If you ever want to waste far too much time, go online and watch dash cam videos. From bizarre and amazing to stomach-churning, dash cams catch all the action and make it easy to share the videos. While watching crazy videos online is fun, the real reason you need a dash camera is to protect yourself in the event of an accident.
We will compare the Nextbase 522GW vs Garmin 66W dash cameras and let you know why we think the Nextbase is a better buy. (>>> Check on Amazon)
Nextbase 522GW vs Garmin 66W side by side:
|Nextbase 522GW||Garmin 66W|
|Resolution (front)||1440p 60FPS||1440p 60FPS|
|View angle||140 degree||180 degree|
|Maximum capacity||128 GB||512 GB|
|Price||Find on Amazon||Find on Amazon|
Nextbase 522GW Key Features
- Excellent front and rear image quality
- Easy to use touchscreen
- Simple to sync videos to a smartphone and share
- SOS feature may be helpful for many people
- Looks like you have a camera on your dash- it’s not discrete
- Alexa doesn’t always work correctly
This UK-based company doesn’t have the storied image of Garmin, but has won numerous international awards since hitting the market in 2016. In 2019 Nextbase began manufacturing dash cams in Canada.
The 522GW is the flagship model on the market today. It features the ability to capture 1440P video at 30 FPS or 1080P at 60 FPS from the front camera and 1080P from the rear camera. Higher image quality can play a factor in determining important information in the video, such as license plate numbers, whether other drivers were using a cell phone, and small details that can make a big difference.
The cameras record to an SD card up to 128gb and both are capable of capturing a 6-lane road with their 140 degree viewing angle. You can access videos wirelessly from your connected smartphone and sync videos instantly via WiFi and Bluetooth.
Great videos aren’t worth anything if it is frustrating to access them. Not only can you easily sync videos to your phone, the 522GW features a three-inch touchscreen that lets you easily adjust settings and play videos. The screen can turn off when you are driving to reduce distraction. The layout and design of features accessible through the screen is easy to use, fast, and precise.
The 522GW includes built-in GPS and a G-sensor to detect impacts. The camera automatically saves video from one minute before and one minute after an impact is detected. In an industry-first, Nextbase includes the option to enable an SOS feature that will automatically notify emergency response crews when you are in an accident. You can preselect a variety of information so that responders know about your medical conditions, allergies, and other information.
This camera system includes built-in functionality with Amazon Alexa. This gives you the ability to control recordings with your voice. No other dash cam on the market today has these features in one package.
Garmin 66W Key Features
- Ultra-discrete like a spy camera for your car
- Excellent video quality makes it easy to see details
- Fun time lapse feature makes sharing entertaining drives with friends easy
- Lots of performance issues reported by drivers
- No rear camera in the package and only expensive Garmin cameras are compatible
- Small, difficult to use display screen
Garmin is a legendary name in outdoor equipment. They were pioneers in the handheld GPS field and remain one of the most relied-upon companies in the world for digital technology. Dash cams from Garmin are manufactured in Taiwan.
When discretion is key, the Garmin 66W is hard to beat. It’s smaller than a standard ignition key yet captures front video at an impressive 1440P resolution at up to 60 FPS. Video files are stored to an SD card up to 512 gb that is sold separately. The high resolution and fast frame rate give this camera an edge over the Nextbase it is competing against.
Garmin provides only the front camera in this package. Only Garmin rearview cameras are compatible, so you’ll have to purchase another unit if you want the backup camera also. Prices start at $149 for compatible cameras, putting the total cost of the Garmin above that of the Nextbase offering.
The front camera has an optical angle of 180 degrees. While this creates a super-wide view the result induces a fish-bowl effect, causing details on the edges of the image to distort and stretch. Some optical quality is lost as a result. This camera would have a better image using a more narrow viewing angle like that of the Nextbase.
Display Screen Functions
This unit is seriously small, so the display screen is equally tiny. It measures only 2-inches on the diagonal, so watching videos isn’t very practical. Instead, you’ll use the Garmin Drive app to view, save, and send videos. The display screen features buttons on one side to select various settings options.
The 66W features auto-on and constant recording along with a time-lapse feature. This makes it fun to quickly condense a long video of a particularly fun drive into a short video. This is loads of fun when you want to share a video of a spectacular drive or a sanctioned racing event.
Built-in GPS pinpoints the time and location of an accident, automatically storing that information for your use later. This dash camera includes some useful driver assist features. It can alert you when traffic is starting or stopping in front of you, provide lane departure warnings, and let you know about the location of red light cameras before you get to the intersection.
Garmin uses its own voice activation program. You can use Garmin Assistant to control features of the camera, initiate certain modes, and numerous other features.
Why the Nextbase Camera Wins
Dash camera footage is fun to watch, but you need a camera for your protection in the case of an accident. The only way to prove what happened in an accident is the use of video, and while we all would want people to be truthful, some people have a hard time accepting responsibility for their actions. When you need excellent video footage of an accident, the Nextbase camera is more complete and offers more reliability.
Numerous users of the Garmin 66W report problems with the unit. It frequently turns on or off on its own, fails to record audio, and has other annoying glitches. Many users couldn’t get reliable Bluetooth connections and difficulty sending video to smartphone devices over WiFi.
The Garmin unit offers intriguing features like driver awareness and the ultra-discreet size, but it simply doesn’t match up to the outstanding performance of the Nextbase 522GW. The slightly larger Nextbase offers a fully-functional touchscreen that is big enough to use, while keeping features limited to recording video. Since the ultimate goal of a dash camera system is to protect yourself, it only makes sense to record accidents in front of and behind you, and without buying an expensive additional camera only the Nextbase 522GW gives you that important feature.
When you need a real camera system you can count on every day to ensure incidents are captured, you can rely on the Nextbase 522GW. (>>> Find on Amazon) This flagship model accomplishes the mission the company set out to meet -it provides you with a simple, effective way to easily capture and share video. It’s an ideal tool for commuters, ride-share drivers, and anyone who is concerned about insurance fraud. In the UK, several insurance companies even offer significantly discounted rates for using the Nextbase camera.
The Garmin 66W is a good camera, but in the price range it needs to be extraordinary. The competition today was too tough, and the Garmin lacks some of the modern features that would have made this miniscule camera a winner.