Thinkware U1000: Best 4K Dash Cam 2019

Thinkware U1000 True 4K Dash Cam

Technical Specifications

– Dual channel dash cam
– Max. resolution: 4K front, 1440p rear
– Price: Amazon US / CA / UKeBay US / CA / UK / AUmore vendors
– GPS built in
– Wi-Fi (2.4 and 5GHz)
– 4-5 sec bootup time
– Supports up to 128 GB MicroSD cards
– Time and date stamp on video
– Simple and time-lapse parking mode
– Buffered parking mode (with radar module)
– Lock file button
– CPL filter
– Apps for Android / iOS
– Viewing software for PC and Mac
– Wide Dynamic Range (WDR)
– Loop recording, auto on/off, G-Sensor, motion detection
– Operating temperature: from -10°C to 60°C (-4°F to 158°F)
– Storage temperature: from -20°C to 70°C (14°F to 140°F)
– Overheat protection
– Internal capacitor instead of battery
– Internal microphone and speaker
– Adhesive mount
– Advanced Driver Assistance System (LDWS, FCWS, uFCWS, FVDW)
– Safety camera alert (red-light and speed cameras)
– Thinkware Cloud 2.0 (includes remote live view)

Front Camera:
– Max. resolution: 3840×2160 pixels @ 30fps
– Bit rate: 28 Mbps
– Size: 64mm x 112mm x 32mm (2.5″ x 4.4″ x 1.2″)
– Weight: 112g (.25 lbs)
– 8.42MP Sony STARVIS sensor (IMX 334)
– Angle of view: 150° diagonal

Rear Camera (Optional):
– Max. resolution: 2560×1440 pixels @ 30fps
– Bit rate: 14 Mbps
– 5.14MP Sony STARVIS sensor (IMX335)
– Angle of view: 156° diagonal

Thinkware U1000 Review

Thinkware are one of the leading, and most trusted, dash cam manufacturers from South Korea. In late 2019, they released their brand new U1000, which is ground-breaking in several ways.

First of all, this is Thinkware’s first dash cam that allows you to remote view the video footage over the internet (cloud view). Second, this is also Thinkware’s first 4K dash camera, and the first high-end dual camera ever to allow 1440p rear resolution.

Design

The U1000 comes in an elegant black-and-silver casing that almost resembles a wedge shape. Wedge-shaped dash cams are among the most stealthy ones. Being relatively narrow, the U1000 is almost invisible from outside the vehicle, unless you know what you’re looking for.

The camera sticks to the windshield with a black adhesive, making it look just like a part of the car.

Thinkware U1000 dash cam, as seen from belowThe control buttons are underneath the camera (facing down when the device is mounted to the windshield). On the left-hand side, there are three buttons: The power button on top, a Wi-Fi toggle button below that, and a mute microphone button on the bottom.

A bit below the center, between the two speakers, there is a large lock file / manual recording button, marked REC in bright red letters.

Near the top of the device, there are three LEDs: One each for Wi-Fi, recording, and GPS.

Below the LEDs, we can see some vents for cooling. More cooling vents are located on the sides of the camera. A small reset button (that you’ll need a pin to press) is situated on the right-hand side.

Apart from the usual connectors for power and rear video, the U1000 also has a port for an optional radar accessory. The radar costs around $90 extra, and is only needed for the camera’s energy-efficient buffered parking mode.

Video Quality

When recording at 4K resolution (3840×2160 pixels), the Thinkware U1000’s forward camera records very good video during the day. At night, forward video quality is also good, sometimes even very good. Most 4K cameras don’t perform that well at night, so the Thinkware U1000 is ahead of the competition in this regard.

The U1000’s rear camera is a bit less impressive: It records at 1440p (2560×1440 pixels), but its video quality is only fair, both at day and at night. Fortunately, the rear camera is optional. If you acquire the U1000 without the rear camera, it costs about $100 less than the dual camera version.

Forward video at day is of very good quality. When reviewing on a 1080p screen, it’s necessary to press pause to read license plates.

Thinkware Cloud

The U1000 is the first of Thinkware’s dash cams that allows you to view footage from your car remotely, over the internet. Previously, only BlackVue dash cams had this feature.

Other features of the Thinkware cloud include:

  • Geo fencing: Get an alert to your phone if your car leaves a predetermined area (great if you have teenagers, for example)
  • Parking & driving impact notifications: Get an alert if the G-sensor detects an impact, both when the car is driving or parked
  • Locate vehicle: Get exact GPS coordinates of your car, together with speed and driving direction, shown on Google maps

For the cloud features to work, you either need to have a cell phone in or near the car that the camera can connect to using Wi-Fi, or you can set up a portable Wi-Fi hotspot in the car (not included).

Simple & Time-Lapse Parking Modes

The U1000 supports several parking mode options:

  • Simple (called “Energy Saving 2.0” by Thinkware): When the G-sensor detects an impact, the camera wakes up within 1 second, then records for 20 seconds
  • Time-lapse: Records continually at 2 frames per second (fps), to save space on the SD card
  • Buffered: See below

A hard-wiring kit is required for any parking mode to work. This may or may not be included with your camera. If it isn’t, you can order it separately for between $20-30.

Forward footage at night is of good quality. You can read some license plates while just driving by, but not always.

Buffered Parking Mode With Radar Module

If you connect the radar module ($90), the U1000 can also work in an energy-saving buffered parking mode. The radar module will wake the camera up when a vehicle comes into range. The dash cam will then start recording, but only save the footage to the memory card if an impact actually happens. Otherwise, the footage is discarded.

If there’s an impact, video from 10s before to 10s after the event will be saved.

Buffered parking mode is not available without the radar module, and needs a hard-wiring kit as well.

Memory Usage

The U1000 comes with a 32GB Thinkware branded memory card, but this isn’t a lot as 32GB will only give you about 90 minutes of footage if you’re recording front and rear (4K cameras produce huge video files).

If you use the forward camera only, 32GB will let you record about two and a half hours.

The maximum SD card size that the U1000 will take is 128GB. This is enough for 10h of front camera footage, or over 6.5 hours front and rear.

If you buy a larger SD card, make sure to get a high-speed, high-endurance one (here’s why).

Rear footage during the day is fair. You can see what’s going on, but the footage isn’t very sharp, and it’s hard to read license plates.

Other Features

The camera’s in-built GPS system records your vehicle’s location and speed in the video footage. You can turn the speed stamp off in the settings if you’re concerned that this might work against you.

The U1000 is mainly operated via Wi-Fi, as it doesn’t have a screen itself. Free smart phone apps are available for Android and iOS.

Thinkware’s PC and Mac viewer let you watch recorded footage on a bigger screen, together with the route and speed record. It’s also possible to format the memory cards, change camera settings, and install updates with the viewer.

A CPL filter is available for the forward camera, to reduce windshield reflections of the car dash when driving in direct sunlight.

If you’d like to record at a higher frame rate, you can set the front camera to record at 1440p (2560×1440 pixels) and 60fps. At 4K resolution, it records a standard 30 frames per second. Higher frame rates may make it easier to catch license plates, for example.

Rear footage at night is fair. You probably won’t be able to read other cars’ license plates, unless they are right behind you.

The U1000 comes with the following Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) features:

  • Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS)
  • Front Collision Warning System (FCWS)
  • Urban Front Collision Warning System (uFCWS)
  • Front Vehicle Departure Warning (FVDW)

Additionally, a safety camera alert can warn you of red light and speed cameras on the road.

Conclusion

The Thinkware U1000 is 2019’s most advanced dashboard camera. It is also one of the most expensive ones, to date. Video quality of the forward camera is great. Especially night, the U1000 records very good footage considering that most 4K cameras usually struggle in low light situations.

The rear camera’s footage is a bit disappointing though, so it’s a good thing that it’s optional. You get a free CPL filter and hard-wire kit in the front and rear package though, so it may still be worth going for.

The U1000 comes with a lot of extras, such as remote live view, impact notifications, radar-assisted parking mode… Feature-wise, it is right up there with BlackVue’s DR900S-2CH, but with better video quality.

We especially like the U1000’s forward-facing camera, and wouldn’t be too surprised if Thinkware release an updated rear camera down the road. If you’re looking for a bleeding-edge, high-end 4K dash cam that records great video quality day and night, the U1000 is the one to go for.

Compare Prices And Buy Online Today

The Thinkware U1000 is available for sale from the following vendors:

Amazon US / CA / UK / DE / FR

eBay US / CA / UK / AU

Overall Rating
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Thinkare U1000
Author Rating
51star1star1star1star1star