I used an older Anker dash cam for a long time and finally switched to a current model from Nextbase a few months ago. Today I would like to share with you my experiences with the Nextbase 522GW, a good mid-range model with many features.
Why do I use a dash cam? To have proof just in case. It is not uncommon for the other party or person who caused the accident to simply provide false information, which can be refuted with a dashcam recording. Furthermore, one can also hopefully identify vehicles or people who commit a hit-and-run. Without any hints, you are definitely left at your own expense and have to replace a worn mirror yourself.
Nextbase 522GW: The installation
Modern cars are often equipped with a USB-C connection directly on the rear-view mirror. This is of course practical because you don’t have to lay a long cable. Unfortunately there is no connection there on my small Audi A1, I have to route the cable along the windscreen, over the passenger side to the cigarette lighter. A suitable and sufficiently long cable is included, but I decided on a different solution.
Since I want to connect several devices to the cigarette lighter, I simply use the cable from the old camera. What I don’t understand at all about Nextbase: Why is mini-USB used? That’s a connection from the Stone Age. I would still have accepted Micro-USB, but Mini-USB? Good, since I use a micro-USB cable, luckily I have a suitable mini-USB to micro-USB adapter. I use an adapter on the cigarette lighter that provides several USB-A and USB-C ports. Here there is power for the dash cam and for my MagSafe car holder.
Various brackets are included in the scope of delivery. I chose the mount with 3M adhesive. So the bracket is attached to the windshield, the camera itself is then held magnetically – and that really holds very well. The mini USB port is integrated directly into the bracket. A small disadvantage: the ball joint cannot be fixed, but it remains stable even on rough rides. If you remove the camera, you have to set the correct position again. But that rarely happens, so that’s okay.
Good to know: A MicroSD card is not included. Here you have to make a card yourself, which should also be fast enough. In addition to sufficient storage space, the designations U3/V30 and A2 are important here.
Nextbase 522GW: Good shots
The Nextbase 522GW (G stands for the integrated acceleration sensor and W for integrated WLAN) has a 140 degree wide-angle lens with f1.6 aperture and can record videos in a maximum of 1440p. That’s better than Full HD, but not as good as 4K. For everyday use, in my opinion, the golden mean. When the car is started, the camera is also supplied with power and starts recording automatically. In the settings you can specify whether the camera should record with 1440p and 30 FPS or in 1080p with a maximum of 60 FPS. You can also display the GPS coordinates, your license plate or the speed.
The video quality is really good, even very good during the day. As dusk falls and it gets dark, the image is a little washed out, but license plates can still be made out if they’re not too far away. The camera handles suddenly changing light conditions well. If you drive through a tunnel, for example, everything is automatically adjusted and neither over- nor underexposed.
Each recording can be up to 3 minutes long. I set the limit to 1 minute because downloading files works much faster that way. If you want to export a video from the camera and save it on your smartphone, for example, you can use the myNextbase app to connect to the camera via WiFi and start the download. A Wi-Fi connection is good and fast, but downloading videos isn’t always hassle-free. The speed varies very often and rarely exceeds 3 MB. Unfortunately, there are also frequent disconnections here, even though I don’t move the camera or the smartphone. A more stable connection and higher speeds would be desirable here. If you want to download several clips, you almost have to pack a book to bridge the time. Optionally, you can of course also remove the card from the dashcam and then transfer the videos to the computer at home – but that is much more complex.
Nextbase 522GW: The MyNextbase Connect app
The MyNextbase Connect App (App Store link) provides access to all stored files. You can delete it or just download it. At the same time you can check the firmware and make settings. I find that practical because I have placed my dashcam so closely behind the rearview mirror that it is difficult to operate the touch display. You can also conveniently make all the settings on the iPhone using the app.
Emergency SOS requires a subscription
An extra is the Emergency SOS function. If the dash cam registers an accident, the emergency services are automatically alerted, who are guided directly to the scene of the accident using the GPS coordinates. Before the dash cam automatically reports the accident, there is a countdown that you can stop manually if it was triggered incorrectly. For example, if you are unconscious, the rescue service is automatically informed after the countdown. Emergency SOS costs EUR 3.99 per month, EUR 39.99 for 1 year or EUR 79.99 for 3 years. Modern cars already have such functions from the factory, and manufacturers have been obliged to install the so-called eCall since March 2018.
Parking mode against hit-and-run
If the parking mode is activated and the camera or the acceleration sensor detects a shock, the camera switches on automatically (if the battery still has juice) and records a 3-minute video. Here you have hopefully seen the license plate and ultimately do not have to bear the costs in the event of a hit-and-run. In the settings you can set the sensitivity, I recommend medium here. With Leicht, opening the trunk is enough and the camera takes a picture – it doesn’t have to be.
Nextbase 522GW: My conclusion
After several months I can say: The Nextbase 522GW does a good job. Luckily I haven’t needed the recordings so far, but I’m definitely well prepared for emergencies. The video quality is good, but weakens in dark environments. The mini-USB port is outdated, and this is where Nextbase really needs to rethink, especially considering they call themselves the “world leader in dashcam technology.” The app is easy to use, but downloading videos is a bit tricky.
Overall I’m satisfied. Nextbase simply offers good dash cams and the Nextbase 522GW is a very good mid-range model for me. At Amazon, the dash cam is currently sold for only 182.95 euros, the set with an additional reversing camera is 219.95 euros if you activate the current 30 euro voucher on the product page. You can also watch a test video in 1080p on YouTube.
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