Nexar is trying to disrupt the dash cam industry by revolutionizing the way drivers interact with their dashboard cameras. Nexar is a startup company and has Samsung as a backer, so you know they have some weight behind them.
Traditionally dash cams have always been its own device, separated from the smartphone. Today we have the Nexar Beam dash cam which is designed to fully integrate with your phone and utilize cloud connectivity to save important moments. This post will be a Nexar Beam dash cam review and we will talk about its features and its performance.
- Single Front Facing 1080P Dash Cam
- Built-in WiFi and GPS is powered by the Nexar App
- Unlimited Nexar Cloud Storage
What’s in the Box
1 – Dash cam with internal 32GB SD card
1 – Windshield GPS Mount
1 – USB Cigarette Charger (Two 1 amp)
1 – USB power cable
1 – Installation tool & Cable Clips
My first impressions when I took the Nexar Beam dash cam out of the box for the first time was that it reminded me of a GoPro. This device is very small. Its length is smaller than a credit card. The lens is the focal point of this dash cam as the lens housing significantly protrudes from the camera’s body.
The design of the device is simple. There is no screen in the back which can be good or bad, depending on your use case. You have to connect to the Nexar app to preview the dash cam’s positioning which is a hassle if you constantly modify the angle. If you are a set and leave it type, the lack of screen doesn’t distract you and draws less attention from others.
There are two lights in the back that indicate status and are fairly bright which did bother me, especially during night driving. One could put some painter’s tape over it if it’s too distracting.
On the side is a power button which is hardly ever used and an exposed microSD card slot. It is also important to mention there are air vents on both sides for cooling and a pin hole reset button.
Installation and Setup
I timed myself installing this dashboard camera from start to finish. Connecting the GPS suction cup mount was easy enough but there is a short cable from the GPS mount to the camera that had to be contorted to fit properly. I hate twisting wires, but once connected it didn’t seem flimsy. The mount was also a part of the windshield suction cup mount which was positioned in the front of the rearview mirror.
It takes less than 5 minutes to assemble and power on the device. It took another 10 minutes to go through all of the setup instructions including creating a Nexar account, enabling permissions and installing the latest firmware. If you use a Nexar device you will have to allow a lot of permission rights to the Nexar app as it is your main control over the device.
With experience, it took another 10 minutes to hide the cable through the top headliner, down the A-pillar and to my cigarette lighter. It is very convenient that Nexar included a panel remover tool.
The video quality is pretty good in the Nexar Beam dash cam. I want to keep my opinions relative to the price I paid. The image quality is good and I found no issues not being able to decipher the footage. You won’t be able to read any license plates unless you are stopped right behind them, but many dash cams can’t anyway.
At night time street lights and oncoming headlights are overexposed, but aren’t too glaring. I was impressed that any object covered by my headlights was very well lit in the recorded footage.
The Nexar Beam does come standard with loop recording which will erase older footage in favor of newer footage. The Nexar Beam loops in 1 minute intervals and I don’t believe there is a way to lengthen that. 32GB will get you about 4 hours of recording time.
The Nexar Beam has a parking mode feature which will detect any shocks or collisions to your parked vehicle. It will automatically begin recording for 10 seconds and will save and later notify you of the incident. Note that this does not detect motion if someone walked in front of your car. This feature is standard across many dash cams on the market, but most others do record for at least 30 seconds.
The big part that is a downside is that some Nexar Beam features aren’t currently available to Android users. We’ll go over this in the next section, but this includes parking mode.
The Nexar app is a simple app that is easy to use and navigate around. It’s divided into 3 sections, Activity, Drive and More.
Activity showcases all of your recent drive footage and separates out clips of incidents such as accidents, hard braking or parking collisions. If you were involved in one of these incidents, Nexar has taken the liberty to make it easy to export footage for insurance companies which includes footage, location, and speed.
Nexar highlights the fact that there is unlimited, free Nexar cloud storage. This is the only company that allows this and is certainly appreciated. Knowing that the cloud is backing up the footage greatly reduces the stress of depending on your SD card or smartphone.
The caveat to the cloud storage is that it only allows you to upload incidents and not full driving sessions. This makes sense from a data perspective, but worth noting.
Drive, is another section where you can view the dash camera’s view and start recording. The More section has settings and support items like FAQ. Nexar’s FAQ section is well built and has straight forward answers to any questions I had.
As mentioned before, I have an Android phone and it was great disappointment that I learned that many features were only available to iOS owners at this moment. Parking mode, Group Safety Alerts and Where’s My Car are a few of the features I wasn’t able to test in this review. The silver lining is that it all of these are a firmware update away from being accessible. If you have an iPhone you don’t have to worry about this.
I’ve been using the Nexar Beam dash cam for about a week now and its been relatively hands off, which I want in a dash cam. A couple of things stood out to me as an avid dashboard camera user. When I first got the Nexar, it didn’t begin recording when the device turned on. It took the car to be in motion for the Nexar Beam to begin recording. While this delay is only 10 seconds or so, every other dash cam I’ve had started recording immediately. But to my surprise, there is an option in the settings to select to begin recording as soon as the device is turned on. Now I don’t have to stress if I get into an accident in the first 10 seconds.
I understand where they are trying to go with this. They want to be able to distinguish between your trips and mark them separate.
I took a 6 hour car trip recently and unfortunately the included 32GB SD card couldn’t record the full trip. Not like this is a surprise, they explicitly say that the 32GB can only record 4 hours. I got 4 hours and 30 minutes.
The camera’s lens has a viewing angle of 135 degrees, which is just above the standard. On my compact car it provided sufficient coverage, but on my full sized sedan I wish it was a bit wider. It also operates up to 158 degrees Fahrenheit and I never experienced any overheating problems.
Who is the Nexar Beam made for?
Let’s start off with who the Nexar Beam dash cam is not for. It is not for people who are looking for an advanced, feature-packed device. Yes, the Nexar Beam has some neat features for a reasonable price, but is lacking on other areas. It is only a front facing camera and doesn’t have any ability to edit image controls.
If you have Android, double check on the software compatibility because I couldn’t utilize a lot of the features that were made available to iOS.
- Single Front Facing 1080P Camera
- Built-in WiFi and GPS is powered by the Nexar App
- Free Cloud Storage
If you are a newer dash cam user who wants a next-gen dash cam solution that isn’t complicated to setup, then the Nexar Beam dash cam is your best bet. Cloud capabilities means you can access everything through your phone, at any time. The GPS allows you to keep track of your routes and the Nexar App makes life easier for you if you are ever in a car accident and want to easily send your footage over to an insurance company.
The price point makes it great for beginners or those looking for their second dash cam. If you value discreteness, the Nexar Beam dash cam is a compact device and won’t draw attention to it if mounted behind the rear view window.