The best high-tech dash cams

Budget dash cams offer functionality, high-tech dash cams offer top video quality and smart technology.

Tbest high-tech dash cams

by Chris Williams |

Dash cams ultimately serve the basic purpose of being a witness to and providing indisputable proof of car accidents. They can also reduce your insurance premiums, depending on your provider.

Budget dash cams under £50 perform these tasks very well, so what is fair to question what is the point of more expensive options? That is what we shall delve into here.

Why buy a more expensive dash cam?

Your cheap dash cams bear the acceptable minimum of what a dash cam should offer: 1080p video quality; G-sensor to protect files when sudden movement is detected; and loop recording that keeps the dash cam recording when memory cards get full.

If you are prepared to pay more (increased price does not automatically guarantee top specs) for the right dash cam, you can get units that record in sharper 1440p or even 4K; have GPS location; Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connectivity; Amazon Alexa; or even SOS signals to emergency services in the case of a crash.

Therefore, some dash cams go beyond the requirements of traffic recording and also take on the role of a smart device for your car. This means that they also adopt a more social function, allowing you to capture your road trips in high quality and easily share them with whoever is interested. Bit of a racer? Use one for your track days too, why not?

The best dash cams:

Nextbase 622GW Dash Cam

Gold Award
Nextbase 622GW
Amazon

View offer

The Nextbase 622GW is simply brilliant. We tested it alongside its little sibling, the 522GW and came to the conclusion the 622GW is the dash cam of choice for drivers who do a lot of miles and in a range of environments and conditions.

The reason for this is that in addition to the 4K video quality, there is also Image Stabilisation for gravel roads; Extreme Weather Mode for picking up number plates in fog and driving rain; Enhanced Night Vision, which is fairly self-explanatory; and what3words built in that works with the GPS for very precise location.

We also like that the 622GW essentially turns into a smart device when used with the MyNextbase app. From there you can use Alexa Voice Control to not only control the dash cam, but also other functions such as play music or make a call.

The 622GW has standout build quality and gives better value for money than any of its competitors. It’s advanced, but all the features included are actually useful rather than gimmicks. Nextbase has also recently launched its own car insurance and is offering discounts to owners of its dash cams.

Specifications
Video 4K at 30fps; 1440p HD at 60fps; 1080p HD at 120fps
Screen 3-inch HD touchscreen
Viewing angle 140 degrees
Lens 6-layer f1.3
Image stabilisation Yes
Emergency SOS Yes
GPS Yes
What3words Yes
Alexa voice control Yes
Bluetooth Yes – Bluetooth 5.0
Wi-Fi Yes
Pros Cons
• Best video quality on the market • Rear cam an additional extra
• Great ergonomics
• What3words built in
• Good value

Thinkware Q800 Pro Front and Rear Cam Kit

Silver Award
Thinkware Q800 Pro Front and Rear Cam Kit
Amazon

View offer

Thinkware offers a wonderful all-round package with its Q800 Pro. The flat design sits snug against the windscreen like a limpet on a shipu2019s hull and bears some impressive specification.

It can’t match the Nextbase 622GW’s 4K, but the Q800 Pro still offers 1440p Quad HD at 30fps for crisp video quality. Meanwhile, the rear camera captures video at an impressive 1080p HD. Like the 622GW, the Q800 Pro has software to enhance its night vision and also has GPS for tracking and app connectivity for quickly accessing or sharing footage.

While the Q800 Pro misses out on Alexa and what3words, it can act as a speed camera detector – using its GPS and to alert you of upcoming traffic cameras.

Specifications
Video 1440p HD at 30fps front; 1080p HD at 30fps rear
Screen No screen
Viewing angle 140 degrees
Lens 5.14MP Sony STARVIS
Image stabilisation No
Emergency SOS No
GPS Yes
What3words No
Alexa voice control No
Bluetooth No
Wi-Fi Yes
Pros Cons
• Rear cam included • No 4K video quality
• Speed camera detection
• 1080p rear cam

Nextbase 522GW Dash Cam

Bronze Award
Nextbase 522GW Dash Cam
Amazon

View offer

The Nextbase 522GW makes the podium because, like its big sibling, it offers fantastic build quality, specification, and value for money u2013 but with a few of the features taken out in order to drop the price by £100.

Thus, the 522GW records at 1440p Quad HD at 30fps, which is still very clear and better than anything else at this price. Like the 622GW, it has GPS, a subscription-based Emergency SOS service, and Alexa too. That’s in addition to all the usual features such as the G-sensor, parking mode, polarising filter, and loop recording.

Like the 622GW, it is very well put together and is something you notice the moment you lift it from the box. Aesthetically, it’s the winner here thanks to its brushed metal front plate. It is the perfect dash cam for the driver who undertakes the usual day-to-day tasks and goes on the occasional weekend away because it offers value and relevant features.

Specifications
Video 1440p HD at 30fps; 1080p HD at 60fps
Screen 3-inch HD touchscreen
Viewing angle 140 degrees
Lens 6-layer f1.3
Image stabilisation No
Emergency SOS Yes
GPS Yes
What3words No
Alexa voice control Yes
Bluetooth Yes – Bluetooth 4.2
Wi-Fi Yes
Pros Cons
• Shares many features with the 622GW • No enhanced night vision
• Great ergonomics
• Alexa built in
• Good value

Halfords HDC400 Dash Cam

Best Budget Dash Cam
Halfords HDC400 Dash Cam

View offer

If functional is more your bag, then the tiny unit from Halfords is what you want because it has all the important features for a remarkably low price.

The HDC400 records in 1440p HD and has the widest view angle here at 180°. In addition to a G-sensor, loop recording, and park mode, you still get built-in GPS and Wi-Fi for connection to the MyHDC app.

The HDC400 doesn’t match the 522GW for build quality or specification – that's where the price difference lies – but if you don’t need Alexa and all the other extras the 522GW has, the HDC400 is for you.

If your budget is lower, then consider our favourite budget dash cams that don’t cost more than about £50.

Specifications
Video 1440p HD at 30fps
Screen No screen
Viewing angle 180 degrees
Image stabilisation No
Emergency SOS No
GPS Yes
What3words No
Alexa voice control No
Bluetooth No
Wi-Fi Yes
Pros Cons
• 1440p quality for under £100 • Need to use the app to see how lens is angled
• Tiny
• Wi-Fi and GPS
• Great value

Getting the most from these dash cams

Apart from the video quality, the value in these dash cams is only justified if you use the extra features they have.

You might want to consider getting them hard wired into the car in order to make the most of the parking modes, and also free up your car's 12V power socket. Hardwire kits are about £20 and are easy to do yourself if you are confident. Alternatively, retailers such as Halfords offer professional fitting. Hardwire kits allow the dash cams to keep working when the car is switched off, but have an auto-off function that doesn't let the car battery get below a certain voltage.

Make sure you download the appropriate app. This is the key to fast access to footage, sharing it, and in the case of the Nextbase 622GW and 522GW, making Alexa and the Emergency SOS functions work.

It also helps to get into the habit of formatting the memory card at least once or twice a month. It means you don't run the risk of any precious footage being overwritten.

The Thinkware dash cam comes with a rear cam, the others do not but there are rear cams available for them. We tested the Nextbase rear cam module and found it to work very well and would highly recommend considering it, or the Halfords version for the HDC400. You just need to remember that extra footage takes up more space and you may want to buy a memory card of at least 64GB.

Read next:

The best budget dash cams

The best mirror dash cams

The best breathalysers to keep you safe and legal when driving

Parkers' favourite RFID and Faraday pouches for key fobs

The best radar detector to keep you safe while driving

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us