James StanburySee other accessory reviews written by James Stanbury
For those who'd like eyes in the back of their heads, we review the Next Base iN-Car Cam Duo, which records in front and behind, from its windscreen mount
Have you put a dashcam on your wish list yet? More and more of us are splashing out on these small, but powerful, high-tech gadgets, and in some cases we're even getting our money back, in terms of a car insurance premium discount! This is because many insurance companies do now recognise the benefit of having clear, crisp footage of the events surrounding any car crash, whether major or minor. The best dashcams now have enhancements that mean that you can read numberplates and see what's going on, even at night. They overlay the footage with GPS data, pinpointing the exact location, time and date of any incident, along with the speed and direction of travel.
And given that prevention is better than cure, the best dashcams also send out audible and visual signals to the driver whenever there's a hazard. This may be the sudden braking of the vehicle in front. Or it may be that you are driving erratically and drifting across lanes, as you might do when falling asleep at the wheel.
Most dashcams are powered up by being plugged into a cigarette lighter socket, though you can also have them hard-wired in, if you want to, or if you need to plug something else into that same socket, such as a sat-nav. Dashcams will generally start filming automatically when you turn on the ignition. When you arrive at a parking spot in the motorway service station, or beside the road, it's great if you can leave a dashcam in parking mode. If you do, then motion sensors will detect any impact while you're gone and start filming events. So even if the culprit has zoomed off, the chances are that you'll have caught them on film.
With all the different brands and models of dashcam on the market, where do you start looking for a good one at a price you're willing to pay?
To find out, we tested a good selection of dashcams, including the RAC 05, at £149.99, the Garmin Dashcam 20, at £129, and the Mio MiVue 658 WIFI, at £142.96, the Tsumara G3, at £139.99, and the Transcend DrivePro 100, at the low price of £64. We tested the Cobra Drive HD CDR 840, at £99.99 and the RAC 04, costing just £59.99. Then we compared the Next Base IN-Car Cam Duo, at £199.99 and the Trackvue DV300, at £99.
In this review we'll shine a spotlight on the Next Base iN-Car Cam Duo, which costs £199.99. While most dashcams face forwards and rely on a wide angle of view to capture the action, Next Base offers a dual-view camera. The thinking behind it is rather simple. The front unit has the usual wide-angle lens camera for frontal filming (140°), plus a second camera with telephoto lens to film the view behind – but from the windscreen.
The idea works better than we expected, but isn’t without its drawbacks. Your rear-view recordings will certainly be compromised if you have a tow car with a high rear window, or when you are driving with your caravan hitched up and blocking any view from the rear window completely.
Otherwise, this unit is much like another Next Base dashcam in the same range, the iN-Car Cam 521, which costs a bit less, at £179.99.
Although the Next Base iN-Car Cam Duo doesn’t have the innovative polarising filter of its sibling, the video footage is still good and clear. Few extras are included – so you should budget for a memory card when buying the unit.
|Screen||2.0 inch 16:9 LED|
|Rotating twin cameras||Film front and rear views simultaneously|
|Forward-facing camera||140° wide angle; 720p HD recording (30fps)|
|Rear facing camera||50 metre zoom lens|
|GPS and G-sensor||Recording location, speed and force data|
|Dual video playback||With GPS map and G forces (PC and Mac)|
|Image quality enhancement||Multi-Element Sharp Lenses|
|Inbuilt image processing||Enhances video in bright or low light conditions|
|Included||4m 12v power cable|
|SOS data protection||Will not record over crash footage|
|When memory card is full||Loop recording overwrites older footage|
|Extras||Micro SD card (class 10) up to 32GB|
The Next Base iN-Car Cam Duo offers good clear video footage in two directions at once, with the rear view being most useful when you're not towing your caravan.
It's a shame that no memory card is included, since you can't save the footage without it.
Judged on its suitability for caravanners, we've awarded this dashcam a three-star rating.
- Records forward and rear views as you drive along
- Good, clear video footage
- 140° wide angle lens looking ahead
- 50m zoom lens looking backwards
- G-Sensor and GPS
- Photo mode for still photography
- No memory card included
- No rear view when towing