Top positive review
104 people found this helpful
A top end product, excellent video quality and great software included
on 6 February 2016
After reading many reviews including user videos, I finally decided it was time to get a dashcam. Without hesitation I decided to go for a Nextbase as not only have they received top marks from customers but the 402G model was awarded Best Buy by Which magazine. The camera arrived well packaged and includes a number of accessories such as a HDMI cable for direct TV playback, generous length power cord with a fused 12V accessory/cigar lighter adaptor, USB cable (for connecting to a computer), a suction mount for the windscreen and a CD ROM with the playback software and instruction manual. Note that whilst a quick start guide is included, there's no paper manual provided although this is available both on the CD provided as well as online from the Nextbase website to download or view. Not that you really need a manual though, the 402G is a breeze to use. You will also need to provide your own Micro SD memory card as the 402G does not come supplied with one. I recommend a good quality 32GB card such as Sandisk Ultra Class 10. As far as I am aware 32GB is the maximum capacity supported by the 402G, which should give you about 4 hrs of retained video at the highest resolution of 1080p. Note that the 402G like most dashcams records in a loop, so once the card is nearly full it begins replacing the oldest video. To reduce the chances of corrupted video files (and to ease finding the right moment in a recording) the 402G records many short video files rather than one single long recording. The default setting is 3 minutes per file, this can be changed to 2 or 5 minutes if required. These are stored in folders according to date, the camera manages its file system really well. The videos are stored in MOV H264 format, at 1080p (30fps) the data rate is about 15.2Mb/s, 32KHz 16 bit mono audio. There are a range of settings that can be adjusted if required, for instance you can choose to record audio or not, change the video resolution from VGA, 480P, 720P, 720P 60fps and 1080P. Other than the 60fps 720P mode all other resolutions record at 30fps. There's a setting to choose between 50 and 60Hz, presumably to minimise flicker from street lights, exposure adjustment, white balance adjustment, motion sensing and more. The camera also has GPS built in so as well as recording the exact location at any time, it also records speed, direction and time/date from the satellite. You can choose whether to have this information stamped at the bottom of the image, which it does neatly in a small clean font. The 402G also features G force sensors which are also recorded (acceleration and deceleration). In addition to the video recording there's a photo mode, should you wish to use the 402G as a simple still camera - it even's features an LED light on the front! The LCD screen on the device is reasonably crisp and 16:9, you can of course choose for it to go blank after 10s or optionally display speed and direction data. There's even a rest reminder option to alert you after a set time in order to take a break from driving.
Despite all the settings though the camera is supplied ready to go with its default settings, simply pop in a formatted micro SD card and it will begin recording as soon as you provide power to it. Note that although the 402G does feature a small built in rechargeable battery, this is really only designed to last a few minutes should the car power be interrupted and isn't sufficient to power the camera for any length of time. Of course you can power it from any 5V USB source such as a mobile phone charger or even a rechargeable USB power bank battery pack should you wish to use it in other situations. It can also be powered from the computer USB port provided it offers sufficient current (the camera requires about 600mA (0.6A).
The one thing I really noticed from the start is how responsive the menus are, nice and snappy unlike so many similar devices with sluggish controls. Top marks to Nextbase for the firmware, speaking of which mine came supplied with Revision 8 but I can see there's a Revision 9 update on the website. Not sure though what the update offers.
As far as image quality is concerned it's first class. At 1080p the images are sharp and crisp, loads of detail and low light performance is really excellent, without being over processed. Exposure control reacts very well to changes in lighting conditions and there's a decent amount of contrast even in very dark situations, very little chroma noise and plenty of detail. It's really outstanding at this price bracket, I can't wait to see the images in bright sunlight (unfortunately its been dark and raining so far since it arrived). Attaching it in the car is straightforward enough, the mount is well made and has a lockable suction pad to keep it secure. Getting the camera on and off the mount at first was a bit tricky, you need to squeeze the little tab on the holder when sliding off the 402G. I guess it will get easier with time though. The mini USB cable for powering the camera plugs into the top and there's a good length of cable to run along the headlining, down the passenger A pillar and to the 12V accessory socket. However if you want a more permanent solution check out the Nextbase car camera hardware kit which allows you to hardwire directly into the car fusebox for a neater job. I should also mention that should you need to, you can mount the camera upside down and rotate the recorded image accordingly.
The software supplied on disc (also available on the Nextbase website) runs on either PC or Mac (Hoorah!) and enables you to view the video files along with a moving map alongside showing position and speed and sensor information below. Full marks on this as its a really nice application.
Overall the 402G is definitely a high quality dashcam, capable of recording accurate high quality footage reliably along with important GPS and G force data. Definitely a worthwhile investment!