Thinkware Q800Pro: Unobtrusive, with great tracking features via the cloud

Thinkware Q800Pro–unobtrusive, with great tracking features via the cloud zdnet
  • Editors' rating
    8.4 Excellent

Pros

  • Vehicle tracking via cloud
  • Geo-fencing and alerts
  • Unobtrusive

Cons

  • Requires permanent hotspot enablement

I was really impressed with the F800Pro I reviewed from Thinkware in May 2018, so I was interested to see what has been improved in its latest model, the Thinkware Q800Pro.

The Q800Pro is the next generation of Thinkware's F800Pro model line. Like the F800Pro, the Q800Pro is small and unobtrusive.

Thinkware Q800Pro: Specifications

The Thinkware Q800Pro does not have a screen. It uses smartphone app settings to configure the dash cam and view recorded footage from the Thinkware Cloud. Its dimensions are 161.5 x 60.5 x 40.6m (4.2 x 2.4 x 1.3 inches), and it weighs 107.5g (0.237 pounds).

It has a front facing 2K QHD camera with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels. An optional rear camera delivers full HD at 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution -- both record video images at 30fps. It uses a microSD card with capacity up to 128GB.

Thinkware Q800Pro: Features

Inside the box you get the dash cam, a 12V power cable, a sticky windshield mount (and spare), cable clips, a 32GB microSD card and a USB microSD card reader

The camera is excellent. Quad high-definition (QHD) forward facing camera is four times more detailed than high definition (HD), and has a 140-degree wide angle recording view to give you a good field of view. The lensing is not too noticeable on this model and the 140-degree field of view is good.

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Eileen Brown

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The lens has a 5.14MP Sony STARVIS image sensor to deliver good 2K QHD video quality at 30fps even in low light. Advanced Wide Dynamic Range (WDR) technology, covers a good span between bright and dark areas while driving.

At night, videos are nice and clear and there is good definition and minimal noise or blurring.

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Eileen Brown

The Q800Pro has a built in GPS antenna, which shows the vehicle's location, speed, and direction of travel, displayed on Google Maps.

You can set up to 20 different geo-fencing zones, which will send a push notification through the cloud mobile app if the vehicle enters or leaves a pre-configured mobile zone.

You can set the radius up from 100m to 600km.

The Locate Vehicle function is useful -- it will enable you to discover the current location of the car using the Thinkware cloud mobile app.

The cloud connectivity enables you to use live view, geo-fencing, locate vehicle location, driving impact notification, and video upload to the cloud.

Super Night Vision 2.0 is optimized for cars while driving or parked in dark environments.

There is image signal processing (ISP) technology and real-time video processing function.

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Thinkware Q800Pro: Installation

The Q800Pro -- like the F800Pro -- came with a hardwiring kit, which meant I had to spend a couple of hours connecting it to the car battery and tucking the cables behind the panels in the car so that I did not obscure my vision.

I was very wary of adding the rear view camera. I tested the device in a station wagon and the rear window moves up when I open the tailgate. I have trashed a rear view camera in the past. Fortunately, there is enough cable for me to give plenty of slack to the camera and fix it on to the rear window.

The user guide has seven pages showing how to install and configure the device. Nearly two of these pages has comprehensive guidance on how to connect the product to an iOS device. The advice to correct to an Android smartphone is woefully inadequate at less than half a page.

However connecting to the app was simple and the app gave me a range of tools to configure via my mobile device. I also easily connected the dash cam to the mobile hotspot on my phone

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Eileen Brown

When the vehicle is parked, you can configure the Q800Pro to record what happens when you are away from the vehicle. It reduces the frame rate to minimize the size of the video and enable you to monitor your car for an extended period of time.

Energy saving mode will ensure that the dash cam will go to sleep, waking up if an impact is detected.

Configuring Impact detection will capture what happens to your car when you are away. Motion detection will capture any motion around the vehicle such as potential vandalism attempts on the car.

Thinkware Q800Pro: Alerts

The Q800Pro has driver assistance -- delivering an audible warning when you depart from your intended lane -- and warns of impending collisions too. It also has alerts for red light cameras as well as fixed and mobile speed cameras.

If the vehicle has an accident the Q800Pro can notify others of the emergency by sending a push notification to anyone logged into the Thinkware Cloud on their phones.

Video is also saved to the cloud from 10 seconds before and after the collision to be viewed from the mobile devices.

Thinkware Q800Pro: Challenges

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EIleen Brown

It is a great idea to be able to set a geo-fence to warn you when the car is in range or see its current position when it is out and about. In practice, it is a heck of a palaver.

The phone that will be in the car, and the phone that will monitor the car, needs to download the app and use the same log on account.

Each device then must connect to the dash cam so that both devices are registered with the Thinkware app.

The phone that will remain in the car needs to open its mobile hotspot and apply appropriate security. The mobile hotspot is needed to transmit data to the Thinkware cloud.

The hotspot should be configured to remain on at all times in order to transmit data to the cloud. Unfortunately, on both devices I used, the hotspot switched off after a few hours of inactivity.

When the car is about to go somewhere, the driver needs to check that the hotspot is active. This does not remain active over a period of time -- even if the setting is specified.

When the Q800Pro initiates it will announce 'Connected to the Internet.' Only then will the receiving device be able to see where the car happens to be.

This manual setting needs to happen each time the driver takes a journey in the car. It is a pain, which is easy to forget, meaning the dash cam features are underutilized.

There is nowhere on the device to add a SIM to transmit the data automatically. This must be done through a mobile hotspot.

It works really well when the hotspot is manually enabled -- but I forgot to do this every time I was in the car, meaning many of my journeys were hidden from the monitoring phone back at the office.

Apart from that, this is a really superb dash cam. The Q800Pro is great value for its sub-$300 price tag.

Get yourself the optional rear view camera for under $100 too for front and rear protection, configure geo-fencing zones and alerts, and make sure the phone in the car has its hotspot enabled.

You can then sit back and relax knowing that your car is as protected as possible with this very unobtrusive device.

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