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Nextbase 312GW Dash Cam Review

 

The Nextbase 312GW is the latest addition to the company’s ever popular Dash Cam range and the next model up from the Nextbase 212 Lite that we reviewed recently.

Visually, at first glance the Nextbase 312GW looks very similar to its 212 stable mate – after all it features the same design language on the front with the same smart slither of aluminium and the same quick release mount as the 212. Look closely though and you’ll see that the button layout on the back is different – this time the buttons are placed either side of the screen rather than directly beneath it. It’s probably a slightly better layout if I’m honest – that is unless you position it too close to your rear view mirror, but certainly when you are holding it in your hands it’s better. It’s also far better than having some of the buttons on top of the unit as per their older models.

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Just like the 212, the Nextbase 312GW also features the company’s new “click and go” magnetic powered mount, which I really like. It makes removing the unit from your windscreen a far more user friendly experience, should you want to hide it away or simply download some footage from your device. Either way it works really well.

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Of course, if you’ve had a look at the spec of this camera then the headline feature has to be the built in WiFi. This rather nifty feature works with the company’s new “Nextbase Cam Viewer” app (available on Android and iOS), and allows you to instantly share footage directly to your smartphone without the need for a PC or Mac. The app allows you to view files on your device and download them directly to your smartphone, and the app also acts as a cam viewer – meaning you can see what your camera is looking at through your smartphone screen. I was quite excited to give this a try and I did get it to work. The downside is though, that you have to have the camera powered on and in the WiFi settings menu. In other words you have to go to it on purpose. It would have been nice to be able to connect to the camera without having to go out to your car but perhaps this isn’t possible without a permanent data connection.

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Aside from that, the app works well enough and it’s great not having to use a computer to view and download your files. I did experience some problems with connecting, but restarting the app on occasion seemed to resolve this. I put this down to it being a very early version of the app and I’m sure this will be fixed in later updates.

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Just like its 212 stable mate, the Nextbase 312GW offers excellent image quality too. I can’t say for sure but I believe the image sensor and lens are the same as the 212, with the WiFi being the main distinguishing feature prompting the higher price point. That’s not a bad thing either, both cameras deliver excellent crystal clear video in full 1080p HD. The six layer glass lens is also adequately wide too, with a 140 degree viewing angle, meaning you catch all of the action easily. As I said in my review of the Nextbase 212, the image quality doesn’t quite match up to the top of the range Nextbase 512G, but it’s not all that far away, and besides – the 512G comes in at a considerably higher price point.

Speaking of the price point, the new Nextbase 312GW with built in WiFi weighs in with an impressive RRP of £99. It’s terrific value really when you take into account the wealth of features like the built in WiFi, quick release mount and the excellent image quality. As per other Nextbase dash cams it was a breeze to set up too – with a nice and long 12v power lead supplied in the box. As always, I’d definitely recommend hard wiring it if you’re keeping it in one vehicle though. Once you’ve got it connected up, the dash cam is pretty much ready to go out of the box with the default setting being sufficient for most users. Be aware that Nextbase still doesn’t supply a micro SD card with any of their cameras so you’ll one handy – not a deal breaker at this price point but it really wouldn’t hurt to include one. Aside from the WiFi, the 312GW also includes GPS built in to further justify the difference in price over the 212.

Conclusion

The Nextbase 312GW is probably the best all round dash cam I’ve tested when you consider its competitive £99 price point. It includes all the main features you’d expect from a quality dash cam – crystal clear footage capture, built in GPS, a compact design and excellent quick release mount, plus the bonus of built in WiFi to quickly download your footage on the fly. Yes the early version of the smartphone app has a few bugs, but I’m sure this can easily be fixed later with an update. Overall, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this device to anyone looking for a quality dash cam at a sensible price.

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