Ring's Newest Camera Wants a Seat in Your Car in 2023
Ring is thinking beyond your front door at CES this year, with a new Car Cam that offers an extra set of eyes for the road.
Ry CristSenior Editor / Reviews - Labs
Originally hailing from Troy, Ohio, Ry Crist is a writer, a text-based adventure connoisseur, a lover of terrible movies and an enthusiastic yet mediocre cook. A CNET editor since 2013, Ry's beats include smart home tech, lighting, appliances, broadband and home networking.
ExpertiseSmart home technology and wireless connectivityCredentials
10 years product testing experience with the CNET Home team
Ring brought a new camera to Las Vegas this year for CES 2023, but it isn't one that you'll use at your front door, or anywhere else on or inside your home, for that matter. Instead, the Amazon-owned brand's newest device is a dashcam called the Ring Car Cam, and its dual-facing cameras promise to keep an eye on your car's interior, as well as on the road.
Available for preorder starting Thursday and expected to ship out in February, the Ring Car Cam will cost $250 at retail, or $200 for a limited time during the preorder phase. That's significantly more expensive than a lot of dashcams already on the market, but the built-in connectivity and additional Ring features might justify the expense, particularly for anyone who's already bought Ring products and is comfortable using the Ring app to monitor their home's security.
In Ring's eyes, expanding into automotive security was a natural next step for the brand, and one that lines up with customer demand.
"As we continue to deliver new security solutions, we're constantly listening to feedback from customers about what they want," explained Josh Roth, Ring's chief technology officer. "Our founder's email is on the box of every device we ship, and one of the products he's most asked about is one to protect the car."
To that end, the Ring Car Cam promises to keep an eye on things in and around your car at all hours by plugging into your car's OBD-II port and running off of the vehicle's battery. The dual-camera design allows it to capture motion-alert clips both inside and outside of the car. The camera stores those clips locally, and then connects with your home's Wi-Fi network whenever you're parked nearby to upload the footage and send out necessary alerts, with the option of end-to-end encryption to keep that footage private. From there, you'll be able to review footage straight from the Ring app.
"It's a dashcam at its face," Ring CEO Jamie Siminoff told CNET during an interview at CES, "but what it really does is when you're parked in your driveway at night, if someone opens the door, it'll give you a motion alert. You can see and talk to them like with Ring, so it's just like what Ring did to the front door."
LTE connectivity is another option, but you'll need to spend $6 per month on a Ring Protect Go subscription in order to enable it. Once subscribed, your Car Cam will stay connected on the road, enabling you to view the live feed and receive real-time alerts whenever your car is away from home. You'll also be able to use your phone to talk with whoever's in the vehicle thanks to the Car Cam's built-in speaker and microphone.
That microphone lets you activate the camera with a quick voice command, too. If you're in a fender bender or a traffic stop and you'd like to record what's going on, just say, "Alexa, record," and the camera will collect several minutes of footage. You can also disable that microphone along with the interior-facing camera by sliding a physical privacy shutter across the lens, a welcome addition for a product from Ring, which last year revealed that it reserves the right to share user footage with law enforcement without user consent during emergency situations.
"Customer privacy, security, and control are foundational to Ring, and we designed Car Cam to empower customers to protect their personal information and videos, and to respect the privacy of others," Ring's announcement reads. "When parked, the camera only starts recording when the smart sensors detect an event, or when you initiate Live View, and there is an LED light to clearly indicate when the microphone and inside-facing camera are on and recording."