Dash cams - which as the name suggests - are dashboard-mounted cameras to record what’s happening in the front of your car, though increasingly dash cams are being installed as rear-facing too. The purpose is to capture accurate evidence in the event of an accident or incident. Most likely this is a motor vehicle accident involving your own vehicle, proving that what might have looked like you carelessly rear-ended the car in front was actually caused by them suddenly changing lanes without indicating, for example.
However, dash cams have also become increasingly important in capturing other events external to your own vehicle. For example, the Chelyabinsk meteor in Russia, National Airlines Flight 102 crash in Afghanistan and even the horrendous road-rage incident where a man brutally beat a female driver in China.
Dash cams have also become part of mainstream popular culture, through the likes of the Dash Cams Owners Australia Facebook group where interesting footage of terrible driving skills is showcased.
If you do not have a dash cam you seriously should consider that it could be the instrument one day which helps you in an insurance case, or that provides a vital clue to help the police crack a case. The evil abduction in June 2018 of an 11-year-old girl in Newcastle, NSW was solved with the aid of dash cam footage.
Nothing bad may ever happen to you and that's the best outcome. Though as we all know, driving isn’t purely about your own skill and vigilance - you are also trusting strangers to be similarly in control of their multi-ton high-speed tubes. Just like we pay insurance wanting to never use it, so too a dash cam is a wise investment for a one-off price.
To me, it's not a question of whether you need a dash cam but simply which model to choose. Prices vary from under a hundred dollars to multiple hundreds of dollars, but skimping on quality will only hurt you when your car crash defence relies on dark, grainy footage from a cheap camera.
The model is so advanced four-time Bathurst 1000 winner Greg Murphy said, “when driving in NZ or Aus you need to be prepared for the most extreme and changeable driving conditions. This latest model Dashcam by Nextbase excels in every situation especially in the dark of night - it really is a game-changer in this space.”
Enhanced night vision delivers larger pixels and automatic brightness detection and adjustment so the device records clearly no matter how bright the day, or dark the night, is. Image stabilisation cancels out vibrations from bumpy roads as well as the vehicle itself.
The SOS feature runs through 23 protocols to determine how serious an impact has been when it occurs. It prompts the driver to respond and if no response is received within 60 seconds it alerts an operations centre who tries to contact the driver. If still no response is received the triple zero emergency services will be dispatched with relevant information including location data, travelling direction, blood type and next-of-kin details. The what3words system geocodes the driver’s location to a precise three-metre radius. This has never been used before in a dash cam but in the event of emergency massively eliminates uncertainty and saves precious emergency responder time. While the dash cam is a one-off purchase, the emergency SOS feature is a subscription service though a free trial period is offered.
The 622GW doesn't stop when the car does; using G-Force detection it will begin recording if someone bumps your vehicle.
iTWire took the Nextbase 622GW 4K dash cam for a test drive - quite literally - and found it a delight to install and operate. There was no need to lick a suction pad and hope it stays on the windscreen; instead, the unit includes an adhesive pad and magnetic mount. It simply stuck and clamped on. We didn’t come back to the car on a hot day finding the dash cam had fallen onto the seat or footwell; it remained in place but was easily removed if needed.
The device uses a memory stick to record video and you can remove this and insert it into a computer, but you can also - and more easily - review your dash cam footage on the free iOS and Android companion applications. Find the video you want to save, download it to your phone and then send it wherever you like. You can also upgrade the device firmware, change settings, manage the SOS feature and perform other actions. While driving you can press a red button on the dash cam to immediately mark footage as interesting, and these items auto-download when you connect the phone app. You can choose to stamp videos with location, date and time, car registration and other details.
iTWire's experience with the 622GW was this is truly a next-generation dash cam offering tremendous video capture, effortless setup and ongoing use, and undoubtedly worth every cent should you be in the unfortunate position of being in a motor vehicle accident.
In fact, the only gripe iTWire could find at all was during initial setup we were prompted for the country we were in, out of four options, none of which included Australia. This was no obstacle, merely setting the timezone in the next step, and from then letting GPS satellites handle the clock. Perhaps a future firmware update will change this, but while it was initially disconcerting it was dealt with in mere moments.
Happily, iTWire did not experience any motor vehicle accidents, though did witness several examples of careless or distracted drivers failing to indicate, failing to stop at stop signs or give way to the right at roundabouts. You can see the camera footage here, keeping in mind YouTube has downgraded the 4K footage to HD and SD formats. Even so, the range of view and clarity of the image is evident.
The Nextbase 622GW dash cam is a smart purchase at any time, but with Christmas coming up it could well be a great gift for the drivers in your life.
“With so many Aussie's and Kiwi’s hitting the roads in the coming months, more so with international travel being off the table, it’s going to be even more important to pay attention and be vigilant while driving - especially those who haven’t spent much time behind the wheel in the past few months,” Murphy said.
“As we approach the festive end of the year, we understand that lots of Aussies and Kiwis will want to hit the roads and spend precious time with their families - it’s our job to give them the tools they need in order to keep themselves protected, especially if driving occurs at night. Reducing anxiety for drivers by ensuring every part of their journey is documented has never been easier, following the release of the 622GW," said Richard Browning, Director of Nextbase.
As a launch special, the 622GW Dash Cam will include a free Go Pack and a rearview camera. The 622GW Dash Cam has an RRP of AU $549.95 / NZ $599.99 RRP from Reps and Camera House in Australia, Harvey Norman in New Zealand and Nextbase online.