BlackVue DR400 Series: New Mid-Price Cameras Released 2017

Being one of the leading dash cam brands, BlackVue are widely respected for their high quality car cameras. Consequently, their pricing tends to be north of $300; however, this changed in 2017 when BlackVue released the DR400 series. Stripped of high-end features like Wi-Fi, this series starts at $120, thus aiming at the mid-price market.

The DR400 series includes cameras that record at lower resolution or frame rate, single channel cameras, and even a front and rear dash cam with a 3.5″ touch screen (the DR490L-2CH) that could potentially become a new favorite for those who value usability and video quality over discreetness.

Note that a couple of years ago, BlackVue also used to offer a camera called DR400G-HD. That camera was released in 2012 and has long since gone out of production, so we’re not considering it a part of the 2017 DR400 series.

Contents

Pricing
Comparison Table: The Differences…
…And What They Have In Common
BlackVue DR430-2CH
BlackVue DR450-1CH
BlackVue DR470-2CH
BlackVue DR490-2CH
BlackVue DR490L-2CH

Pricing

At the time of this writing, prices start at $120 for the DR450-1CH, up to $210 for the DR490L-2CH (for the non-GPS versions with a 16GB of memory). All BlackVue cameras come with a memory card included.

Admittedly, 16GB isn’t much, especially if you’re recording front and rear video simultaneously. We recommend getting at least a 64GB card. The maximum supported capacity is 128GB, which will increase the camera’s price by about $100.

GPS is optional for all cameras of the DR400 series, and costs another $20, approximately.

If you go for 128GB and GPS, the cheapest camera of the series, the DR450-1CH, will set you back some $210, while the most expensive one, the DR490L2CH, costs $330 currently (still a lot less than the DR650S-2CH though, which is priced at $490 with a memory card of this size).

DR400 Series Comparison Table: The Differences…

To gain a better understanding of what each of these cameras can do, let’s have a look at the most important differences:

ModelPriceFront VideoRear VIdeoScreenComment
DR430-2CH$170720p@30fps720p@30fps-Resolution too low
DR450-1CH$1201080p@30fps--Reliable one-way cam
DR470-2CH$2001080p@15fps720p@15fps-Bumpy but usable video
DR490-2CH$2001080p@30fps1080p@30fps-Limited availability
DR490L-2CH$2101080p@30fps1080p@30fpsYesTouch screen, native parking mode
All prices are for the 16GB, non-GPS version of each camera. Prices are approximate and subject to change, and are given for ease of comparison only.

…And What They Have In Common

All cameras of this series have:

– Loop recording, auto on/off, G-Sensor
– Time and date stamp on video (plus speed stamp for the GPS versions)
– Support up to 128 GB MicroSD cards
– Buffered parking mode (needs Power Magic Pro or battery pack, except DR490L-2CH)
– Player software for Windows / Mac
– Internal capacitor instead of battery
– Internal microphone and speaker
– Voice alerts (can be turned off)

A feature that’s noticeably missing in all the DR400 cams (as compared to the costlier DR650 series) is Wi-Fi. Consequently, BlackVue’s over-the-cloud video and mobile apps obviously also aren’t available.

Buffered parking mode is a notable feature for all of these cameras. When an event triggers the G-sensor or the optical motion detection, a video clip starting 10 seconds before and ending 10 seconds after the event will be saved to a special folder on the SD card. Plus, setting up the camera for parking mode is relatively easy with BlackVue’s Power Magic Pro, in case you’re not comfortable with hard-wiring the camera to the car’s fuse box.

For more info on setting up dash cams for parking mode, check out this article.

Now, let’s have a look at each of the individual cameras in detail:

BlackVue DR430-2CH

Product photo of the BlackVue DR430-2CH dual channel dash cam Video: 720p at 30fps, front and rear.

Video quality:

Day front – Fair
Day rear – Fair
Night front – Average
Night rear – Average

Price: see Amazon US / CA / UK -- eBay US / CA / UK / AU

Comment:

In 2017, 720p resolution is just too low to really consider this camera, especially for this price. It’s hard to make out any details, especially license plates, on footage of a resolution this low. At least the forward facing cam should have 1080p.

BlackVue DR450-1CH

Product photo of the BlackVue DR450-1CH single channel dash camVideo: 1080p @ 30fps

Video quality:

Day front – Very Good
Night front – Good

Price: see Amazon US / CA / UK -- eBay US / CA / UK / AU

Comment:

Reliable, reasonably priced single-channel dash cam with the elegant, stealthy BlackVue form factor.

BlackVue DR470-2CH

Product photo of the BlackVue DR470-2CH dual channel dash camVideo: 1080p @15fps front, 720p@ 15fps rear

Video quality:

Day front – Good
Day rear – Fair
Night front – Fair
Night rear – Poor

Price: see Amazon US -- eBay US / CA / UK / AU

Comment:

While video is somewhat bumpy at 15fps, this camera’s video quality is good enough for surveillance purposes. Good entry-level dual channel dash cam if you’re looking for something stealthy.

BlackVue DR490-2CH

Product photo of the BlackVue DR490-2CH dual channel dash camVideo: 1080p @ 30fps (front and rear)

Video quality:
Day front – Good
Day rear – Good
Night front – Fair
Night rear – Average

Price: see Amazon UK -- eBay US / CA / UK / AU

Comment:

Video quality is almost as good as the DR650S. For some reason, having 1080p both ways doesn’t seem to result in higher overall video quality for this camera, possibly due to video compression.

BlackVue DR490L-2CH

Product photo of the BlackVue DR490L-2CH dual channel dash cam with screenVideo: 1080p @ 30fps (front and rear)

Video quality:

Day front – Very Good
Day rear – Very Good
Night front – Good
Night rear – Average

Price: see Amazon US / UK -- eBay US / CA / UK / AU

Comment:

Very good video quality, better not only than the other cameras of the series, but also than most other dual channel dash cams we have reviewed so far. The DR490L is the only one of the series that comes with a 3.5″ touch screen, making it much more straightforward to set up and configure — of course, the trade-off is larger size. You can’t exactly call this camera discreet, as it is about the size of a modern smart phone.

The DR490L is also the only one of this series that has what BlackVue call “native parking mode”, meaning it doesn’t need a Power Magic pro or battery pack to enable parking mode, as it has a built-in low voltage cutoff function that prevents it from draining your car’s battery.

To sum it up, the DR490L-2CH is by far is our favorite of this series. If it proves to be reliable, it has serious potential to become one our favorite dual channel dash cams of the year.