MEGATech Reviews: The Thinkware U1000 4K Dash Cam
If you want to pay for one of the most full-featured 4K dash cameras currently on the market, with exceptional quality and innovative features, this might be it. But the lack of display and the need for a hardwire installation for the best experience may deter some.
  • Exceptional 4K image quality day or night
  • Ability to upgrade features as you go
  • Gentle reminders to help you drive better
  • Premium price may deter some buyers
  • Requires hardwired installation for best experience
  • No integrated display
9Overall Score
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Install it Yourself, With a Friend, or Get a Pro.

Installing this system was something I wanted to do myself from beginning to end. Just so you don’t think I’m some sort of crazy electrical engineer, I’m not. But I can build a PC very quickly. I don’t consider myself a professional, but I’m on the intermediate side. I believe that people can surprise themselves, but a friend who has some experience is never a bad person to have along with you on these sorts of installation adventures. Here are some highlights that might help you with your install.

Thinkware U1000 Review

Cable management will likely be your most challenging hurdle as you’ll have to pop open panels, manage plastic clips, and generally, be willing to get dirty. The rear camera will be the most difficult to install due to its location in the back of the vehicle. The radar module install is relatively easy if you have the kit that includes it. You just stick it to the opposite side of the dashcam, and plug it in, tucking the cable over the headliner.

One note I will mention about the rear camera installation, that you will want to keep in mind, is that you’ll not only want the camera centred, but you do want to put it in a place where the rear windshield wiper if you have one, can keep the glass clean. If you don’t have a rear wiper, you’ll just want to keep the glass clean. Also, make sure that you don’t stick it to one of the rear defroster lines, as this will likely cause the adhesive to fail over time.

The install in a 2017 Chevrolet BOLT EV went along with the help of extremely long cable ties and flexible fingers. But I got a little nervous when it looked like I had to mess with the fuse box and slice into cables on my Chevy Bolt EV. I didn’t want to do that. Because I own an EV, that presented yet another issue as most plug and play harness solutions like the Thinkware supported plug and play kit was not a viable option either because it didn’t’ support EVs and their unique power requirements.

Thinkware U1000 Review

Luckily, I was able to find a completely Thinkware compatible adapter from a company called iRoad, a competitor to Thinkware on their domestic Korean soil. The iRoad JW-200 is an OBDII adapter that can use the port to power a Thinkware (or iRoad) dash camera, allowing the continuously powered functions, like parking recording, to function correctly. Most importantly, iRoad had two models available, and the JW-200 made for EVs and their unique power requirements, so it won’t kill the battery when parking mode functions are enabled. If you don’t have an EV or a PHEV, then the standard JW-100 model is the one you want. This item simplified the install, and all I needed to do was route power from the U1000 unit, down the A-pillar, to the OBDII port. If you don’t have this constraint, the Thinkware endorsed harness made by EchoMaster is available on their website. I’m a fan of these types of quick-connect solutions because it all reverses easily, and they have support in case there is an issue.

Thinkware U1000 Review

Before sticking the front camera onto your windshield, you’ll want to install the circular polarizer. This little accessory (optional in some kits) lets the lense see right through the glare in glass, similar to how a circular polarizer does on a camera lens when it shoots very reflective surfaces. The polarizer is easy to install if you keep the orientation correct as marked. Just follow the instructions carefully before you peel and stick it to the lense. Do it in a place that isn’t dusty as once you install the polarizer, it’ll be challenging to get the dust out of the tight seal t between it and the lens on the dashcam.

Thinkware U1000 Review

Without going into a whole lot of extra details, the next step is to install the Thinkware app (available on Android and iOS), which will allow you to register the camera and tweak the settings. I recommend enabling Low Energy Mode 2.0 (if you have the radar module), turning up the resolution on the camera to 4K 30P, and flipping the rear camera upside down. Why? I found out that the camera was recording upside down based on the way I installed it, so if you purchased the U1000 with it, you’d want to set this to the correct orientation. Make sure you’ve inserted the 32GB memory card it comes with, or even better, a larger one, like the aforementioned 128GB Sandisk High Endurance. You’ll need the extra storage for the 4K footage, and especially if you have the rear channel recording simultaneously as well. In my experience with it, over a couple of weeks, I was only able to get about 1 or 2 days or recording with the 128GB card. The included memory card (32GB) would be woefully inadequate if you want to record a full workday and your commute back home.

As you can probably tell, this isn’t a ‘stick and forget’ type of installation. If you don’t like fishing cables or crawling around your cabin, you will probably want to talk to a car stereo shop or installer to help you with this. But if you have ever installed a car stereo, or have built a computer, this should be a piece of cake. It’s definitely on the more advanced side of the installation scale. Still, it does give you an installation that not only lets you take advantage of all the features, but it also looks more integrated with your vehicle. Since it’s wired into your battery, you don’t have to wonder if it’s powered up and ready to go.

Now that it’s all installed let’s go for a drive!

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