Nextbase showdown: 522GW vs 622GW

Nextbase is a dash cam champion. But civil war has erupted within its own range. Is the 622GW worth an extra £100 over the 522GW?

Nextbase 522GW vs 622GW twin test review

by Chris Williams |

► Nextbase dash cam head-to-head test

► Is the 622GW worth £100 more?

► Both dash cams come with miniature shoehorns

We are perfectly happy to begin by saying that we highly rate Nextbase’s top-end dash cams. Its cheaper range struggles to fend off attacks from budget alternatives that offer stiff competition for even lower prices.

Yet, in the price-range of £150 and beyond, Nextbase shines brightly. Its 522GW and 622GW models cut down the competition with superior build quality, functionality, and somewhat surprisingly, value.

But today, Nextbase’s top twins turn on each other. There is a significant £100 price gap between the 522GW and 622GW. It’s time for a Nextbase showdown.

Specifications
Video 4K at 30fps; 1440p HD at 60fps; 1080p HD at 120fps
Screen 3-inch HD touchscreen
Viewing angle 140 degrees
Lens 6-layer f1.3
Image stabilisation Yes
Emergency SOS Yes
GPS Yes
What3words Yes
Alexa voice control Yes
Bluetooth Yes – Bluetooth 5.0
Wi-Fi Yes
Specifications
Video 1440p HD at 30fps; 1080p HD at 60fps
Screen 3-inch HD touchscreen
Viewing angle 140 degrees
Lens 6-layer f1.3
Image stabilisation No
Emergency SOS Yes
GPS Yes
What3words No
Alexa voice control Yes
Bluetooth Yes – Bluetooth 4.2
Wi-Fi Yes

Jump to:

Round One: Usability

front face of Nextbase 522GW
©CAR

The 522GW comes out swinging hard and striking early. It has an equally impressive build quality to the 622GW. With its brushed metal front plate to the 622GW’s plain black, there’s no arguing the 522GW looks better too.

In the boxes, the bits are all the same. You get the Click&Go PRO GPS mount, alternative suction mount, USB cable, car power cable, 3M adhesive pad, and a cable fitting tool that looks like a shoehorn. As a paper-saving measure that we really admire, both come with a small quick-start guide, but also a QR code that sends you to the full instructions on the Nextbase website.

In terms of size, the 522GW is marginally thinner and a little lighter.

Both of these dash cams are easy to navigate because they both have the same touchscreen that actually works. It’s smooth and responsive. Menus are uncluttered and simple, there are either two, three, or four options to a screen. Nextbase wisely elected to opt for swiping to the next set of options rather than plastering the screen with all the available options with icons the size of an amoeba.

Nextbase 622GW connect menu
©CAR

Setup is equally easy for both. On startup, just follow the prompts (language, time zone, etc). Ordinarily, you would use the 3M adhesive as a permanent windscreen grip but we opted to use the suction cup to see if these notoriously useless things were any good here. We are delighted to report they worked brilliantly. Also, both models hide nicely behind the rearview mirror and out of sight of the driver.

To attach the mounting to the dash cams, you simply clamp it to the marvellous magnetic insert. It works an absolute treat.

The 622GW and 522GW trade even blows in this round and it feels like a warmup. Still, on balance, because the 522GW is cheaper, it wins this round.

Round Two: Specification

Nextbase 522GW lens
©CAR

Things begin in much the same way as Round One. You get the same three-inch HD touchscreen on both dash cams, the same six-layer f1.3 lens with 140° wide angle, and the same QuickLink Wi-Fi.

Speaking of Wi-Fi, both of these cameras are compatible with Nextbase’s MyNextbase Connect app. From this app, these dash cams turn into smart devices. From the app, you can activate the voice-controlled Alexa Built-In to not only control the dash cam, but play music, make a call, and all the other usual things Alexa can do. With this app, there is also an AutoSync function that sends videos to your phone via Bluetooth.

In regards to safety, both dash cams feature Nextbase’s Emergency SOS. Again, this works in tandem with your phone. If the dash cam detects a crash (you’re right, the dash cam does record a crash but doesn’t ‘see’ it), it sends a notification to your phone. If the notification times out, it sends an SOS alert to emergency services who are also sent your GPS location and medical details that you plugged in when you signed up. Yes, signed up - this is a subscription-based service.

Nextbase 622GW Driver Assistance menu
©CAR

At this point you begin wondering when or indeed if the 622GW is going to fire and make clear its reasons for costing an extra £100. So far, the 522GW has matched it, even bettering it in some cases. But towards the end of Round Two, the 622GW manages to land a hit.

It has what3words built-in. Therefore, it can work with the GPS to provide an even more precise location for emergency services. Alternatively, in a less perilous situation, you can let other people know where you are for a meetup.

This round was very even, except for the 622GW’s final jab in the closing moments. We have to be honest and say that thus far, the 622GW is struggling to pull out any sort of lead.

Round Three: Video and Recording

mounted Nextbase 522GW
©CAR

Clearly, coach has words to the 622GW because in Round Three the 622GW girds it loins and takes the 522GW to town. The 622GW prances nimbly on its feet, dodging the 522GW’s assault, and lands its first proper blows. There is no disparaging the 522GW’s 1440p HD recording at 30fps – it's better than anything at that price. But it cannot defend against the 622GW’s 30fps 4K right hook. The 622GW can also record at 1440p at up to 60fps, or 1080p at 120fps for super slow-motion footage.

The 4K punch lands a heavy blow, but the 1440p and super slow motion 1080p ones less so. The 522GW’s recording quality is very good at capturing unfuzzled number plates and clearly showing action frame by frame. You also don’t have to spend as much on a memory card with a read speed and storage capacity capable of dealing with 4K recording - a cost difference of roughly £10.

But the 622GW then puts the 522GW against the ropes with two heavy hits - its Enhanced Night Vision gained from software tweaks and sensor improvement, and Extreme Weather Mode that lets the 622GW pick up number plates even in mist.

The 622GW also has Image Stabilisation. This may sound brilliant, and it is if you’re driving on a loose surface gravel road. On the road, its dividend payout isn’t that healthy. Watching the recording from the 522GW, we did not think that video quality was compromised because it was too jiggly.

Therefore, it’s entirely circumstantial as to whether you will find the image stabilisation of any value. Frequently on shingle roads? Yes to image stabilisation. Never been on such a road and only think shingles is a skin disease? No to image stabilisation.

Naturally, both are compatible with the rearview camera. It attaches via HDMI and we were sceptical as to whether it would actually work because it looks through the rear window, rather than being placed above the rear number plate. To our surprise, it did rather well, even through the Peugeot 208’s heavily tinted rear window. You do have to keep the window clean, of course. And you do have to accept that your face or head is going to appear in recordings frequently.

At this point you may be thinking, yes but what about windscreen glare and reflections? Fair point, well made. Both of these dash cams have a polarising filter. It works by turning a bezel on the tip of the lens. You adjust it until the recorded image through the windscreen is uninterrupted and clear.

Round Three was very one-sided and the 622GW finally comes good to show its colours.

Judge’s assessment

These dash cams are somewhat frustrating from a reviewer’s point of view because they are quite hard to fault. Some users have moaned about the MyNextbase app, but then, apps never work perfectly for everyone if we're being honest.

Ultimately, it comes down to that £100 price difference. Let’s canter through what the 622GW has that the 522GW doesn’t: 4K video, Enhanced Night Vision, Extreme Weather Mode, Image Stabilisation, and what3words. Is that worth £100? Let’s be specific: is that worth £100 to you?

We have decided that we would pay the extra for the 622GW if we were the sort of person who not only drives a lot, but on a range of range of roads and conditions – which, of course, we do.

However, if you only really drive to Sainsbury’s or drop the kids to school or head to the office, it’s unlikely you’ll gain much from the Image Stabilisation and what3words. In which case, save the £100, buy the 522GW, have an excellent dash cam, and go have a fancy dinner with you spare £100.

Specifications
Video 4K at 30fps; 1440p HD at 60fps; 1080p HD at 120fps
Screen 3-inch HD touchscreen
Viewing angle 140 degrees
Lens 6-layer f1.3
Image stabilisation Yes
Emergency SOS Yes
GPS Yes
What3words Yes
Alexa voice control Yes
Bluetooth Yes – Bluetooth 5.0
Wi-Fi Yes
Specifications
Video 1440p HD at 30fps; 1080p HD at 60fps
Screen 3-inch HD touchscreen
Viewing angle 140 degrees
Lens 6-layer f1.3
Image stabilisation No
Emergency SOS Yes
GPS Yes
What3words No
Alexa voice control Yes
Bluetooth Yes – Bluetooth 4.2
Wi-Fi Yes

Nextbase insurance

Not wishing to sound like a press release, but there is an additional piece of information that prospective Nextbase dash cam buyers will find genuinely useful. Nextbase has partnered with a number of insurers (LV=, RSA, KGM, Cornmarket, Aviva, AXA, and Ageas) to offer something rather predictably called Nextbase Insurance.

In essence, Nextbase Insurance rewards owners of Nextbase dash cams by offering them considerable discounts off their car insurance, with some people saving more than 30 per cent.

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