Owlcam 5.0 is a premium dash cam with AI, voice control and more
- 20 February, 2021 01:00
Owlcam 5.0 is the premium dash cam that’s ready to move forward from a troubled past. Announced Friday and available for preorder (due to ship March 19), it reboots a promising product that nearly died when its originator, startup Owl Cameras Inc., untidily dissolved about a year ago. Enterprise IoT firm Xirgo Technologies acquired the assets and forged a partnership with yet another company, CallPass, to revive the consumer Owlcam business. After further delays due to supply shortages, Owlcam 5.0 is finally ready to fly.
It’s still a distinctive product. We’re seeing more apps attached to the dash cams we review, but the LTE and cloud storage available with Owlcam remain rare. Voice control and AI are rarer still, but Owlcam has those, too. It’s also attractive for a dash cam, with a tapered shape and a large touchscreen.
The camera still works basically the same way. Thanks to its connection to your car’s OBD-II port, it can record continuous video while you’re driving (stored on its substantial 160GB of on-board storage), and be ready even when your car is turned off to start recording video if its G-sensors detect an impact or vibration. LTE lets your camera upload videos directly to cloud storage, services available via subscription.
The existing “OK presto” command to start a video recording has been expanded in an interesting way. If you say “OK presto, I’m being pulled over”—as in, by police officers—the camera will start recording and uploading directly to the cloud. Apparently this specific ability was requested by many Owlcam users—have our streets become that mean?
Other new features include IR sensors for better night vision (a weakness of the original model), and the ability to call 911 for you if the camera detects an impact. Owlcam promises other safety features in the near future.
Owlcam 5.0 will start at $259 per camera during the preorder period and $269 thereafter. Bulk discounts will apply if you buy two or three cameras simultaneously. Older, less advanced versions of the camera will be more affordable—$149 for Owlcam 3.0 and $199 for Owlcam 4.0. In all cases, a Connect Plan for the LTE will start at $19.95 per month. You can use the camera without LTE, but some features will be lost as a result.