Fixing a dash cam inside your car’s windscreen is useful for so many reasons - and not just so that you have vital evidence at your fingertips in the event of a crash.
Proving it was the other motorist who jumped the traffic lights or swerved into your lane while you were driving like an angel could make all the difference in a tricky insurance claim, or potential police prosecution.
Dash cams are also great for capturing YouTube footage revealing the lunatic antics of other road users. They make you drive like a saint too; just knowing it’s there - recording your every move - is enough to make you think twice before doing something silly.
There’s a further reason for having a dash cam; clicking the ‘capture’ button after someone cuts you up in London traffic is a great way of getting even. You don’t need to do anything with the ‘evidence’ - somehow just capturing the outrageous moment makes you feel better.
Bristling with technology
There’s probably no better way to achieve all of the above than with market leader NextBase’s latest, flagship product, the not inexpensive 622GW. Not only does it have a neater, more compact appearance than preceding models and a better, more secure mounting bracket (with adhesive or sucker options), it’s positively bristling with useful technology.
Crammed into the unit measuring around 94mm x 45mm (size is important, you don’t want to block off your windscreen) are several advances, the most obvious of which is its ability to record in 4K at 30fps. It’s not essential to have that degree of resolution but it can’t hurt, and in a post-crash situation, the better the clarity of the images, the easier is to work out what actually happened.
Connected to your desktop computer or smartphone, the ‘film’ quality is extremely high - just as it is on the crystal-clear touchscreen on the reverse of the unit.
Follow us in slo-mo
The 622GW packs GPS, so that the time stamp includes a precise location; useful, again, for insurance or police inquiries. It’s also wi-fi enabled, so that you can connect to the NextBase app on your phone, giving you more control over the unit, and the ability to view footage on a larger screen. The slow-motion function is handy too for analysing exactly what happened before, during and after an encounter on the road. You can use it on the MyNextbase Connect app on your smartphone or MyNextbase Player on a computer
Making the 622GW even more useful - for those who want all angles covered - a rear-view unit can be added, although this has to be bought separately for around £49. It seems NextBase have thought of everything; if the unit, connected to the app in your phone, detects a serious impact - and the driver is unresponsive - Nextbase Emergency SOS even alerts the emergency services to your location.
Bumps in the road
Other clever features include the addition of the what3words system, as an alternative to GPS for pinpointing your vehicle’s position, and image stabilisation, which smooths out footage on bumpy roads; essential in London with its potholes and speed bumps.
Intelligent Parking Mode ‘guards’ your car at the roadside too, if the G Sensor is armed; useful if you’re concerned that your car might be side-swiped by a careless delivery driver, and you want to identify the culprit.
Another useful feature is the unit’s polarising filter, to cut glare from the windscreen (you simply rotate the front lens until you obtain the clearest image), along with enhanced night vision and ‘extreme weather mode’, which allow the unit to record effectively even in low-light and poor visibility conditions.
The 622GW also comes with Amazon Alexa voice control although I found this tricky to use in a noisy car with the radio playing, and quickly forgot it was there. Likewise, I found that installing and using the app was a little clunky; I prefer to let the dash cam get on with its business without the distraction of using my phone. When I want to view or store the captured images, I simply plug the SD card into my PC, which seems more straightforward.
For those who like simplicity, the good news is that the unit - which records continuously while in use - saves potentially crucial footage automatically if you brake harshly, or if the sensor detects an impact. In addition, there’s an easily reached red button on the button edge of the unit, that can be pushed, to capture footage; useful in the event of a near-miss.
Search online and you’ll find the 622GW priced from around £225, which is a lot of money for a dash cam, considering that lower-specification, lower quality devices can be found from around £30. If all you require is a basic, relatively low-resolution recording, go for a cheaper model. If you don’t mind paying for high quality - and enjoy the benefit of clever, reassuring, built-in gizmos - the 622GW is hard to beat.