Nextbase 612GW Elite Dashcam review

Paul Iddon

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Nextbase 612GW Elite Dashcam.

I now own the latest Nextbase dashcam – the 612GW and here is my review.

This is a step up from my previous model (412GW) and an improvement over the 512GW – both of which offer 1440p recording (2K resolution).

The 612GW is the first model from Nextbase which records video at 4K resolution (2160p) on a 3” capacitive 960x240 16:9 touchscreen.

Below are a few images of the box and contents. The major difference you will see is the brushed metal finish – which gives the dashcam a classy expensive appearance. If you want a stealth dashcam – this will not be it – the front of the unit looks smart but it is going to be noticeable through your windscreen.















New features incorporated this time around include:

2 file sizes: A dual file option which records a low-res file (ideal for wi-fi transfers) alongside its 4K counterpart. The low-res file can be turned off via the menu if you choose to do so. Being 4K the file sizes are of course twice that of earlier recent models, so a decent sized memory card is recommended, either 64Gb or 128Gb, and really needs to be the newer U3 class micro SD card, which have the speed to capture 4K data. 15 minutes of video used around 5Gb of space on my card – the manual suggests 200 minutes will fit on a 64Gb memory card and therefore 400 minutes on a 128Gb card.

Voice confirmation: When you start and stop recording you can turn on voice confirmation mode – though I have not used it for other features or in the menus, so I do not know if it speaks to you when you protect a file for instance.

Touchscreen Menu: The controls for operation of menu items are on the screen now rather than down the sides of the screen. This is not only much tidier than previously, but means the unit is a smaller size and the compact design looks all the better for it. The icons are clear and obvious, but also have text to describe them though the actual icons are ideal. There are 5 pages and each has 6 further options included. Here you can change many parameters such as video length, resolution, exposure etc., and each press responds quickly to your touch. The screen is capacitive, so gloves will not work – you’ll need your finger tips!

Lens and sensor: A new lens from Nextbase is a 7G, 150° wide angle f.1/6 lens and an 8.57 megapixel photo sensor that give excellent clarity.

Speed display: Once the screensaver kicks in you can set the screen to display your speed.

Other features as expected are the GPS Logger, Wi-Fi connectivity, G Sensor / File protection, Intelligent parking mode, time-lapse, auto dimming (of the screen) and a built in polarising filter (which works brilliantly). To set up the polarising filter correctly, a good way of doing it is leave a mobile phone on the dashboard with the white Google home page open and rotate the filter until the mobile phone disappears from your windscreen reflection!)

In the box you get all the usual – the 612GW unit, a powered GPS mount, an adhesive and a suction cup mount, power cable, USB cable, a window sticker, quickstart guide and a software disk with full instructions manual.

There are 2 indicators on the rear of the unit – red and blue for recording and battery power. On the top of the unit is a well-proportioned power button and the DC-In & USB socket (beneath a rubber cover).

Below the unit is a reset button and the light sensor, and here you will find your serial number too.

On the right hand side is the HD out socket (covered) and the “protect” button for preserving important moments. On the left hand side is the microphone (reasonably efficient) and the Micro SD card slot.

So now to the video. These 3 examples have been added on YouTube at 4K resolution so best viewing is on a 4K TV or monitor.

First up is a quick blast down the M6:


Later in the day, the rains came down which gave me a different set of weather conditions to look at:



Here is a bit of Preston...


Finally, an example of the camera at night - and I think too that the difference over my 412GW is significant. Oh, and don't jump near the end of this, I did when I played it back... :)


4K Video, down a few country lanes...


There's a couple of screen-grabs from this in the thumbnails.



And so on to my opinions.

The video is very, very good. Playback on my Samsung S8 is remarkably clear, and sent to my Panasonic 4K television it is excellent, even under the dull conditions my first tests have been done under. In 4K, on typical bright summer/autumn days, the video is superb.

Night scenes are not as well exposed (and slightly grainy) but there is so much to see despite it being dark – I think for a sensor so small with so may pixels, the exposure is more than acceptable, especially considering that the polariser in place too. Highlights on reg plates burn out but I accept that as being almost unavoidable due to brightness and reflectivity of metal/plastic number plates. There are clearer videos on other dashcams, but that's because they are not using a 4K sensor with all those tiny photosites. For me, the video is acceptable at night.

The touchscreen menu is so intuitive and simple to navigate, responsive and an improvement over earlier models, however it is not hi-res so for video playback you’ll want to use your computer or TV, or mobile phone.

The GPS latches on quite quickly, and has different colours for the signal strength – green being the best signal.

I think any perspective buyers would be more than satisfied with purchasing the 612GW Elite – I cannot deny this is the best quality I have personally seen myself and I would have no hesitation in recommending it. The expected price point of £250 may be a stumbling block for some but for that you will get quality dashcam that will serve you well.

My Observations for future reference:

The speed readout is wonderful as long as you have the cam in a position that you can see it, though I suspect many people will obscure the screen behind a mirror, however for those that don’t a future update that I think would be beneficial would be to have the speed readout giving options of colours (yellow, green, red, and blue) and the further option to reduce its brightness in 10% increments (especially useful at night).

Memory cards slots would be more accessible on the right hand side on UK models seeing as we are sat on the right and this would make getiing them out and putting them back a lot quicker and easier.


That’s about it really. My thoughts are all positive. A high quality camera and well worth the money.

Available from Halfords UK.

http://www.halfords.com/webapp/wcs/...d=10001&catalogId=10151&langId=-1&mode=search

Paul.


Edit:

There is a firmware upgrade which tweaks the night time video now.

The Cam Viewer software has had an overhaul in 2018 and is now very good with lots of new features (thanks NB for listening to a few of my suggestions which hopefully helped in this development)!
 

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Paul Iddon

Paul Iddon

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There's a Dropbox link in the 612
Upload the original video to the file hosting service, please.
There is a Dropbox link in the 612 thread.
 

Falsificator

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There is a Dropbox link in the 612 thread.
This link is only one movie from the model 412:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/upbuj51emd4v3ck/Nextbase_Video_Edit.001.MOV?dl=0
There are no other links to dropbox.
It would be interesting to watch the video from sunny, evening, night & full dark driving.
In the meantime, manufacturer need to work on the level of black, gamma, contrast and sharpness.
1.jpg 2.jpg 3.jpg 4.jpg
Ambarella A12+IMX317 should give the best result. Video settings require more fine-tuning.
I know for sure, since I worked it on the sensor IMX322:
https://dashcamtalk.com/forum/threads/tweaking-ov4689-hdr-off-imx322.26345/page-2#post-364935
 
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Paul Iddon

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Falsificator

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Falsificator

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Viewing the original video did not change my opinion:
In the meantime, manufacturer need to work on the level of black, gamma, contrast and sharpness.
Ambarella A12+IMX317 should give the best result. Video settings require more fine-tuning.
Nextbase 612GW (1).MP4_snapshot_01.38.jpg Nextbase 612GW (1).MP4_snapshot_01.57.jpg
 

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What is the best memory card for a 612gw??? I know the minimum specs but many companies don't make an endurance dash cam memory card at U3 spec?
 

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10 years, many dashcams
Here in Denmark we say " i dident see the forest for all the trees" when you are missing the obvious.
 

kamkar1

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@David Blackburn the internal battery are not for recording, only for shutting down camera in case of a crash where it might loose connection to its normal power source.
for parking recording you will need to hardwire to the car battery and have a BDP in between so the camera can not totally drain car battery when parked.

But battery are bad, most of us advise against then as they are not as heat/cold tolerant as capacitors.
 

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The 612GW (and all other models that connect via Wi-Fi) do not actually connect to the internet, it is a type of connection between two devices. In essence it can be likened to Bluetooth, the SSID and PWD are both fixed and these cannot be compromised as the Wi-Fi has to be manually activated by the user and then deactivated to ensure normal use/recording. Only one person at a time can connect to the Wi-Fi signal, it is categorically incorrect that 5 people can connect via the App. This isn’t a case of stopping customers incorrectly changing settings. You cannot connect to and retrieve data from the camera unless you have the Cam Viewer application loaded onto your device. A malevolent person could not access the device whilst you were connected, bear in mind as above you have to activate the Wi-Fi.

Please do PM me your details so we can discuss this with you further, we have completed extensive tests on the battery and its life expectancy and if you’re not experience what is expected we would love to hear from you. This will allow us to ensure if you’re not getting the desired results we can help make sure you start getting the best results.

Replay 3 is designed for playing full 4k resolution (or 1440p/1080p) files and does not allow connection via Wi-Fi as this would cause a delay in streaming that a customer would not expect when viewing 4K. Over Wi-Fi the resolution is dropped (on the 612GW, 512W and 412GW) to ensure smooth streaming, this looks impeccable on a mobile phone but on a full size 4k computer monitor the full resolution is required, this is to be expected.

A customers' mobile phone is the device that will connect to the internet if the customer chooses to share their file with the internet (whether that be Facebook, WhatsApp, Dropbox or Private Share).

In relation to the telnet daemon service: we are looking into this and where necessary will implement a fix to stop super user access.
 
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Paul Iddon

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David - a lot of that is way over my head technically, but one thing that intrigues me is the likelihood (or not as most likely) that a malevolent person would want to hack into my dashcam. I cannot for any reason think who is going to do that sort of thing.

Maybe you're being overly cautious? Or perhaps you have had a dashcam hacked already? ;)

And the WiFi from my house barely reaches the street and where my car is parked - what chance does a dashcam have of having such a long range? Any? Or is it really feasible? Is there already a dashcam out there that allows this to happen?

Plus, the Android software and Replay were on the market long before the 612GW - and therefore I would summise, cannot have been rushed?

I still maintain, the 612GW performs exactly as I had hoped. In fact, I find it quite interesting watching the video back on my 58" Pano screen in 4K - it gives me a better view than my own eyes I would bet!!! :)

My regards reciprocated David - and thank you for raising the issues you have done - Nextbase look into everything that customers relay back to them from what I have seen.

Paul.
 

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that's why our F1 video quality is better than Mijia which use same IMX317
To be honest, then all the gadgets on the A12 shoot the video about equally.
And errors in contrast, black level and gamma for all gadgets on the A12 platform are also the same...

My opinion is not the only true, but it is as it is...
 

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Hi Paul,

Hopefully Nextbase can address this - the quickest partial fix will be to permit the user to change the default Wi-Fi password at the device, because the DashCam viewer software on the phone is dependent on a telnet session with a blank root password.

Yes the 4K image is good, but as for the rushed to market comments I stand corrected that the Android and Replay software have been around for a while - but that means they have been insecure with other wifi DashCams for a while.

Many devices these days are being created for iOT (internet of things). Companies which should certainly know better are releasing products without thinking about security and teh attack vectors that are created. NextBase's initial view appears to be that the Wi-Fi on the DashCam is just like a Bluetooth pairing, and a private network. Sadly that is oversimplifying things the Wi-Fi on the DashCam operates in Access Point mode. So if you think of your home Wi-Fi router you connect your home devices to - you do not share the password to that Wi-Fi network. I suspect if you are like me you'll have lots of devices that connect to the internet and each other through your home network. Those devices are probably not security hardened - but are relatively protected because your home Wi-Fi router also provides a firewall. Many of your devices probably provide telnet services and other services but the bad folks on the internet have to get past your firewall - or onto your home Wi-Fi network. The security of Wi-Fi networks is not wonderful generally but you don't pass out your home Wi-Fi password to everyone.

Now the 612gw acts as a Access Point when in Wi-Fi mode and anyone within range can log onto your 612gw's private network. I hear what you say about Wi-Fi range but the bad guys have Pringle Cans (http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/how-to-make-a-wifi-antenna-out-of-a-pringles-can-nb/) and better to increase the range to which they can access a network.

You might wonder what the prize is for a hacker getting into your DashCam and the damage that they could do. Do they really want to watch your driving videos, delete them or mess with your dashcam for kicks? I would suggest that's not the real target. You see look at your cell phone. Many people have all sorts of 'interesting' data on the cell phone, that is worth a lot to a hacker - bank account details etc - phone books, emails. Ordinarily your cell phone sits behind a firewall when you are on your home Wi-Fi and behind firewalls of cellular phone companies when on mobile data networks. However when your cell phone is logged into your DashCam's Wi-Fi it does not sit behind a firewall - and what's more the bad guy could be also logged into your DashCam's Wi-Fi network and thus can immediately attack your cell phone. Of course all these attacks can happen in a twinkling of an eye by execution of scripts, and then your stuffed, and all because the DashCam manufacturers did not pay attention to security of the devices they were manufacturing....

Anyway - hopefully NextBase will give these comments some serious thought and harden the security of the DashCams...

kind wishes
Hi @David Blackburn

Thank you ever so much for your feedback on the Wi-Fi, we're always eager to make improvements.

I would like to reassure you and any other customer that the Wi-Fi is only active when you have the black Wi-Fi screen on (example below), the Wi-Fi cannot be accessed any other time. When you are recording the Wi-Fi cannot be accessed, this will give you control.

The customer needs to activate the Wi-Fi then deactivate it for normal use, if the Wi-Fi is accidentally left on it will only be on for a very very small amount of time depending on the model and battery life. The Wi-Fi cannot be accessed unless this screen is on the device (example below is a 512GW).

Based on this we have investigated the matter and arrange for a new version of firmware for all models that have the Wi-Fi feature.

This update will change the blank root password stopping the unit from being accessed by someone other than the customer and their App. Please don't forget we're here everyday on our support@nextbase.co.uk email or on the phone at 02920 866 429 should anyone have any queries in relation to software or hardware.
upload_2017-12-4_14-41-3.png
 
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Paul Iddon

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I'm assume the blur is more evident because of frame rates to use 4K? I'm no expert mind you...

Other than the signpost though the rest seems fine on the 612 - and fine on the Aldi (more digital noise though) - though I do we think we tend to expect too much out of darkness - after all -it is dark out there!

The CPL will reduce clarity as well on the 612, so try turning it off.
 

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My view is that the cheapo does far better at night. I think Nextbase have work to do on the night-time quality....
smaller CMOS sensor used in the Aldi has larger individual pixels which collect more light than the pixels used in the image sensor used in the Nextbase, that's just physics
 
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