Black Box X1S GPS Dash Camera Review

Alright, it is time to check out the Black Box X1S GPS Dash Camera Review. A popular choice among many to use as dash cam for their trucks. The camera both have pros and cons – as do all cams. Follow along as we do a closer inspection of this dash cam to see if it fits your needs.

You will probably love the auto start and seamless loop recording. It has a G-sensor and is basically a set-and-forget camera. What you will dislike is probably the fact that it lacks an original software, which can be downloaded online, but you would still have to do it yourself.

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Core features

  • The Black box X1S comes with auto start and record. At the same time, it comes with the auto-off function. Meaning that you can just install it and set-and-forget. This is is a time saver since you really don’t want do fiddle with the camera each time you start your engine (trust me, you will fiddle a lot). As the camera turns on naturally, it also starts recording. And the recording is Loop recording. Meaning that you have the option to get seamless continuous recording.
  • The Novatek chipset gives enhanced night vision and improved daytime video.
  • This dash cam has a GPS that utilizes Google Maps and will be available on all recordings. The GPS has  a sharp accuracy and will give you information on for instance location, speed and route.
  • It comes with a G-Sensor that is an accident auto-detection feature.
  • Video quality of the Black Box X1S is very sharp and clear. It reads license plates with ease and show details that are far away with precision. Comparing a non-compressed video file from the X1S to a BlackVue, the X1S wins by far.

Known problems

  • This is not really a “problem” per se, but something you should be aware about. The screen on this camera is always turned on. That menas that if you’re driving at night, it can be frustrating to always have the light shining all over your dashboard.
  • Some trucks are treated with a metallic coating to reflect sunlight. This metallic coating can sometimes interfere with radar or long-wave communication, also GPS. Meaning that even though the GPS of the X1S is great, your truck may cause interference and the GPS might not be as accurate as it can be.
  • The camera does not come with a software. You will have to download your own software to manage files on your computer. The manufacturer, Black Box, advise a Russian-made software, which is decent but has a lot of warnings to it.
  • The embedded time and date stamp cannot be configured.

Recording

The X1S has a seamless continuous recording. What this mean is that it will record continuously without any gaps between recordings. This is then paired with a loop recording, which means that as the storage (16GB initially) gets full, the camera automatically overwrites the oldest footage with the newest one thus creating the loop.

An electronic shutters is featured on the X1S. That means silent operation, higher frame rates and reduced shake or blur. Simply better footage.

The camera has a 120° diagonal viewing angle, meaning that it does record similar to that of the human eye. The vision span of a human is also around 120° (resembling an arc). However, the camera will record a lot of things the human eye doesn’t. For example; the human eye has a vision span of 120°, but most of the span is just peripheral vision.

With this camera, you will have no problem reading license plates. The imagery is clear and sharp and the image quality is great.

You will also get the Night vision feature when purchasing this camera. Night vision is not as you would expect it to be from the movies. Instead, night vision makes sure that you get a clear image even though there is a limited source of light. The camera has an installed 170-degree ultra wide angle 6G lens. And to make the night vision capable is the wide dynamic (WDR) technology.

It is possible to manually zoom with the camera.

Remember that the Black Box X1S is not recommended to use as a backup camera. Mounted on the back of the truck it would only record what’s happening behind the vehicle. Meaning you can only watch the footage afterwards.

The Black Box X1S does not have a parking mode. Meaning it cannot record when it is parked. The battery is powered by the outlet in the truck and if the engine is turned off, it won’t last long. Most dash cam for trucks does rarely have the parking mode, which is because it is not really needed.

Black Box X1S GPS Dash Camera - Full HD 1080P H.264 2.7 LCD bright day

Black Box X1S GPS Dash Camera - Full HD 1080P H.264 2.7 LCD 141

Black Box X1S GPS Dash Camera - Full HD 1080P H.264 2.7 LCD 11

Video

The Black Box X1S comes with a great video output composition. It includes an HDMI output, AV-OUT, MPEG-4 MOV availability and AV (SVBS).

Now, you’re probably asking: “huh?”

I know, it is a bit of a nerdy thing. But mostly you need to know that this dash cam comes with most of the important stuff. Also, it may be a good thing to have HDMI, since you sometimes would want to replay videos on a larger screen.Black Box X1S GPS Dash Camera - Full HD 1080P H.264 2.7 LCD 23

The X1S can recording in a 1920×1080 HD resolution. Should you choose this resolution, it will record with a 30fps (frames per second). The other, smaller, resolution is 1280×720 at a 60 fps rate. It is a smaller sized video, but you can get a little bit sharper results with the 60 fps. It is more ore less a matter of perception and choice than anything else. Both will give you a clear and nice image.

The compression of the video could be better. The camera has an H.264 video compression technology installed and it does a decent job. The compression does allow rather large file sizes. But since the camera will overwrite any old recordings and loop record any new footage, it’s not really a problem. You will only take down and save footage if you have something valuable recorded. (If you’re driving long hours it may be a good idea to have the second SD card ready in the event of a valuable clip.)

Display

The display is a 2.7″ inch high resolution 16:9 TFT LCD screen. It is high quality and everything you need. Some truckers usually like when a screen is of a larger size, but I don’t. Mostly because you are not going to (and shouldn’t) watch the screen as you drive. Also, you will not be watching an extended amount of replays on the screen either. You need a screen that is just enough for you to make changes, install it and navigate through menus.Black Box X1S GPS Dash Camera - Full HD 1080P H.264 2.7 LCD 2

As already mentioned, the display is turned on as the camera is powered on and recording. Since there’s no way to turn it off, you may be stuck with a bright light even when driving at night. However, the screen is a 2.7″ inch screen and it shouldn’t be too disturbing.

The display, or rather the menu can be a little bit frustrating because of the buttons. They are small. However, it is not a major deal breaker since the X1S is somewhat a set-and-forget model. Meaning that you only have to work with the menu sporadically. You set it up as you want it and then as you turn on your engine it will be powered and start recording automatically.

The only reason to take it down is to change something of the hardware or remove the storage card (SDcard).

Processor

The Black Box X1S comes with a Novatek Chipset, which is the small part electronics that is making the camera run properly. Novatek is a huge manufacturer of small chipsets for all sorts of electronics that has a display. They are the leading global flat panel display solution provider and market leader. Since their introduction to the market the prices of dash cams have gone down but the quality has in most cases remained, or become even better.

It is hard to find a dashboard camera that has a better processor than a Novatek. The Black Box X1s does not have neither the NT96632 nor the NT96200 chipset models, which more or less are junk. Meaning that buying the X1S is a safe bet.

G-Sensor & Incident detection

The G-sensor measure the movement of your vehicle through the 3rd axis. Meaning that if your truck will be in an accident and it suddenly moves up, down, left, right, forward or backwards, the g-sensor will spot this. As the G-sensor activates it will trigger your dash cam to respond to the sudden changes appropriately.

When the G-sensor is triggered, it will make sure that the camera locks the video footage being recorded at the time.

We could not find any problems with the G-sensor placed in this Black Box X1S.

GPS enabled

There is a GPS enabled to the camera and it runs with Google Maps, a free installation software is included.  The GPS installment is attached to the mount and will record your positioning as you drive. The GPS does not have to be used, however.

The GPS has a surprisingly accurate targeting and will show where you’ve been driving.

You will get a mount that is without the GPS if you don’t want to use it. The GPS is optional, but it is a nice feature to have as you look through your footage to be able to plot out your route. Maybe show the kids where you’ve been? They love that.Black Box X1S GPS Dash Camera - Full HD 1080P H.264 2.7 LCD 26

Audio recording

The X1S has the capability of recording audio and sounds. The sound quality is actually pretty good keeping in mind that this is a dash camera, whose priority is to record events on the road. The Build-in microphone and speaker (ACC) returns a decent quality.

Again, the main purpose is not to record audio, so do not expect a professional noise-free sound.

Storage and Memory

You will get a 16 GB SD card included in your purchase. However, the camera does take a 32GB SD card and it is recommended to use the larger size. Because with a larger size, you can record twice the footage, which is a major deal since RAW files tend to be quite large in size.

In addition, you will now have 2 cards. If you’re driving for long hours it is important to have lots of available storage.

Battery Life

The X1S does not have an outstanding battery life, hence you will need to have it plugged in all the. Your best solution to this is to get your hands on a multi-port power plug adapter. That way you won’t have to give up the use of your truck’s power port.

Cords and installation

It is quite easy and straightforward to install. For someone who is a not very tech-savvy it should take about 20-30 minutes to install it and be ready for your first drive. The cords are easy to install to make it look nice and tidy inside.Black Box X1S GPS Dash Camera - Full HD 1080P H.264 2.7 LCD 24

Dimensions and packaging

The dash cam itself is 3.5 x 1.5 x 2 inches. It’s flat and feels slim while holding it. Although you will mostly have it mounted on your windshield, we still like the feeling we get from holding it. With it’s 4 ounces it still feels like a robust piece. However, it is made all in plastic, if it would’ve had an aluminium or steel frame wrapping it, that would be perfect.

Keep in mind that this dash cam is not the most discreet in the league. There are others that will appear more hidden from sight.

The screen is 2.7″ inches, which compared to the iPhone 6 is about 2″ inches less.

Included in the package comes a 16GB SD card, but we do recommend that you get a 32GB SD card, because that will make you shoot more RAW footage.

You also get the in-truck charging cable, an additional swivel suction mount bracket and the USB cable.

The GPS will reacquire a software that comes included.

And of course there’s a User manual and an installation guide.

Accessories

When you purchase this dash camera you get all you need to install and run it. However, RAW footage usually takes up a lot of space. If you’re keen to save a lot of the video you record, it is advised that you invest in a [easyazon_link identifier=”B00X13ZZGM” locale=”US” tag=”truckershq-20″]32GB SDcard[/easyazon_link]. Not only because it is better to have that extra space, but you will have 2 cards in case you ever need a fresh one.

Basically, you can use the 32GB card and have the 16 GB that’s included as a backup.

You can install the camera pretty nicely with what’s included in the package, however, there are better solutions. A car cable clip usually makes the whole installation and experience more pleasant. This is entirely up to you, but I like to keep my truck nice and tidy. After all, it is your office and since you spend a lot of time in it, it is best to keep clutter to a minimum.

Pros

  • Price. You simply get a lot of value for your money spent. It is of great value and for a relatively low price point.
  • Video quality is high and well made. The high definition and clear footage is definitely a strength with the X1S.
  • No trouble in reading license plates.
  • This is a type of set-and-forget camera. Powers on when you start your engine and starts recording automatically.
  • The enhanced night vision is great.
  • Easy to install and get going.

Cons

  • The instructions manual is somewhat written by a person not native to the English language. At least someone who does a poor job in describing the gadget in clear English. It will probably not keep you from using the camera, but if you’re a non-technical person, it could take you longer to figure things out.
  • Has been reported to sometimes stop recording. However, the issue seems rare and we have not encountered it. Many dash cams have this problem, too.
  • The display cannot be turned off.
  • Menu buttons are almost too small.

Consumer Ratings

The Black Box X1S dash camera still has a fair rating. It is quite high, but it is deserved. The camera does what it promises and you should feel that it’s money well spent. The Black Box cameras are overall well received by consumers and the X1S is not an exception. A lot of drivers have tried it and most of them agree that it is a solid piece of equipment to have in your truck.Black Box X1S GPS Dash Camera - Full HD 1080P H.264 2.7 LCD

Price

The Black Box X1S comes for a reasonable price. Considering that it provides more than the average dash cam user would need. Compared to another model called F1S, it is cheaper and the installation of the X1S is more slick. You will find a higher overall value from the X1S than many other dash cams.

Summary

Installing the Black Box X1S dash camera is still intuitive and easy (despite the manual). Since the GPS is installed inside the mount you will have a clutter free and clean installment in your truck. You should feel more comfortable getting behind the wheel when you’re equipped with the X1S. In case of an accident there will be no dispute about anything, nobody can sue you or bring you in harms way – It’s all on tape.

With a solid 1080 HD you can shoot crisp footage and it will loop seamless for you. You will be ready to roll with this set-and-forget type of camera that is well worth the money.

You can find it here.

 

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