Having a dashcam is a good idea nowadays. If you are involved in a collision, insurance companies often apportion blame (and, later, higher rates) to both parties, but video proof of fault is incontrovertible. Perhaps even better, there’s YouTube. After using Nextbase’s top-of-the-line 622GW on our 2022 Rivian R1T Trans America Trail adventure and discovering all the neat things it can do, we decided to try one of these $400 dashcams on our long-term Toyota Mirai. Who knows, maybe we’d luck out and get a spectacular crash on video! (Spoiler alert: We didn’t, but we have awesome footage of a running bear.)
The 622GW is Nextbase’s top-of-the-line camera, and its features list is almost as head-spinning to us as one of Lieberman’s reviews is to the readership of Quilter’s Monthly. The 622GW is capable of shooting video at resolutions up to 4K (great for getting license plates of hit-and-run yahoos), it has image stabilization, a polarizer on the lens to cut glare in the windshield, great low-light performance, and the ability to take Alexa commands. It detects collisions, automatically saving the video just before and after, and can automatically call for emergency services—and even transmit your location and medical history. If you don’t know where you are, it’ll tell you using What3Words. The camera also has rear-view and cabin-cam add-ons. And there is a time-lapse mode, which we used to record our cross-country Trans-America Trail journey with Rivian. As far as we can tell, anything any dashcam can do, the Nextbase 622GW does.
We found most of what we needed in the 622GW’s box, including the dashcam itself, a nice long cord with a 12-volt “cigarette-lighter” adapter, and windshield mount with both sticky and suction attachments. Missing is an SD card; Nextbase recommends its own cards ($19.99 to $99.99) to ensure enough write speed to record the copious amounts of hi-def video the cam captures.
Professional installation is always an option, but with some guidance from the Nextbase folks, it was easy to pull a few interior trim panels from the Toyota and conceal the wiring. We plugged the camera into the 12V outlet under the Mirai’s center armrest, but since the socket is only powered when the car is on, we’d miss out on the dashcam’s ability to wake up and record parking-lot bumps. Nextbase sells a $29.99 hardwire kit that connects directly to a power source or the fusebox and allows the camera access to power at all times.
The power cord plugs into the windshield mount (which, by the way, also contains the GPS receiver), and the camera in turn connects to the mount magnetically. This makes it easy to pull the dashcam off and conceal it from thieves. Nextbase sells a variety of useful add-ons, including two rear-view cameras—a wired one that mounts in the rear window and a more compact unit that snaps right into the side of the 622GW—and a cabin-view camera.
Setting up the dashcam is fairly easy using the touchscreen on the back, and we went with mostly default settings (save for audio; we decided the insurance adjuster need not hear us singing along with Depeche Mode). From there, all we had to do was hit the road and wait for someone to crash into us. When a collision occurs, the 622GW’s g-sensor detects it and automatically copies 30 seconds of video—10 seconds prior and 20 after—to a separate folder, ensuring it won’t be overwritten.
We never did have a collision, but we saved plenty of video manually; there’s a bright red button on the camera’s bottom edge that manually copies the aforementioned 30 seconds of video to the protected folder. While we still haven’t gathered anything spectacular enough to make us YouTube stars (“Stupid Drivers in Los Angeles 2021—You Won’t Believe What Happens Next!”), we were stunned late one night during our TAT adventure when a bear barreled across the trail right in front of us. A quick press of the button saved it for posterity.
The 622GW saves both lo- and hi-res versions of all videos, with separate files for the rear-view camera if one is installed. There are several ways to view video, including a Nextbase phone app or any movie-player application, but we rather enjoyed plugging the SD card directly into our PC and using the MyNextbase Player. It shows the video feed and telemetry data such as speed (current and average), heading, position, and g forces. It displays the car’s position on Google maps and can show both front- and rear-facing feeds separately, side-by-side, or in a picture-in-picture format. It’s quite cool to see video and telemetry, as it’s a great way to review your fast runs on your favorite twisty roads, not that we would ever recommend such hooliganism.
Problems? We didn’t run into many. We found that the plug-in backup camera doesn’t work very well, at least not in a car like our Mirai with a small rear window. The dark interior throws off the camera’s exposure, and most of what we could see in the back window was blown out, though we were able to make out the digits on license plates. If you’re looking to record what’s behind you, you’ll want the wired rear-view camera, which sells for the same $99.99.
On our Trans America Trail outing, we did have a few instances of the cameras overheating in the sun and shutting down, requiring cool-down, a reboot, and (often as not) resetting of our settings. This didn’t happen with the camera we installed in the Mirai, even on hot Los Angeles days—but our journey times rarely exceeded 2 hours. On the Trans-America Trail, the cameras ran for upward of 14 hours per day.
Mostly, though, we were impressed by how much the Nextbase 622GW dashcam can do. We had good fun with the Time Lapse function and we like the fact we can easily capture all the highway stupidity we see, in glorious 4K splendor. And while $400 isn’t cheap, if the dashcam gives us the proof we need to keep our insurance rates from increasing, then it’s well worth it. Now all we need is for someone to barrel into us in spectacular fashion so we can capture the crash on video. You won’t believe what happens next!
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