The Thinkware X800 dash cam combines reasonable daytime quality with potentially useful driver aids. It’s also got a large touchscreen, which helps you aim it properly and change the settings from inside the car. However, it’s a little pricey, and its night time video is disappointingly soft and lacking detail.
- Colour touchscreen
- Advanced driver aids
- Poor night videos
- Some GPS features need optional antenna
- GPSGPS is built-in, so footage is stamped with the exact location, although you do need the external GPS receiver for this feature to work.
- ResolutionShoots at 1440p from the front camera and 1080p from the rear.
You can buy Thinkware’s X800 dash cam on its own for about £200, or as a front and rear camera bundle for about £250 – I’m reviewing the bundle.
It’s generally a well specified camera, with a high-ish 1440p (QHD) resolution. Its rear-view module offers only 1080p (Full HD), but that should still be enough to record the detail you’ll likely need. At the time of review, the X800 bundle was £100 cheaper than Thinkware’s Q1000 bundle. Is it better value?
Design and features
- A fiddly windscreen mount, plus rear camera
- GPS positioning, parking mode, and advanced driver assistance
- 1440p resolution front, 1080p rear, with night mode
This is a significantly cheaper bundle than the Thinkware Q1000. While the X800 has got a lower resolution rear camera and no Wi-Fi, it has a large 6.9cm colour touchscreen, so you get a decent live view.
This dashcam looks much more like a conventional compact camera than the slimline Q1000. Although it comes with an adjustable mount that holds it a little way below the window, it’s not too intrusive provided you position it carefully.
I’m not a huge fan of the X800’s windscreen mount. Like all the Thinkware front and rear cameras I’ve tested, there’s no pull tab on the plastic that covers its sticky pad, so you’ll spend ages trying to tease it off.
Once you’ve done this you can mount it on the windscreen, adjust the camera angle, and then tighten it up to stop it from moving. While it’s easy to retrieve the microSD card from this camera’s slot, you’ll need to unplug the rear camera jack before you can slide the dash cam itself off its mount. Worse, you’ll need to mount the camera before plugging the jack back into the hole, which you won’t be able to see.
Thinkware’s X800 website seems confused about whether this dash cam has GPS or not. It definitely does, recording position location alongside video, but it’s not enabled unless you fit the external GPS receiver. This now appears to come as standard with the front and rear bundle, but it’s worth checking when you buy. The antenna also connects to the camera’s top side, so it’s another lead to fiddle with if you want to remove the X800 from your car.
Like many dash cams, the X800 comes with a rear camera cable that’s several metres long. That’s great if you’ve got a van – or a limo – but in a normal car, it might leave you with a couple of metres of unnecessary cable to conceal.
In this case, the lead uses four-pole 2.5mm jack connectors, so you probably could find a shorter alternative if you looked around. I managed to mount the rear camera itself upside down, but thankfully there’s a setting to invert the video from it. The X800’s big screen makes it easy to access and change its settings from the car, and you can even browse and replay stored videos.
Remove the camera’s microSD card and you can, of course, view your recordings on a computer. Unfortunately, while the X800 can stamp your speed onto footage, it doesn’t also stamp GPS coordinates onto it.
If you want to see where something happened, you’ll need to run the supplied Thinkware viewer on a PC – it can overlay your position on a map while you watch front and rear footage. You’ll also find a settings app on the memory card, although this just duplicates the on-camera options.
Performance and video quality
- Can be very beepy
- Good front video by day
- Very disappointing sharpness at night
There’s not much wrong with this camera’s front-facing daytime footage. It’s sharp and detailed, containing most of the detail you’d need to show what happened in an incident. It’s not perfect – like most other dash cams, it’s hard to make out number plates on vehicles travelling across the frame or when there’s a moderate closing speed.
Things are less impressive from the back. Images were much less sharp by day, although they weren’t helped by the fact I had the camera pointed too far down during the first few days of testing.
Unfortunately, things rather fell apart front and back at night. Thinkware makes much of this camera’s Sony Starvis sensor, which is designed to be especially sensitive in low light. It did a great job of scavenging some detail from poorly lit parts of the street, revealing the facades of buildings and the areas between streetlights on my inner-city test circuit.
Unfortunately, like the Q1000, it couldn’t produce sharp images. I struggled to resolve a single parked car’s number plate in the footage from my nighttime trip around the block.
That’s not always likely to be a problem, as you’d hope that most motorists involved in an incident would stop. However, it could be an issue if they don’t, and nobody manages to get a vehicle’s number at the time of the incident itself.
Video quality aside, this camera can be a little chatty. It greets you with a saccharine ‘Please have a safe drive today’ every time you start your car, and its advanced driver assistance features add their own bings, bongs and knocks to alert you to various things. I didn’t find these especially helpful, usually triggering later than the equivalent systems in my car. And as with all dash cam-based equivalents, they still depend on you to act on any warning.
Should you buy it?
Image quality: This dash cam offers a decent screen and reasonable daytime footage
Low-light performance: it’s just not good enough at night
Thinkware’s X800 offers reasonable daytime footage, particularly at the front. I also like its sizeable screen, and the fact it offers advanced driver aids – even if I’m not personally sold on how effective they are.
However, it costs a fair bit more than the NextBase 422GW with a Rear View Camera, and much more than the Road Angel Halo Pro bundle. At night, it can’t match either for video quality.
How we test
We test every dash cam we review thoroughly over an extended period of time. We use standard tests to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever, accept money to review a product.
Find out more about how we test in our ethics policy.
Used as our main dash cam for the review period
We take sample video during the day and night to see how good the footage really is.
We test any smartphone apps to see what additional features are on offer.
We test any additional safety features, such as lange change warning, to see how useful they really are.
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No. You can control the X800 via its touchscreen, and even use it to view your footage. You’ll need to copy your recordings to a computer, however, if you need to submit them to the police.