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Review: Nextbase Duo dash camera

Published 12 August 2015

What is it?

It’s a dashcam with a twist – there are two lenses, one for looking forward and one for looking back. Typically dash cameras only have one lens, meaning you need two separate cameras if you want to monitor the road both ahead and behind at once. On the Nextbase Duo, both of the cameras record together, with the saved footage showing front and rear side by side.

This footage can then be plugged into some desktop computer software, compatible with both Mac and Windows, which shows GPS location plotted on a map, G-forces, speeds and other useful information. That’s very handy in the event of an accident, since you can give the insurers some hard data to prove who was at fault.

What’s it like?

In the box is the dash camera itself, a long 12V power cable, a suction mount with a built-in GPS receiver, a data cable for connecting to a computer and a software CD-ROM, the contents from which can also be downloaded for free if your laptop has no CD drive. No memory card is supplied, so you’ll need to buy a high quality microSD card.

The camera itself is nicely put together and is made of a mixture of brushed metal and solid, hardwearing plastic. There are two cameras mounted to swivels so they can be adjusted to point in the right direction, plus there is a nice bright screen for adjusting settings, aligning the cameras and playing back footage.

Installing the camera is simple enough thanks to the sturdy suction mount, which shouldn’t come loose even in the event of a minor accident. Once the camera is in place it needs to be adjusted so the wide angle lens points forward and the zoom lens points rearward – these are clearly marked to make life easier.

Once in place you can either run the camera off its battery or connect it to the 12v outlet. Running it off the 12v socket makes the most sense, since it will automatically record when the car comes on, then switch itself off when the ignition is turned off. The camera records short loops and will overwrite the oldest footage once the memory card fills up.

Nextbase Screengrab (1)

Supplied software is user-friendly and powerful

Video quality is good enough through both lenses, but the Duo does need more careful setting up than a single lens camera. Typically when setting up a dash camera it needs to be angled slightly downward, which makes the built in sensor collect the correct amount of light from the road ahead, rather than bright sky. Setting the camera too high results in an over dark video.

This is tricky to get right with the Duo, since you have to delicately set the angle of the rear camera. In our case this meant the front camera was pointing a touch high and we got some dark footage. That said, it was still clear enough to make out details and number plates, so it’s a small quibble. If both cameras could be adjusted for elevation as well as rotation this wouldn’t be an issue.

Navigating through the various settings menus on the camera is a bit of a fiddle at first, but learning the various controls takes very little time. After that, playing back video clips or changing the video resolution is easy. Playing footage back through the provided software is a better idea, since it is clearer and shows vital information like speed and map position.

If something happens that requires you to save a clip there is a button with a hazard triangle on it. Pressing this prevents the camera from looping over the last recorded clip, so if there is an accident, or if something interesting happens on the road, you can watch the footage back later without it being automatically deleted.

Should I buy one?

If you want a basic dash camera then there are simpler, cheaper alternatives like excellent Nextbase 402G, but if you need record what is happening both in front and behind of your car then the Duo is ideal. It’s far more user-friendly and much less fiddly than setting up two separate cameras.

The only real issues are its size and price. It isn’t the slimmest unit, which means you’ll probably need to remove it after every journey for security. Furthermore, at £200 it’s expensive, particularly if you already have a front-facing camera. If that is the case then buying a separate rear-facing camera might be more cost effective, even if it is more of a faff. 

Details

Retail price: £177 (Available for £139.95 on Amazon)

Maximum resolution: 720p @ 30fps

Card type: MicroSD

Alternatives

Vantrue N2: £149.99 RRP

Aukey DR02 D: £99.99 RRP

IMG_20150812_101249

Comments

PaulMatthews    on 24 November 2016

I bought my Nextbase Duo from Maplins...after a week card error kept coming up, also most mornings when it powered up the screen image would be over exposed & required un plugging from the supply then plugging back in again to rectify it for that day only....after exchanging the unit 10 times I finally called Nextbase..after explaining the problems it seemed the card error was due to it needing the software updating! The card error problem went away but the units clock kept jumping....they finally replaced the unit for yet another one, which they had tested...it now works perfectly except for the screen over exposing first start of the day every day...I've got used to unplugging the supply to reset it all the time.....Nextbase couldn't fault the unit I sent back....but then they would say that wouldn't they.....I like the unit but would have prefered it to work faultlessly, they never followed the problem up....not sure if they really care...would I buy another one...only if I couldn't find an alternative twin camera unit.

Edited by PaulMatthews on 24/11/2016 at 22:24

   on 30 December 2016

What a great piece of kit this is. Once you get past the fiddly little buttons it becomes a doddle to use and the clarity upon playback especially on my t***iba laptop is incredible using the Nextbase software. Obtaining the correct exposure and white balance can also be a bit hit and miss at first but I soon got used to it. The only tweak I'd like to offer the manufacturer is that both cameras should be able to not only swivel but be allowed to tilt in a downward and upward direction. I would recommend this dashcam to all even though it's a little on the pricey side, but let's face it, if you have an accident which wasn't your fault and you can't prove it wasn't then you're stuffed, with this little fella there's no argument and therefore a small price to pay compared to an expensive body job on your vehicle coming out of your own pocket, just saying.

   on 10 January 2017

Could this be used on a campervan, how are the two cameras linked? If hard wired how long is the cable. Can the rear camera be mounted outside?

Ray Paterson    on 10 May 2017

I have had a Duo for over a year now. No major problems but it occasionally needs a couple of restarts to get the software to go on the PC. The worst thing about it is the bracket. You either need to unplug the power and remove the sucker from the screen or you have to unplug the power and GPS connection and remove the camera from the bracket with a fiddly sideways slide.
Wait until they update this with a better bracket like the new Nextbase cameras.

PaulMatthews    on 2 November 2017

Had my money's worth out of this unit.....it's lasted a year & is now giving eratic problems. Will now be looking to replace it with anything but a Nextbase!

   on 19 January 2018

regarding the Nextbase Duo car cam after 12 months more or less small problems it started acting up turning itself off i tried everthing to rectify this problem factory reset that worked for a bit then problem came back, tried new power leads that again seemed to work but 2 days later it started shutting down on its own , went to maplin for advice they were

useless saying the internal battery does not last long and thats the problem . i then had the power leads tested and all ok so the problem is with the unit itself , so now i have a camera costing under 200 pounds that is useless to use , would i buy another nextbase the answer is No , i am going to buy a Transend pro 230 better value and good night vision

and less fiddly to use.

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