Ring is known for innovative video doorbells and home security networks, and now it’s venturing into our beloved automotive space. Dashcams are a booming market and to make it big the product has to stand out. Based on our time with it, Ring is up to the challenge with its new car cam.
ring car camera There is a dual-facing HD camera for inside and outside views of the vehicle. It can detect motion from any angle and send real-time alerts to your phone via the Ring app, so you can easily keep tabs on the comings and goings of your ride. It also connects to Amazon’s Alexa. Intrigued by the opportunity to mix our vehicle into our home network, we decided to turn to car cams.
The motion-detecting dashcam game isn’t new, but that’s how Amazon’s Ring Car Cam provides alerts to car owners: Notifications are sent directly to your phone in real time. Yes, it pings your phone as soon as the car cam detects motion. You can then investigate the cause of the disturbance via the Ring app, where you can access real-time camera views of the outward- or inward-facing cameras. very clever.
The Ring Car Cam achieves this by connecting to your home Wi-Fi while parked. That’s great for a driveway or garage, but what if you’re on the move? If you choose the Ring Protect Go subscription service, you can access real-time visuals via LTE connectivity on your mobile device. Let’s say you’re at a hotel and an alert for motion pops up in front of your car; With this optional subscription, you’ll be able to watch it all in real time. Unlike some other gadgets we’ve tried, there’s a subscription No Required for Ring Car Cam to function; However, a subscription is required to access all its features.
External video is captured in HD, and while the car cam records continuously while you’re driving, there’s no way to disable it. In that sense, it is a traditional dashcam. Video quality is solid, although we did see a few instances where license plates were difficult to recognize. Thankfully, it’s easy to view recordings through the Ring app. However, as expected—and like many other dashcams—it struggled a bit in the rain.
The Ring Car Cam offers another unique feature: traffic stops. If you simply say “Alexa, record,” the camera will automatically record for the next few minutes. Videos will be stored locally on the device, but conversations will be stored on the cloud if you choose a Ring Protect Go subscription.
The Ring Car Cam is powered by the vehicle’s OBD-II port, and Ring wanted us to make sure our vehicle was compatible. Here’s a full list of incompatible vehicles, which we definitely recommend checking before buying.
Notes and Observations
Amazon’s Ring Car Cam was easy to set up and set up. It certainly looks funky, but once installed, you’ll see why. It’s not big and bulky like the dashcams you see when taking a ride-share car. In fact, it is quite compact and not distracting. It slides snugly between your vehicle’s windshield and dashboard and attaches to the glass with pre-installed adhesive. You can then route the power cord from the cam to the OBD-II port by inserting it into the gap in the path.
As mentioned, a Ring Protect Go subscription is required to unlock everything that sets the car cam apart from other dashcams. For $6 per month or $60 per year, you can get two-way talk features, live alerts, downloaded live-time viewing and recording via LTE. Without service, your remote connectivity is limited to your home Wi-Fi. Additionally, there are no removable storage options available at this time. So yes, the whole package gets expensive.
The Ring app with Car Cam is incredibly powerful; About Very Powerful, and it easily allows intrusion into privacy. Similar to remotely accessing your Ring Doorbell, with a Ring Protect Go subscription, you can access the Car Cam’s interior camera and built-in microphone at any time from your phone and view inside the vehicle. You can talk to anyone inside the vehicle using the two-way talk function. This could potentially be helpful for parents of new drivers. But if that’s you, good luck dealing with the pushback from it.
Having cameras in your face while driving can make you feel uncomfortable. Ring addresses this with a physical privacy cover that blankets the inner lens. It also disables the audio, though we wish there was some way to enable audio without the internal video.
The Car Cam draws power from your vehicle’s OBD-II port, but only up to a point. With the internal voltage meter set to one of three sensitivities, the device will automatically shut down. While this is great for a night or three, standing the Ring Car Cam on your long-term storage vehicle without a trickle charger will drain the battery.
Being powered by OBD-II means you cannot use the Ring Car Cam if you have monitoring equipment from your insurance company already plugged into your OBD-II port, such as Nationwide SmartRide, Allstate DriveWise, Or USAA’s SafePilot. The only solution here would be an OBD-II splitter, which is widely available on the aftermarket – and notoriously unreliable.
Finally, at the risk of sounding too paranoid, connecting a dashcam to your vehicle’s OBD-II port could potentially provide information about your vehicle and driving habits to insurance companies and other interested parties. This type of access to your personal information through your automobile’s dashcam can be a slippery slope. While we hope and trust that Ring is not selling your information, it is worth noting that the company is owned by Amazon.
Yes, the Ring Car Cam might sound a bit strange, but the features it offers are quite extensive. If you’re worried about break-ins while parking your ride across the street, it’s hard to beat the real-time view on this thing. Its high price reflects its exclusive features, many of which can only be accessed through the Ring Protect Go subscription service. Still, we think the seamless integration with the excellent Ring app is “worth” the addition—especially if you already use a Ring home security system and tap Alexa to control your smart home devices .
That said, if you’re not ready for a Ring Protect Go subscription, at the end of the day, the Ring Car Cam is really just another dashcam — and there are plenty of lower-priced alternatives on the market. We do like that sleek design, though.
associate commerce editor
Colin Morgan is an Associate Commerce Editor at Hurst Autos, where former Rust Belt mechanics and gadget enthusiasts present the best gear for your automotive endeavors.