Cloud Comparison Review
Nextbase IQ Cloud vs. Thinkware CONNECTED
Welcome to the Cloud Clash
Since the late 90s, dash cam manufacturers Nextbase and Thinkware have been world-renowned brands in terms of product development and technology. Aside from the new dash cam releases, we are also impressed with one of the services these two offer, particularly the Cloud. Nextbase IQ has the Cloud, while Thinkware has Thinkware CONNECTED.
In this article, we will compare the features and functionalities of these two Cloud services and see which one is better for you.
Setting up the Cloud
Now, since the cloud is rather advanced, setup can be a bit complicated, and this is where we’ll already see the differences begin between these models. To connect to a dash-cam remotely, it’ll need a connection to the internet.
There’s a built-in SIM card, providing an internet connection through T-mobile(in the US/Canada). This SIM card cannot be taken out and swapped for another option, and locks you into Nextbase’s subscription plans, paying monthly(more info on that later). There is no option to pair to any outside wifi source, and you are locked into the fees if you want the cloud.
Thinkware does not yet have a built-in SIM slot, and will require an internet connection outside of the camera. This does give the user the versatility of choosing between many different mobile hotspot providers or internet options.
The Nextbase iQ does have the edge here, as the built-in SIM card will be a quicker and easier setup process, while confining your cloud connection options.
Nextbase iQ Cloud - What Can It Do?
To kick off this comparison, let’s start with Nextbase. The Nextbase iQ, which highlights AI capabilities, is anticipated to feature a ton of technology within, advertised as the most advanced camera out there, stating on their product page it’s “The world’s first truly Smart Dash Cam”. How do these claims hold up?
The Nextbase iQ offers a Witness Mode allowing for manually activated cloud video storage of a 30-minute block, sending all recorded footage to remote storage. When this is enabled, you can set it up to send notifications to an emergency contact.
Sometimes, you won’t be able to activate anything manually. In the case of a severe accident, the Emergency SOS feature automatically activates, awaiting a response from the driver. If the driver is unresponsive, it will alert emergency services, providing crucial location and life-saving information, including location and vital medical details.
Smart Sense Parking
Now, what if you’re away from the vehicle, and still want to stay in the know? Thankfully, there’s Smart Sense Parking. This will allow the camera to record motion and impact around the vehicle while parked, recording when movement is detected, and sending a notification with a video file when an impact is detected. It’s worth noting that the camera will be asleep before motion is detected, so there won’t be a buffer on motion footage, giving a full picture of an event.
There are more features here for the Nextbase iQ’s cloud, such as Live View, which are more standard, and considered the essential features of a cloud camera. While many advanced features have been announced and advertised with the Nextbase iQ, including two-way communication, actively monitoring the speeds of other vehicles through Roadwatch AI, and Geofencing, as of writing this, these features have yet to be implemented.
Overall, the Nextbase iQs features are no joke, though it’s disappointing to see that some of the advanced features that were advertised are yet to be properly implemented.
Thinkware CONNECTED - What does it do?
With the Thinkware CONNECTED app, users can access a real-time view of what the dash cam is capturing, along with the current location of the vehicle through Remote Live View. This functionality proves beneficial for parents, fleet managers, and vehicle owners, enabling them to monitor their vehicles' activities remotely, regardless of their physical location.
In Parking mode, the app automatically notifies users if an impact is detected while the vehicle is parked. A 20-second video clip of the incident (10 seconds before and after) is stored on the Thinkware CONNECTED server. This recorded footage can be later accessed through the app.
Beyond that, the Thinkware CONNECTED App offers valuable information such as the vehicle's parked or driving status, battery voltage check, and the ability to remotely turn off the dash cam in case of low battery voltage. Users can also review their driving history, including date, time, distance, route, and driving behaviour.
Strikingly similar to Witness Mode, Thinkware has Emergency SOS mode. When the driver holds the REC button on the dash cam for over 3 seconds to seek assistance, an emergency text message is dispatched to all registered contacts. Alongside the message, a 10-second video clip (5 seconds before and after the incident) is automatically uploaded to the server. Users can pre-register emergency contacts for swift assistance in critical situations.
Moreover, in the event of a severe impact while driving, Thinkware CONNECTED triggers an alert on the smartphone app and sends an emergency message to registered contacts. The message includes critical details such as the accident location and a link to a 20-second impact video clip (10 seconds before and after the impact), automatically saved on the server for future access.
Geofencing is a useful feature, found in Thinkware dash cams. With this, the camera can notify you once your camera leaves a preset area/range, noticing any abnormalities from your daily commute. Nextbase has stated they intend to implement this feature into the iQ, but only time will tell, and as of writing this, it’s a Thinkware exclusive.
Finally, the Thinkware CONNECTED app simplifies the task of locating a parked vehicle. Users can view front and rear images of the last parking location, along with the vehicle's current position. Additionally, the 'Parking History' feature allows users to review captured images from previous parking instances.
For the Nextbase iQ, the base free plan only includes the bare minimum features of a dashcam. This includes voice controls, and text notifications. If you’re looking to use the standard cloud features, that’s locked behind their $9.99 USD monthly plan, and even then, some of the advanced cloud features touched on here, including emergency SOS and incident backup, are further locked behind their 19.99 USD monthly plan. The silver lining of the iQ is that these paid plans do include the 4G data needed for the internet connection, so no additional internet connection or SIM card subscription is required.
However, these subscriptions don’t cover the base price of these units themselves. Thankfully, both brands have a variety of cloud-compatible models to choose from. Nextbase iQ’s base dash cam full HD costs $499.99 USD, increasing by 100$ for the 2k version, and another 100$ for the 4k version. That’s only the front and interior unit, if you want to add the rear camera, it is available for $199.99 USD. Including the monthly subscription, which almost amounts to a $1,000 first-year expenditure!
Meanwhile, the Thinkware CONNECTED feature is FREE to use forever. With Thinkware, you will still likely be paying monthly for the internet connection for the cloud, though this will be through a third-party provider, typically with a mobile hotspot. Since you are not restricted to a plan provider, you are able to find the least expensive plan that accommodates the camera’s needs.
As for the Thinkware cameras the two main Thinkware CONNECTED models are the Thinkware Q1000 and Thinkware U3000. The Thinkware U3000 would be $550 USD for front and rear, recording 4k in the front, and 2k in the rear with the latest sensor, more affordable than the 4k model of the iQ, not including the rear camera. The Thinkware Q1000 would be more affordable, as the front camera alone, is $250, capturing 2k footage, at a half of the price of the full-HD version of the Nextbase iQ.
Beyond the capabilities, Thinkware CONNECTED is the true winner in this segment. Aside from the more convenient features, the fact that Thinkware CONNECTED does not charge its customers for this add-on is already a deal breaker. For us, Nextbase iQ's high cost, separate unit purchases, and monthly subscription expenses make it less appealing despite its AI advancements. Thinkware CONNECTED Cloud features, provides the needed features at almost half the total cost of the IQ dash cam, without compromising on quality and long-term reliability, which is a big plus for us.