Dash cam review - Thinkware Q800 Pro
The Q800 Pro is one of the latest offerings from dash cam company Thinkware. It is a twin-camera setup with wide-angle front and rear units providing comprehensive coverage. The main camera records at up to 1440p resolution and features a polarising filter, while the rear has full HD capability.
As one of Thinkware’s higher-end units it’s pretty well specced. There’s a suite of driver warning systems including forward collision alert, lane departure warning and forward vehicle departure alert along with speed camera alerts.
Unlike some Thinkware units, the Q800 also comes with built-in GPS and wifi with cloud connectivity. This allows for geo fencing, vehicle location, driving impact notification and video upload via the app, even when you're away from the vehicle.
Thinkware says the Super Night Vision 2.0 offers up to 10 times brightness in dark environments allowing it to offer recording in any situation and there’s a time lapse feature to offer coverage when parked without filling the memory card too quickly. There’s also a wake-on-impact setting that only records if the camera’s sensors detect a sudden movement.
Image quality is nothing spectacular. Given the high recording resolution I would have expected a sharper picture from the front camera but its images lag behind one of our favourite dash cams of last year, the Garmin 55, which also records in 1440p. They are still adequate for most uses but not much more and the polarising filter seems to have little effect in bright sunlight.
Unlike some cameras, the Q800 Pro doesn’t feature a built-in screen to view footage but this means it can be smaller, less obtrusive and less distracting. It slots neatly and securely onto a flat plastic mount and should be completely hidden behind most rear-view mirrors. The downside to the slimline mount is that it uses an adhesive pad rather than suction mount so you’ve got to make sure it’s positioned right first time around.
The rear camera is fatter but shorter than a AA battery and sit unobtrusively on the rear window, just leaving you to worry about the routing of the cable back to the main unit.
Operation is pretty straightforward once you have the app installed on your phone and the camera linked to that via wifi (the most complicated part). The camera features a few basic physical buttons for power etc but most settings are controlled via the app, which is simple to use and allows you to see a live image from the camera or play back previous recordings.
Strangely, the unit doesn’t come with a power supply, leaving you the choice of buying one that plugs into the car’s 12V power outlet or having it hardwired into the car.
As with most aftermarket camera systems the lane departure warning is hit and miss and virtually useless on any road where the markings have faded. The forward collision and departure alert is a little more accurate but still not a patch on an in-built system.
The Thinkware Q800 Pro is a well specified camera that’s easy to use and can be mounted quickly and unobtrusively. Its parking and motion-sensitive features are smart and useful if you use public car parks a lot but the driver assist systems aren’t reliable enough and the image quality isn’t as good as you’d expect from a camera costing more than £300.