Nextbase iQ dash cam review

The smartest dash cam has arrived, but is it any good?

Nextbase iQ review hero image
Editor's Choice
(Image: © Future)

Tom's Guide Verdict

Nextbase’s next-gen dash cam packs a staggering amount of smarts and fantastic video quality. There’s a huge amount of features, including tech to deter and protect against a range of incidents, and build quality is excellent. And while it’s not cheap, especially with the subscription tiers, its value for money is largely dependent on your own needs and whether you need ultimate protection for your vehicle.


  • +

    Comprehensive protection

  • +

    Excellent build quality


  • -

    Subscription adds to cost

  • -

    Bulky design won’t suit all cars

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Nextbase iQ dash cam: specs

Field of view: front 140°, cabin 180°
Resolution: Choice of 1080p, 2K, 4K
GPS: Yes

Display: Pixel display only

Nextbase’s next-gen dash cam offers a powerhouse in specs and features, including a smart parking mode, live view, real-time notifications, emergency SOS and even an onboard alarm. 

I was given the 4K version to test, but does its comprehensive protection justify its hefty price tag? 

Nextbase iQ dash cam review: Price and availability

The iQ is priced according to three image resolution options:

  • 1080p: $499.99/£299
  • 2K: $599.99/£399
  • 4K $699.99/£449

It should be noted that the iQ offers a subscription-free service, which comes with basic text notifications and voice control. However, to take advantage of its main features, you need to be on one of two paid models. $9.99/£6.99 per month gets you 4G data, real-time image notifications, live view, smart sense parking, an alarm, witness mode, and 30-day cloud storage. For $19.99/£9.99 per month, you get all the above, plus 180-day cloud storage, Emergency SOS, and automated incident backup. 

Thankfully, you’re able to switch between tiers at the end of each billing month, so you’re not tied to any minimum-term contracts. That’s handy should you need extra protection if you’re going on holiday and leaving your car somewhere, for example.

While the iQ unit is a sizeable investment in itself, it’s the added subscription that adds to its running costs. Its features are plentiful, and it’s nice to have cloud backup of your files, but ultimately, this perhaps isn’t the dash cam for cheaper marques or those on a budget. 

Nextbase iQ dash cam review: Design & features

Nextbase iQ dash cam review

(Image credit: Future)

The iQ is a fairly hefty unit. It comprises an Alexa Echo Dot-style speaker with two re-adjustable antennae connected to an oval-shaped dual camera unit on a hinge. There’s a lens at the front and a reverse cabin camera, with an additional rear-view camera attachment available separately. Though the iQ is mostly plastic, there’s a chunky weight to it, and it feels like a premium product — a far cry from those cheap, flimsy cams you can find in the bargain bin. That said, it’s a large dash cam that might protrude in your eyeline as you drive, particularly those in smaller cars.

This high-end model does away with Nextbase’s tradition of video display dash cams. Instead, there’s a thumb-sized display featuring various icons according to its current mode and detection level. There’s also an RGB ring surrounding the speaker grille that also changes according to the mode.

The iQ features a world-class suite of features. Like almost all dash cams, it’s got a G-sensor, which automatically saves and protects a video clip if it detects harsh braking or an impact while the engine is off or while driving. You can also manually push the button underneath the unit to protect the video file.

With its advanced parking mode, an onboard radar scans its surroundings, looking out for intrusions or people loitering near your car.

If any of these systems are triggered, it’ll notify you and send a clip of the footage straight to your phone. There’s also a live view mode, so you can peek inside and outside your car at any time.

In the unpleasant event of intruders in your car, you’re able to activate an alarm, though while not super loud, has some deterring effect. You can also speak directly to them via the onboard speaker to swap more choice words.

I tried setting off the proximity radar by standing in front of my car, and sure enough, the iQ booted itself up, and I received a phone notification and clip within 7 seconds.

The iQ can also be controlled through voice commands, which works fairly effectively, even if there were a few occasions where it didn’t register what I wanted.

Beyond these basics, the iQ also includes some advanced, AI-powered features. In the event of an altercation, activate Witness Mode, and it’ll contact a nominated person, providing them with a live video feed. This worked as advertised, with a shield icon appearing in the display, even though it would have been nice for an additional notification that someone is connected and watching the footage in real time. There’s also no option to physically turn the unit to the side in case someone approaches the driver or passenger side.

Nextbase iQ dash cam review

(Image credit: Future)

An untested feature not available at the time of review is Guardian Mode, which notifies you if the car is driven at a certain speed or a driver is taking too many chances at corners. That’s going to be handy for catching out a naughty valet or lead-footed teenager. You can also set a location limit, so if it goes beyond a certain distance, you’ll get a buzz on your phone.

Another yet-to-be-activated feature is Roadwatch AI, a smart system that keeps track of the road ahead, including the presence of objects and the speed of other vehicles on the road. In theory, that should paint a better picture for insurers in the event of an incident, leading to fewer headaches and explanations on your part.

It’s an impressive set of measures meant to serve as a comprehensive protective solution for your car. Naturally, it’ll be overkill if you’re running it with a £1,000 Fiesta as your daily driver. Still, since anyone can be the victim of an automobile collision, car theft, crash for cash scam or plain ol’ case of accidental damage, this does provide significant protection or deterrence. It also means less hassle when it comes to dealing with insurers.

Nextbase iQ dash cam review: Setup

Setup is fairly easy, though unlike most dash cams, you connect the power cable to your car’s OBD slot instead of a 12V socket. There’s also a hardwire set included, and we’d recommend doing this to get the most out of your unit.

Attaching the device to the screen involves sticking it to the top of the windshield using the included 3M sticky mount. This is attached to a small dock you can slide the unit out of, but as a device designed to protect you and your car both on and off the road, it’s meant to be left in the vehicle to do its thing. 

Once attached and powered up, it’ll perform an update. You’ll then need to download the iQ app, link it to your dash cam by scanning the QR code on its display, and set up your account. 

Removing the onboard SD card is a tricky affair, with no notch on the flap to help open the slot. Additionally, you’ll need long nails or a thin tool to tempt the SD card out of its housing.

Nextbase iQ dash cam review: Software

Apps tend to be an afterthought in the dash cam space, but the Nextbase iQ offering is responsive, easy to use and full of features. You can use the app to check the location of your car, check live view, pull footage and tweak a host of settings, such as the G-sensor sensitivity, radar proximity boundary, and exposure level. Curiously, there’s currently no option to tweak the frame rate or resolution settings.

Nextbase iQ dash cam review: Video and audio quality

Nextbase iQ review

(Image credit: Future)

In the 4K version I tested, video quality is naturally excellent both during day and night, with images appearing clean, crisp and at the correct saturation. There were some contrast issues, particularly with sunlight over a shaded road or streetlights at night, but they tend to be par for the course with almost all dash cams. And as the unit sits robustly on its mount, the image motion looked smooth and relatively judder-free. The cabin camera also yields quality footage, even at night with its infrared mode activated.

One notable omission is a polarising filter, which is included in Nextbase’s other high-end dash cam models. Additionally, with my 1-month-old laptop running Windows 11, I was unable to manually scrub through the footage timeline using my Media Player app.

Lastly, sound comes through crystal clear, with no muffling or tinniness. 

Nextbase iQ dash cam review: Verdict

Feature-packed and super smart, this next-gen unit from Nextbase breaks new ground in what dash cams are capable of today. The price will likely put off those on a budget, but if you’re in the market for an all-in-one solution to protect your marque (and insurance premium), the Nextbase iQ could offer ultimate peace of mind.