Dash cam review: Nextbase 522GW vs 622GW

There’s a £100 price difference between Nextbase’s top dash cams. Does the top tier 622GW earn its price tag?

Nextbase 522GW vs 622GW Review

by Chris Williams |

Nextbase produces superb top-end dash cams. Its more affordable range has to work very hard to compete with all the budget options out there – plenty of which offer impressive specification for low prices. But above the £150 price range, Nextbase really stands out. The 522GW and range-topping 622GW units offer a level of build quality, specification, and technical innovation that competitors do not seem to be able to match.

But £100 separates the 522GW and 622GW, and we wonder if the 622GW is really worth the extra. That’s why we’ve put together this back-to-back test.

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
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

Usability

Nextbase 522GW front close up
©Parkers

The two dash cams approach ergonomics and usability in much the same way. Both have very impressive build quality, you can feel that the moment you lift them from the box. However, it must be said that the 522GW’s brushed metal front plate looks more attractive than the 622GW’s plain dark grey.

In the boxes, the bits are all the same. You get the Click&Go PRO GPS mount; alternative suction mount; USB cable; car power cable; 3M adhesive pad; and a cable fitting tool that looks like a shoehorn. As a paper-saving measure that we really admire, both come with a small quick-start guide, but also a QR code that sends you to the full instructions on the Nextbase website.

In terms of size, the 522GW is slightly thinner and a little lighter.

Nextbase 622GW Connect Menu Screen
©Photo: Parkers

The 522GW and 622GW are equally easy to navigate because they both bear the same three-inch touchscreen. It’s a smooth and responsive screen on both and Nextbase has resisted the temptation to fill the screen with all available options. Instead, it appoints two, three, or four icons to a screen. Swipe to see more.

Setup is equally easy for both. On startup, follow the prompts (language, time zone, etc.) Ordinarily, you would use the 3M adhesive as a permanent windscreen grip, but we opted to use the suction cup to see if these notoriously useless things were any good here. We are delighted to report they worked brilliantly. Also, both models hide nicely behind the rearview mirror and out of sight of the driver.

To attach the mounting to the dash cams, you simply clamp it to the marvellous magnetic insert. It works an absolute treat.

On balance, the 522GW is shaping up the better bet so far.

Specification and connectivity

Closeup of Nextbase 522GW lens
©Photo: Parkers

There are a couple of differences here, but the crucial features are the same for both models. You get the same aforementioned three-inch HD touchscreen on both dash cams and the same six-layer f1.3 lens with 140° wide angle.

Both dash cams have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity and are both compatible with the MyNextbase app. From the app, you can activate the voice-controlled Alexa Built-In to not only control the dash cam, but play music, make a call, and all the other usual things Alexa can do. With this app, there is also an AutoSync function that sends videos to your phone via Bluetooth.

Nextbase 622GW Driver Assistance Menu screen
©Photo: Parkers

In regards to safety, both dash cams feature Nextbase’s Emergency SOS. Again, this works in tandem with your phone. If the dash cam detects a crash, it sends a notification to your phone. If the notification times out, it sends an SOS alert to emergency services who are also sent your GPS location and medical details that you plugged in when you signed up. Yes, signed up - this is a subscription-based service.

What does the 622GW have that the 522GW doesn’t? It has what3words built in, which works with the GPS to provide an even more precise location for emergency services. Alternatively, in a less perilous situation, you can let other people know where you are for a meet-up.

At this point, it still seems like the 522GW is the better option.

Video and recording

Nextbase 522GW mounted on windscreen
©Photo: Parkers

There is a noticeable difference in performance between the 522GW and 622GW here. The 522GW records in excellent 1440p HD at 30fps – that’s better than anything at that price. However, it cannot match the 622GW’s 4K at 30fps. The 622GW can also record at 1440p at up to 60fps, or 1080p at 120fps for super slow-motion footage.

In fairness, there is no disparaging the 522GW’s recording quality. It can still capture number plates clearly and show the action frame by frame. But the 622GW has a couple more features in its arsenal than the 522GW doesn’t. The 622GW has Enhanced Night Vision gained from software tweaks and sensor improvement, and Extreme Weather Mode that lets the 622GW pick up number plates even in mist.

The 622GW also has image stabilisation. This may sound brilliant, and it is if you’re driving on a loose surface gravel road. On the road, it doesn’t make a noticeable difference. Watching the recording from the 522GW, we did not think that the video quality was compromised because it was too jiggly. Therefore, it’s entirely circumstantial as to whether you will find the image stabilisation of any value. If you are frequently driving on loose shingle roads, you’d be better off with the 622GW. If you don’t, then stick with the 522GW.

Both dash cams are compatible with the rearview camera. It attaches via HDMI and we were sceptical as to whether it would actually work because it looks through the rear window, rather than being placed above the rear number plate. To our surprise, it did rather well, even through the Peugeot 208’s heavily tinted rear window. You do have to keep the window clean, of course.

If you are wondering about windscreen glare and reflections, both of these dash cams have a polarising filter. It works by turning a bezel on the tip of the lens. You adjust it until the recorded image through the windscreen is uninterrupted and clear.

It is in this section that the 622GW is finally starting to make sense of its higher price tag.

Verdict

It ultimately comes down to whether the extra gizmos on the 622GW are worth it to you. 4K video; Enhanced Night Vision; Extreme Weather Mode; Image Stabilisation; and what3words. You will find value in these features and the 622GW if you drive a lot and on a range of roads and conditions. However, if you only really undertake the commute, school run, round trip to the shops, and the odd weekend trip away, you’re unlikely to benefit from them. In which case, the 522GW is perfect for you - it has the high recording quality and features you need.

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
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

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