Being that this Thinkware dashcam is packed with so many high-end functions, I have decided to split my review into a pair of videos. In part one video, I install and go through the Thinkware Q800 Pro dashcam’s numerous interesting features. Plus, an in-depth look at its companion smartphone app.
Then for part 2, I provide lots of real-world footage, let you know how well the dashcam has performed, and provide you my likes and dislikes
Disclaimer: The Thinkware dashcam review sample was provided to me free of charge. However, I’m not affiliated with Thinkware, nor was I monetarily compensated for the review or told what to say. – Ray
Thinkware Q800 Pro Review – Features & Setup
Thinkware Q800 Pro Review – Demo Footage + Pros & Cons
Q800 Pro Likes and Pros
I’m happy with the windshield mounting bracket. It makes it a piece of cake to install and remove the cam. The 3M adhesive pad covers a large surface area, so I think it will have no problem staying in place long term.
Good Resolution – the 1440P 30 FPS 2K video is clear and has a nice color balance. The Q800 Pro handles harsh lighting conditions pretty well. Night vision is a little grainy but decent enough and can compensate for bright street lights. The camera’s sleek shape makes it easy to mount out of the driver’s vision behind the rearview mirror. Many people would not even notice it there.
Impact Detection performed as advertised. I set it at the low setting since my 1-ton 4×4 pickup truck has a stiff suspension It took a significant sized speed bump hit or door slam to set it off. I’m sure it would detect any accident.
I absolutely love the parking surveillance modes. Thumbs up on the motion detection and the timelapse. I think these are this dashcam’s killer features, setting it apart from any I’ve previously tested. However, be advised you need the parking hardwire kit installed for them to work. Some kits don’t come with the wiring harness included.
I was able to hardwire the dashcam into my 2018 Ram 3500 truck by tapping into my cigarette lighter socket as the ACC (accessories) line. And a memory backup power line on the back of my OEM radio for constant power. Power draw is low at about 3-4 watts, and there are vehicle battery protection settings. I set the dashcam automatic power cutoff at 12.2V and 48 hours of record time.
Thermal protection features for hot weather environments include supercapacitors and a thermal sensor built-in.
Thiinkware Cloud functions are pretty cool! Remotely see vehicle position on a map, tune in for a live view, and be alerted if the vehicle leaves or enters a geofence zone. Anne and I tested the features out, and they worked pretty well. She could look at her phone back at the RV and see where I was driving on the map and tune in for a live view! Of course, it depends on the quality of the cell data connection. We did find things glitched a bit if the hotspot data connection speed slowed or lost signal during travel.
I found the ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance System) worked consistently for lane and front vehicle departure. But I couldn’t get the forward-collision warnings to work reliably. However, I don’t care much about that feature anyway. Unfortunately, I don’t have any red light or speed cameras locally to test that detection feature. Maybe in the future when I’m in a larger city.
Cabin sound mic recording has acceptable quality. It’s a little on the muffled side but adequate to hear our conversation even though I drive a diesel truck. Better than most dashcams I’ve tested. Some sound like you’re in a hollow tin can or barely can pick up one or both of us.
The built-in GPS locates satellites and syncs quickly, usually within about 10-30 secs. Companion PC viewer software tested OK on my laptop. They also have a MAC version. I could see the speed, GPS coordinates, G-Sensor readings, and navigation trail on a map view. I wish I could have enlarged the map view but could not figure out if the software could and, if so, how to do it.
Video clip playback via WiFi worked fine on the phone, or better yet, you can remove the micro SD card and playback on a computer. Thinkware included a 32 GB card and USB card reader. I also tested the dashcam with my own SanDisk 128 GB (the max capacity), and it worked flawlessly. Each 1 min file is 140 MB. If my math is correct, that would be around 15 hours of video for a 128 GB card.
The smartphone Thinkware app is simple to navigate and worked perfectly for me in every way other than when it came to setting up the hotspot Thinkware Cloud feature. (See Cons below)
Good product support with techs even located in the USA and Canada. I had to contact support with an issue in setting up the Cloud functionality. I placed a ticket, and they replied promptly and were helpful, even replacing the dashcam to see if that would help. I used the system as a regular customer, so they didn’t know I was a reviewer contacting them.
Cons and Dislikes
I had a problem when it came to setting the Thinkware Cloud feature. No matter what I did, I couldn’t get the smartphone app to register my Q800 Pro dashcam, so the cloud features would not work. I contacted support, and after sharing video evidence of my problem, they replaced the dashcam. But same thing! Finally, I tried it with my wife’s phone hot spotted and worked after a few tries.
She has a Google Pixel 3a running the latest Android 11 OS, and I have a cheaper Moto G8 running Android 10. It must have been something to do with my phone not being compatible in some way. But once I got the dashcam to register with Thinkware’s Cloud, I could use my phone as a hotspot connection. Weird.
There is no on-camera viewing screen. I don’t see it as a problem, but some people may prefer to have it. I imagine it was left off to make the camera smaller and draw less power.
All video recordings are set at 1 min long. It would be nice to have 3 and 5 min choices for the continuous record mode to make it easier to review long stretches of footage.
I can see how the voice announcements could irritate people after a while, but the trade-off is the dashcam can then be tucked away out of sight. I wish the voice had more volume level increments and different voices to choose from other than the one woman.
Overall I’m pleased with the features, functionality, and performance of this Thinkware dashcam and plan to use it as my truck’s dashcam going forward. I still think my Akaso Trace 1 Pro is a good bang for the buck and will be passing it along to my sister. But for me, the enhanced parking surveillance options are an attractive thing to have! I’m also planning to buy the optional rear camera that can plug into the Q800 Pro. It could come on handy for hitching up the truck or in a rear-end collision. I’ll come back in 6 months to a year and let you know how the dashcam system has worked out longer-term. Cheers, Ray