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Nextbase iQ dash cam review: The smartest dash cam around

Published Dec 13th, 2023 3:04PM EST
Nextbase iQ Main
Christian de Looper for BGR

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iQ

Rating: 4 Stars

The Nextbase iQ takes the concept of the dash cam and dials it up to 11, into a full-fledged car security solution.

Pros

  • Excellent video
  • Great smart features
  • Full-fledged car security
  • App works well
  • Powered all the time

Cons

  • Very expensive
  • Subscription required for many features
Buy FromList PriceSale Price
$499.99$499.99See It

Nextbase wants to revolutionize the dash cam. While many automakers are building smart security features straight into the cars themselves, plenty of drivers still have older cars without those features, or want dedicated devices to handle security better. Nextbase thinks it has the solution to this, with the new Nextbase iQ.

The Nextbase iQ is far more than just a dash cam though. The camera boasts parking-assist features, a GPS sensor for constant location, and more. Of course, like any internet-connected device these days, it also comes with a subscription fee — at least for those who want to take full advantage of the features on offer.

Is the Nextbase iQ really worth the eye-watering $500+ price tag? I’ve been using the camera to find out. Note that I’m reviewing the 4K model — which costs $700.

Nextbase iQ design

The Nextbase iQ is a little larger than some other dash cams, but that’s generally to be expected given the fact that it’s packed with so many features. The camera sticks to the windshield of your car, with that section of the camera being a little smaller than a Google Nest Mini — and also a speaker. On the sides, you’ll get two little antennas, which are used for cloud connectivity.

Nextbase iQ Full DesignImage source: Christian de Looper for BGR

Descending down from that main section are the cameras. There are two cameras on the iQ — one front-facing one, and one that faces into the car. The device also has a MicroSD card slot, which can come in handy for storing video locally, instead of in the cloud. On the back, there is a small display that will show things like cellular strength, but you won’t really interact with the camera through this display like you might another dash cam with a touch screen.

The camera connects to your car through its built-in OBDII port, which the vast majority of cars have under the steering wheel. You’ll want to manage cables in some way, both for looks and for safety — you don’t want cables in the way while you’re driving. You can also power the camera with fuse box connections, however most will probably stick with the OBDII port.

Generally, the Nextbase iQ looks nice and is clearly built from premium materials. I found it relatively easy to install, too.

Nextbase iQ features

Of course, the Nextbase iQ is packed with features that make using it more interesting than using other dashcams.

Nextbase iQ CameraImage source: Christian de Looper for BGR

Let’s start with the video features. Not only does the iQ record video when you’re driving, but you can also live-stream footage from the car wherever you have an internet connection — as long as it also has a cellular connection. Speaking of the cellular connection, in the U.S., that’s handled through T-Mobile. It’s included as part of the monthly subscription through the app (so you won’t have to sign up for a data plan separately).

The camera acts as a security camera all the time — not just when the car is on. This is actually a pretty neat trick, and it’s thanks to the fact that the camera can get constant power from the OBD II port, instead of just USB power when the car is on. According to Nextbase, the camera will only draw constant power when the car’s battery can supply a certain level of voltage. That helps avoid too much power drain from the battery.

Nextbase iQ DisplayImage source: Christian de Looper for BGR

Not only are there plenty of features built into the dash cam, but Nextbase promises updates with additional features down the road. There are a few features that Nextbase says are coming soon, including the Guardian Mode that will eventually allow you to receive custom notifications.

Nextbase iQ app

You’ll interact with the camera through the iQ app, and I found the app to be pretty well-designed and easy to use. The home screen will allow you to see a live feed of the camera, along with the location of your car in an easy-to-view interface.

The second tab is the “History” tab, and it’ll allow you to see previously-recorded footage while highlighting what it thinks are notable events. Last but not least is the “More” tab, which is where you’ll manage your subscription and settings.

Many of the features built into the camera, unfortunately, require a subscription — on top of the already very expensive base price. For free, you can use the iQ app and voice control, along with real-time notifications.

Step up to the $9.99-per-month Protect plan, and you’ll get things like cellular data for live streaming, the Smart Sense parking feature, 30 days of cloud storage, and more. Last but not least is the $19.99-per-month Protect Plus feature that adds things like multiple user accounts and steps up the cloud storage to 180 days.

Nextbase iQ video quality

As mentioned, Nextbase sent me the 4K model of the camera, which is the highest-end. As expected, it was able to produce very detailed images that made it very easy to see what was going on.

Apart from the 4K resolution, the camera offers a 180-degree field of view, and was able to see out the entire front windshield of my car. Separately, you can buy a rear camera to use with the front camera, but Nextbase did not include this with my review unit, so I didn’t use it.

The rear-facing camera (not the rear camera, which is placed at the back of the car) wasn’t quite as detailed and high-end as the front-facing camera, which does make sense. The rear-facing camera has a 1,440p resolution, and it was still able to produce relatively detailed and bright images.

That’s true of low-light images too. The camera offers infrared night vision, which means that it’ll show a monochrome view of events. This is particularly helpful when the car is parked, and there may not be any ambient light around the camera.

Note that you don’t have to get the 4K model — you can also buy a “1K” (1,080p) model and a 2K model. The lowest you’ll pay, however, is still $500.

Conclusions

The Nextbase iQ is probably the most high-tech camera out there right now. It goes beyond peace of mind when you’re driving — and offers a more comprehensive security solution for your car, regardless of its power state or where it is. If car security is important to you and you don’t have these kinds of features already built into it, then the Nextbase iQ is worth considering — just keep in mind that you’ll seriously have to pay for it, on an ongoing basis.

The competition

If all you care about is getting footage while you’re driving, there’s a myriad of great dash cams out there to consider. If, however, you want a truly smart end-to-end dash cam solution, then the Nextbase iQ is the way to go.

Should I buy the Nextbase iQ?

Yes, if you’re willing to pay for it.

Christian de Looper Senior Reviews Editor

Christian de Looper is based in sunny Santa Cruz, California. He has been expertly reviewing tech products for more than 8 years, and brings experience in deep technical analysis of consumer electronics devices to BGR's reviews channel.

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