures a 139-degree diagonal viewing angle, with a 116-degree horizontal and a 61-degree vertical angle. This should be an ideal choice for capturing rear images with clarity and accuracy.
Safety and Security
All three of the cameras provide loop recording with event video locking. This means that the cameras continuously record until the microSD card is out of storage. Then, the camera begins to record over the earliest footage first and it will keep doing this over and over. When an event video is automatically saved, that file is locked and won’t be overwritten. BlackVue provides a modest 64GB card, but ideally, you’ll want to eventually upgrade to a 128GB or 256GB Class-10 or higher card. Of course, BlackVue recommends that you use their cards for best results.
These cameras also offer some advanced safety features. When the camera is hardwired and in parking mode, the camera will stop recording when vehicle battery voltage drops below a preset level that should still allow you to start the car. Not all cameras have this tech so this is a good safety feature that you should consider on all cameras. They will also shut down when temperatures get too high, protecting your video files in the process.
What’s in the Box?
Intelligent packaging is a sign of a quality product. The plain brown box the camera is packaged in is reasonably sturdy. The top of the box slides over the bottom of the box to give the camera double-reinforced sides. Lifting the top off reveals the cameras which are securely held in place within another cardboard box. Underneath the cameras is a separate box containing everything else included with the camera.
Here is a list of the contents of each package with special notes for items only included with models.
- Cigarette/ 12v accessory power cable ~15’ long
- Hardwire power cable w/ inline fuses ~15’ long
- Rear camera connection cable ~20’ long
- 64GB micro-SD card with SD Card Reader adapter
- Double-sided tape for each camera
- Quick start guide
- Pry tool
- 12 cable clips w/ double-sided tape
The following parts apply to the DR750x-3CH Plus only:
- Infrared interior camera connection cable ~3’ long
- USB hub for connecting CM100LTE module (optional)
- Double sided tape for USB hub
- Allen wrench
Quick Start Guide
One of the things that is often frustrating is when you purchase a product that is as complex as a dash camera and the instructions are impossible to understand or missing information.
We are happy to say that the quick start guides for these cameras are well-produced, legible, and packed with tons of useful information. On a first read, the information appears to be easy to follow and clearly illustrates the various lights and features of the camera.
The little bits of information we did not find in the quick start guide were mostly easy to find online through the company website. We had to look up how long the video recordings are and what the differences between modes include. We also found limited information about some of the advanced features of the 750X-3CH Plus interior camera, including how the Advanced Driver Safety features function.
The guide provides a detailed step-by-step installation that seems complete. It even walks through the process of finding, installing, and setting up the camera with the appropriate app for Android or iOS devices. Overall, it seems like a pretty good manual to get the camera installed and running, even if it didn’t answer every question we had. Plenty enough detail for the average DIYer.
We really liked the design and shape of BlackVue’s cameras. They have a low-profile appearance and feel well-made. Special things we noticed were the slide-on plastic caps covering the lens to prevent damage during shipping. The way the camera locks into the mount feels sturdy and secure too. The rotating design seems like it will be very convenient to get the perfect image alignment once the camera is installed.
The locations of the various indicator lights and the different sequences seem easy enough to understand and will be useful for knowing when the camera is operating correctly. The proximity sensor special features are a neat trick. The micro-SD card slot is hidden behind a plastic cover that lifts off and rotates out of the way. That means you must remove the wires to remove the card. It may seem like an inconvenience when looking the camera over for the first time, but maybe it won’t be a big deal after having used the camera for some time.
DR750X-2CH & 3CH Plus Specifications & Overview
The primary front-facing camera and rear camera are identical in these two packages, so we will discuss the key features of them together. The only difference between these two packages is the addition of an interior-facing camera in the DR750X-3CH Plus.
The DR750X Plus uses a Sony STARVIS CMOS sensor with approximately 2.1 million pixels. The camera records images on a diagonal of 139-degrees with a 116-degree horizontal image and a 61-degree vertical image. This is on the narrower side of images for a dash camera, but also provides a cleaner and more highly detailed image than cameras capturing on wider angles.
Front-facing video is recorded in Full HD at 60 frames per second. That should give high-resolution video quality that is smooth and relatively free of stutters. In theory, this improves the overall quality of the video. We’ll be testing these cameras out in a different article.
DR750X-3CH Plus Special Features
The only difference between these two designs is the inclusion of an interior camera. The camera connects to the front camera using the micro-USB port, so both models of the 750X use the same front camera.
The interior camera looks nearly identical to the rear camera but has a few different features. On both sides of the camera lens, you’ll notice IR LEDs that can capture images in very low light conditions. There is an illumination sensor on the camera to determine when the IR LEDs are in use.
The interior camera uses a Sony CMOS sensor that picks up approximately 1.2 million pixels, giving it a resolution of HD 720p. It captures video at 30 frames per second. The IR LEDs provide usable images even when the interior of the car isn’t well-lit. The interior camera uses a 119-degree diagonal angle view with a 98-degree horizontal and 55-degree vertical image to capture the entire interior of the car.
The IR camera that faces inside can detect when the driver appears drowsy or distracted, and can provide an alert. Event Recording is also triggered when this situation happens. If the driver isn’t visible to the camera, like if you step out of the car or lean into the back seat, an alert and recording also occurs.
The DR750X-3CH Plus includes a USB hub and a wiring pigtail specifically for use with this camera. The hub allows you to connect a CM100LTE module along with the interior camera. Ordinarily, adding LTE would require the use of the micro-USB port on the front camera that gets used for the interior camera on this model. The CM100LTE is sold separately.
BlackVue DR900X-2CH Specifications & Overview
As we mentioned earlier, the DR900X Plus shares the same physical size, design, and options as the DR750X-2CH & 3CH Plus packages. The differences are all on the inside with this one.
Sensor & Lens
The DR900X Plus front camera features an advanced 8-megapixel CMOS sensor that delivers 4k resolution at 30 frames per second. On paper, this makes the front camera of this package the highest resolution option you’ll find. The front camera captures images on a 162-degree diagonal, with a horizontal angle of 136-degrees and a vertical of 61-degrees. This is a very wide-angle lens that should capture as much as six lanes of traffic.
BlackVue Cloud is a free* service available for some models of BlackVue cameras. All three of these models are cloud compatible. Cloud access is through the BlackVue app and enables users to view live video or saved recordings when the camera is hardwired or using a battery pack and opens several other interesting features. For example, if an event is detected in parking mode, the camera can send you a notification alerting you to the potential threat in real time.
The BlackVue Cloud service lets you backup videos directly to the cloud for security and automatically uploads event recordings for safe-keeping. Using the Cloud service also allows for two-way communication, remote GPS tracking, geofencing, driving reports, and remote firmware updates.
BlackVue advertises the service as free, and it is, but only up to a certain point. To get the most out of the BlackVue Cloud service, you’ll pay a modest $11.00 a month for unlimited access to your camera remotely.
It’s also important to note that in order for the Cloud to work, you must have either a built-in WiFi hotspot in your car, a portable hotspot, or an LTE module with a network. BlackVue sells an LTE module (CM100LTE) that runs around $150.00. You’ll pay anywhere from around $10-$25 per month for network service depending on who your wireless carrier is.
The alternative to this cloud option is obviously to stick with the micro-SD card and download your videos to a device if needed.
Which Camera is Right For You?
There are more things in common between these three cameras than there are different. That can make it a bit challenging to choose, particularly when you haven’t used the product yet. We will be installing and testing these cameras in an upcoming article, and that experience may change our impressions or confirm them.
After having looked at the cameras in depth, the DR750X-2CH Plus is going to likely be an ideal camera for someone who wants good quality video from the front and rear but doesn’t want to spend a fortune. The DR750X-3CH Plus adds an interior camera, making it perfect for rideshare drivers and also makes it perfect for people who want to record interactions with law enforcement. The DR900X-2CH Plus is the flagship model from BlackVue, and the buyer of this camera wants the highest quality images possible, and the cost isn’t as much of a factor.
We’ve covered a lot of ground here in unboxing these interesting cameras from BlackVue. Hopefully, you have a good understanding of what these cameras are all about and what the various features each one has. Our next project is going to be getting these cameras installed and putting them through their paces in the real world to see how well they work.