RE: Dash cam duo tested

Wednesday 20th December 2017

Dash cam duo tested

They're in seemingly every car (and every forum discussion), so we put the Next Base 412GW up against Thinkware F770



Dash cams are the latest piece of technology drivers are adding to their cars. Reasons vary from a work requirement, reducing insurance premiums or simply wanting to record journeys in case people attempt to earn an early Christmas bonus...

Manufacturers are cottoning on to the idea, with the Citroen C3 offered with an inbuilt dash cam called ConnectedCam as well as the Corvette C7 as part of its Performance Data Recorder option.

Many insurers offer discounts if a dash cam is fitted to the car but, this being PH, that isn't always the first thing that comes to mind - it can also be used to record some of those lovely roads you found by taking that wrong turn or filming those epic track day overtakes. We put the Nextbase 412GW up against the Thinkware F770 - two different packages that take video recording very seriously.


Plug and Play
The 412GW, a plug-and-play camera by Nextbase is a portable and fairly small unit capable of recording in 1440p at 30 frames per second viewable on the LCD screen. It's fairly easy to set up straight out of the box by connecting the locking suction cup to the windscreen and letting the magnetic connector link up. The unit is noticeable under the rear-view mirror on the initial drive. However, after a few uses, it slowly gets lost in the peripheral vision and easily forgotten. The camera is more than capable of capturing the full view out front with little shake, no matter how hard your suspension set up may be.

Videos (recorded in two, three or five-minute intervals) are stamped with a GPS location and speed markers (which can be turned off) and can be saved either on the camera or via the app when connected to the camera's built-in Wi-Fi. Honestly, I only tried the photo option once and it works well if evidence of a crash needs to be captured, but in reality, most smartphones will do a better job.

On a few journeys, the camera decided to protect videos that didn't need protecting and at night the LED headlights on our test car (or the exposure settings, we're not sure) affected the camera's ability to capture number plates.


Super Night Vision spectacular!
The F770, Thinkware's offering, only records in 1080p at 30 frames per second but it does have 'Super Night Vision' up its sleeve and the option to pair it with a rear camera. It never had the peripheral vision problem either, slotting neatly behind the rear-view mirror; however, it did need to be set up via the mobile app as the unit doesn't have a built-in screen. Through the mobile app, multiple options can be toggled including parking recording, Super Night Vision and sound recording.

Video footage on the F770 is good when compared with other HD offerings but against the QuadHD the failings start to show. On the move, the camera alerts the driver of speed cameras with updated databases that can be downloaded for free. The camera also offers front collision pre-warnings, lane departure warnings and an alert when the driver ahead pulls away in stationary traffic. Small touches that make the journey a little easier. Using the desktop app, you can view your locations on Google Maps alongside the recordings to easily plot that next Dream Drive.


Worth the expense?
Both cameras have a 140-degree viewing angle and the ability to record incidents when the car is parked, helping catch those pesky car park scrape fiends. If your vehicle doesn't have all the gadgetry of a modern car and you want something extra from your dash cam, the Thinkware F770 should definitely be considered. Costing a little over £200, it brings the car into the 21st century but is let down slightly by its lesser recording ability. If all you are after is a dash cam though, peace of mind is provided by the £130 Nextbase 412GW.

Author
Discussion

The Leaper

Original Poster:

3,024 posts

139 months

Wednesday 20th December 2017
quotequote all
I bought a Next Base 412G dashcam in March. I had it fitted by the retailed which has the real advantage of no wires anywhere. As regards it being in my vision, it is but not at all distracting. The screen goes blank after 3 minutes as per UK legislation requirements, but it remains in operation of course.

So far I've had no incidents so I've not had to use its real purpose. I have two mates with this camera who have had accidents and they were very pleased with the simple operation etc....and that their insurers decided promptly they had no responsibility for the accidents after viewing the recordings available.

R.

The Mad Monk

3,577 posts

50 months

Wednesday 20th December 2017
quotequote all
What about this one?

https://tinyurl.com/n9w8y5e

Techmoan says - the cheapest dashcam that's worth buying.

charltjr

3,363 posts

128 months

Wednesday 20th December 2017
quotequote all
Both of these are incredibly expensive, I'd be checking out cheaper and much smaller options myself. I had a Mobius for a while and that was brilliant - about the size of a matchbox and did the basics perfectly.

MarkM3Evoplus

335 posts

133 months

Wednesday 20th December 2017
quotequote all
Bought a cheap Chinese dashcam and it lasted a week, so think I will pay a bit more this time round

fullbeem

2,000 posts

134 months

Wednesday 20th December 2017
quotequote all
Still using my Mini 0803 dashcam. Cannot find a good enough reason to replace other than the microsd size is limited to 32gb due to file system resrictions.

If i had to replace then id seek out a Mini 0804
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RossP

2,203 posts

216 months

Wednesday 20th December 2017
quotequote all
The Mad Monk said:
What about this one?

https://tinyurl.com/n9w8y5e

Techmoan says - the cheapest dashcam that's worth buying.

4 year old review!

ecs0set

2,048 posts

217 months

Wednesday 20th December 2017
quotequote all
I've got a 412GW. Halfords occasionally have it on special offer at £109 IIRC.

It's pretty good, especially when paired with the easy to fit hard wire kit.

However many modern cars enable switched live as soon as you unlock the doors (powers up infotainment, etc) and so this also powers the camera and you get lots of recordings which are protected because it detected the jolt as you open and shut the doors. Slightly annoying but not really the camera's fault.

I'd also rather it didn't have an inbuilt screen (who actually reviews footage in the car) and had a lower profile.

I find that the 412GW is better on 1080p at 60fps than 1440p at 30fps. YMMV.

Dogwatch

4,921 posts

155 months

Wednesday 20th December 2017
quotequote all
After a couple of cheapish dash cams I got a basic Nextbase 212 which Sainsbury's were getting shot of for £50. No GPS or wifi but much easier to set-up than its predecessors - and the suction pad lever didn't snap under pressure which has happened in the past. frown

A common feature of all these cams is that the manufacturers seem determined to make it as difficult as possible to extract the memory card.

Sixpackpert

3,621 posts

147 months

Wednesday 20th December 2017
quotequote all
Have a 512GW and it had been faultless up to a week ago. The recording kept freezing after 3 and a half minutes. Repeatedly formatted the card but it kept freezing.

Did some research, it transpires the cards Nextbase recommend, Sandisk, are actually a bit crap.

Have replaced it with a Transcend card and it is working again, for now...

Byker28i

12,900 posts

150 months

Wednesday 20th December 2017
quotequote all
I've a Koonlung K1S in the TVR, the cameras are tiny as is the separate recording unit, so easy-ish to remove if required, i.e. stick in another vehicle with other cameras, or to pull it out and connect to the PC etc. Quality is pretty decent in all light although I do sometimes get glare off the windows.

Ron99

616 posts

14 months

Wednesday 20th December 2017
quotequote all
charltjr said:
Both of these are incredibly expensive, I'd be checking out cheaper and much smaller options myself. I had a Mobius for a while and that was brilliant - about the size of a matchbox and did the basics perfectly.
And Mobius 1 is still one of the most reliable cams available today, with acceptable video quality and obscuring far less of a driver's field of view.
On the subject of obscuring view, lots of people seem unaware of windscreen laws and police look the other way, but >1cm objects on the windscreen in front of the driver and >4cm elsewhere are an MoT fail (therefore unroadworthy car) which could give lawyers and insurers some fun to haggle over and some rope to hang you by.

On the other hand, I wouldn't touch Nextbase because they're built to wow with their high specification but not built to last.


RemarkLima

598 posts

145 months

Wednesday 20th December 2017
quotequote all
What I'm missing with Dashcams is why they have screens on them? Surely, the point is that you can hook them up / plug the memory card into a PC and view the footage?

Seems to add a lot of bulk and cost for little benefit??

Mr-B

1,613 posts

127 months

Wednesday 20th December 2017
quotequote all
As an alternative has anyone tried a dashcam app with a phone? This is something I was looking to do over the holiday period.

LocoBlade

5,344 posts

189 months

Wednesday 20th December 2017
quotequote all
I've recently bought and fitted a 2 camera F770, it may be expensive (£229 for the 2 cam setup) compared to the Chinese opposition but I think it's worth it. Firstly it's reliable, it just works every time all the time. I previously had a cheap Chinese camera off eBay and it would only power up about 80% of the time so utterly useless as a reliable source of footage. I also had a Mobius and to be fair it was pretty good for the money but still had the odd occasion it didn't record. It also caused so much RF interference that DAB became unusable in the car unless the signal was very strong, in comparison no such issues with the Thinkware hard wired into the car.

Another nice thing with the Thinkware is the built in battery protection which shuts it down in parking mode if the car battery voltage gets too low. You can get cheap hardwire kits that do a similar job for other devices but most aren't adjustable and cut off voltage too low to properly protect the battery so you need to spend £20-30 on a Multisafer or PowerMagic Pro to get equivalent functionality.

Parking mode is another area it where the extra cost seems to give tangible benefits, unlike the cheaper units the parking mode actually buffers a few seconds of footage all the time so when it detects motion or a movement of the car the saved footage starts a few seconds prior to the incident. Most cheap camera parking modes react to the incident and then start recording, some taking several seconds to actually save any footage so could easily miss the entire event.

It's not without its small faults, the voice messages can get a bit annoying and the image quality is good but not up to the very latest 1440p cameras, overall though I think it's worth it. There is a newer F800 Pro model out which has better optics and a couple more features, that's another £100 on top though and more than I wanted to spend.

Turbojuice

260 posts

22 months

Wednesday 20th December 2017
quotequote all
RemarkLima said:
What I'm missing with Dashcams is why they have screens on them? Surely, the point is that you can hook them up / plug the memory card into a PC and view the footage?

Seems to add a lot of bulk and cost for little benefit??
Yeah i never understood this either. Slightly useful for first time setup i guess? Apart from that, waste of time, space, money etc...

I went with a mobius since it was by far the smallest device out there, and came in a "dashcam kit" which included the mount, cable, 12v plug and critically came with a supercapacitor instead of a battery. All these "mainstream" dashcams like the nextbase stuff look good on paper, but with frequent charging and some boiling summer days the battery in it is going to take a battering. Can't imagine them lasting long at all.

Now the mobius 2 is out and has vast improvements over the first one i'd thoroughly recommend that for someone who just wants something simple.

Gareth79

4,016 posts

179 months

Wednesday 20th December 2017
quotequote all
Ron99 said:
And Mobius 1 is still one of the most reliable cams available today, with acceptable video quality and obscuring far less of a driver's field of view.
On the subject of obscuring view, lots of people seem unaware of windscreen laws and police look the other way, but >1cm objects on the windscreen in front of the driver and >4cm elsewhere are an MoT fail (therefore unroadworthy car) which could give lawyers and insurers some fun to haggle over and some rope to hang you by.
It's a grey area. A vehicle that would fail an MOT isn't *always* illegal to use on the road, and many failures don't make a vehicle "unroadworthy".

From what I can see, the windscreen rules apply to passing the test, not what is legal to drive. eg. a 10cm crack along the bottom of the screen is legal to drive all year, but it won't pass the MOT. Likewise a dash cam behind the rear view mirror, out of the swept area and driver's view would fail the MOT but not necessarily be illegal. The wording of C&U reg. 30 is:

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1986/1078/part/...
"VISION - View to the front - 30. [...] (3) All glass or other transparent material fitted to a motor vehicle shall be maintained in such condition that it does not obscure the vision of the driver while the vehicle is being driven on a road. "

I imagine there is case law and perhaps other legislation, but a plain reading of that would suggest that it's not illegal to have something mounted on the windscreen so long as it doesn't obscure the driver's vision.



bongtom

417 posts

16 months

Wednesday 20th December 2017
quotequote all
The Mad Monk said:
What about this one?

https://tinyurl.com/n9w8y5e

Techmoan says - the cheapest dashcam that's worth buying.
It is an old review but is still relevant, which shows you that the dash cam market has kind of stalled.

I have used dash cams for over 10 years and now use a G1W-C which is a capacitor model bought because I live in Asia and it is hot a lot and the car can easily reach 50c whilst parked up. I have also bought a £5 camera and sold a few to friends who still use them, but they do get bloody hot!

The reason you have a screen is not really to view what you are filming (you can see that through the windshield!) but to access the various settings and adjust it whilst out on the road plus you can view the videos there and then if needed.

I don't get spending over £100 on a camera. 95% of the users will never use it anyway and will just upload it to the bad driving thread!

RemarkLima

598 posts

145 months

Wednesday 20th December 2017
quotequote all
Turbojuice said:
RemarkLima said:
What I'm missing with Dashcams is why they have screens on them? Surely, the point is that you can hook them up / plug the memory card into a PC and view the footage?

Seems to add a lot of bulk and cost for little benefit??
Yeah i never understood this either. Slightly useful for first time setup i guess? Apart from that, waste of time, space, money etc...

I went with a mobius since it was by far the smallest device out there, and came in a "dashcam kit" which included the mount, cable, 12v plug and critically came with a supercapacitor instead of a battery. All these "mainstream" dashcams like the nextbase stuff look good on paper, but with frequent charging and some boiling summer days the battery in it is going to take a battering. Can't imagine them lasting long at all.

Now the mobius 2 is out and has vast improvements over the first one i'd thoroughly recommend that for someone who just wants something simple.
Thanks - that seems interesting - I guess the trick is also to avoid all the gubbins on the rear view mirror now as well, mine car is 7 years old but has rain sensors (not an issue as stuck to the windscreen), full beam sensors (more of an issue as a camera on the rear view mirror) and it's something I'd imagine is getting worse!

Kingofthelea

122 posts

143 months

Wednesday 20th December 2017
quotequote all
I too am waiting for a proper solution. Small camera in the window front and back with no pointless screen, gubbins with the SD card out of view / in the glovebox and hard wired to the car. Does such a thing exist?

The Mad Monk

3,577 posts

50 months

Wednesday 20th December 2017
quotequote all
RossP said:
The Mad Monk said:
What about this one?

https://tinyurl.com/n9w8y5e

Techmoan says - the cheapest dashcam that's worth buying.

4 year old review!
Does that make it invalid?

There are later versions. The G1wcb? if I am not mistaken.