Today on the Hook Up we’re going to take a look at all the latest dash cam trends announced at CES 2023 from companies like Garmin, Nextbase, Car Mate, BlackVue, and even Ring.
The big trends this year were ease of installation using vehicle OBD plugs instead of complicated fuse panel hardwire kits and connectivity using cellular technology.
Starting with the most surprising entry into the dash cam space is the new Ring Car Cam available for preorder now for $199.99 with delivery on Feburary 15th with the price jumping to $250 on February 1st. The Ring Car Cam has a 1080p always-on front-facing camera with 110 degree field of view, and a rear facing 1080p cabin camera with 140 degrees field of view and a microphone. The interior facing camera has a manual flip up shutter that will automatically turn off both the interior camera and microphone while continuing to record the front facing camera. The Ring Car Cam will not only record while driving, but also act as a security camera for your parked car. So it needs a constant power source, which it gets by plugging in to your vehicle’s OBD2 port, and is usually used by mechanics for diagnostics. The OBD is usually easy to access and provides a much simpler solution than messing with your car’s fuse box. Ring does specifically list quite a few vehicles that are not compatible with the Car Cam, which I can only guess is due to the OBD wiring.
The Ring Car Cam will use the normal Ring phone app and can record up to 7 hours on device without a subscription, but a $6 a month subscription will activate its cellular connection allowing you to view your footage from anywhere, access your camera’s live view, use two way audio, and be alerted via notification when the camera detects an impact while driving or parked. The Ring employee that I spoke to at the show could not give any information as to whether other common driving monitoring features like distracted driving alerts, over speed alerts, and hard braking alerts would be available with the Ring Car Cam. She also couldn’t tell me whether there would be an option to mount the camera upside down behind the rear view mirror and flip the footage in the app. This seems like a must-have feature because, as designed, the Ring Car Cam seems unnecessarily large and obtrusive with its long cable concealing mounting arm, and remember that in most states it’s still technically illegal to attach things to your windshield that can obstruct the driver’s view.
The next big announcement was from Garmin with their new Garmin Live dash cam, which as the name implies focuses heavily on its cellular connection. The new Garmin Dash Cam Live is $399 and a 1440p front-facing only camera with 140 degrees field of view and a built in display. Like the Ring Car Cam, the Garmin Dash Cam Live has an available OBD2 port installation option to provide constant power for monitoring your car regardless of whether the engine is on.
Garmin will offer two cellular plans to pair with their Dash Cam Live, one for $10 a month that will provide 7 days of cloud storage, and one for $20 a month that increases the cloud storage to 30 days. Both cellular plans will enable Live view, vehicle tracking, theft alerts, parking guard notifications, and emergency contact notifications through the Garmin Drive app. The Garmin Dash Cam Live was officially released at CES and is available for purchase on Garmin.com and will be rolling out to retailers within the next month.
A newer dash cam company called Car Mate showed off their 360 degree 3-channel cellular connected dash cams which initially looked promising, but they didn’t have much information about pricing or availability other than to say they are working on releasing it soon. Despite having a few products on the market already the Car Mate booth in 2023 looked extremely similar to their booth from 2022, so who knows if we will actually get to see any new and improved models get released this year.
Nextbase is betting big on their newest line of IQ dash cams which are priced at the premium end of the market with their 1080p version at $500, the 2k version at $600 and the 4K version at $650. Regardless of resolution they all have the same lenses giving them 180 degree field of view for the cabin camera and 140 degree field of view for the front facing camera.
Like the Ring and Garmin the Nextbase will use an OBD2 connection for constant battery power, and the Nextbase employee that I spoke to confirmed that the new IQ range of dash cams will use super capacitors in place of the lithium battery that was the Achilles heel of their high end 622GW camera.
Set to release in the spring, the IQ lineup will have a built in T-mobile SIM and the cellular plan will be handled directly through the Nextbase app for $10 per month. The premium pricing of the Nextbase IQ comes with a ton of innovative features like guardian mode that can be used for monitoring teen drivers or employees and will have geofencing location alerts, overspeed alerts, g-force alerts for hard braking and hard acceleration, and even computer vision that can detect distracted driving and driver fatigue.
Another mode called witness mode is activated via voice command and is intended for any situation where the driver feels threatened or uncomfortable and immediately starts a protected cloud recording and sends a link to a designated loved one for them to immediately access both a live stream and the recording up to that point. Nextbase envisions this being used during traffic stops, road rage events, and any time the physical dash cam recording has a chance of being compromised.
The Nextbase IQ also has an advanced low power parking mode that uses a radar sensor to detect presence around the vehicle and only wakes up into full power mode when something or someone gets in range. The IQ then uses on device computer vision to determine whether a notification should be sent via the cellular connection.
For ease of use and ease of installation, the IQ series only includes the front facing camera and cabin camera by default, but an add on rear camera is available for $150 that includes an additional radar sensor for full coverage. Overall the Nextbase IQ was absolutely the most advanced and promising new dash cam that I saw at CES, but for the top of the line package you’re looking at $800 plus $10/month cellular subscription which is quite an investment.
BlackVue was also at CES, but unfortunately I didn’t realize it until I had already left Vegas because for some reason their booth was buried at the opposite end of the expo hall away from every other dash cam company, and it must not have just been me because I can’t find a single picture or video from their booth. However, via their press release we can expect some new models in spring of 2023 with the most interesting being the DR970X-2CH LTE which combines a 4k front facing camera with either an interior cabin camera or rear camera and unlike previous models from BlackVue, this new version has the LTE module built in, meaning you will no longer need the separate BlackVue LTE box.
And speaking of external BlackVue boxes, their other announcement is a centralized processing box that can be paired with up to 3 external cameras. The idea is that the box can be mounted in a more secure location like a locked glove compartment making it harder to tamper with and since all the processing power is on the box, the external cameras can be much smaller and less conspicuous.
No official pricing was available on either BlackVue unit, or the cellular subscription model, though I have reached out to BlackVue for more information, so check for a pinned comment under the YouTube video for updates.
I’ll likely review all these dash cams in an updated showdown video this year, so make sure you’re subscribed to my YouTube channel if that’s something you’re interested in, and in the meantime check out my Dash cam Buyers Guide for 2022. If you enjoyed this video make sure to hit that thumbs up button and stay tuned for more mini videos about specific CES product categories, and as always thanks for watching the Hook Up.