The BlackVue DR900S 2CH was one of the first 4k UHD dash cams on the market when it was released in 2018. Even though other dash cams may have 4K recording, none of them offer as many features as the BlackVue.
The DR900S is one of the most complete dash cams that you can buy. It has cloud support and is perfect for individuals or fleet users. You can view events in real time and have notifications sent to your phone. Not to mention, this is one of the most compact dashcams you can buy. The BlackVue DR900S 2CH is discrete and will not take up a lot of space on your windshield.
The DR900S is not cheap though, costing around $400 although it is one of the most complete dash cams you can buy and in this BlackVue DR900S-2CH review we will highlight why.
What is in the box?
As the BlackVue DR900S is a premium 2 channel dash cam costing around $400 it should not be surprising that it comes with a quite a few accessories that aren’t included in other dash cam packages. To use other features like the BlackVue cloud the Power Magic Pro Kit will need to be installed properly.
- Front and rear camera and cable for the rear camera
- Cigarette lighter cable
- Hardwire kit
- Double-sided tape for mounting the front and rear camera
- Cable clips
- Micro SD card and reader (the size may vary)
- Pry tool
- Quick start guide
Installation of the BlackVue DR900S is similar to most dual channel dash cams. For the front camera, it is recommended to mount it higher up on the windshield but below the tint strip. The best placement for the rear camera is as high as possible on the glass, but below the tint strip. Ideally, it should not be obstructing the driver’s view.
You have two options for powering the dash cam, either the cigarette adapter or wiring it directly to the fuse box. However, to use the parking mode you will need to hardwire it to a constant power source or use the Power Magic adapter. Additionally, you can purchase a battery pack. Installing the cable for the rear camera will involve some additional work such as removing trim panels and possibly having to temporarily drop the headliner.
Once the camera is installed, you will need to configure the Wi-Fi and other settings. You can also set up the BlackVue cloud and update the firmware.
The small and compact size is something we really like about this dashcam. It is discrete and you will not even notice it is there. The rear camera is even smaller and barely noticeable from the outside of the car. The only downside for some people is the fact it does not have a screen to review footage. However, that is taken care of by the built-in WiFi where you can view video through the BlackVue app. Also, like most premium dash cams, the GPS module and G-sensor are built into the camera.
When we said it was small and discrete we were not joking and these are some pictures of the DR900S used in our cars. Both cameras are barely noticeable even in the day.
The DR900S front camera records 4k UHD video at 30FPS frame with the rear camera recording at 1080P full HD. The front camera uses an 8 megapixel Omnivision OS08A10 CMOS sensor and the rear has a Sony Starvis IMX291 CMOS sensor. Daytime video for the front camera is detailed with clear image quality. License plates are fairly legible and you can see how the 4K resolution makes a difference. Night time recording is still on the higher end although videos can be lacking in detail but license plates will still be fairly legible. Overall, video recording on the BlackVue is on the higher end for a 4K UHD dash cam.
The video quality for the rear camera is decent although it is can be somewhat grainy. License plates will not be as clear unless the car is directly behind you. It is not bad and above average but comparable to the rear cameras in lower priced models. With that said, there are few dash cams out there that can offer the level of detail although the rear camera could be slightly better given the price.
Even though the BlackVue records video at 4K thanks to the high quality compression, the average file size is about 200mb for a one minute clip and the video for the rear camera will be about half that. That is something to keep in mind if you are using a smaller memory card as the video loop records and it will quickly overwrite files.
At the minimum you would want to use a 128gb card although a 256gb card is recommended. With that said, it is not necessary to use the Blackvue SD card as many people (ourselves included) use the Samsung Evo Select which are considerably cheaper.
The BlackVue cloud is a feature that sets the DR900S apart from other dash cams. However, in order to take full advantage of it you will need to have an internet connection using your phone or the vehicle’s WIFI enabled hotspot.
What this does is allow you to review video in real time or upload footage to the cloud and there are times where this feature can be useful.
For example, if someone breaks into your car and steals the dash cam, you will have a backup of the video and can have notifications sent to your phone. You can also get review footage of your dashcam in real time. However, to use both features you will need to have a constant data or WIFI connection. Fleet operators can track their vehicles in real time and communicate through the BlackVue app or the camera itself. These are just a few of the features of the BlackVue cloud.
To take advantage of the parking mode, you will need the Power Magic adapter to wire the dash cam to a constant power source like the battery. Additionally, you can purchase a battery pack and connect it using the cigarette lighter adapter. Hardwiring your BlackVue is preferred for cleaner install and you can use the direct wire adapter and connect it to the battery or a battery pack.
How does the BlackVue Parking Mode work?
As mentioned above, you will need to have it connected to a constant power source. The way it works is quite innovative as the dash cam is always active but it does not record unless it detects an event. This can be an impact such as another car backing into yours or motion. At that time, it will save the footage to the memory card that can serve as evidence later. If you have your BlackVue connected to the internet it will upload the video to the cloud and send you a text message. Basically, it turns your BlackVue DR900S-2CH into a 24 hour surveillance camera.
Are BlackVue cameras good?
BlackVue is one of the most established names in the dash cam business. They offer an extensive product line and their higher-end models like the DR900S are among the best out there. They were one of the first dashcam manufacturers to offer 4k UHD video. In terms of build quality and durability BlackVue has a good reputation. They stand behind their product and regularly release firmware updates for their dashcams. The cloud option is unrivalled and no other dashcam manufacturer comes close. You can view footage remotely, have it uploaded, and get live alerts sent directly to your phone.
With that said, there are some complaints about the BlackVue DR900S-2CH dash cam. One of the most common is the DR900S is prone to overheating. This is has been reported in warmer climates during the day when the dashcam is directly in the sun. The other drawback is the price, with the DR900S dashcam costing around $400. Then add in the extra accessories like the Power Magic adapter and a data connection for connecting to the BlackVue cloud. For some people, these features may not be important and if you prefer a dash cam with decent video quality, the Viofo A129 is worth considering.
If you want the most complete dash cam on the market, the BlackVue DR900S 2CH is difficult to beat. With good video quality and cloud support it is perfect for someone that wants the best product available. It is small and discrete which is something we like and the Viofo does not come close in that regard. A dash cam should be an accessory to record video evidence in the case of an accident or theft. It should not be a distracting when you are driving your car. With all of the features the Blackvue DR900S offers, it is difficult to beat and this is why it is one of our best picks for 2021.