Watching Your Back
The new batch of offerings consists of five new models identified by their product numbers of 122, 222, 322GW, 422GW and 522GW. All the new models share certain features such as improved video quality and a 35% reduction in size over the previous generation of Nextbase Dash Cams. However I will concentrate the findings of this review on the 322GW model which has a RPP of £99.
Central to the 322GW kit is a camera which has been developed to capture incidents while travelling by car. These incidents could result in insurance claims, and other possible legal issues ,with the captured content being used as evidence. The camera, decked out in black and, as mentioned earlier, has shrunk to the rather small dimensions of 80 x 45 x 50 mm (W x H x D). The camera unit's lens can deliver a 140 degree wide angle view as it captures content at 1080p HD @30fps This content can be stored on a microSD card, which does not form part of the standard package, or the free Cloud storage at mynextbase.com Immediate viewing and control features can be adjusted using the unit's 2.5 inch touch screen.
Included in the box, accompanying the camera unit, are various hardware items and documents. Nextbase has bundled a fitting tool, an adhesive mount, suction mount, a standard-to-mini USB lead and a car power cable.. Included among the documentation is a concertina-style Quick Start Guide plus a window sticker. I must admit to being rather wary regarding the use of window stickers announcing the presence of additional features. They can encourage others to break into the car and steal the device. It happened to me a few years ago and the damage to the car door was more than the cost of the stolen device. A more comprehensive User Manual can be downloaded from the Nextbase website.
The concertina-style Quick Start Guide leads you through the process of setting up the 322GW Dash Cam using illustrations and brief instructions. For a change I was able to read the text without the aid of my magnifying glass.
As part of the initial setting up of this Dash Cam device you will need to charge the camera unit's internal battery which can take up to a couple of hours. I found the initial setting-up task is best carried out from the comfort of a living room rather than the car Using the camera's 2.5 inch HD touch screen, you can select the appropriate language plus speed units and daylight saving issues. The Dash Cam screen was not as sensitive as I was expecting. As a result I needed to put on extra pressure to get a reaction. This is not a bad thing as it alleviates the possibility of accidentally making an unwanted change.
One feature supported by the 322GW unit is that of Emergency SOS. This facility can automatically alert the emergency services in the case of a serious accident. Fortunately I have not needed to test this facility which does need to be paired with the user's mobile phone. This procedure requires the downloading of the free MyNextbase Connect app from the Google Play or App Store. The app detected that a firmware update was available to be carried out by high-speed Direct Wi-Fi. It took me three attempts to establish the connection by holding my mobile phone and Dash Cam in physical contact with each other.
Setting up this Dash Cam kit involves the use of Nextbase's new Click&Go PRO™ mounting system. Providing the link between the windscreen, camera and in-car power supply, this piece of kit makes use of neodymium magnets for ease of use. The angle of the camera can be adjusted as its screen is used to ensure the appropriate view of the rear activity being visible in a central screen position. While driving, and even when parked, the Dash Cam will record any activity occurring to the rear of your vehicle.
The Nextbase Connect feature is supposed to deliver a conduit between a paired smartphone and the Nextbase device. You are meant to remotely access content either live or by downloading recorded videos from the Nextbase unit via a high speed WiFi connection set up by MyNextbase Connect. While WiFi may have been high speed, the connection set up was certainly not. Even when one was established, the resulted were extremely flaky even when both devices were in close proximity. Attempting to view live action or download a captured video resulted in the WiFi connection process being restarted
Checking to see if the problems encountered might be smartphone related, I opted to use another smartphone. The Dash Cam would only proceed with the pairing if the original smartphone had been depaired first. Even then it struggled a little before it eventually accepted the replacement pairing. The previously noted problems, relating to a live feed and downloading video, disappeared and I was happy with he results.
Nextbase has also followed the route adopted by other companies of integrating Alexa support into their latest range. This feature will allow you to communicate between the Dash Cam and Alexa device in order to play music and ask for direction and other information. Unfortunately I do not have Alexa as part of my system and could not test this feature. The 322GW Dash Cam does come with an option to receive a 25% discount by taking out car insurance with Sure Thing!
While I was impressed with the performance and features offered by the 322GW Dash Cam. I do have reservation regarding the set-up proceed and the issues I encountered when using one smartphone.
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