The built in SOS Emergency system alone is worth the price suggests David Hague.
It was probably 15 years ago that I got my first dashcam and it came from Kaiser Baas, which whilst it still seems to exist as an entity, I have not heard from for many years (since they fired their very good PR person in fact).
This was a basic unit; it shot video to an SD card continuously in specific time sized chunks, and when full, it started again, overwriting previous files sequentially.
There were no bells and whistles, it just did what it said on the tin. I have bitter sweet memories of this camera on one trip (of many I have made) crossing the country from east to west and vice versa. In the middle of the famous Nullarbor Plain it recorded a particularly spectacular lightning storm.
Except that I forgot to pull the files off and so they were sadly overwritten sometime later. There is a lesson there kiddies.
Fast forward to the latter part of 2020, and the humble dashcam, like its sibling, the webcam, has had a major makeover, and the latest to cross my desk is the Nextbase 322GW.
SOS Emergency System
Okay, lets accept the mundane and quickly pass over the fact the Nextbase 322GW shoots continuous video. That’s obviously a given.
There are a couple of major party tricks the 322GW has that places this unit above most others however, and these should capture your undivided attention.
The first one is that the Nextbase 322GW is (allegedly and I couldn’t disprove this) the world’s first dashcam with a built I emergency SOS system. In short, in an emergency, even if the driver of the vehicle is out of action, the Nextbase Emergency SOS system can alert the emergency services of the location of an incident and other details.
When an emergency situation is detected by the unit, an automatic system does a rapid “false positive” check. If this passes, via Bluetooth, your mobile is placed in a “beacon” mode whereby if the phone remains motionless or unanswered, an emergency alert is sent.
Information previously entered into the smartphone app such as your name, motor vehicle type and colour, blood group, any allergies or other medical information and history are then sent along with GPS data on the location.
According to the Nextbase website, the system (which gives you the first 12 months free) is available right now in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom and the United States, but it accepted my info without a murmur and I am assured by the PR folk it does now also work in Australian and NZ (but as at time of writing they are double checking this).
It’s important to note two major things however. Not all incidents will trigger an alert. A low speed impact for example will probably not send an alert, nor will, of course, if the unit and / or smartphone are damaged in the incident.
The second is that the service is NOT guaranteed.
If the user in not incapacitated and emergency services not needed, the system also states the alert must be turned off. One assumes you might get a bill otherwise for a false call out.
Despite these two provisos, in a country such as Australia, having a system like this is almost a must have in my opinion (I have a major interest as a road safety / driver training evangelist). The wide-open spaces and distances travelled mean that the odds of a remote accident are higher than elsewhere, especially those wildlife related. Often, we hear of people being found in an accident situation off the road in scrub or down ravines and have been there undetected for hours or even days.
As the Nextbase 322GW interacts with your smartphone via its app, video captured by the unit can be easily synced to your phone at any time. Both high and low res (1080p and 720p at 60fps) videos are captured letting you quickly scan through the lo-res version on your phone when needed, and then use the hi-res to get detail such as say, registration plate information.
Any footage can then be sent to your insurer if required, using the Nextbase Connect app.
Being Bluetooth, as soon as the 322GW is activated (and of course has been previously paired), it will connect to the smartphone on startup.
Using what Nextbase call Intelligent Parking, the 322GWwill automatically record any physical bump or movement when parked and unattended. The inbuilt G-Force sensor will remain active and its sensitivity increased even after the ignition is turned off.
If activated by any bump or movement, the camera will start and record 30 seconds of footage.
For location, both the US and Russian commercial GPS systems are used to get accurate GPS data, and that data is captured 10 times per second and this data rate aides in speed and acceleration information. Data tracked by the Nextbase 322GW can later incorporated into Google maps according to the company’s website.
I have had the Nextbase 322GW in my Monaro now for a few weeks now and found it incredibly easy to instal and use. Despite the large brake of the windscreen placing the 2.5” touch screen at a more than average distance from the driver, it is still easy to see and read, especially at night.
Feedback is very good, both audio and visual, and as the blurb states, the data is extremely accurate.
Recorded footage is crisp and clear with not too much distortion despite the wide 140 degree viewing angle.
At AUD$329,99, the Nextbase 322GW is not in the price league of the “average” dashcam of course. But when you factor in the life saving attributes of the SOS emergency system, then this is a very small price to pay I would suggest.
I would even go as far and say, that with my 20 years’ experience in road safety activisim in the country regions of Western Australia via the government, shire and police sponsored Roadwise system, parents should consider very strongly putting a Nextbase 322GW in their kid’s cars – especially newer drivers.
If you want even more functionality, Nextbase has other models in the range including some with Alexa connectivity, specialist location systems, 4K resolution and even a “bad weather” mode.
I have asked the company to send me their latest flagship model, the 622GW (announced today) and hopefully will be reviewing that in the near future.
For more information, the Nextbase website is at www.nextbase.com/en-au/dash-cams.
If you want to review the full documentation of the 322GW, it is available here.