Nextbase 112 Dash Cam Review

So you’re looking to hop onto the dash cam wagon, but you’re short on cash. Very short. So short, in fact, that only the cheapest of the cheap will do. Where do you look? Whilst the answer to that question may have eluded you before now, we’re happy to inform you that you’re already in the right place.

The Nextbase 112, in 2019 at least, is quite possibly the cheapest dashcam we’ve encountered – you can currently find it on Amazon for a tiny £22.21. You may well be wondering whether a dashcam at such a price (and bear in mind that’s for a new device, not a used one) can possibly be any good. Well, we’re here to provide you with the verdict. Read on to find out…

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Features:

  • Dimensions: 5.8 x 3 x 5.7 cm
  • Maximum resolution: 720p
  • Maximum framerate: 30FPS
  • G-Sensor impact detection system
  • Parking Mode
  • Battery life of 30 minutes

Pros:

  • Insanely cheap.
  • Works fairly well, especially for the price.
  • If you’re lucky you’ll be able to make out the details you need.
  • Decent setup.

Cons:

  • Low recording quality, even more so at night.
  • Parking mode can only really be running for 30 minutes.

Size and setup

As you may be expecting, this is a really, really small device, at only 5.8 x 3 x 5.7 cm. It easily fits into the palm of your hand, and whilst it’s size has both advantages and shortcomings, the fact is that this device is incredibly discreet and will almost certainly avoid the notice of any thieves. Even if it doesn’t, you’ll only lose about £20 worth of goods anyway, so who’s really losing out? (Okay, it’s still you, but not by a huge amount.)

Setting it up is very simple. Even despite its miniscule price, Nextbase have included a magnetic mount for the camera with the base product. This sticks easily to the windshield and allows the device to be slid into place, where it is then held by fairly powerful magnets. It’s a sturdy system and should keep your device in place even on bumpy journeys (unlike certain other models we’ve reviewed).

Unlike many other devices, the power cable actually connects to the mount itself rather than the camera. It uses a micro USB port on the side of the mount and then plugs into the auxiliary/cigarette lighter port on the car itself. It means that, unfortunately, you may find yourself unable to use a GPS alongside the camera as these tend to utilise the same port to power themselves. However, if you’re someone who uses a smartphone to navigate anyway, this won’t be an issue.

Overall, it’s very easy to set this device up, and the design is both functional and logical.

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Video quality

Yes, it’s not the best. But for such a low price, it’s very difficult to complain. The maximum resolution is 720p and the maximum framerate totals at 30 frames per second. It’s not necessarily going to be able to pick up all of the details  you might want it to, which does unfortunately raise the question of whether its worth having a dashcam at all.

Considering the primary purpose of dashcams is to offer legal protection on the roads, not being able to pick out the license plate number of the crazed lorry driver who’s been chasing you down the motorway kind of defeats the purpose (yes, that’s an extreme example, but you get the gist). If you can’t prove to law enforcement or the insurance company that an accident wasn’t your fault, you’ll be losing more than £20 worth of goods.

That’s not to say the Nextbase 112 utterly fails in this department: 720p isn’t an awful level of quality, and if a vehicle is close enough to you then sure – it’ll likely pick up the details you need. But if someone rams into your tail light and then speeds off ahead of you then you’ll need to be very lucky to pick up much more than the general colour and shape of their vehicle.

Needless to say, night-time recording is even more basic – if you struggle to pick up enough detail during the daytime then you’ll really have a hard time once the sun has set. Considering this is also a shortcoming of many far pricier dashcams too, we can’t say we’re surprised.

User interface

Because the Nextbase 112 is so small, it only has room for a 2-inch diagonal screen. It’s around the size of the average smart watch, and it’s not incredibly difficult to navigate – with an on/off and mode-switching button on the left-hand side along with five navigational buttons below the screen. The menu is far from extensive, and you’ll likely get to grips with everything it has to offer very quickly.

You can tinker a little with the auto-exposure settings, switch audio recording on or off and even input your licence plate number that is watermarked onto the camera’s footage. All of these are quite neat, if simplistic – far more than you might expect from a device of this price.

Other features

Not much to speak of here. The Nextbase 112’s only real additional feature is the G-Sensor impact detection system (honestly, if even a device this cheap comes with a G-Sensor, it hardly even qualifies as an ‘extra’, but we won’t nitpick any further). The G-Sensor works well enough, and even has three different settings for its sensitivity – we can’t fault it, but nor is it anything to write home about.

The device, rather unexpectedly, also comes with a parking mode. This uses the G-Sensor to detect an impact even when stationary, and switch on the device’s recording mode to (hopefully) catch a glimpse of whoever or whatever hit your vehicle. Unfortunately, the battery life of the 112 is only around 30 minutes, so it will struggle to stay alive long enough to make this mode really count.

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Summary

Honestly, it’s impressive how much the Nextbase 112 gets right for its incredibly low cost. Despite it’s understandably low image quality the user interface makes sense, the mount works well and the G-Sensor functions as intended. We don’t want to say you shouldn’t buy this device, but there is one caveat.

If a dashcam can’t protect you in the event of an accident, what’s the point? It’s their primary purpose, after all. At the end of the day, if price is a huge issue, we’d recommend saving up a little more and purchasing a low-end dashcam with at least 1080p in resolution. That ought to do far more to capture the necessary details than this device, as surprisingly functional as it may be.

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