Nextbase 522GW in the test: Alexa, what’s the point of polarizing filters and high resolution in dashcams? As a premium dash cam, the Nextbase 522GW offers QHD resolution, a polarization filter and Alexa integration. The test shows how good the car camera is. 1:57 p.m. tech stage

nextbase 522gw in the test alexa whats the point of.jpeg
nextbase 522gw in the test alexa whats the point of.jpeg

As a premium dashcam, the Nextbase 522GW offers QHD resolution, a polarization filter and Alexa integration. The test shows how good the car camera is.

If there is a crash on the road, a dispute quickly arises over who is to blame. Under certain conditions, recordings from a dashcam are admissible as evidence in the event of an accident. However, a conflict with data protection is inevitable here. Such recordings are only permissible if they are made on a case-by-case basis. The car camera should therefore only save a short period of time around the accident and discard the remaining recordings. What you should pay attention to here, we explain in the Dashcam guide: Legal issues, technical details and models from 40 euros .

The Nextbase 522GW is located as a dashcam below the premium model Nextbase 622GW (test report) . Similar to the Nextbase 422GW (test report) , the car camera offers a QHD resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels, GPS, Alexa integration and an automatic emergency call system. In addition, the Nextbase 522GW offers a polarization filter (abbreviated: polarizing filter), as is also used in the top model 622GW. This helps to minimize the effects of reflections in the windshield and backlight from other vehicles. Our test shows how well the Nextbase 522GW performs. We offer more test reports and guides in the Dashcam theme world .

The 522GW looks very similar to the other models from Nextbase. In principle, the dashcam looks like a digital camera. The lens sticks out about 3 cm from the cuboid housing. With dimensions of 94 mm x 53 mm x 45 mm, the Nextbase 522GW corresponds almost exactly to the Nextbase 622GW (test report) . It is even larger than the Nextbase 422GW (test report) , Nextbase 322GW (test report) or Nextbase 222 (test report) .

Overall, the car camera looks quite large and at 125 g it also weighs more than other models. The Garmin Dash Cam 67W (test report) is only half as heavy and large . However, it is not yet too bulky to impair the driver’s field of vision. The processing leaves a high-quality and clean impression. Brushed aluminum is used. There are practically no gaps. All buttons and covers are tight.

The emergency button marked in red is located under the large display on the back. The USB interface is located at the top under a rubberized cover. On the right there is a mini-HDMI socket as an input and output, for example for an interior camera that can be bought as an accessory. On the left you will find the slot for the micro SD card and the power button.

At the front, next to the lens, is the connection to the magnetic mount for the windshield mount, under a removable cover. The mounting option is glued to the windshield. This is firmly in place, but can be removed with difficulty. It is also compatible with all other dash cams from the manufacturer. If someone is already using a mount from another Nextbase camera, they can leave it on the pane. To take the dashcam with you, simply detach it from the magnetic attachment on the bracket.

The CMOS image sensor offers 5.14 megapixels and a polarizing filter. Also on board is a motion sensor, the legally important loop function and GPS. The LCD has a resolution of 960 x 480 pixels with a diagonal of 3 inches in a 16:9 format. A mini-USB port that supports USB 2.0 is available as a connection.

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With the loop function, the dash cam only records for a previously selected period of time and then overwrites older video clips. The acceleration sensor comes into play to ensure that recordings are not lost just before and during an accident. If this registers a sharp deceleration, the camera automatically saves the video in a protected memory area that is not overwritten.

However, many dashcams are set up to continuously produce videos and only delete old recordings when the micro SD card is full. Here, users should choose an option in which ideally only one or a few clips are created. Recordings in the protected area should be deleted manually on a regular basis to avoid possible problems with data protection officers.

Bluetooth 4.2 and integrated WLAN are available for communication with a smartphone. The camera also has a lithium polymer battery with 320 mAh at 3.7 volts. This allows operation for a maximum of 15 minutes in the event that the power supply is no longer available – for example if the cable comes loose in an accident.

The cable for the power supply via the cigarette lighter in the car is attached directly to the holder. Ideally, the cable should be routed along the cover on the windscreen so that it doesn’t hang in the interior. A cable laying tool is included. In addition, there is a short cable with a USB connection to connect the dash cam directly to the PC for downloading the videos.

A micro SD card is not included. The manufacturer recommends a high-quality model according to class 10, U3 or UHS type 1 from 8 GB to a maximum of 128 GB. We explain more about the topic in our memory card guide: Finding the right card for your cell phone, camera or drone.

It is operated directly via the touchscreen of the dashcam. As with the Nextbase 422GW (test report) and Nextbase 322GW (test report) , the menu navigation is clear and intuitive. During setup, you select the desired language and region and then set the date and time as well as the unit for the speed measurement (km/h or mp/h).

The menu consists of the four areas Video , Setup , Driver Assistance and Apps . Under Video you define the resolution, frame rate and video length as well as sound recording. It is also possible there to deactivate the stamp for the time, date, speed and GPS position. Optionally, the dashcam creates a second low-resolution video as a preview via the smartphone app.

Under Setup you determine how the loop function works. Caution: By default, the dash cam always creates new clips with the selected length of 1, 2 or 3 minutes until the micro SD card is full. Only then does the dashcam start to overwrite old recordings. However, with a larger memory card you can take a large number of pictures. This is not ideal for privacy reasons.

We recommend selecting the Minimum rather than Maximum option in the Video Recording section of the Setup menu . The dash cam then only creates four video clips at the same time, which are regularly overwritten. If desired, the red protection button on the dash cam saves the recording in the protected memory area. The parking mode can also be activated under driver assistance .

Connect via apps to set up the dashcam via the smartphone app MyNextbase Connect and activate the connection to Alexa. The cell phone first connects to the camera via Bluetooth and then sets up a local WLAN between the dash cam and the smartphone. The app is used to update the firmware or view the camera recordings on the cell phone.

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There is also a free cloud service available called MyNextbase Cloud. Here users can create a link to share the videos with others. Caution, under no circumstances should recordings be distributed on social networks if people or license plates can be recognized on them. It’s best to keep your hands off it. After 30 days, the cloud service automatically deletes the videos. The MyNextbase Suite software is available free of charge for viewing the clips on the PC . This offers further editing options and slow motion. If you want, you can also use any video player like VLC . But it also works completely without software with the Windows media player.

The Nextbase 522GW does not have driver assistance systems. However, parking space monitoring, an emergency call function and the connection to Amazon’s Alexa are integrated. The intelligent parking mode uses the motion sensor to monitor the parked car. In the event of vibrations, such as those that can occur when you bump into a parking lot, the camera then automatically starts recording. By default, parking mode is off.

Such a function is controversial in Germany because the recordings can violate the personal rights of passers-by in front of the car. We therefore recommend leaving this function disabled. In order for it to function reliably, a permanent power supply from the car is advisable. For this purpose there is a cable in the accessories that permanently supplies the camera with power via the car battery. Otherwise, the parking mode runs on the battery. According to Nextbase, battery operation should be sufficient for parking surveillance in most cases.

The Nextbase 522GW also offers an automatic emergency call option, which requires a connection to the smartphone via the MyNextbase Connect app and registration for the service. The first year after purchase is free, after that fees of 3.99 euros per month or 39.99 euros per year are added.

The emergency call function works as follows: If the dashcam detects a possible accident, the app accesses sensors in the smartphone, such as the pedometer, GPS or acceleration sensor. If the function determines that the driver and vehicle are stationary after hard braking, the app automatically sends the GPS location, cell phone number, medical details and vehicle information to the emergency services. You have to store this in advance in the Nextbase Connect app.

A connection to Alexa is also possible, as with the Nextbase 422GW (test report) . To set it up, the Alexa app must also be installed on the cell phone in addition to Nextbase Connect, which requires an Amazon account. Then a connection is made via MyNextbase Connect and Alexa is set up for driving mode. The whole thing turns out to be a bit complicated.

While driving, the driver can then use voice commands to give Alexa the usual commands, such as checking the weather, starting music via services such as Spotify or searching for the nearest gas station. But the real added value is limited. So it’s not really easy to follow the description to the nearest gas station. Alexa often does not respond properly, which can be due to a poor mobile connection or if it is too loud in the car. We think it’s a nice feature for Alexa fans, but not something that’s mandatory for a dashcam or even worth paying extra for.

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The image sensor has a resolution of a good 5 megapixels (2560 x 1440 pixels, QHD). This ensures more image details and higher sharpness than with a dash cam with Full HD, such as the Nextbase 322GW (test report) . Small details and license plates are a bit easier to see than with Full HD. In addition to QHD (1440p) at 30 fps (frames per second), Full HD (1080p) with the higher frame rate of 60 fps is also available as a resolution. The higher frame rate allows for smoother video playback, which can be beneficial in slow motion.

The picture quality is good and offers natural colors with pronounced contrasts. The white balance is successful. For our taste, the image quality even surpasses the Garmin Dash Cam 67W (test report) , which also offers QHD resolution. In the dark, the view is also satisfactory, although more image noise is visible. The videos of the Nextbase 522GW cannot do without pixels either. In poor light conditions, license plates are then not easy to see. If you want to enjoy razor-sharp videos in 4K, you have to go for the expensive Nextbase 622GW (test report) .

Nextbase 522GW Image:

In addition, a polarizing filter is screwed onto the lens. This reduces reflections from the sunlight. Users first have to set this correctly by turning the filter. Otherwise, only the 622GW offers a polarizing filter as standard. The viewing angle of 140 degrees adequately covers what is happening in front of the vehicle. So you can still see vehicles overtaking from the side. The perspective also comes without unnatural distortions, as is known from dashcams with a larger viewing angle.

The RRP for the Nextbase 522GW is 199 euros. The current best offer is 177 euros on Amazon . Considering the QHD resolution and smartphone connectivity, that’s okay.

Thanks to the QHD resolution, the Nextbase 522GW offers good image quality with sufficient image sharpness. The 3-inch LCD is convincing and enables easy operation. The loop function also allows the restriction to a maximum of four videos – which is important for data protection reasons in Germany. However, you have to set this accordingly beforehand. The SOS function is practical, but in the long run it is associated with additional fees. The dashcam also brings Alexa into the car – but otherwise lacks other driver assistance systems. Overall, the car camera is quite large.

The high-priced Nextbase 622GW (test report) delivers even better image sharpness . The Garmin Dash Cam 67W (test report) is much more compact, but still capable of QHD . The Transcend Drivepro 230Q Data Privacy (test report) also offers a strong price-performance ratio – this also only records a maximum of two video clips by default. We show other alternatives in the Dashcam guide: Legal issues, technical details and models from 40 euros .