NextBase 122 Review
The NextBase 122 is an entry-level dash cam, designed to cover the basics. It uses NextBase’s brilliant Click&Go PRO mount, has a G-sensor to detect any knocks when your car’s parked, and has a small colour screen. However, it doesn’t have GPS, and doesn’t record especially clear videos – particularly at night. It’s an improvement over some cheap dash cams, but you can get better on a budget.
- Brilliant windscreen mount
- G-sensor enabled parking mode
- Basic video quality
- No GPS
- Maximum 32GB MicroSD card
- UKRRP: £59
- GPSThis camera doesn’t have GPS, so can’t track where an incident happened.
- ResolutionThis camera has a 720p resolution.
If you’re after a cheap, simple dash cam, NextBase’s entry-level 122 might seem like a good choice.
It’s very basic, supporting only 720p (standard HD) video, and forgoing the kind of fancy driver assistance features you get further up the range. More significantly, it’s missing GPS, so it can’t tell where you are or how fast you’re travelling. Spend a little more and you get much better image quality.
Design and features
- Simple setup, with a great windscreen mount
- No GPS info
- Few advanced features
There’s no getting away from the fact this is a simple dash cam. Compact, and looking much like a regular camera, it misses out on the touchscreen and advanced features you might expect from a more expensive device. It’s not completely basic, though. It has a colour screen which, while far too small to work well as a viewer, lets you access and adjust the camera’s settings without needing a PC or smartphone.
This camera records in 720p (standard HD) resolution. While that’s a couple of steps down from the QHD or 4K you’d get on range-topping examples, it should be enough to capture the important details from most driving events. Should something happen, there’s a big button at the base of the screen to immediately protect your videos from being overwritten.
Perhaps more significantly, the 122’s lens covers a horizontal angle of only 120°, rather than the 140° offered by the rest of the NextBase range. This narrower angle should still be enough to capture everything going on in front of your car, but it covers less of the area to the sides.
Happily, the 122 comes with the same Click&Go PRO mount used by the rest of the NextBase dash cam range. It’s an excellent system, where the camera’s power cable remains permanently in the mount, and the camera itself is held in place by powerful magnets. You can simply tug it free and click it back into place whenever you need to remove or refit it to the car.
With no GPS receiver, this camera can’t stamp videos with GPS coordinates or your vehicle speed. In many cases that might not be an issue – for example, if you just need to prove a traffic light was green as you drove through it. However, it could leave you with problems if somebody else claims you were speeding. There’s no GPS time source, either, which could potentially leave you vulnerable if somebody disputes the exact time of an incident.
The NextBase 122 doesn’t have advanced driver aids, but it does have a useful parking mode. Park up, and the camera enters a deep sleep, while its g-sensor monitors for any bumps to your car. If there is one, it’ll wake up and start recording within a few seconds. The system won’t capture the actual impact, but it could provide important evidence of what happened next.
It’s worth mentioning that this dash cam doesn’t support NextBase’s range of rear and cabin view cameras. It also only supports MicroSD cards up to 32GB. While that’s plenty to capture all but an epic drive, it does mean you’ll need to back up any important videos promptly or risk them being overwritten by newer ones. Like other NextBase dash cams, there’s no forward-facing LED to warn other road users that you’re filming.
Performance and video quality
- Fair video quality in daylight
- Disappointing low light video
- Easy to live with
This is an easy dash cam to live with, but it might need a little tweaking. Like other NextBase cameras, its screen remains on by default. I found this distracting, but you can set it to go dark after a few moments. Parking mode is switched off out of the box, but there seems little downside to turning it on. The camera’s battery didn’t go flat and I didn’t get any false alarms, at least until I removed the camera from the car – then it started recording with the slightest movement.
I quickly grew to love the NextBase mount, which makes it easy to fit and remove the 122. I wasn’t so keen on the camera’s MicroSD slot, however, as I found it hard to push the card far enough in to eject it. This camera’s menu can be a little bit fiddly, too.
In truth, these niggles are all things you’d sort out within the first week or so of ownership, but you’d be stuck with the NextBase 122’s indifferent video quality. Whether in clear, overcast or dark weather, there’s a lack of sharpness that goes beyond the camera’s comparatively modest 1,280×720 resolution. Even in daylight recordings, noise was evident in darker areas of the frame. The dynamic range was poor, with lighter areas of the frame being washed out.
Night time video was very poor, with the camera struggling to resolve buildings and stationary cars with any degree of clarity. Number plates were entirely unreadable, even when passing parked cars at low speed. The NextBase 122 couldn’t pick out much detail under street lighting, or even in the road directly in front of my car’s fairly powerful headlights.
Should you buy it?
If you’re on a strict budget, the NextBase 122 is one of the cheaper cameras out there. It’s better than nothing.
You don’t need to spend much more for far better video quality.
The 122 is cheap, and it has several decent features, but it’s let down by its video quality. While it’s good enough to capture the basics of an accident, it’s not sharp enough to reliably capture subtle details. At night it’s very poor. This lack of clarity, coupled with the lack of GPS time or speed data, means it might not be able to help you in some cases when another dash cam could have. Why bother, when you could spend another £20 or so and get something much better, like the NextBase 222.
How we test
We test every dash cam we review thoroughly over an extended period of time. We use standard tests to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever, accept money to review a product.
Find out more about how we test in our ethics policy.
Used as our main dash cam for the review period
We take sample video during the day and night to see how good the footage really is.
We test any smartphone apps to see what additional features are on offer.
We test any additional safety features, such as lange change warning, to see how useful they really are.
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No, this is a forward-facing camera. It doesn’t have the required slot to connect one of NextBase’s rear or cabin view cameras.
You can by a hardwiring kit, but there’s only a cigarette lighter lead in the box.