4K is starting to become the norm with the introduction of 4K displays, and BlackVue is the first to come out with a true 4K experience for their high-end line of dash cameras. The DR900S comes in both 1-CH and 2-CH variants. You can expect the same recording quality and functionality from both variants, with the only difference being the rear-view camera.
This unit is capable of recording at 4K UHD @ 30FPS, or even 1080P FHD at 60FPS, but we choose to use the former 4K option because who doesn't want 4K recordings?
We were skeptical of the sensors and recording capacity of this unit when we were first informed of it's release, but have been pleasantly surprised since then. We'll go more in-depth further down.
Build quality is great as usual from BlackVue, and stouts the same body as the DR750S but with the addition of a premium-looking copper ring around the front lens. This does seem to stand out in the front windshield, taking away slightly from the stealthiness of the unit.
The accessories do not change from the usual BlackVue offerings, but here at Dashoto, we'll always offer a free installation kit for the avid DIYers out there.
Here is where we were pleasantly surprised. Most 4K offerings thus far have been shoddy at best, with low sharpness, terrible white balance, and don't seem to hold a true 30fps experience in processor taxing situations (trees, artifacting, etc). The DR900S does a great job in daylight; probably the best daylight images we've ever recorded. License plates are sharp, and the Dynamic Range keeps highlights and exposures very neutral.
Night recordings are sufficient, managing to not blow out license plates and white cars (TIP: Keep the Night Vision option turned off).
Software remains mostly unchanged from previous iterations in the mobile applications, with the addition of some new features, such as locking in event recordings in the SD card so they're not overwritten, and Cloud Auto-Upload if you've got a WiFi hotspot in the vehicle.
We do wish that there was an update to modernize the look and feel of both the iOS and Android user interfaces. We feel that in 2018, we really should be keeping seeing themes and functionality that match those of Google's Material Design, and Apple's UIKit.
With the introduction of H.265 compression, we're extremely happy with the recordings' file sizes! You'll still be able to get almost 10 hours of recording on a 128GB 2-Channel camera. With Cloud and WiFi to save any important videos, that is more than enough to get you through any incident.
The well-known coaxial cable is still annoyingly fragile, and the flap is still in the way of taking out the SD card when you need to. These are small annoyances, but something that can easily be fixed.
Processor-wise, the DR900S handles a mixed 4K/1080P 2-Channel load very well. The unit does get warm to the touch, but still manageable.
Battery life does take a hit recording at 4K. We've seen a 15% hit to the runtime in parking mode compared to running at 1080P on our DR750S unit.
SO WHAT DO WE THINK?
The price point is a tad high, but that's the price you have to pay for 4K, especially when there isn't a comparable 4K camera out there to compete.
At the time of writing, the DR900S is seriously the best out there.