The best Wi-Fi dash cams

We're mad for wireless now and demand an app with everything. These are the best app-connected Wi-Fi dash cams you can buy.

Nextbase dash cam and iphone in front of a Ford Bronco

by Chris Williams |

Connectivity is one of the current buzzwords that people in marketing get terribly excited about. It's like probiotic yoghurt. The car industry is all about connectivity now, the fact that cars are becoming electric is almost a side issue.

Car manufacturers are launching apps and subscription services; they're partnering with tech giants while autonomous driving is edging its way into everyday life.

Keep up to date on motoring industry news by visiting CAR's online news section

This is all tectonic-size stuff compared to the humble dash cam, but dash cams with Wi-Fi sit within the same sphere. At CAR, we've covered how to add Wi-Fi to your car, and we've covered dash cams - both budget and not so budget. But what about dash cams with Wi-Fi? What do they offer and are they worthwhile? We delve into the topic here.

What do you get with a Wi-Fi-enabled dash cam?

Rather than for internet access, a Wi-Fi-enabled dash cam can wirelessly connect to the appropriate dash cam app on your smartphone to give you access to extra functions. The number of functions really depends on the app, but below are a couple of examples.

One of these is sharing and downloading recorded footage immediately, or whenever you want without having to remove the dash cam’s memory card and plug it into a computer. It’s a good idea in theory and works in practice for dash cams that have easy-to-use smartphone apps. It’s crucial the smartphone app is easy to use otherwise the exercise becomes frustrating and infuriating.

A wireless connection between the dash cam and your smartphone can also allow you to see the live view of the dash cam on your phone while you’re away from it, provided the dash cam has a constant power source.

The best Wi-Fi dash cams

All of the dash cams below are still superb dash cams in terms of recording quality, ease of use, and function. But they also have excellent features that come with their Wi-Fi connectivity.

Nextbase 622GW

Editoru2019s pick
Nextbase 622GW
Amazon

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Weu2019ve tested the 622GW, and it is a fantastic dash cam. You can opt to record footage in smooth, image-stabilised 4K but can select to simultaneously record in a lower resolution that allows for faster sharing and downloading. The MyNextbase app is relatively easy to use. It acts as a storage bin for your dashcam footage and lets you share the recordings, either to social media or insurance providers.

But Wi-Fi is not the 622GW’s only feature. The Bluetooth connectivity allows you to use Alexa through the MyNextbase app, so you can do everything hands-free. On the safety side of things, it has a subscription-based Emergency SOS function that can alert emergency services of your whereabout using the dash cam’s GPS if you are in a crash and don’t respond to the notification it sends to your phone. The 622GW also benefits from brilliant build quality.

Pros Cons
• Feature-packed • Garmin Drive app is better than MyNextbase
• Superb video quality • Perhaps overkill for some users
• Industry-leading build quality

Read CAR's Nextbase 622GW vs 522GW comparison test

Halfords HDC200

Best budget Wi-Fi dash cam
Halfords HDC200

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This is not Halfordu2019s cheapest dash cam with Wi-Fi but itu2019s the one worth getting. The cheapest option is the HDC100 but that has a narrower 120u00b0 camera viewing angle and only records in 720p. This HDC200 has a 140u00b0 viewing angle, records in HD 1080p, and has a larger screen that is almost as large as the 622GWu2019s (2.7u201d vs 3u201d). Itu2019s well and truly worth the extra £10 over the HDC100.

The Wi-Fi on this dash cam lets it connect to the Halfords MyHDC app on your phone where you can view, download, and share footage. It’s quite a basic app in its function but does the important things. Certainly, for less than £50, this is good value.

Pros Cons
• Great value • MyHDC app is pretty basic
• Easy to setup
• Reasonable video quality

Garmin Dashcam Mini 2

Best app
Garmin Dashcam Mini 2
Amazon

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The Garmin Drive app is jam-packed full of functions and is easy to fathom as well, which is a rare combo. And itu2019s just as well because the Garmin Mini 2 is mainly controlled through the app. You access the Mini 2u2019s controls through the Garmin Drive app and store, view, and share footage. But thereu2019s an awful lot more. You can, for example, get a live feed from the dashcam while youu2019re away from the car; you can also use voice control to operate the camerau2019s functions too. Whatu2019s more, if youu2019ve got a Garmin sat nav, you can also use this app to access its functions.

The Mini 2 really is mini, measuring 5.3cm high, 3.1cm wide, 2.9cm deep, and weighing just 32 grams. Thus, it has sacrificed a screen but like we said, the app is great, so it doesn’t matter. And the bonus is that the Mini 2 can hide behind the rear view mirror unseen. The recording quality is fine: 1080p HD at 30fps and has a viewing angle of 140°.

Pros Cons
• Tiny • Perhaps expect better video quality at this price
• Great app
• Great build quality

Navitel R10

Recommended
Navitel R10
Amazon

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The R10 is relatively compact at 8.7cm by 4.8cm by 4.8cm. It has a tiny little 1.22u201d display that shows speed and time, plus some function buttons underneath. Once you read the instruction manual and understand the functions, itu2019s a great design that is easy to use and looks great. Like the Nextbase 622GW, the R10 has a strong magnetic windscreen mount, but because of its design, the R10 can be swivelled so easily.

The app to which the R10 connects, the Navitel DVR Center app, allows you to access and share footage, but also lets you view the R10’s live feed and configure the dash cam’s settings. Recording quality is HD 1080p and the R10 has a very wide 165° field of view.

Pros Cons
• Looks brilliant • Video quality should be better at this price
• Widest field of view here
• Magnetic mount

Thinkware Q800 Pro Front and Rear Cam Kit

Best dual design
Thinkware Q800 Pro Front and Rear Cam Kit
Amazon

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Thinkware dash cams arenu2019t quite as flashy as some of the other high-end dash cams. But they do offer plenty in terms of functionality. The Q800 Pro dual dash cam is a good option for those who want a reliable dashcam they can permanently hardwire in. For more casual users or first-timers, we suggest one of the models above.

The Q800 Pro records in 1440p (2K) upfront and HD 1080p at the rear. What’s more, it has some excellent features such as lane departure warning. Like the Garmin Mini 2, the Q800 Pro has no screen and you therefore need to use the Thinkware Cloud app to access the Live View when installing – but you can also use the app for adjusting the dash cam’s settings and accessing the recordings. While all the functions are there, the app’s usability is surpassed by the Nextbase and Garmin equivalents.

Pros Cons
• Great safety features • Quite expensive
• Front and rear recording • Fiddly hardwire setup
• Sits well behind rear view mirror • App could be better

Other functions of these dash cams

We’ve largely discussed the above dash cams’ Wi-Fi features. But their features extend beyond that. All dash cams come with basic, standard features. These are:

G-sensor: this function allows the dash cam to automatically save footage that cannot be overwritten when it senses a sudden jolt.

Parking sensor/mode: this works in a similar way to a G-sensor, but for when a car is parked. If the dash cam senses movement or a bump to the vehicle when parked, it records that moment. Dash cams without an internal battery will need hardwiring to use this function.

Loop recording: To ensure continuous recording, a dash cam will automatically begin to overwrite the oldest footage when the memory card reaches full capacity. G-sensor activated files will be protected and not overwritten.

Read next:

Car trackers: as good as a bloodhound?

The best garage security to keep your car safe

The best radar detectors to keep you on the right side of the law

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