Since the area just outside the hospital is becoming notorious for road rage and insurance scam attempts, I figured that investing in a dash cam was a good idea.
The NextBase 212 is a very basic camera and it’s not as compact or discrete as others on the market – it doesn’t have GPS, night vision or speed display – but it does the job. In the box there is the camera, the windscreen mount, data cable and power cable. The microSD card isn’t included.
The camera operation is straightforward. Switch it on, press the record button and you’re good to go. When installed, the device starts recording when the vehicle starts. Recordings are made in blocks of 2, 3 or 5 minutes, with the oldest block being overwritten when the storage is maxed out. According to the manual, the current recording is protected from deletion if the device detects a sudden deceleration or the red button is pressed, but it seems to do this randomly anyway.
Battery life sucks on the camera, so it will need to be installed by running the supplied cable from the windscreen mount to the cigarette lighter port. Fortunately this is easy in the Renault Clio, as the cable can be hidden under the entire length of the door seal and fuse box on the passenger side. The camera is easy to detach from the mount.
Although the device produces decent quality videos, enough to show which vehicle caused an accident, number plates are only readable at very short distances. The night footage is fairly clear also, but is dependent on ambient lighting.
When plugged in, the device could be used as a mass storage device or an attached camera, just like the average smartphone. The recordings can be copied over as .MOV files. The average file size for a 5 minute video is 250MB. Of course, the microSD card can be inserted into an SD adaptor.