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Dashboard cameras are slowly becoming a must-buy for every driver, the manufacturers are even making the question “ should I get a dashboard camera” even easier by making better cameras at a lower price. There are a lot of great cameras on the market right now, and the Nextbase 522gw is one of them, which is the subject in today’s review.

Basic Features

Nextbase certainly made some noise with it’s new Series 2 cameras, they are including new features that have not been seen before in the dashcam world. The most notable is the Alexa integration that allows voice control and the emergency SOS that’s designed to inform emergency services to come in your aid if you had an accident.

Here are some of the basic features that the 522gw comes with. The dashboard camera has a built-in GPS (10Hz), Wi-Fi, and CPL filter. You could also connect your smartphone and share footage through Bluetooth 4.2. Connecting your phone through the Bluetooth feature is also called AutoSync. You can do that by installing MyNextbase Connect app on your Android or iPhone, and the camera will automatically connect to your smartphone if you follow the instructions on the screen. The format of the videos is Mp4 and it’s stored on the micro-SD memory card. The 522gw supports micro-SD memory cards up to 128GB. It supports loop recording, but you can turn it off and on. It has an operating temperature of -20C to 45C, which is 32F to 113F, but the recommended long term storage temperature is from 0C to 25C or 32F to 72F.

Interface

The Nextbase 522gw interface is simple and sophisticated, it has a 3” touch screen that allows you to operate it easily, below the display there’s a large button marked with a thick red line and the Nextbase logo. The function of the button is to save the previous 10 seconds and the upcoming 20 seconds of footage to a protected folder on the memory card so it won’t get overwritten. Besides this button, there are the power button and 2 buttons used for scrolling through the menu. The 522gw is smaller than it’s predecessor the 512gw, making it easier to blend in the windshield. It might not look very attractive with its plain black design, but it’s meant to be that way since plain black designs draw less attention. The measurements of the 522gw are 94mm x 53mm x 45mm.

Intelligent Parking Mode 

An intelligent parking mode is an option that can be selected through the menu on the 522gw, this is one of the great features that the 522gw has. As soon as you park your car and the ignition is turned off, the dashboard camera will automatically switch into parking mode by shutting down everything except the G-sensor. Also, the sensitivity of the G-sensor is drastically increased in parking mode. With only the G-sensor turned on, the power consumption is incredibly low using only the internal battery. The G-sensor will detect any bump or know to your car for over a week. If the G-sensor registers movement in front of the car or someone bumped your car, it will turn on and record for 30 seconds. 

Emergency SOS

In an event of an accident, where the driver is unconscious or unresponsive the Emergency SOS comes in as the most important new feature. It alerts the local emergency services with your location and details. The way that the emergency SOS works is when it detects an accident the system goes through an anti-false positive process. If this process completes the phone enters into beacon mode, and then if the phone remains still or is unanswered, then the system sents out an emergency alert. The alert contains your current location, but it can include some personal details like your blood type, medical history, and allergies. If you get into an accident and there’s no one around to help you, then this new feature can save your life.

Integration with Alexa

The integration with Alexa is a new and exciting feature, but it’s totally optional. All you have to do is install the corresponding app on your phone and you can use it just like Amazon device. This option allows you to access features like asking for directions, making phone calls, playing music, or simply find you a parking spot. The Alexa application essentially works on your phone, the dashboard cam acts like an intermediary, but it makes things easier since you don’t have to handle your phone while driving. The 522gw also has a dual noise-canceling microphone that picks up voice commands with ease. Nextbase also said that they are currently working on an update that will allow you to control the dashcam with your voice, giving it commands like “take a picture” or “save this video”. When the update comes out all you have to do is update your firmware.

Video Quality

The video quality is the most important feature of any dashboard camera, and thankfully the 522gw excels in this particular. The maximum resolution of the 522gw is 1440p at 30 frames per second or you could use the 1080p with 60 frames per second. Many people think that the 1080p with 60 fps option is better since the 60fps allow for smoother video quality and can capture license plates easier. Also, the camera is more sensitive at 1080p. The video quality during the day is excellent, it might be better to use the 1440p option when you are driving during the day since it provides better image quality, and change to 1080p during the night, due to it’s higher light sensitivity. With the video comes a stamp that shows your location, the time, and the current speed. Although those features can be toggled with, meaning you can disable some or enable more. The 522gw also has audio to follow with the video, but it can be muted or disabled.

Rear Camera Modules

An interesting optional feature is the rear camera modules. This allows you to install three types of different rear cameras to your vehicle. The camera’s name is surely a mouthful, it’s called the NBDVRS2RWC. The NBDVRS2RWC is a little camera in the shape of a ball, that u can fixate on the rear window. Although the rear camera is connected to the main camera and it can’t function on its own. You can also install a module that records the passenger cabin, this is useful in taxi or Uber drivers. If you consider getting the passenger recording camera, keep in mind that it doesn’t support infrared. This is important because while driving at night your footage of the passenger cabin won’t be so detailed and with somewhat low quality. There are some better options on the market for a passenger cabin camera. The third module zooms or records on the rear window. The third module is similar to the NBDVRS2RWC. 

Pros

  • Impressive image quality
  • Exciting new features
  • Built-in GPS and Wi-Fi
  • Perfect size 

Cons

  • The menu system looks a little outdated
  • Low operating temperature
  • Some find the design too simple

FAQ

Is it easy to install?

The Nextbase 522gw is very easy to install since the technicians from Nextbase made it as easy as possible for the camera to fit. The car power cable is connected through the cigarette lighter socket straight into the mount, therefore leaving the dashcam completely wireless and easy to move in and out of position.

Does the Nextbase 522gw record sound?

Yes, the Nextbase 522gw records audio to compliment the video recording, it also has a built-in speaker and microphone. The sound might come in handy when an accident is occurring. The audio recording can also be easily muted or disabled trough the camera’s menu settings.

Can the 522gw connect to my smartphone?

You can connect your smartphone to the 522gw or any other Series 2 dashboard camera. These models have built-in Wi-Fi that enables you to download the footage from the camera directly to your smartphone. You could also download the Nextbase app from the Apple store or Android device store and connect your camera to it.

Where does the footage on the 522gw get stored?

The recorded footage from the 522gw gets stored on the micro-SD memory card. The 522gw supports up to 128GB micro-SD memory cards which means it could store as much as 12 hours of footage. It’s recommended you get a 128GB memory card with high speed so your footage won’t get overwritten.

Conclusion

In summary, we must say that the Nextbase 522gw is a great camera. It provides you with some great footage, no matter if its nighttime or daytime, it has a built-in GPS and Wi-Fi, which makes it very easy to download and edit the footage. Along with the great footage come the additional features like the emergency SOS, the Alexa integration, and the intelligent parking mode. Overall the 522gw is worth every penny, it’s no surprise that Nextbase is the UK’s number one dashboard camera brand, with their reliable cameras at a reasonable price.