Dash cam technology is becoming more and more common on British roads.
Whether it’s because drivers want to protect themselves from fraudulent insurance claims in the event of an accident, or because they want to have a shot at catching a viral road incident like the skidding bus driver in Edinburgh, the market has responded and there are a plethora of options available to suit every budget.
Nextbase 312GW Deluxe
I tested two from car technology maker Next Base. The first, lower-spec model is the 312GW Deluxe.
With a full HD 1080p capture wide-angle lens it records a good view of the road ahead when mounted properly and is easy to mount. With only six buttons – clearly marked – it is a relatively simple interface, although the simple button layout means a fairly complex series of sub-menus must be navigated to access some of the camera’s more advanced features.
Removing the camera from its mount is simple thanks to a slide-and-clip mechanism and, once you’ve taken the camera indoors to review any footage, you can either remove the micro SD card to slot into a reader, connect via a cable or connect to the camera via WiFi and a smartphone app.
Actually I found using the cable the most convenient of those three options but with many families opting for tablets and smartphones instead of a traditional desktop or laptop computer the app is a smart option.
Image quality from the camera is very good and you can make out number plates and street signs clearly during the day.
In the evenings the quality is reduced significantly – incidents are still clear, and in full-colour, but registrations less so.
At a relatively low price point (RRP £99.99) it’s a good all-rounder that performs well in most real-world circumstances.
Nextbase 412GW Professional
The higher-spec 412GW Professional is more expensive at £129.99 and sits bang in the middle of Nextbase’s nine-strong range of dash cams.
That extra £30 upgrades HD picture quality to 1440p and increases the screen size to three inches rather than 2.7.
The interface is broadly the same as the 312 as are the connectivity options.
Instead of physical buttons though, it’s a flush touch-sensitive screen set-up. It makes the buttons easier to press, although initially I found I was regularly knocking the camera slightly out of alignment if I tried to press them without also holding the other side of the camera.
My coordination improved with practice though and, on balance, I preferred the set-up on this camera to the 312.
Image quality is good, as it is with the cheaper model, and an HDR mode improves the night recording.
Like the other model, it’s a good all-rounder at a relatively low price-point. If improved night performance is important it’s worth spending the extra money, however the improvements are relatively minor and I’d recommend making your decision based on which button interface you prefer.