Thinkware Q1000 dash cam review: high-end price and features but middle of the road performance
Pricey twin-camera setup comes with a generous specification but image quality fails to stand out from better value rivals
Thinkware has been among the UK’s leading dash cam brands for some years now, with a wide range of devices stretching from entry-level units priced below £100 to all-singing, all-dancing ones costing £400.
The Q1000 is a recently launched model that sits towards the higher end of the range, bringing many of the features of the flagship devices but without the range-topping image sensor. Prices start at £259.99 for the single-camera version, rising to £359.99 for the twin-camera unit we’re testing.
In the box are front and rear cameras with built-in GPS, a 32GB microSD memory card, polarising filter for the front lens, a 12V power adaptor and separate hard-wiring kit, plus a lengthy cable to link the front and rear cameras.
Design and fitting
The Thinkware Q1000 has no display screen, allowing a wide but relatively flat design, giving it a low profile once mounted on the windscreen. This means it is easier to mount high up and out of the driver’s line of sight than some rival devices and the lens swivels up and down to account for different windscreen angles. The mount itself is incredibly thin but its one-use sticky pad attachment requires careful positioning to ensure the camera is pointing directly ahead. The rear camera is a more traditional cylinder with a swivel mechanism to align the lens properly.
At the centre of the Q1000’s features are its cameras. Unlike many twin-camera setups, both units feature 2K 1440p recording at 30 frames per second, with the front offering “TrueHDR” for better contrast and a 156-degree field of view. GPS and wifi are built in and the Q1000 features the updated Super Night Vision 3.0 for low-light filming. Like many cameras at this price it includes ADAS systems including lane departure warning, forward collision warning and front vehicle departure alert, as well as speed camera alerts. Their effectiveness, as always, depends on the accuracy of the camera’s mounting and calibration. The camera also offers parking detection when hard-wired, including low-power motion or impact detection and timelapse functions. There’s no screen on the camera but live and recorded footage can be viewed via the smartphone app, which also allows users to adjust the camera’s settings.
Image quality is central to a dash cam’s appeal so it’s unfortunate that the Q1000 fails to shine in this regard. The specifications promise great things, especially from the main camera, but the reality is slightly grainy and fuzzy footage that is distinctly weaker than the Nextbase 622GW and not markedly better than the Cobra SC200 D, which downgrades its images to Full HD in two-camera mode. Contrast and colour are good and the night vision does a good job of boosting brightness in dark scenes but the image definition, day or night, is merely acceptable. The rear camera fares better compared with rivals such as the Cobra, offering brighter and sharper footage.
The Thinkware Q1000 isn’t a cheap dash cam option, especially in twin-camera guise. That is reflected in the level of specification and features it offers but sadly not in the quality of its footage. While its low-light and rear camera footage are above average the main camera fails to match the performance of similarly priced alternatives.