We were very kindly sent the Nexar Pro GPS Dashcam to test and review, by their UK office.
The first thing you notice when receiving the product, is the quality of the packaging. This quality feel was pioneered by Apple back in the noughties - and has been followed by just a few companies since. Nexar definitely get it - the 'feel good factor' starts when you first go to unbox your new Dashcam!
This continues with the dashcam itself. It feels nice and solid, as though it will last a long time. I've bought cheap, unbranded dashcams from Amazon, and sometimes they feel as though they will fall apart at the first slight knock.
Setup was easy. I was lucky that the dashcam uses a common 'USB Mini B' fitting for its power. I had one of these already hard-wired into my test vehicle, so it literally took just a couple of minutes to get the Nexar Pro stuck on the windscreen and connected to the power.
Next thing is to download and setup the Nexar app on your smartphone. In my case, this was an Android. Being a regular user of the Nextbase dashcam and app, the first thing I noticed when connecting the Nexar app to its dashcam, was that the Nexar app seems to work more robustly than the Nextbase one. This may be a thing of personal preference, but the Nexar one just seemed to be more stable to me. I was also pleased to see that Google reports that it has 'more than 100k users'. This is usually a sign of a well-developed app, where all of the common bugs have already been ironed out.
Now to test the dashcam in actual use. Neither the Nexar Pro - or it's baby brother the Nexar Beam - have a screen showing what the camera can see (or to play back recorded videos). This was a concern for me at first, as I'm used to confirming that the dashcam is working and recording by what I can see on the screen. After a few days of driving with this model, I switched to the same level of confidence by seeing that the two lights on the back of the Nexar Pro were constantly lit. I took that as a proxy for "I'm recording your drive". I'm not sure I would be happy with this longer-term, but again a thing of personal preference.
The Nexar Pro came with a 32gb SD card, which should give a few hours of recordings at the 1080p resolution of the device. So, all well and good up to this point.
Now, after a few days of usage - and admittedly having driven a few hundred miles - I noticed that the storage space on my smartphone was running low. After browsing through the settings, the phone told me that the Nexar app was using over 20gb of space. I then realised that all drives are pushed across from the dashcam to the smartphone. This makes it really easy to look through your videos on your smartphone, without even having to be near to the dashcam or fiddling about with the SD card and a computer.
After contacting Nexar, I discovered that you can set the app to use less storage on your phone, by switching the option in the app (More > Account > Phone Storage) to use only 20% of available storage space. It was set to 50% by default, and I didn't know there was an option to change that as it wasn't obvious from the menu.
This then got me wondering why all videos are automatically pushed over to the app on your phone. With Nextbase, you run the app on your phone whilst you're within close proximity and connected to the dashcam - and you then just 'download' to your phone any videos that you want to keep. That's definitely my preference as to how I would prefer it to operate, but there isn't any option to work this way with Nexar.
Looking into this further, it seems that Nexar push the videos up to their cloud storage - and then they use those videos 'anonymously' to link your location with anything on the road that gives them useful data that they can use for other purposes. They say 'to report things like potholes...'. This gave me two serious concerns:
I'm sure that I am paying for the transfer to the cloud. There's no other way this could be done, without the dashcam having a SIM card and data connection of its own.
We have reached out to Nexar to see if they have any further comment on these two points, and will update this post with any feedback we receive. In the meantime, just be sure you're happy with the terms described if you do go on to purchase and use a Nexar dashcam.