15 September 2017

REVIEW: Thinkware Dash Cam x350

Think on.

Dash cam review time once more, and that should come as no surprise. Dash cams are, thankfully, becoming increasingly cheaper and easier to use, and just as we've always suggested cyclists wear a helmet cam, so we also recommend motorists have a dash cam. The safety and insurance benefits are huge (plus you might film something funny or weird to sell to Fail Army). Anyway, today's cam is the totally reasonably priced Thinkware Dash Cam x350. Here's what we made of it.

The Thinkware Dash Cam x350 is a medium-sized camera with medium-ranked specs. The unit itself has a pleasing, if fully plastic, aesthetic and weighs only 94g. It feels solid enough in the hand, and comes with a detachable sticky pad mount; the kind that uses 3M tape to stick to your windscreen, not a suction cup. This we prefer, so points already. It uses a standard 12V car power adaptor with a decently long lead.

The rear of the Thinkware Dash Cam x350 is dominated by the 2.7 LCD display, designed for live views through the cam, and for watching back recorded footage - not for controlling the settings. As the screen is not touch-sensitive, this is handled by the small and subtle buttons to the left. Still, the screen itself is bright and clear enough to review your clips without having to hook up a laptop, or use the built-in WiFi to connect to your phone.

Although you totally should. The WiFi option was actually a bit of a surprise, as for this price we weren't expecting it. Using the Thinkware Mobile Viewer app to review footage is great, and you can instantly download and share the clips as you see fit. It is definitely our preferred way to get stuff off of the cam, either for serious reasons like insurance claims, or just for fun when you drove by and recorded an old lady falling over. You monster.

Right, what about the business end of the Thinkware Dash Cam x350? On the front you will find a 140 degree lens set in front of a 1080p Full HD sensor. This means that the captured footage is very good, and offers more than enough detail to see everything you need to see - especially car number plates, even from a distance. The width of the lens means you see not only what is in front of you, but also almost all the way to either side, too. Again, for the price, both the lens and sensor were pleasant surprises.

What wasn't a great surprise was discovering that the Thinkware Dash Cam x350 does not come with GPS as standard. If you want to track your position, and also if you want to be informed by the cam of the position of speed cameras, you need to buy the optional GPS dongle. Although we were disappointed that it didn't come as standard, for this price GPS isn't always something you're going to get. If you don't give a crap, and are interested only in recording footage, you really won't care all that much. But at least you know your cam does have the ability to be upgraded.

In use, you can pick from three operational modes: manual, incident, and continuous. With manual it will work like a conventional video camera, recording only when you hit the record button, and stopping when you hit stop. This is useful if you need to record something in or out of the car, but not very convenient for a dash cam. Incident recording will capture footage only in the event of an impact. The sensors on the cam will register a sudden shock and automatically save the ten seconds prior to the impact and afterwards, too. This is great at saving space on you memory card, but not great for general use.

We found continuous mode was by far the most useful, as it will start recording the moment you start the engine, saving the footage in one minute files. This means it can automatically delete and over-record the oldest file, so you'll never have to physically make room on your Micro SD card. Handy, and by far the most convenient way of using it.

So, you do get quite a lot of bang for you buck with the Thinkware Dash Cam x350. It might not be the flashiest and fanciest dash cam out there, and you might at first miss a touch screen interface and GPS as standard, but the quality of the camera itself, combined with the price, should win you over. We approve.

Around £139

Available from www.amazon.co.uk

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