I was contacted recently by Nextbase to see if I was interested in trying out their 412GW dash cam and blogging my thoughts. Until recently I hadn’t given a dash cam much thought until I saw something very odd at a junction. Driving home a few months ago I heard a screech of tyres and the sound of a skid. As I looked over there were two cars stopped awkwardly on the junction. The car that skidded was the car behind but the driver managed to avoid hitting the car in front. The car in front sped off with another tyre squeal as the driver behind got out. I put it down to road rage and drove home, but a couple of days later a family friend said that there were reported cases of ‘crash for cash’ happening in Telford and it dawned on me that was probably what had happened the other day.
I drive a Land Rover Discovery 3 which is big and heavy, you never know what these desperadoes will do, but if they try and brake check me my Disco will likely just drive over the top of them. So they would be pretty stupid to try it on with me, but anyone who thinks that it’s OK to earn a living scamming people like this are from the swamp end of the gene pool anyway.
It doesn’t matter what car you drive, there are still those people on the road who insist on driving without care. We were on the way back from a camp site and this happened, watch the video opposite.
I understand why the guy raced to get infront of me, I was pulling a 26ft caravan and for him to get onto the motorway safely he would have had to slow down – and that would have inconvenienced him…. bless.
I’d heard very good things about Nextbase, so I was delighted to be offered a test unit. A lot of my fellow bloggers and vloggers have video of their travels so it seemed sensible to combine the positivity of being able to prove what happened on the road with excellent video quality.
I’ve now had the dash cam in the car for a couple of weeks and to be honest I have forgotten about it. It’s unobtrusive and truly is one of those things you ’set and forget’. It’s so unobtrusive that even my kids didn’t even spot it was there (OK the Land Rover rear mirror is pretty huge and hides most things) but my kids spot ‘EVERYTHING’! I did have a panic the other day and had to pull the card just to see if it had recorded anything – it had of course but it just stays out of the way unless you need it. This is exactly how technology in the car should be, the less fuss the better. Nextbase have taken the ‘less fuss’ idea to heart because the installation of the unit is a dream, you can do it one of two ways, Easy or VERY Easy!
The Very Easy Installation
In the box you get a powered GPS suction mount, a 12v charging cable and the dash cam, also included is a ‘sticky’ mount and a USB cable, instructions and a CD. Installation is simplicity itself, apply the suction cup to your windscreen and plugin the 12v cable (run the cable to your cigarette lighter socket and plugin), click the dash cam into the magnetic mount (see more ‘less fuss’) and….. drive off. Yes it’s as simple as that. The 412GW wakes up as you move, latches onto the satellite signal, registers your position, speed, direction, time of day and records what you can see out of the windscreen. If you never have an accident (and I hope you don’t) or never have to produce the footage for the Police, then in theory you will never need to touch the dash cam ever again. The software can be configured in many ways and there are plenty of reviews that show you how to do this but there is nothing taxing about it.
Just going back to the magnetic connector, this method of connecting means that should you want to remove the dash cam all you have to do is pull and it releases from the mount. Power is connected to the mount and is supplied to the dash cam through the magnetic connection which is a genius idea. There is no messing around with the USB to power it back up, just click it back into place.
One gotcha that I did encounter was this, I switched on the parking motion detector, this is the setting that wakes the dash cam up if it registers a jolt to the car whilst it’s stationary. The cam then records a 3 minute video and saves it to the protected folder. This setting should only be on if you are leaving the car parked up for a length of time, and should not be on when driving normally. I had turned it on and found that the cam would only record for 3 minutes and then shut off, even though I was still driving. A quick chat to tech support put me right and now the cam is working perfectly.
The Easy Installation
If like me you hate to have cables trailing everywhere then the cable up to the dash cam from the cigarette lighter will annoy you. So what I did was I ordered the Nextbase Hardwire Kit so I could do a neat job of fitting the 412GW. Connections are easy, there are just two wires and the supplied fuse link make it a doddle to do.
The hardest part is the first bit, you need to feed the cable up through the dash and out next to the A pillar. On my Land Rover the fuse board is behind the glove box, so I was able to pull the glove box down and stick my head in to see up into the void. Fortunately for me there was a gap right where I wanted the cable to go, so working from the top, I poked a stiff wire through and located it in the void. I did this so I could tape on the micro USB end of the power cable and pull it up through the dash along side the A pillar. Next I fitted the suction cup as normal and pulled plenty of cable through and connected the hardwire USB cable to the mount. Now with a trim tool (or the end of a spoon) I eased the head liner back so I could tuck the cable in behind, working all along until I got to the A pillar (you will need to work either left or right depending on where you fuse box is). I then worked down the A pillar trim, again easing the trim back a little to tuck the cable behind. Don’t force the trim, you only need it to move 5mm or so to get the cable in. Doing this you should now have a neatly installed power cable with it’s one end in the void behind the dash. The next bit of the install is dependant on where your fuse board is, you may have to get the cable into the engine bay to be able to make your connection, but for me everything was there ready. The dash cam would normally work off the cigarette lighter socket so I had to identify the fuse that protects that circuit, once I found it, I pulled the fuse out. The Nextbase Hardwire Kit comes with two sizes of fuse links which will fit 99% of cars (check yours before buying). The fuse link is a clever little ‘jumper’ that means the one connection can have two fuses linked into it. This negates the need to find a live feed that’s only active with the ignition and also the need to splice into it to get the power. The fuse link takes both your original fuse and the supplied Nextbase fuse and you simply push the link into the position of the fuse you removed. A simple snap together connector now connects the power cable and the live side of the install is now done.
Next I had to find a suitable earth, this needed to be a bare metal bolt or screw that could be loosened so I could slip the negative connector behind and then tighten it up again. The connection needs to be into the metal frame of the car to create the complete circuit.
Installation done, it took about 30mins in all to do. All that was left was to cable tie the loose cables to make a neat loom and to push the glove box back into position. Now I really do have a ‘set and forget’ setup!
The video quality of the 412GW is exceptional, number plates and road signs are completely legible and the 1440p video is colourful, balanced and it handles turning into bright sunlight really well. This model has WiFi so it’s easy to connect the Smart Phone app. The SD slot is compatible with cards up to 32gb. This is a superb piece of kit all round and for peace of mind when you are on the road it is essential. The ease of install and use of the Nextbase dash cams makes these models the perfect choice for anyone and as they are readily available from high street shops and online store there is almost no reason not to buy one!