The best dash cam manufacturers are always looking for ways to differentiate themselves. Not satisfied with just providing good-quality video recording, advanced safety features have been added over the last few years. Now Nextbase’s 422GW is introducing another new ability that we haven’t seen before in a dash cam – Alexa connectivity.
Nextbase is adding this ability to a number of its models, but the 422GW offers Alexa functionality at a particularly keen sub-$200 price. Allied with 1440p / 2.5K video resolution, WiFi connectivity and a built-in GPS, this dash cam looks like it packs in a huge amount for the money.
Nextbase 422GW: Features
- Up to 2.5K video recording
- Amazon Alexa support built in
- G sensor for collision detection and looped recording
Resolution: 2.5K 2,560 x 1,440 maximum resolution
Screen: 2.5-inch LCD display
Additional Safety Features: G-sensor for detecting incidents
The Nextbase 422GW has a solid video recording specification. Its top resolution is 2.5K, which equates to 2,560 x 1,440 pixels, and it can capture this at 30 frames per second, or Full HD at 60 frames per second. At the higher resolution, video is stored at a reasonable rate of 24Mbits/sec, so a 16GB MicroSD card will be enough for 90 minutes of footage.
The lens has a 140-degree field of view, which is a bit less than some other dash cams, but operates at F1.3 aperture, so should offer good performance in low light. Looping is supported, so when the memory card is full the oldest files will be overwritten by new ones. We rarely come across a dash cam that doesn’t have this ability, however. There’s a G-sensor built in so that the 422GW can detect incidents and protect the current recording automatically. The built-in GPS receiver will also record locations alongside the video.
The unique selling point is the Alexa connectivity. The 422GW doesn’t connect to Alexa directly. Instead, you have to pair it to your smartphone via Bluetooth and have both the MyNextbase Connect and Amazon Alexa apps installed to provide the necessary connectivity to this cloud-based service. Setting this up is a fairly painless process initially, with obvious sections of the app that take you to Alexa and back.
You can then use your voice via the 422GW’s built-in speaker to command Alexa to operate your music, place calls, read out the news, and so on. Most importantly, you can install an Alexa skill to control the Nextbase dash cam’s operations, including starting and stopping recording, protecting files from looping, showing the rear view (if you have a rear camera installed), and even adjusting exposure. We did find this a bit more finicky to configure, requiring a few more trips to and from the Alexa app on the smartphone, but eventually managed to get it working. Once the connection is made, you can also turn on recording your dash cam remotely from any Alexa device connected to the same Amazon account, if it’s already powered up and connected to your smartphone.
There’s motion detection with an 'Intelligent Parking Mode' that will keep an eye on your car when it’s in a parking lot, triggering a recording when it senses interference with your car. Nextbase Emergency Response or SOS is another feature that will call for help when triggered. However, this didn’t appear to be compatible with the iPhone we were using during testing. The 422GW also doesn’t have any advanced safety features like lane departure or collision detection, and you can’t install a safety camera database to get warnings of their locations as you approach.
Nextbase 422GW: Design and build
- Quick-release mount
- 2.5-in LCD display
- Discrete design
Despite all the features packed into the 422GW, it’s still a relatively small device. Most of the rear is dominated by the 2.5-inch touchscreen, which is used for previewing video and operating the menu. It’s a sturdily built device, with one of the most reassuringly solid constructions of any dash cam we’ve tested.
Nextbase supplies both suction and adhesive mounts in the box, so you can choose whether the installation is temporary or more permanent. We particularly like the mounting system, which diverges a little from the norm. The mount connects to the front rather than the top of the 422GW, and is magnetic, with the power contacts built in. The GPS module is also to be found in the mount. It’s really easy to attach and detach the dash cam from its mount for storage, and the car power adapter attaches to the mount so you don’t have to touch the wiring once installed.
There are a number of optional extras available for the 422GW, including a 'Cabin View Camera' that records inside the car, or rear view and rear window cameras, which can be 720p or 1080p. There’s also a polarizing filter available to reduce windscreen glare. So there are plenty of ways to extend the utility of this dash cam.
Once you’ve captured some footage, the MyNextbase Player software lets you view it alongside a map, and upload it to Nextbase’s own cloud hosting service. There’s also the Nextbase Connect app for iOS or Android, which offers the ability to control the dash cam, view and upload videos, and contact emergency services via the SOS Emergency features already mentioned. This connects initially via Bluetooth, then switches to WiFi for the live view and file upload.
Nextbase 422GW: Performance
- Great 2.5K image quality
- Dual recording backup file option
Although 2.5K video isn’t quite at the pinnacle of dash cam resolutions, with 4K available from some models such as Nextbase’s own 612GW, it’s not all about the number of pixels, and the Nextbase 422GW delivers great quality from its 2.5K footage. There’s plenty of detail, making text including number plates entirely readable, whilst contrast is good so that you can still see that detail even in shadows. Color fidelity is decent too.
You can also configure the 422GW to record a secondary 768 x 432 resolution file alongside the main one, which is a safety backup in case of file corruption.
Nextbase 422GW: Verdict
The Nextbase 422GW is a very solid dash cam. The Alexa functionality, whilst clever, may not be something you use regularly, although it could be useful to be able to control music streaming from your phone to your car without having to pull your phone out of your pocket. What really makes this dash cam a recommended choice is its excellent physical design and superb video quality. A dash cam has to get the main function right first before adding extra features, and the Nextbase 422GW does just this.