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Nexar Beam dash cam review: Affordable, with unlimited cloud uploads


The Nexar Beam isn’t the first dash cam to upload video to the cloud—that honor goes to the Owlcam—but it’s nearly as elegant as the Owl, and far more affordable at $90 from Amazon. Free unlimited cloud uploads, GPS, and traffic and accident warnings are the highlight, but both day and night captures are excellent as well.

Note that without the phone, GPS and other goodies disappear (video is still captured). In a phone-centric world, that’s not a huge concern for most users.

This review is part of our ongoing roundup of the best dash cams. Go there for information on competing products and how we tested them.

Design and features

The Beam is a diminutive, square black box of a camera. It’s as small as the Garmin Dash Cam 66W we reviewed last year (currently $200 on Amazon), but it lacks a display (that’s provided by your phone), and the lens housing protrudes further. The sensor is a 1080p GalaxyCore GC2053, a model and brand I’ve never experienced before. Recognizable or not, it does the job. Note that the G-sensor is in the camera, not in the phone.

Nexar

Nexar’s Beam is diminutive, simple, and unobtrusive. Ignore the color treatment in the lens above—it’s not that color naturally. 

On the left side of the camera are the power button and micro-SD card slot, while the right is given over to perforations for ventilating the unit. On top are the slot where the suction mount marries to the body, and the mini-USB jack. That’s it. Simple, clean, and easy. If the goal is to be unobtrusive (which to avoid theft, it should be), the Nexar achieves that. Everything else is provided by or done on your phone (iOS or Android).

App and connectivity

Nexar has done a nice job on the phone app. It’s stupid-easy to connect the camera to the phone, and the interface is clean, well-organized, intuitive and informative. Of course, you’ll need to create an account for the phone so you can upload videos, etc. 

When you’re finished and have uploaded some “rides” (videos), you can check them out at the online portal dashboard.getnexar.com. I didn’t link as you won’t have access unless you buy. Sign-in is easy, as an access code is sent to your phone. 

screenshot 20200822 100126 IDG

This is the drive playback info page. At this point I had parked on top of my local Lowe’s after hitting the freeway here in San Francisco. 

The camera records to the micro SD card, then transfers to the phone as time allows (it’s near-real-time), then gives you the opportunity to save them to the cloud. You can limit the Beam’s use of phone storage to 20-, 50-, or 80 percent of what’s available; once it hits that limit, it will overwrite previous videos. There’s also automatic upload triggered by the G-sensor, as with the Owl. It worked perfectly in my exclusive, proprietary bang-the-dash-cam-on-the-desk tests, and it didn’t trigger falsely while on the road. 

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Nexar has spent a great deal of time honing the options for a smooth experience.

You can also wrap the video with all the important data into a report and upload it immediately using a one-click report function. Siri voice command may be used if you have an iPhone, and the Nexar Groups app allows you to check up on the kids, or vice versa–you know, see if they are where they say they are. I tested the Android version, which lacks the voice command and groups at the moment. 



Source: PCWorld Reviews, Author: Jon L. Jacobi

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Written by Peek Jar

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