James StanburySee other accessory reviews written by James Stanbury
With excellent quality images recorded, even at night, the Next Base iN-Car Cam 521G should be a top dashcam – but read our review for the pros and cons
At the top of many people's wish list is a dashcam. The shops and online stores are full of these handy gadgets and they've now proved their worth so much that certain vehicle insurance firms are offering discounted premiums to drivers who use them.
In the unfortunate event of you crashing your motorhome, it could prove pretty expensive if it's someone else's fault but you have no witnesses. Nothing hurts more than injustice! So, get yourself a dashcam to act as an on-board witness just in case you ever need one.
If you haven't already taken the plunge, the good news is that we've taken some of the stress out of choosing the best dashcams for sale in the UK today. We have tested the Transcend DrivePro 220, which costs £129.99, also the Cobra Drive HD CDR900, at £139.99. We tried the Mio MiVue 538 Deluxe, costing £124.99, and the RAC 05, costing £149.99. We considered the Snooper DVR-4HD, at £149.99, the Next Base iN-Car Cam 521G, at £179.99, and the entry-level Cobra CDR 820, at just £64.99. Finally we tested two more unusual products – a front-and-rear-view dashcam, the Blackvue DR650GW-2CH, at £289.99, and the combined sat-nav and dashcam, the Garmin nuviCam LMT-D, £299.00.
In this review we will focus on the Next Base iN-Car Cam 521G, which costs £179.99.
Uncompromising optical clarity seems to be the aim of Next Base. A lens aperture of F1.6 gives unprecedented night-time performance, and this is the first dashcam to have a built-in anti-glare polarising filter. In layman’s terms, this means that the other vehicle's numberplate and actions will be captured in difficult lighting conditions that other cameras simply won’t cope with. The '6G' or 'six-element sharp' lens is made of six layers of glass and has 'WDR', a wide dynamic range. The upshot of all this is that images are saved at 1080p, which is high definition quality. The lens takes in a 140° view, and the imagery is sharp right to the edges. It should capture other drivers changing lanes and advancing from the side – the movements that would be a flash in your peripheral vision when you're driving.
As with other dashcams, there is a G-sensor, which reacts when it senses any impact. The footage surrounding any incident will automatically be recorded and saved safely, rather than being overwritten by further journeys. G-forces on three sides of the vehicle are also recorded and displayed as graphics next to the filmed footage that's been saved. One of the things your insurer will need is the exact location of any crash, so this dashcam saves the GPS data, your speed and location, overlaying the information on Google Maps.
There's a 2.7-inch LED screen so that you can play back the video footage and use menu functions easily. It comes with a 4m lead so you can plug it in to the cigarette lighter socket.
Unfortunately you'll need to buy an SD camera card, of 4GB, 8GB, 16GB or 32GB, to slot in before you can record anything on this dashcam.
|Picture clarity enhanced by||Sony Exmor sensor|
|Picture quality||Six-Element Sharp Lenses|
|G sensor||Detects and protects any crash footage|
|Data saved||3 Axis G forces, GPS location, time, date, speed|
|Wide Dynamic Range (WDR)||Numberplate captured even at night|
|Angle of view||140°|
|Recording speed||30 frames per second|
|Parking mode||Detects motion and automatically records|
|Photo mode||For stills|
|Included||Windscreen suction mount|
|Loop recording||Overwrites non-critical footage|
|Size||11.3cm wide x 6.3cm high x 3.6cm deep|
So, what's our verdict on the Next Base iN-Car Cam 521G?
As brilliant as the 521G is, the field of view is narrower than many rival dashcams – which is at odds with the no-compromise ethos of the unit.
Also, while GPS is used for speed and positional logging, there are few extra features. Even the camera's SD memory card and AV lead have to be purchased separately. We've awarded it a three-star rating, compared to the rival dashcams reviewed here.
- Good image quality
- Excellent night vision
- Rivals offer wider-angled lenses
- Camera SD card not included