Hands-on review: Nexar Pro GPS dual dash cam
Image credit: Nexar
Nexar kicks things up a notch with a dual cam system to give you eyes on all aspects of your journey.
We previously looked at the Beam, Nexar's 'one big-eye on the road ahead' single-lens dash cam. Now, the Pro GPS model brings double the eyes, with separate front and rear-facing cameras for those who want to capture both the road outside and also the in-car activity.
This is a growth area for dash cam companies. While some people are happy to simply capture the road ahead for insurance purposes, other drivers - particularly those carrying fare-paying passengers in these side-hustle, gig-economy times - need a record of what's taking place inside the vehicle, as well as potentially what's happening on the road behind.
Nexar is selling a lot of dash cams, so it clearly knows its in-car onions. According to the company's own stats, Nexar users worldwide have collectively driven 3,000,000,000km, logged 104,000,000 hours of recorded footage, and shared 424,000 road incidents with authorities and insurers in the last year alone. That's a lot of dash cam action.
Dash cams tend to come in distinctive shapes and sizes, almost like a signature style, and the Pro GPS is no exception. Here, the main cam has a chunky 'giant pill' shape, with the second camera like a mini-me facsimile which attaches to the side of the mothership. There's no screen on either cam: all video is viewable solely via the Nexar app.
The star attraction with the Pro GPS is its two-camera set-up, each with high-quality 1080p full-HD image sensors, and the eponymous built-in GPS. Footage from both cameras is automatically captured to the app.
While the base model ships with 64GB memory included - good for approximately six hours of continuous recording, before it cycles round and starts wiping the earliest footage - there are options to pay extra for 128GB or 256GB memory, which double the recording time to 12 hours and the all-day 24 respectively. For professional drivers, these are probably the better options.
Attached to the windscreen by either the suction-mount cup or a sticker, the Pro GPS is easy to fit into a vehicle, its rounded shape and low-profile colour scheme helping it blend in with your car's interior. It's also smaller than it may appear from photos: even the bigger of the two cams fits comfortably into the palm of your hand.
The included suction-cup attachment is good if you want to regularly move the cam between vehicles. The optional sticker mount is the more permanent option, but does add a little extra cost. Inside the box is the USB charger and a 3.5m cable, along with an installation tool and cable clips, so you can route the cable around your vehicle and tuck it securely more or less out of sight.
The suction mounting cup actually houses the onboard GPS unit, so it is theoretically possible to use this Pro cam entirely independent of a smartphone, if preferred. In this scenario, footage can be saved to an SD card.
As mentioned above, all video footage is recorded to the Nexar app and backed up to your account in the Nexar Cloud. This is one of the neatest aspects of this dash cam system: your Nexar Cloud storage space is unlimited and free. You can capture and save as much footage as you like. Whether it's crucial insurance footage, your favourite road-trip or just nice snapshot memories, you can save it all indefinitely.
As with so much modern technology, the Cloud is seamless and blissfully convenient - providing it keeps working as expected. As many of us will know, that convenience tends to evaporate if things ever happen to go pear-shaped.
It must be stressed that we haven't experienced any issues with our Nexar Cloud experiments so far and the accompanying app seems to be solid, stable and well-designed. It's all good. If there are recordings you definitely want to treasure forever, though, it would be wise to back them up elsewhere. A good rule of thumb is that anything digital should ideally exist in at least three separate places to protect against the unexpected.
The dash cam can also start recording and capturing automatically if you brake hard or it senses any impact, so parking and 24/7 security are another feature. When set up for this, you can actually live-stream the dash cam video remotely on your phone.
The Nexar app uses the sensors in your smartphone to detect a collision and will trigger a Nexar Emergency Alert that includes the location, a dash cam video, and a one-tap link to call emergency services.
Other app features are the ability to easily submit insurance claims (one of the first questions insurers now ask customers, in the event of a claim, is whether any dash cam footage is available), detailing sensor data such as vehicle speed, location, impact force and video footage. Generating such a report from the app takes seconds.
The Nexar app can also show you the last parking location, which can be very handy if you're in a strange town. You can either see your car's location in the app or just ask Siri “Where did I park?” and the app will navigate you there.
Regarding the quality of the footage, it's crisp and clear. No complaints. Critical details, such as vehicle number plates and faces, are easily identifiable. Those 1080p full-HD image sensors do a great job. Of course, there are 2K and 4K dash cams out there for the ultimate in picture quality, but there's also a sense of diminishing returns for the price. File size is also kept low with 1080p vs 4K. Sound recording is optional: the device has a microphone.
The field of view for the front road-view cam is 135 degrees, with a capture rate of 30fps. The interior cam is 115 degrees, 25fps. Again, there are dash cams with wider viewing angles, both front and rear, and those extra degrees in width are a good thing, but it's not a dealbreaker. Anything coming into contact with your vehicle - or even a near miss - will be captured by these cams.
All the app usage, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi streaming, video capturing and footage retrieval will take its toll on your smartphone's battery - as well as potentially its storage space - so it bears thinking about the best way to share the load across the Cloud and your local device. Helpfully, another neat feature is the additional USB socket provided on the cam's power unit, so you can simultaneously charge your phone whilst using the dash cam.
It's clear from the overall specification, design, tech spec and delivery of this unit that Nexar has considered the end user's primary needs to produce a solid dual dash cam offering that ticks all the core boxes without going overboard on unnecessary frills, keeping both the cost and complexity down. If you were attracted to the Beam, but you need that extra interior camera, this Pro GPS model could be just what you're looking for.
Sign up to the E&T News e-mail to get great stories like this delivered to your inbox every day.