This NextBase 512G dash cam review is a techy one so, as per usual it’s over to Dave:
So this is the second Dash Cam review that I’ve done. As such I won’t go into all the reasons why you might want a Dash Cam and what benefits there are to owning/using one. If you want to know my thoughts on these things then you can find the first review I did HERE. With that being said if you haven’t read the first review I did then I think we can all agree that being in an accident is horrible. Even ignoring the actual accident, just dealing with the insurance companies is painful at best! In my experience they try their utmost to get you to accept shared liability, because it’s easier for them to do that rather than actually arguing your case. It’s not like you’re paying them for the service is it! Oh…. hang on a minute!
This dash cam is the Next Base 512G. A snappy title I know! It’s a Full HD camera with a 140 degree wide angle lens. If that doesn’t mean anything to you then a semi-circle is 180 degrees, so it records footage from across the whole road in front of you. Full HD is most probably the same resolution as your TV, so it’s recording with decent clarity. The cam also comes with GPS built in, to record location information and to allow the unit to work out how fast you are travelling, so be careful, because that might turn around and bite you after an accident.
It’s also got a polarizing lens. It doesn’t divide opinion in case you were wondering. It reduces glare from the headlights of oncoming traffic, meaning it doesn’t lose the details in darker areas of the video by being overexposed against the brighter bits. That’s handy at night. The lens can be removed if you so wish. It can also be adjusted to counteract any reflections you might get from your windscreen. A fact which I was unaware of for many many days! (Always read the instruction manual!) After I adjusted this lens the reflections were much better controlled and you couldn’t see how filthy my windscreen was any more! (A plus in anyone’s book!) The first thing I do once the cam is recording is adjust the filter to get rid of reflections. The instruction manual suggested using a piece of paper on the dash as a means of doing this. I used a receipt because there’s always one of those in the car!
Back to the unit, it feels solid in the hand but it’s quite wide with a 2.7″ screen on the back that shows you what the unit is recording as it happens. There’s three buttons on either side of the screen and two more on the right hand shoulder of the unit next to the mounting bracket. The two buttons on the shoulder are ‘Power’ and ‘Start/Stop recording’. The buttons next to the screen are a bit more complicated. In all honesty it took me a while to get my head around what they were doing and how to navigate the menu system. It’s not the most intuitive of user interface. Next Base claim that the best settings for use are already programmed in and basically you should leave them alone. In that case all you need to know is that the ‘Hazard warning’ triangle button on the left is used to protect a recording. The cam automatically records over old recordings when you run out of space on the SD card. Speaking of which, this cam doesn’t come with an SD card as standard. Same old same old. I really don’t understand why these things aren’t sold with the product. Luckily the unit we were sent came with an optional accessory pack which had a micro SD card, SD card adapter and protective case for the camera. All very nice and the SD card is class 10 and from a good reputable brand.
The windscreen mount is a suction cup with a lever that increases the vacuum to hold your camera to your windscreen. It’s really strong in practice. I found that even when I’d undone the lever to remove the mount it still took a bit of pushing and pulling to get rid of the residual vacuum. It’s not going to fall off which is the main thing. The camera comes with a long power lead that terminates in a 12v socket for plugging into your car.
The instructions recommend that you place the unit up high centrally on your windscreen behind your rear view mirror. Which is quite different from the position that was recommended with the last Dash Cam. The instructions then suggest routing the power lead up and out of the way behind your sun visor which is quite effective, it moves the hanging cable to the passenger side of the car out of your line of view. I think you could also route the cable behind the closed door of your glove box if you wanted it to look neater but I’m not really bothered with the hanging cable so I’ve left it.
Once your wires are routed out of the way you can plug the plug into your 12v socket. At this point the Dash Cam turns on and automatically starts recording immediately. It records video in 3 minute sections, which when recording in Full HD take up 350Mb for a video so you can easily fill an SD card in no time at all. The cam automatically overwrites any old videos when the SD card is full. I found that my two hours of commuting a day meant that I was over writing the SD card every two days! Luckily if you press the ‘Hazard warning’ button the video it’s recording at that point is stored in a separate folder on the SD card which is called ‘Protected’. The videos in that folder are kept until you delete them.
The recording quality is good. Nice and clear video which captures details like number plates well even in poor conditions. The wide angle lens is noticeable in that your field of view is good. Excellent for catching someone poking their nose out at a junction or such like. Luckily I didn’t crash whilst using the unit but if I had I’m confident it would have caught the incident in more than enough clarity.
Playback of the videos is simple. They are recorded in ‘mov’ format which any computer will play with no bother. You could even transfer them onto your phone and watch them that way if you were so inclined. The cam comes with software for watching the videos. This allows you to access the GPS information and see where you were at the time of the video. Installation of the software was hassle free and once opened you are presented with a easy to use interface for watching the videos.
Alongside the clip you get a Google maps box which shows your location on a map in tandem with the video. There’s also a G force meter which shows your acceleration, braking and cornering forces! Very interesting stuff. For five minutes. I can’t see this feature appealing to many people but it does work which is more than I can say for the last cam I tested.
The only thing bad about the software was a glitch I found occasionally where it would crash if you were trying to open a new clip whilst watching another. It didn’t happen every time but it did on occasion.
I like this unit. It just works straight out of the box, without any annoying features that I felt the need to turn off. The video quality was good which is the main thing for a cam such as this. The settings on the cam were difficult to fathom but if you just plug it in and leave it to do its thing then the result you get are very good. There’s something to be said for it just works without hassle. It isn’t cheap though, retailing at almost £180. Once you add a decent SD card your talking another even more cash. So it’s far more expensive than the last dash cam I tested. I’d say the video footage is better on this unit and it doesn’t have any silly features you’ll turn off anyway. Between the two I’d go for this one. The larger screen, wider recording angle lens and polarizing filter swing it for me. This dash cam stays in my car for now.
*Disclaimer – We were sent the dash cam free of charge for the purposes of review however all thoughts and opinions remain our own*