Best Dash Cams: reviews and all you need to know

Capture every journey with a high-definition dash cam video recorder. We pick the best kit for your windscreen

Dash cams are the type of gadget you don’t think you need until something bad happens. Even the best drivers in the world can get caught out when debris falls from a lorry you’re following and hits your car, or a careless shopper knocks your bumper in a supermarket car park.

Once you’ve paid a bodyshop bill or insurance excess that has convinced you a camera is a good investment, there’s no shortage of options. You’ll even find some insurance companies give them away in the hope of making claims clearer. 

However, they vary in price, from less than £50 up to £500, plus they’re available with a bewildering array of features. Our cars are more connected these days, with the latest models letting you check the status of various functions on an app. But if you want to keep an eye on your car from afar, you’ll need a dash cam that can stream live footage to your phone. Thinkware’s new T700 uses a Vodafone data SIM to connect to the internet, while the new Garmin Dash Cam 57 does the same, but via a WiFi link.

So which dash cam is best for you? We gathered some of our favourites and new contenders to find our video star.

How we tested them

We attached all the cameras to a windscreen and drove a set route in bright sunlight and after dark. We also used a tunnel to check how the cameras coped with rapidly changing light conditions. 

The footage was then viewed on the recommended app for the device and also downloaded to a computer to check for clarity and detail. The stated resolution of the camera is no guarantee of image quality, so we were looking for sharp images, which would allow us to read registration plates, even in poor light conditions or on bumpy roads, since this would be crucial after a driving incident. Finally, we took price and extra features into account.

Verdict

The Nextbase 622GW still offers the best footage we’ve ever seen from a dash cam, even compared with models costing twice as much. Factor in its ease of use and recent price cut, and it’s no surprise that it’s our Best Buy again. 

The closest in terms of footage quality and ease of use is Kenwood’s DRV A601W, but it takes the third podium spot. Second place is a surprise, and goes to the remarkable DDPAI Mola. It offers the lowest price, yet has features and footage which shame cameras costing twice as much. 

  1. Nextbase 622GW
  2. DDPAI Mola N3 Dash Cam
  3. Kenwood DRV A601W

Dash cam reviews

Nextbase 622GW

  • Price: £219
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Footage quality: 4K  
  • SD card? No
  • Contact: www.nextbase.com

Nextbase’s flagship 622GW is still the camera to beat, and it’s had a £40 price cut since its last victory. The camera is easy to install and set up with a touchscreen and magnetic mount, which makes it easy to remove without unplugging wires. 

It has some impressive extras, such as What3Words location data and Alexa voice activation, too. But the 622GW’s real attraction is the quality of its footage in all light conditions. Number plates were clearly legible and the picture detail was crisp. 

Buy now from Amazon

DDPAI Mola N3 Dash Cam

  • Price: £53.90
  • Rating: 4.5 stars
  • Footage quality: 1600P  
  • SD card? No
  • Contact: www.amazon.co.uk

It’s not quite the smallest camera here, but the Mola is still tiny enough to hide behind your rear-view mirror. The price is the smallest here, too, at less than £55 on Amazon, although you’ll need to add the cost of an SD card to store your footage.

That low price doesn’t mean you have to skimp on features or quality, because the Mola has built-in WiFi to connect to an app and watch the remarkably clear 1600P footage. It struggled in darker conditions and on rough roads, but at the price it’s still a remarkable piece of kit. 

Buy now from Amazon

Kenwood DRV-A601W

As with our Nextbase winner, the Kenwood A601W has just had a price cut to keep it competitive, and it’s now almost £40 cheaper than the 622GW. It includes a 64GB memory card too, which adds £35 to the price of the Nextbase. That’s pretty compelling financially, but there are some sacrifices. 

The Kenwood doesn’t have the Nextbase’s extra gadgets or slick touchscreen operation, and at night or on rougher roads the footage can’t quite match the 622GW’s. If you can live with that, it’s great value for a 4K camera. 

Buy now from Amazon

Garmin Dash Cam 57

  • Price: £149.99 (plus memory card)
  • Rating: 4 stars  
  • Footage quality: 1440p
  • Connection: WiFi  
  • Contact: www.garmin.com

Even without the connectivity functions, the Garmin 57 is a neat camera. It’s the size of a small box of matches, so it’s easy to fit behind a rear-view mirror. It also has a battery back-up for a parking mode, but you’ll need to buy a separate hardwire cable to ensure it is online permanently if your 12V socket or USB port aren’t powered with the ignition off. It has no built-in SIM, so you’ll have to connect to a WiFi source to view any footage from afar. This can use the car’s own hotspot or a 5G dongle (about £50). Setting up the cam is far from simple and, if the power is interrupted, the lengthy logging-on process needs to be repeated. But then the link is clear and footage can be saved to a remote cloud.

Buy now from Amazon

Thinkware T700

  • Price: £269 (£349 with rear camera)
  • Rating: 3.5 stars
  • Footage quality: 1080p
  • Connection: Data SIM
  • Contact: www.thinkware.com

Connecting the T700 is quite easy, and viewing footage online is simple too, but a good signal is vital. The cam needs to be hardwired – often best left to pros – and the footage was better than expected, but higher-quality cams are available for around £50, making connectivity seem steep.

Buy now from Amazon

Garmin Dash Cam Mini

  • Price: £99.99
  • Rating: 3.5 stars
  • Footage quality: 1080P  
  • SD card? No
  • Contact: www.garmin.com

Even with its mount installed, the Garmin is no bigger than a Matchbox toy car, so you can hide it behind the rear-view mirror and forget it’s there. If you want the ultimate coverage, you could buy four Garmins, mount them all around the car and the sophisticated app will synchronise the footage into one file. 

The downside to the size is the quality of the recordings. Although not the worst here, it’s not better than the Mola, which isn’t much bigger.

Buy now from Amazon

Kenwood DRV A100

If you want a smaller dash cam, but like the convenience of a built-in screen, Kenwood’s entry-level DRV A100 might be the answer. It’s around half the size of the Nextbase 622GW, yet incorporates a two-inch screen to make navigating menus easier. This makes aiming the lens or formatting a memory card more straightforward than on screenless designs. Despite the camera’s tiny dimensions, the hefty mount takes up a decent chunk of windscreen space, and the footage isn’t the clearest. 

Buy now from Amazon

Nextbase 222

  • Price: £69
  • Rating: 3 stars
  • Footage quality: 1080P  
  • SD card? No
  • Contact: www.nextbase.com

We’d never tried Nextbase’s entry-level HD camera, so were curious to see if it offered significantly better footage than other sub-£100 rivals. Unfortunately, it doesn’t, because video quality lacked definition and contrast in bright sun or under street lights. 

On the plus side it has a built-in 2.5-inch colour screen and Nextbase’s clever magnetic mount, so the camera is easy to remove for security without unplugging cables. As with the Kenwood DRV A100 (above) you’ll need to remove it to download footage too, because there’s no built-in WiFi or app access. 

Buy now from Amazon

Gator GHDVR82W

The Gator’s slim cylinder shape has no screen, so the camera is set up via a clunky smartphone app. However, if you want to keep a recording after an incident, you simply wave your hand under the dash cam and it will securely save the file to the memory card. It works well and is easier than searching for a button. 

You won’t be able to save many clips on the 8GB card that’s included, though, because it’s barely enough for a long journey. The footage quality isn’t great either, especially at this price. 

Buy now from Amazon

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