The Nexar Beam is a Chinese single channel dash camera released in Oct 2019. The Beam is one of the few dash cams that offer cloud storage and is likely the lowest priced dash cam offering cloud.
The Beam is based on the AllWinner V3 processor and Galaxycore GC2053 CMOS sensor. The Allwinner V3 is common in some action cams and we are starting to see it in numerous dash cams. The GC20523 is also available in a number of value priced dash cams like the Aukey DRA5.
The Beam records 1080p video at 30fps with an average bitrate of 15 Mbps. Video quality during the day is good and night quality is above average. While not the greatest video quality, it will be quite acceptable for most users especially during the day. For comparison, the video quality is similar to the lower priced Aukey DRA5, but the Aukey has significantly less features than the Nexar.
The Beam is a very simple camera and does not have a screen. It has a power button on the side and 2 lights on the back. The first light indicates if the camera is recording and the second light indicates it has connected to your Smartphone.
With no screen, the only way to adjust settings of the Beam is through the Nexar Android or iOS app. Make sure your smartphone is on the approved device list from Nexar before purchasing this app.
The Android and iOS apps work very well, some of the better dash cam apps available on the market today. Note that the camera will still work if it is not paired to the app, the recordings will be saved to the microSD card (if it has been inserted).
There are a few complaints regarding the app to be aware of:
- Location services must be enabled at all times for the app (some owners are concerned of privacy issues due to this)
- The camera can take up to 4 minutes before it connects to the phone and starts recording. You could miss a a good amount of your drive due to this
- If you drive without the app on, videos will be created only on the SD card are not available on the app or the cloud
The camera has a g-sensor and will create event files if there is a collision or hard braking. It does not have a button to manual create an event file. The Beam has GPS and will create a map of your drive in the app. There is no parking mode available for the Beam. Since there is no screen, error notifications are audio based which is a positive.
The Beam is a very small camera with dimensions of 61 x 51 x 36mm. The camera comes with a suction mount that allows it to swivel 360° to record interactions at your side windows (i.e. police traffic stop). The dash cam is lightweight and build quality is average.
The Nexar Beam is one of the few dash cams with cloud support and it is included as a free feature. The camera will save to the cloud only when the app is running and connected to the camera during the drive. Two types of videos are saved to the Cloud:
- G-sensor triggered events such as a collision or hard braking will be sent to the cloud using the 4G data on your phone. This will consume a portion of your phone’s data plan
- Full drives are converted to timelapses video and uploaded to the cloud once you connect your phone to WiFi network. This will not consume data from your phone’s plan
Overall the cloud support works well but there are some complaints that part of certain drives are missing. Note that videos get archived from the cloud after 6 months.
Nexar appears to be responsive to questions and has adequate support. They also provide firmware updates which is a positive as well. Nexar provides a 12 month warranty, which is standard for most dash cams.
Suction Mount Issues
Numerous owners have complained that the suction mount does not stick to the windshield well. Others have complained of broken mounts. It appears the quality of the provided mount is not the greatest.
To prevent the mount from breaking when attaching to the windshield, do not turn the suction cup dial until it locks. Turn the dial until the camera attaches to the windshield. If you want the dial to end in the locked position, release it a little from the locked position and turn the dial towards the locked position when after placing on the windshield.
Should I Purchase?
The Nexar Beam is a unique dash cam that provides free cloud recording for a under $100 camera. The camera is very small and has decent video quality as well. With GPS, an included 32GB microSD card and a well rated app, there are a lot of positives for this camera.
Some drawbacks to be aware of: use of a lithium battery instead of capacitor, takes up to 4 minutes before it starts recording your drive, the suction mount is low quality and requires location services enabled at all times for your phone.
If you are looking for a cloud enabled dash cam and can live with the drawbacks, the Nexar Beam is a good choice.
Published: Oct 25, 2020