The F200 dash cam works with optional accesories, including a rear camera.
Thanks to all that delightful Russian dash cam footage, the reasons become more and more clear why actually having one makes sense. It’s a crazy, chaotic world on the roads, and one can be a worthwhile investment, particularly when it comes to proving your innocence in a crash. There are thousands of options out there, and one vying for the option of a good all-around camera is this: the Thinkware F200.
Last year, I reviewed the entry-level F70 camera, and I thought it was a good option for those who didn’t want to break the bank. The F200 is slightly more expensive, ringing in at around $139.99 for the front-facing unit. Thinkware provides a range of accessories to outfit your camera, though, including a GPS unit for an additional $39.99 and rear-facing camera for $49.99.
The Thinkware F200 also offers Wi-Fi connectivity that allows you to connect the camera to your smartphone. While the version on the F200 allows you to manipulate the clips stored on the camera’s SD card.
What’s in the box?
Say you just want to buy the camera itself. The Thinkware F200 is 3.9 inches wide by 1.3 inches tall by 0.9 inches deep. Since it’s less bulky than some of the other dash cam options out there, I was able to fit it fairly well. It stuck to the windshield just below the rearview mirror without obstructing my view too badly. This camera uses a standard 12V power connection, and you also get adhesive clips to route the power cable in whatever way you’d like. One nice touch is that the camera will remain turned on for a good awhile after you turn off the ignition. That way, if something happens to your car while it’s off, the camera can still catch it.
The camera we were shipped comes with an 16GB SD card by default. You can expand it, however, if you want to hold on to clips for a longer period of time. Thinkware uses what it calls “Format Free Technology” so it is not necessary to manually format your SD cards all the time, like when your SD card gets full.
The Thinkware F200 dash cam has a 140-degree viewing angle, giving a wide range to catch potential action. It’s also capable of recording in 1080p full HD at 30 frames per second. While that’s not the cutting edge, since some cameras can record in 4K, that’s still clear enough for most purposes. As with the F70, the F200 caught clear, consistent images in the clips, without glare or distortion becoming huge issues.
There’s not a whole lot to operating the Thinkware F200, which should make it more appealing to a wider audience. Just press the red record button on the back, and the camera will tell you it’s capturing the footage. The camera uses a 2.12 megapixel Sony CMOS sensor – same as the F70 camera I tested last year.
Once again, I had no major complaints with the camera’s footage in the time I’ve been using it. Although, the company’s external GPS tracker also added some useful information to the footage. While it’s not a strict requirement, it can add data like time and speed in the event of an accident. It’s on a short cable though, so it’s expected you’ll mount the tracker close to the camera itself. I took the solution of mounting it to the back of my rearview mirror, but it may block visibility somewhat if you mount it to your windshield.
One interesting feature the Thinkware F200 dash cam has is its parking mode. This mode switches the camera on if it thinks there’s been an impact, and will record for 20 seconds. If the commotion dies down (or it was a false alarm), the camera will go back to sleep again. That’s a useful touch in the event you park your car on the street.
Thanks to the camera’s Wi-Fi connection, you can also set up smartphone notifications if something happens. That way, if something does happen, you can get a notification right away. Now, the app itself worked decently well when I used it, but some reviews suggest there may be issues after certain updates for some users, depending on what phone they have.
Particularly with the 720p rear-facing camera, you do have a bit more piece of mind with any dash cam, let alone the Thinkware F200. On the subject of the Thinkware, however, it’s a solid choice for those looking for an inexpensive dash cam solution. The company also offers a range of accessories for a more comprehensive approach, if you want to go that route.
The camera proved itself to be lightweight and robust, without impacting visibility. It records clear and smooth footage in 1080p, and I did not experience any data corruption in the time I’ve had it. Yes, there are more capable cameras out there, if you’re willing to pay for it.
The $140 (via Thinkware’s website) Thinkware F200, though, is a good mid-range option that could save you some headache if you end up needing that vital footage.