Nextbase has long been at the forefront of advanced dash cam tech, and its latest Nextbase 622GW model comes positively packed with the latest video recording smarts.
For a start, the 622GW features a new Ambarella H22 quad-core chipset, which lets you capture pin-sharp 4K footage at 30fps. Better still, the firm has installed a removable polarizing filter, which allows drivers to rotate a bezel on the front of the lens to produce beautiful, glare-free footage.
The Nextbase 622GW is available now in the UK, priced at £249, and “coming soon” to the US, where it will cost $399.99. It will also be available in Australia; we don’t have a release date yet, but Nextbase says it will cost AU$500-$600.
When recording in normal, well-lit situations, the resulting 4K clips are up there with basic GoPro offerings, and it’s extremely easy to slow playback down to 120fps via a Super Slow Motion setting.
This is particularly useful for snaring a license plate during a hit-and-run incident, or capturing individual frames during an accident, for example.
There’s also an option to add a rear camera module that films at 1080p/30fps, but this is sold separately. On a positive note, this doesn’t require an irritatingly long wire dangling from the rear window because it neatly plugs into the side of the 622GW.
You interact with the Nextbase 622GW via a sharp, three-inch full-color rear touchscreen display that features small icons for navigating the various menu screens. These can be a little fiddly to locate, especially when you’re driving (not advised), while the touchscreen requires obvious digit swipes before it recognizes the command.
Alternatively, there’s the option to link Amazon Alexa voice control to the 622GW via the accompanying MyNextbase Connect app, which is available for both iOS and Android devices. Once the two pieces of software are linked, you can simply say, “Alexa, ask my dash cam to take a picture” and the camera will oblige. It generally works well, although if you’re in a noisy vehicle Alexa can have trouble recognizing commands.
Nextbase also now offers an upgrade to its coveted EmergencySOS feature in this camera, thanks to the addition of what3words geocoding.
Emergency and breakdown services are increasingly looking to the innovative geocode system to provide help faster, as the technology can precisely pinpoint a location within three meters of a stricken vehicle, for example.
How does what3words work? If you find yourself in a remote area, this GPS alternative will let you precisely locate yourself, though you'll still need to make a phone call for help. For more serious incidents, there's also EmergencySOS, which can apparently work on very low data connection speeds (GPRS, or under 0.1Mbit/s).
Customers in all territories receive a year’s free trial of this EmergencySOS feature, but you’ll need to pay a subscription after that period.
Regardless, most of us carry a mobile phone these days, meaning EmergencySOS can be used with the accompanying app, and thanks to dual 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi, cameras now tether to said app with fewer issues than previous Nextbase cams – although these issues haven’t been ironed out completely.
Previous generations of Nextbase dash cams have been massively frustrating to use, often failing to provide a stable connection to transfer still images and video between phone and camera, but things have improved. The set-up process is still a little fiddly and time-consuming, and the Wi-Fi connection between devices sometimes fails, but we managed to retrieve some imagery and footage after a few attempts.
It is, however, much simpler to plug the camera into a laptop or PC to access the footage, and playback is far slicker this way. We could imagine the app and its connection issues becoming frustrating to use if you were desperately trying to review footage directly after an incident, and this is something Nextbase, in our opinion, needs to address.
But otherwise, the 622GW is an extremely easy camera to set up and use. Its 140-degree viewing angle isn’t the most extreme on the market, but it easily captures everything through the windscreen, and both its low-light and extreme weather recording modes, which use clever algorithms to improve the quality of the image, are great for capturing crisp footage in difficult situations.
New image stabilization technology also does its bit to ensure buttery smooth footage, cleverly soaking up bumps and vibrations from potholes or poor road surfaces.
The improvements in sensor and processor technology means the resulting files are large, and Nextbase suggests investing in a 128GB U3 SD card, which isn’t supplied with the unit. These cost around $25 / £30 / AU$45, but opting for anything smaller will seriously restrict recording times.
Like most cameras on the market, the 622GW features a built-in G-Sensor, which will automatically save footage to the device if it detects a bump or crash. The sensitivity of this can be adjusted via the touchscreen display, but there’s also a handy Parking Mode that will automatically record footage if the G Sensor is activated, even when the camera isn’t drawing power.
The Nextbase 622GW is a clever little unit that now produces fantastic footage. Granted, the Nextbase app isn’t the easiest to use, but Alexa and what3words integration work extremely well, and have the potential to increase safety out on the road.
Should you buy the Nextbase 622GW?
Buy it if...
You want to feel safe
The what3words integration is very clever, and has the ability to pinpoint a location and send it on to the emergency services in an instant. With more breakdown services using the tech, it could also speed up the time it takes to get you back on the road.
You like crystal-clear footage
The new quad-core processor and six-layer f/1.3 lens team up to snare some truly impressive 4K footage. Drop this down to 1080p and it’s possible to review footage in slick 120fps slow motion – prefect for catching hit-and-run sneaks.
You appreciate simplicity
Footage is automatically stored if the camera detects a prang, but manually storing clips is as simple as hitting a big red button on the rear of the unit. Alternatively, use the built-in Amazon Alexa Skill and record clips with your voice.
Don't buy it if...
Smartphone apps annoy you
Connection between smartphone (Apple iPhone in this case) and the 622GW wasn’t great – we often failed to establish a Wi-Fi connection. You’re better off plugging the unit into a laptop or PC.
You require rear-window recording (out of the box)
There are competitor cameras in this price bracket that feature a built-in rear-view camera. The footage generally isn’t as good, but it does ensure you have all bases covered without the extra expenditure on additional modules. Nextbase does, though, offer add-on modules if you want to add this to the 622GW.
You want something discreet
The 622GW is by no means a large camera, but it is bigger than some of the diminutive recording devices that are currently available. The excellent video quality goes some way to explain this, and the rear touch screen is very handy.