– Dual channel dash cam
– Released 2023
– Max. resolution: front 4K (2160p), rear 1080p
– Price: Amazon US / CA / UK – eBay US / AU – more countries & vendors (affiliate links)
– GPS, GLONASS
– Wi-Fi (2.4 or 5 GHz)
– USB-C port
– Lock file button
– Video format: MP4 (H.264)
– Time and date stamp on video
– Supports up to 256 GB MicroSD cards (over 14 video hours)
– Loop recording, auto on/off, G-Sensor, motion detection
– Parking modes: Time-lapse and Buffered
– Operating temperature: from -20℃ to 80℃ (-4°F to 176°F )
– High temperature cutoff (at approx. 80℃)
– Apps for Android / iOS
– Internal capacitor instead of battery
– Internal microphone and speaker
– Adhesive mount
– Optional LTE connectivity (4G)
– Optional infrared (IR) rear camera
– Resolution: 3840×2160 @ 30fps
– Bit rate: 25 Mbps
– Size: 118.5mm x 36mm diameter (4.67″ x 1.42″ diameter)
– Weight: 106g (3.74oz)
– 8 Megapixel CMOS Sensor
– Angle of view: 155° diagonal, 136° horizontal, 61° vertical
– Resolution: 1920×1080 @ 30fps
– Bit rate: 10 Mbps
– Size: 67.4mm x 25mm diameter (2.65″ x .98″ diameter)
– Weight: 25g (.88oz)
– STARVIS™ CMOS Sensor (Approx. 2.1 M Pixel)
– Angle of view: 139° diagonal, 116° horizontal, 61° vertical
BlackVue DR970X-2CH Review
Since we started this web site over 10 years ago, BlackVue have been producing elegant and reliable high-end dash cams. Their DR500GW was one of the first dash cams we ever reviewed. Today, in 2023, the DR970X is their latest model. It’s impressive how far technology has advanced since then!
Famous for their stylish black cylinder design, BlackVue cameras are generally highly reliable and record above average video. What really sets them apart from the competition though is the amount of possibilities they offer when you connect the dash cam to BlackVue’s cloud. So let’s have a look at that first.
In our article Best Dash Cams With Cloud For Live Video Streaming, we compared BlackVue’s and their competitors’ cloud offers in detail. Have a look if you’re interested. To sum it up, we can say that BlackVue’s cloud offers more features than that of other companies such as Thinkware and Garmin. This is true both for the free and paid versions.
With a free BlackVue cloud account you can:
- Watch 10 minutes of live video per day
- Store 5GB of video
- Receive event notifications on your phone
- Locate your vehicle per GPS/GLONASS
- Auto-Upload Event Videos
Paid accounts start at $4 per month and give you even more options, including unlimited live video, geo-fencing, GPS tracking, and fleet management. For complete details, check out the article mentioned above.
How To Connect To The Cloud
To connect the camera to the cloud, you have several options:
- Buy a camera with built-in LTE such as the BlackVue DR970X-2CH LTE (pictured below)
- Get an external BlackVue LTE module (called CM100)
- Use a 3rd-party internet access point
A camera with LTE built-in is probably the most convenient solution. You can choose between using a BlackVue SIM card, or getting one from a different carrier.
BlackVue’s CM100 LTE module is meant to be installed separately on the windshield, and connects to the USB port of the dash cam with a cable. The CM100 module costs around $100.
Using a 3rd party wireless access point in your car may be the least expensive option. If you go for this solution, the dash cam connects to the access point via Wi-Fi instead of having a fixed connection.
BlackVue cameras have two parking modes to choose from, Time-lapse and Buffered (called “Motion/Impact” by BlackVue).
- Motion/Impact mode saves a buffered video (starting 5-6 seconds before the event) whenever an impact is detected by the G-sensor, or when motion is detected visually.
- Time-lapse parking mode records continuously at a frame rate of 1fps, without audio. When an impact is detected by the G-sensor, a 30fps event video will also be saved.
Time-lapse mode is best when you don’t have much storage space available, or are parking in a busy area where the motion sensors would be triggered too often.
Motion/Impact mode is recommended if you want audio under all circumstances or are parked in a quiet area, and your memory card is big enough.
For parking mode to work, you either need to hard-wire the camera or connect it to a battery pack. The DR970X comes with a free hard-wiring cable by default.
When in parking mode, the DR970X will protect you battery from becoming drained (low-voltage cutoff). You can also configure a timer to turn the camera off automatically after a specific amount of time has passed.
Another unique feature that only BlackVue cameras have: You can select which areas in the field of view trigger motion detection in Motion/Impact mode. The screen is divided into 16 rectangles (4×4), and you can turn any of them on and off. So for example, if there was a line of trees moving in the wind near the top of the camera’s field of view, you could turn the top row off so that the trees don’t trigger an event recording.
Here’s an illustration:
The BlackVue DR970X records 4K video (3840×2160 pixels) with its front camera, and 1080p (1920×1080 pixels) to the rear. Both cameras record at 30fps (frames per second).
During the day, forward video quality is very good (4.0/5), and rear video quality is good (3.0/5). At night, video quality is good (3.0/5), both with the front and rear cameras. You will be able to read other cars’ license plates in most situations, both at day and at night.
Unfortunately, there is no CPL filter available for the BlackVue DR970X. This is noticeable in the sample videos when the dashboard reflects in the windshield while driving in bright sunlight.
The maximum bit rate that the DR970X can record is 25 Mbps to the front, and 10 Mbps to the rear. This is relatively low. As a comparison, the Viofo A139 Pro 2CH records 40Mbps with its forward camera, resulting in better video quality.
One advantage of having low bit rates is to facilitate data transfer to the cloud (or to the phone). This is obviously faster when the video stream is lighter (i.e. less data is transferred). Viofo cameras don’t have cloud connectivity at all, so they don’t need to take this into account.
So to sum it up, while the DR970X records good video overall, it is not the best dash cam in that regard. You can check out our comparison tables to find dash cams with better video.
BlackVue DR970X Sample Videos
Here are some sample videos from the DR970X-2CH:
What Memory Cards Are Supported?
This camera supports SD cards from 32GB to 256GB in size. A 256GB card will hold 14 hours and 40 minutes of front and rear videos at the maximum bit rate, or 10 hours of forward-only video.
In theory, you could set a lower bit rate to save storage space, but the reduction in video quality isn’t worth it. We don’t recommend running any dash cam at lower than its maximum bit rate.
A great feature of the DR970X is that it will sound an audible alert in case of any problem with the memory card.
The manufacturer points out that you must use either a BlackVue branded or a Samsung Pro MLC Endurance SD card with their dash cams.
Apart from the “vanilla” DR970X-2CH, there are several variants available:
- DR970X-1CH: Single-channel version, doesn’t have a rear camera
- DR970X-2CH IR: The rear camera has infrared LEDs and is meant to record the passenger cabin. Ideal for use as a taxi cam
- DR970X-2CH LTE: Built-in LTE module (see above)
All DR970X models come with GPS and GLONASS built-in.
As this camera has no screen, you control it mainly with your smart phone. We recommend using 5GHz Wi-Fi for faster video transfer. The DR970X also supports Bluetooth, which makes it easier to connect to the phone and do the initial setup.
The only sensor on the camera itself is a lock file button, which is touch sensitive. A soft tap on the side of the camera saves the current video and puts it in a protected folder, so that it can’t be accidentally overwritten.
The BlackVue DR970X is, without any exaggeration, the state-of-the-art cloud dash cam in 2023. Uploading videos to the cloud (Auto Event Upload) secures evidence in case the camera is stolen or destroyed.
The camera’s video quality is good overall. Its bit rate is a bit low though. There are competing dash cams that record higher bit rates, and consequently, produce better video. However, those cameras can’t connect to the cloud.
The DR970X’s parking mode is reliable and well thought out, and a hard-wiring kit is included for free.
The lack of a CPL filter is disappointing though. CPL filters are standard for most dash cams today.
- Elegant, stealthy camera design; small size
- Excellent cloud connectivity options, more cloud features than any competitors
- High quality video at day and night
- Reliable parking mode
- Free hard-wiring kit
- No CPL filter available
- Low bit rates
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