A dash cam can be useful as evidence in clarifying who is at fault after an accident. We show the ten best dash cams from our tests.
If there is a crash in traffic, the anger is great. In addition to the danger to life and limb, the material damage is also very annoying for car owners. Mutual recriminations quickly arise. A tried and tested piece of evidence for clarifying who is at fault after an accident is a car camera – also known as a dashcam. This records what is happening around a possible accident in order to be able to better reconstruct the course of events later during the police investigation and the clarification in court.
The issue of data protection is problematic when it comes to legal use. When operating, it is important and challenging to comply with the provisions of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Exactly how this can be done, however, is controversial. A BGH ruling from 2018 shed some light on the matter, which, among other things, addressed the question of whether and under what conditions dashcams can be used legally. There is a balancing of interests between the right to self-determination of the persons concerned and the right to protection of the motorist’s property. Dash cams are not banned in this country. Anyone can buy one and use it in principle.
The winner of our list of the best is the Nextbase 622GW (test report). It owes this primarily to the high resolution of up to 4K and the diverse special functions such as voice control, connection to Alexa via smartphone or an SOS function. If the camera and smartphone notice that the driver is not moving after a sudden braking manoeuvre, the cell phone sends an emergency call to a predetermined contact, including GSP data. However, the service is only free for the first year. The loop function allows the restriction to a maximum of four dashcam videos. You have to select this option in the settings first. A parking function is also available. The app connection is via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, a GPS receiver and a battery are also on board.
In daylight, the image quality is impressive in both 4K and QHD with a viewing angle of 140 degrees. The latter even allows 60 fps and is therefore our preferred setting. A digital image stabilizer (EIS) can be switched on. There is even a polarization filter – polarizing filter for short. This minimizes reflections on the windshield when taking pictures. Alexa is a nice feature, but we don’t see any real added value in it. The image quality deteriorates in the dark, and vehicle license plates are no longer so easy to read due to reflections.
The communication with the smartphone app works well, the workmanship is impeccable. The 622GW with large LCD is also quite bulky and bulky, which could bother the driver. It gets very warm at high temperatures. With a price of 290 euros, it is one of the most expensive models.
Garmin Dash Cam Live
The Garmin Dash Cam Live (test report) is the manufacturer’s new top model and offers some unusual functions. A built-in LTE module even allows remote access to the camera, including live image transmission, and an anti-theft alarm is also on board.
However, you then have to supply the camera with power via a hardwire cable even when the engine is switched off. The price is quite high at around 370 euros, and there are also subscription costs for the LTE connection. The image quality is good and delivers videos in QHD resolution, the viewing angle is 140 degrees.
Garmin Dash Cam 67W
The Garmin Dash Cam 67W follows in third place (test report). In principle, it offers similar features to the Garmin Dash Cam Live, only without remote access to the camera. In terms of form factor, the Garmin dash cam would have earned the top spot. The case is nice and compact and handy. It’s only half the size of the Nextbase 622GW and the shape is reminiscent of a petrol lighter. There are no gimmicks like Alexa, but instead it offers some driver assistance systems such as the start-up alarm, lane departure warning system or collision warning when the safety distance is small. This makes them interesting for owners of older cars without such functions. Particularly commendable is the optional limitation of the loop to just one 30-second clip. You have to activate this in the settings first.
The Dash Cam 67W allows QHD resolution with 30 fps or Full HD with up to 60 fps. The photos are good, but there is still room for improvement in terms of image sharpness. They can’t quite keep up with the Nextbase 622GW. The field of view is very generous at 180 degrees. A GPS module and a battery are also part of the equipment in addition to an LCD. With prices starting at just under 200 euros, it is already significantly cheaper than the devices placed before it.
The Nextbase 422GW (test report) follows in fourth place . This offers almost all the features of the top model 622GW including SOS and Alexa. Even the size and design are almost the same. However, the resolution is lower with a maximum of QHD, which is still above average. The viewing angle is sufficient at 140 degrees. Voice control, SOS and Alexa are also on board. With a price of 170 euros, the 422GW is significantly cheaper.
5th place: Transcend Drivepro 230Q Data Privacy
The Transcend Drivepro 230Q Data Privacy (test report) is not only the price-performance winner, but also a good option in terms of data protection. By default, the loop mode is set so that only two video clips are created and automatically overwritten. However, this means that it is not an option for recording landscapes while driving. In addition, the manufacturer dispenses with parking monitoring.
The image quality is absolutely fine with a maximum resolution of Full HD. The viewing angle of 130 degrees is still sufficient. In addition to GPS and a battery, there are also some driving assistance systems, such as headlight reminders, rest break alarms, collision warning systems and lane departure warning systems. The connection to the smartphone via app and WLAN also works well. The holder with a suction cup is not quite as ideal. Although these can be removed quickly and easily, they are less durable than adhesive solutions. In addition, the camera looks clumsy and hangs quite low into the interior. However, the price of just over 90 euros is a declaration of war.
The Nextbase 522GW (test report) is largely identical in terms of features and appearance to the 422GW model. A polarizing filter is also used here. So why is the camera further back? This is due to the higher price of 190 euros, which in our opinion does not justify the advantage of the polarizing filter.
Viofo A229 Duo
The Viofo A229 Duo (test report) has made it into the list of the best . This is due to the good equipment package, because an additional reversing camera is also included in the scope of delivery. However, this has to be connected to the dashcam by cable, which requires some fiddling. We were won over by the image quality with QHD resolution, the app and the ease of use. However, the price of 270 euros seems a bit too high to us.
Garmin Dash Cam Tandem
The Garmin Dash Cam Tandem (test report) is exotic. As the name suggests, the car camera offers two lenses – one for the front and one for the interior. This may seem confusing at first.
But an additional lens that films the interior can be essential for taxi and Uber drivers in the event of passenger crime.
The camera allows recordings in Full HD, the image quality is decent. However, the tandem model is not a bargain at 300 euros, so you should think twice about whether the second camera lens is really necessary.
Let’s get to the Nextbase 322GW (test report) . In principle, the dash cam offers everything you need: a loop that can be limited to four clips, GPS, a battery and a smartphone connection and the SOS function known from the other Nextbase models. We didn’t miss Alexa here. The image quality is decent and offers a Full HD resolution and a viewing angle of 140 degrees. Only the shape, which is so reminiscent of a digital camera from the early 00s, looks old-fashioned. The price is quite cheap at just over 150 euros.
Transcend Drivepro 620
Like the Viofo model, the inexpensive Transcend Drivepro 620 (test report) offers two dashcams for the price of one. The smaller camera is attached to the rear window as a reversing camera for the view to the rear. The “main camera” is used at the front, which is similar to the Transcend Drivepro 230Q.