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MEGATech Reviews: Thinkware F200 HD Dashcam
If you're in the market for a dashcam that isn't a total eyesore, especially if you want a cam out the back of your car too, the F200 might work well for you... if you can get the mobile app to connect properly.
Pros
  • Affordably priced
  • Dual channel capabilities
  • Sleek, compact design
Cons
  • No integrated display
  • Mobile app difficulties
  • Suction cup not included
7.5Overall Score

It wasn't all that long ago that dashcams were considered a bit of a novelty, especially outside of Russia and China. These days, I find them remarkably common in and around the Metro Vancouver area. Some people keep them for insurance purposes, others might use them for posting driving videos on YouTube. Regardless of your motivation, you want good quality video at a reasonable price. And that's what the Thinkware TW-F200 (which we'll simply call the Thinkware F200 from here on out) strives to provide, along with some notable extras to set it apart from the pack.

The Full-Featured Dashcam

MEGATech Reviews: Thinkware F200 HD Dashcam

Let me preface this by saying that the Thinkware F200 isn't exactly unique in this, but it is certainly different from the other dashcams that I have reviewed here on MEGATechNews. The Transcend DrivePro 520 is dual channel in that it has an inward-facing camera as well as the outward-facing one, and the PAPAGO! GoSafe 760 is also dual channel with a separate rear camera. However, in both cases, you get to have a (small) display up front so you can see the live video.

The Thinkware F200 is also a dual-channel compatible dashcam and it's also got a separate rear camera that you mount on your back window. You've got to run a single cable all the way to the back (Thinkware provides some clips for cable management), but if you want to record what's happening behind your car, you'll need this. The key difference, however, is that the main unit up front does not have a display. And yes, I know some other dashcams on the market also lack displays.

This becomes a trade-off. Because there's no display, the unit can be somewhat smaller... or at least more horizontal, "hiding" a little more readily behind your rearview camera. But also because there's no display, interacting with the Thinkware F200 is less than optimal. There are some voice prompts and a couple of buttons, but you really need to rely on the mobile app and a Wi-Fi connection between them.

Optional Accessories

MEGATech Reviews: Thinkware F200 HD Dashcam

The core specs for the Thinkware F200 are a fairly standard affair. The front camera does 1080p with WDR, the rear does 720p, you've got 140-degree wide recording, plus support for up to 128GB microSD cards (it comes with a 16GB card). And it's got Wi-Fi for that mobile app (though I couldn't get this connecting properly for some reason).

But if you want to get the most out of what this dashcam can do, you'll need to invest in some optional accessories. The external GPS module is about $40, for example, and that's what you'll need for the safety camera alert. The package that I received only came with 3M sticky tape for mounting, so you'll need to pony up about $15 for the suction cup mount if you prefer that. (I do.)

MEGATech Reviews: Thinkware F200 HD Dashcam

Curiously, the package that I received had both the front and rear camera in a single box, but I couldn't find the identical bundle on Amazon. Over there, the rear view camera is about $50 as a separate accessory. The package with the front camera is about $140. Your mileage may vary with other retailers.

MEGATech Reviews: Thinkware F200 HD Dashcam

Care to enable the energy saving parking recording feature? You'll need to pick up the hardwiring kit for about $30 to do that. And then there's the whole matter of wiring it up with your car's fuse panel, which some people may or may not be comfortable with doing.

Setup and Interface

MEGATech Reviews: Thinkware F200 HD Dashcam

If you're not taking the route of the hardwiring kit, the setup for the Thinkware F200 is largely like any other dashcam you might have considered. There's 3M double-side tape on the mounting bracket, which slides and clicks into place on the top of the dashcam. The sticky tape goes on your windshield and that's about it.

Insert the microSD card in the bottom, plug in the power adapter, plug in the other end to your car's 12V, and you're already recording by default.

The default settings will have it on a continuous loop, overwriting old clips as the storage fills up. The default clip settings are 1080p for the front (and 720p for the rear) with one-minute clips. Both the GPS module and the rear camera cables plug into the left side (when in the car) of the dashcam; since both ports are so similar-looking, this can be a slight point of confusion.

You'll notice that there are only two buttons on the back. The REC button enables manual recording. Press it and you'll record a video clip of one minute in length, starting from 10 seconds before you pressed the button to 50 seconds after. The Wi-Fi button allows you to connect via the mobile app for additional settings.

Sample Dashcam Footage

MEGATech Reviews: Thinkware F200 HD Dashcam

At the end of the day, the most important aspect of a dashcam is its video quality. Generally speaking, I'm quite happy with what the Thinkware F200 is able to achieve. The watermark in the lower corner is small and unobtrusive, and you'll find that the image itself is a bit more flat and muted in tone. It doesn't do as well in mixed lighting, though, so don't expect anything close to true HDR here.

These are a couple of clips from our recent #5DadsGoWild camping trip, if you're curious about context.

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MEGATech Reviews: Thinkware F200 HD Dashcam

The Thinkware F200 is a good option if you're in the market for a new dashcam. The video quality is perfectly satisfactory, and the more discreet design makes it less of an eyesore than some other dashcams. Myself, though, I still prefer the convenience of a suction cup mount over the relative permanence of 3M sticky tape. I'd also prefer an on-screen interface rather than bumbling through a connected mobile app. But that's me.

The main unit sells online for $139.99, but when you start bundling in other accessories like the rear camera, GPS module and hardwiring kit, you get into the mid-$200 range rather quickly. That's still relatively affordable and you don't need all those optional accessories anyhow... though they are a part of the complete package.



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