There’s a dash cam for every pocket, but the Nextbase 322GW Dash Cam straddles the middle of the market. Does it strike the right balance?
Nextbase seems to have cornered the market in dashboard cameras, at least here in the UK. Every clip on YouTube of somebody doing something stupid on the roads has a Nextbase logo on it, helped no doubt by the brand’s dominant position in Halfords.
It’s now got a new range of cameras out, unimaginatively called Series 2, that take what had gone before and improved and shrunk where possible. Starting at the entry-level 122 and going through four more models to the 522GW, there’s something for every budget.
Right in the middle is this, the 322GW, not just in terms of features but also physically; it measures just 80x45x50mm, at least without its mount, so should be able to be placed just about anywhere. There are two mounts in the box, one a compact and semi-permanent adhesive mount, and a second slightly more bulky suction mount. The latter can be moved from car to car, but remains solidly in place in my own car.
Attaching the camera to the mount couldn’t be easier. In-car power goes to the mount, and the camera then magnetically and wirelessly also attaches to the mount. It means you can easily pull the camera off and reattach when leaving the car but the magnetic connection is strong enough to use the camera to adjust the angle of view.
Setting up the camera is easy enough, aided by a simple quick-start guide. It charges with a regular micro-USB cable that you’ll probably have countless of at home. However, there’s one in the box, that also carries data, allowing you to transfer video to another device. If that’s too old-school for you, then an app can be downloaded that wirelessly transfers video footage to your phone, although this seems to operate painfully slowly on my Samsung Galaxy. There’s also a micro SD card slot for on-device storage or cloud storage at Nextbase. In other words, there are countless places to store your footage.
That footage is taken with a high definition camera, recording at 1080p resolution at 30 frames per second, through a 140-degree wide-angle lens. You can see the image the camera is recording on the 2.5-inch screen on the back, which is also touch-sensitive. This allows you to work your way through the menus, but it’s not something you’ll really need to do once you’ve set it up.
As with most other cameras, it’ll ‘lock’ a 30-second piece of video if the camera detects an incident, and the sensitivity can be adjusted to prevent recordings of enthusiastic motoring moments. A parking mode also allows it to record any unwitnessed parking knocks, while you can also plug in an optional rear-facing camera for full coverage. Images from all are crisp and clear, with good audio. The location and speed readings can be overlaid on the recording too, providing evidence of innocence (or guilt!) if required.
Impressively, there’s an emergency SOS system integrated into the 322GW, although it does require the camera to have been paired with a phone, and the app installed. Assuming that’s the case, the camera will detect a serious incident and will, if the driver remains unresponsive, alert the emergency services and provide the call handler with an accurate GPS location and other important information.
All of this comes at a cost, but the recommended price of £99 seems good value for the specification and quality on offer. However, after the first 12 months, you’ll need to subscribe to the Connect service if you want to keep some of the extras such as the emergency SOS facility. This costs £2.99 a month, which you’ll have to weigh up the value of.
That extra cost, and the ropey wifi connections, are the only real downsides to the Nextbase 322GW. It’s so good, it’s tough to see what extra the more expensive models in the range could add.