The Thinkware F790 is their latest mid-range level dash cam that’s also occupied by the F200 Pro. While both these dashcams have similar features, the new Thinkware F790 features a new unique mounting system not seen on any other Thinkware dashcams in the past. It also has a new cable connector for power and the second camera, which makes for a more professional installation, but also means upgrading from a previous Thinkware device could prove more time-consuming as it’s no longer a straight plug and play from before. Aside from that, the Thinkware F790 also features 1080p FHD front and rear cameras, Parking Surveillance Mode, Impact Detection, built-in Wi-Fi and GPS, and ADAS just to name a few.
This is where the Thinkware F790 differs from all the rest of the Thinkware lineup. The Thinkware F790 has a new mounting system that includes a cradle to which the main dash cam attaches. The cradle houses the GPS unit along with a cable that is permanently attached to it. The cable is used to connect the power and the rear camera accessory using a single fly lead, which is supposed to make an installation look more professional looking and more permanent.
While true that this single cable lead does look much cleaner and can go straight into your headliner with no fuss, it poses some installation dilemmas for those wanting to upgrade from a previous Thinkware dash cam. Mainly because of this new connector, you can not use the older hardwiring cables with this or the older style 12V cables. There’s just nowhere on this Thinkware F790 to plug those into. That means you’ll have to uninstall all that cabling and rewire your car with the new cables, which will take time. For those who haven’t had a Thinkware dash cam before, then this is a non-issue since you’ll need to wire this up anyways.
Aside from the new mount, the dash cam itself is fairly attractive looking. It’s just a black box with a swivel camera up front and buttons on the rear. Like all other Thinkware dashcams, there is no display so you’ll need to download the Thinkware Cloud app if you want a live view or if you want to download your videos wirelessly. Anyways, the buttons on the back are large and marked accordingly so you won’t have any issues figuring out what they do. To release the dash cam from the mounting cradle, just flick a switch on the cradle and pull the dash cam downwards to release.
The rear camera looks just like the same one they include with all their other 2-channel dash cams so the design hasn’t changed on that. It’s easy to mount and you just swivel it to adjust where the horizon goes.
The box comes with two different types of power cables, a hardwire cable and a 12V cable. The 12V cable is easier to install, but the hardwire cable allows for use of the Parking Surveillance Mode since it needs constant power to work. I wouldn’t attempt installing it this way unless you have some experience or have someone who can do it for you.
The specs on the Thinkware F790 aren’t too shabby either, though I would have liked to have seen at least FHD+ resolution instead of the standard FHD. So yes, this only records at 1080P but at least both the front and rear cameras record at the same resolution. The F790 also sees the inclusion of Super Night Vision 3.0 which is a step up from their previous devices. This is probably thanks in part to the new Ambarella Quad-Core CPU for extra processing power.
Other notable features include HDR (high dynamic range) recording, dewarping of video for minimizing distortion, built-in battery for parking mode, new HEVC (high-efficiency video codec) video format for higher compressions, dual-band Wi-Fi, and built-in GPS via the cradle mount.
The Thinkware F790 also accepts Micro SD Cards from 16GB to 128GB UHS-I.
Here’s where I think the biggest obstacle for the Thinkware F790 will be and it’s with the installation. Because of the way the cables are set up, you pretty much have to tuck all the wires into the headliner and down the pillars for it to look right. You can’t just hang the cables down like before, even if you use the 12V plug. This won’t be a problem for those who have some technical know-how but for those that don’t, you’ll need to find a professional to help you out. If you decide to hardwire it, you’ll definitely need a pro if you have no idea what you’re doing.
Aside from the new cable, installation is straightforward once you get past this. For the rear camera of course you’ll need to run a cable from the front to the rear and that’s again done by tucking the cables in the headliner or running it down the carpet area. It all depends on how you want to route that cable
After it’s all installed, just install the Thinkware Dash Cam Link app on your phone, pair everything up, and you’re pretty much good to go.
Like with any good dash cam, your experience with it should be hands-off. That means you just let it do what it does and for the most part, you forget that it’s even there. You only need to mess with it if you want to pull video off it for evidence or something and you can do that via the companion app of taking out the SD card and plugging it into your computer.
AS for video quality, Thinkware is usually known for crisp, clear video, even though this is only 1080p FHD. You still see some good detail, but of course, it won’t be the same as something that’s 2K or 4K resolution. Most users should be happy with the quality
The new Thinkware F790 is a step in the right direction in terms of specs. I’d still like to see something more than standard 1080p however, but it is good that at least both cameras have the same resolution. The new mounting system is also unique and interesting and here’s hoping that maybe future models with better specs can just be plugged into this mount without the need to reinstall everything again with a new mount and cables.
However, know that when buying a Thinkware dash cam, you’re pretty much locked in due to the way the power plugs are or because of this new mounting system. You can’t just go swapping dash cams with other brands now because most of those all use standard USB cables for power and these do not.
It’s a good thing that for the most part, Thinkware makes some very good dash cams.
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