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Thinkware U1000 dash cam review

A professional-looking, hard-wired dash cam with 4K video, parking mode and an optional rear camera

Thinkware U1000 dash cam review
(Image: © Thinkware)

Our Verdict

If you have a larger budget to spend, the Thinkware U1000 is a feature-packed dash cam that does it all, from 4K video with HDR, to parking mode, speed camera alerts, GPS and remote viewing via a smartphone app.

For

  • 4K video with HDR
  • Loads of connected features
  • Hard-wiring kit included
  • Optional rear camera

Against

  • 12V cable not included
  • Ideally requires professional installation
  • Expensive

If you want a dash cam that looks like it was fitted to your car at the factory, then this is it. The U1000 is the current flagship of the Thinkware dash cam family, and for this review we’re featuring it alongside Thinkware’s Rear View Camera, which attaches to the front camera via a long included cable.

A front-facing dash cam is fine as a basic security device, but since a lot of accidents are rear-end collisions it makes sense to consider a rear-facing camera too. The Thinkware U1000 is one of a number of cameras that includes this option.

Specifications

(Image credit: Thinkware)

Resolution: 4K UHD Resolution (2K Quad HD rear)
Field of view: Front View Camera: 150º (Rear View Camera: 156º)
Dimensions: 65 x 110 x 36mm
Weight: 149g (the rear camera weighs 27g)

Key features

(Image credit: Thinkware)

A stand-out feature of the U1000 is 4K video recording (with HDR) and how it comes with a hard-wiring kit, providing the camera with constant power and the ability to record incidents while parked. A 12V socket cable is also included for a less permanent installation.

The U1000 has GPS, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for adding locational and speed data to video recordings, and for connecting to your smartphone. If connected to a Wi-Fi network, the camera can send live video to the Thinkware smartphone app, and there is a geofencing feature to alert you when your car is driven in or out of predefined locations. Handy if you lend the car to your children.

There’s also a parking mode with motion detection to record potential attempts of vandalism or theft, as well as impacts, and a two-frames-per-second timelapse function is also present. The camera also has alerts for red-light cameras and speed cameras. 

Build and handling

(Image credit: Thinkware)

Shaped differently to many dash cams, the Thinkware U1000 resembles a factory-fitted product. The low-profile design means it doesn’t have a display, but it fits snugly against the windscreen, hidden behind the rear-view mirror of most vehicles.

The 4K camera is housed in a mount that can be rotated up and down to ensure a good view ahead no matter how steeply raked the windscreen is. The camera clicks firmly into its mounting plate, which sticks to the windscreen using an included 3M adhesive pad. There’s no option for a suction mount, so this is one of the more permanent dash cam mounting options.

There are buttons for manual recording, power, and for switching Wi-Fi and audio recording on or off. A microSD card slot is easily accessible on the side of the unit, and a 64GB card is included.

The rear camera is cylinder-shaped, rotates 360 degrees and has an integrated 3M adhesive pad.

Performance

(Image credit: Alistair Charlton)

The 4K video shot by the U1000 is every bit as sharp as you would expect, making key details like road signs and vehicle number plates highly legible. The camera fires up and starts recording as soon as the car is turned on, and switches off again afterwards. The app can be used to enable all of the connected features, but this isn’t required and you can just plug the camera in to automatically record every journey.

Speed camera alerts are a nice bonus, but this can be switched off if you find the notification annoying. We like how there’s no display to distract the driver, and instead the Thinkware disappears neatly out of view. The rear, 2K resolution camera works just as well, but you might want a professional to install the long cable through your car interior.

Verdict

At £300 (or £410 if you include the rear camera too) the Thinkware U1000 is an expensive dash cam. You can spend half or even a quarter of the price if you want, but the U1000 has a lot going for it, from 4K video with HDR, to speed camera alerts, remote viewing, motion sensing while parked. It’s a feature-packed dash cam, in other words, and one that will suit buyers who want the very best, regardless of budget.

Read more guides:

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The best baby camera monitors 

Alistair has been a journalist since 2011 and used to be Deputy Technology Editor at IBTimes  in London. His specialist tech subjects include smart home gadgets, phones, wearables, tablets and dashcams.