Nextbase 522GW dash cam review

The only dash cam you’ll ever need?

Nextbase 522GW dash cam attached to windshield
Editor's Choice
(Image: © Nextbase)

Tom's Guide Verdict

With its 2K resolution, silky smooth touchscreen, and a host of connectivity options, the Nextbase 522GW offers plenty of dash cam for your dollar. However, while daytime recording is crisp and sharp, the 522 isn’t quite class-leading in low light conditions.

Pros

  • +

    Great daytime video quality

  • +

    Touchscreen

  • +

    Sleek, compact design

  • +

    Polarizing filter

Cons

  • -

    Design not for everyone

  • -

    Overly sensitive G-sensor

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Nextbase 522GW dash cam: Specs

Field of view: 140°
Resolution: 1440p at 30fps or 1080p at 60 fps
GPS: Yes
Display: 3-inch touchscreen

Nextbase resets the benchmark for mid to high end dash cams with the Nextbase 552GW, a model that’s packed with features. Among them are 2K QHD video, Alexa and a sumptuous 3-inch touchscreen. As you might expect from a flagship dash cam maker, picture quality is superb during the day. 

But if there’s one criticism we do have, it’s that the slightly dull design might not turn heads. Fortunately you’re getting a lot more than looks for your money. Read on to find out more, in our Nextbase 522 review.

Nextbase 522GW dash cam review: Price and availability

The Nextbase 522GW costs $300, and is available from Nextbase.com and several other large retailers. Shop around and the price you pay will often be much lower than that, with retailers like Amazon offering the camera for around $200 when not on sale.

Regardless, the 522GW is still one of the more expensive dash cams available. However it is still significantly cheaper than its premium sibling, the $400 Nextbase 622GW, and positions this dash cam alongside rivals like the Garmin 57. In fact the 522GW and Garmin 57 offer very similar features and specs, so choosing between the two can come down to personal preference.

Nextbase 522GW dash cam review: Design & features

Nextbase has chosen to encase all its dashcams in varying levels of black plastic and brushed metal. The 522 is a pleasingly weighty model, though its protruding lens makes it feel peculiarly fragile in the hand. 

Top view of Nextbase 522GW dash cam

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Unlike the 522’s bigger brother, the 622GW, this model is a much more covert offering, with more black to blend it into the windshield, as opposed to the 622’s hulking battleship gray. We’ve got to admit, though, while its look is simple and inoffensive, we much prefer the Garmin 57’s more compact and tactile design.

Featurewise, the 522GW has plenty to keep you busy. As standard with most decent cams, there’s an intelligent parking mode, which records in the event of a physical incident with your car when parked. This is in addition to the G-sensor recording, which automatically saves and protects footage during a collision or when the sensor detects harsh braking or swerving.

Side view of Nextbase 522GW dash cam

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The 552GW’s advanced features come in the form of Alexa voice functionality, so you can tell it to play music, save video clips, and even send recordings to your phone. The camera also comes with a 3-inch touchscreen and SOS mode, which can alert emergency services of your location should you be unresponsive in the event of a severe collision. 

Additionally, we’re also big fans of its lens-mounted polarising filter, adjustable by rotating the lens itself. We wish more cameras had this option since driving at sunrise and sundown can be all too common.

Nextbase 522GW dash cam review: Setup

The 522GW is a pleasure to set up, thanks to its magnetized Click&Go Pro mount, which fixes the camera in place and provides power through it, so there’s no need to mess with the cable every time you need to remove it. On the flipside, it might make theft easier.

Nextbase 522GW dash cam attached to windshield

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

System setup is also easy thanks to the 522GW’s large touchscreen. The interface is bright and clear and allows for a silky smooth experience. 

Top view of Nextbase 522GW dash cam

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Thanks to its touchscreen capability, buttons are also minimized, except for the power and save recording clickers. Nextbase has placed the save footage button in red at the middle bottom of the camera, so there’s minimal navigating by touch while driving. Which is pretty clever.

Nextbase 522GW dash cam review: Video and audio quality

Daytime recording is excellent, thanks to this dash cam’s 1440p resolution and Sony Starvis sensor.

Visuals come out crisp and detailed, and the 522 works hard to compensate for shady areas or bright blue skies, with colors featuring the right amount of saturation. 

Come nighttime, things get a little different. Built-up areas with artificial lighting were still coming through fine with a little fuzz, but the 522 struggled to keep up on roads without much ambient light. That said, this seems to be par for the course for all dash cams, including premium models.

One thing I found while driving was that the G-sensor can get overly excited, saving footage in the protected folder despite a lack of any hard braking or turning. Thankfully, you can lower the sensitivity in its settings.

Nextbase 522GW dash cam review: Verdict

The Nextbase 522GW is a fantastic all-rounder that does everything you need and still offers that little bit more. It’s among the best dash cam offerings in the mid to high end range, balancing practicality with relative affordability. It’s also got one of the smoothest interfaces thanks to its touchscreen, minimizing the need for physical buttons.

True, the Nextbase 522GW doesn’t provide the full 4K dash cam experience, and its design is a touch outdated. But it does offer excellent picture quality for the price point, and for the will be perfectly suited for most people’s requirements.