Valentina Palladino

Sprint cams excel at watching over you whilst you’re driving, however most take a break after you park the automotive. A brand new entry within the sprint cam market, the $349 Owl Automobile Cam, guarantees to control your automobile even when the automotive is turned off and you are not within the driver’s seat.

Utilizing LTE connectivity and your automotive’s battery energy, the Owl Automobile Cam always seems to be out for motion in and round your automotive and pings your smartphone if and when one thing or somebody seems close to your automobile.

Some sprint cams have exterior battery packs, and a scant few have LTE. However the Owl Automobile Cam boasts these options as methods so as to add ranges of comfort and safety that different units cannot present. The corporate hopes customers shall be keen to fork over extra money upfront or pay a month-to-month charge for the power to check out their automotive each time they please—and for his or her automotive to speak with them when needed.


The Owl Automobile Cam places on way more of a present upon unboxing than every other sprint cam I’ve examined, and it would not appear to be most different sprint cams. It resembles a primitive smartphone with its rectangular physique, however its large, tapered again removes all different nods to the computer systems we hold in our pockets. The smartphone-looking facet faces inward when positioned in your automotive, placing its 2.Four-inch LCD touchscreen, inside digital camera, two LED lights, and two microphones at your fingertips. The again of the Owl Automobile Cam holds its 120-degree FOV principal digital camera, used to file the happenings in entrance of your automotive, and there is one gentle beacon and a reset button on its proper edge.

Specs at a look: Owl Automobile Cam

$349 (one-year bundle with digital camera and LTE service)

Digital camera high quality
4MP front-facing and rear cameras (1440p video recording on entrance, 720p video recording on rear)

120 levels

Audio recording on/off choice

Sure, 2.Four-inch LCD touchscreen


MicroSD card

Loop recording

Operational temperature vary
-Four levels Fahrenheit to 120 levels Fahrenheit

Mounting technique
Beam with magnetic ball

Energy supply
OBD automotive port

Influence detection, break-in detection

Voice instructions

Cellular app
Sure, iOS solely

Vehicles manufactured in 1996 or later, entry to OBD port, iPhone 6 (or later) working iOS 11 (or greater)

The module holds many of the Owl Automobile Cam’s energy, however just a few extra elements are required for it to work at its greatest. Set up takes a bit extra finesse than different sprint cams: first, it’s essential to plug the digital camera’s energy adapter into your automotive’s OBD port. It will get its steady energy this manner, in contrast to different sprint cams that depend on cigarette-lighter ports, which give energy solely when the automotive is turned on.

Then, it’s essential to cover the connected cable within the skinny opening of your doorjamb and snake it up and previous the center of your dashboard. The corporate offers a “tuck software” that you should utilize to push the cable into the hole between the dashboard and the windshield to cover it and make cable administration simpler.

You then select the beam dimension that matches your automotive mannequin, which is principally the plastic neck on which the Owl Automobile Cam will sit. There is not a precise science to this, however you need the digital camera to reside in the course of your dashboard, upright and comfortable as attainable within the house between the dashboard and the windshield. The corporate offers just a few beam extensions which you can interchange to get the size as excellent as attainable on your automotive, and they’re fairly straightforward to experiment with.

After you discover the proper beam size, you push the beam into the hole between the dashboard and the windshield. I used to be shocked by how straightforward this was to do and the way the beam juts outward and curves barely, like a snake’s head protruding from the bowels of my automotive. On the finish of the beam is the magnetic dip on which the underside of the Owl Automobile Cam attaches, and, if you happen to discovered the proper beam dimension, the suction cup on the highest facet of the digital camera will persist with the windshield. With the beam and the suction cup, the Owl Automobile Cam is not coming free or falling off onto your dashboard any time quickly.

Set up takes just a few extra minutes than it will with nearly every other sprint cam (lots of these minutes consisted of me rereading instructions to ensure I used to be sticking all the pieces in the precise place). Nevertheless, the set up course of is important for the design of the Owl Automobile Cam to be efficient, and I ended up loving the design of the digital camera. You by no means need to fuss with it as soon as it is put in, and even once you need to use the digital camera’s touchscreen, the magnetic base makes it straightforward to take away and change the module on a whim. Other than angling the digital camera otherwise, I solely eliminated the Owl Automobile Cam from its magnetic base to alter settings like display screen brightness and audio recording on/off. Settings reside in a menu accessible by tapping the LTE bar icon on the bottom-left nook of the show.

I’ve additionally come to understand the place of the digital camera on the bottom-front of my windshield, slightly than the top-back place of most sprint cams that persist with your windshield near the rearview mirror. The Owl Automobile Cam is not obtrusive and would not get in the best way of my driving view, whereas another sprint cams can peek out below the rearview mirror as a consequence of their cumbersome designs. Cable administration can be extra handy due to the usage of the doorjamb house and that tiny hole in between the dashboard and the windshield.

Sprint cam options
Trapped storage

We’ll dive into all the issues LTE permits the Owl Automobile Cam to do within the subsequent part. However first, let’s look at the gadget as a typical sprint cam. The digital camera data video clips whilst you’re driving and saves the final 24 hours’ value of footage. In contrast to different sprint cams, the Owl Automobile Cam would not have a microSD card slot, but it surely does have 64GB of inner storage. I want having a microSD card since that lets me take away all of my footage at any time and evaluation it on my laptop, however not each consumer desires to fiddle with microSD playing cards. If given the prospect to entry all footage on a smartphone app or a microSD card, an enormous section of customers (arguably the bulk) would like the smartphone app.

The convenience of viewing and downloading video clips from a tool just like the Owl Automobile Cam can’t be overstated—if you happen to get into an accident and need to instantly present authorities your facet of the story, the Owl Automobile Cam’s cellular app for iOS (an Android model is in growth) makes stating your case fast and straightforward. Most sprint cams haven’t got companion cellular apps, however some sprint cams, just like the $199 Garmin Sprint Cam 55 and the $49 Yi Sprint Cam, do, along with saving footage to a microSD card.

Nevertheless, you may’t view and obtain clips from wherever with these sprint cams. That is as a result of their cellular apps have to be related to the sprint cam by way of the gadget’s Wi-Fi community. You want to be in your automotive to reap the advantages of Garmin’s and Yi’s cellular apps, whereas you may view and obtain footage wherever when utilizing the Owl Automobile Cam.

Additionally, a microSD card’s storage capability is the one limitation to how a lot footage it can save you at one time. The Owl Automobile Cam at the moment solely saves the final 24 hours of driving footage, in order that clip you recorded just a few days in the past of geese holding up visitors will not nonetheless exist if you happen to let 24 hours elapse with out downloading it (until you saved it through the use of the “OK, Presto” voice command, which we’ll focus on in a second).

Different sprint cams help microSD playing cards as much as 128GB, permitting them to carry way more than 24 hours’ value of footage at one time. And since most have loop recording, the oldest footage shall be routinely deleted on the cardboard to make room for brand spanking new footage. Whereas it’s much less handy to entry all of that footage when it is saved to a microSD card, you are not restricted to simply the final day’s value of clips.

However Owl realized that the final 24 hours of footage might not be sufficient for some individuals. However for others, Owl realized, 24 hours are greater than they want. The corporate plans to introduce a customizable setting that can enable customers to alter the quantity of footage saved to the digital camera, with the utmost setting saving a couple of week’s value of video clips. Just like the Android app launch, the corporate is engaged on this characteristic however would not know precisely when will probably be launched.

Voice instructions

Along with the final 24 hours of footage, the Owl Automobile Cam saves an important footage routinely, like situations wherein it detects impacts, break-ins, and movement in and across the automotive. These clips reside on the digital camera and in your smartphone within the cellular app for 60 days, bypassing the 24-hour threshold for random footage.

It can save you non-essential clips—like that gaggle of geese footage—manually by saying “OK, Presto” whilst you’re driving. The Owl Automobile Cam solely responds to “OK, Presto,” which makes voice instructions easy and efficient. Garmin’s Sprint Cam 55 hears just a few phrases, together with “OK Garmin, save video” and “OK Garmin, file audio,” providing you with extra particular issues to do together with your voice. Garmin stored the variety of instructions small to maintain voice management from being complicated, however the Owl Automobile Cam makes the identical characteristic straightforward to provoke by limiting it to only one phrase.

My digital camera solely ignored my command as soon as within the couple of months I had it put in in my automotive, and its voice recognition is equally as spectacular. After saying, “OK, Presto,” you’ve just a few seconds to call the clip by saying no matter title you want. The Owl Automobile Cam misheard my titles twice however in any other case named all of my saved clips with the titles I needed, akin to “Morning Commute,” “Wet Day,” or “Helicopter Overhead.” Titles aren’t required for every manually saved clip, however they do turn out to be useful once you’re scrolling via the motion-alert clips within the Owl Automobile Cam app, in search of a selected clip you saved that morning.

Movement detection

Relying on the place your automotive lives when it is parked, you would possibly get movement alerts all through the day. For the reason that Owl Automobile Cam is technically at all times on, it may detect movement at any time each in and across the automobile. When the digital camera detects a disturbance—which could possibly be one thing as innocent as a passerby strolling a canine or as severe as a carjacker—it data a clip utilizing each the outside- and inside-facing cameras and pushes an alert to your smartphone utilizing LTE. You’ll be able to then view the video clip that the digital camera recorded of the disturbance if it’s good to give it extra consideration.

I used to be not often close to my automotive after I acquired a movement alert (which is the purpose of the alerts anyway). However I did discover the brightness of the interior LEDs just a few instances after I approached my automotive at the hours of darkness. These lights aren’t on on a regular basis, however they do come on for just a few seconds when the digital camera detects movement and data a clip in low gentle. The lights are very vibrant, and that is an excellent factor, however they could possibly be a distraction or undesirable shock for strangers who set off a movement alert when passing by your automotive.

This characteristic is most much like “parking modes” discovered on different sprint cams that have exterior battery packs that enable them to remain on and detect movement when the automotive is off. As soon as a battery pack runs out of juice, the sprint cam now not watches over your parked automotive. However the Owl Automobile Cam has the good thing about being technically “on” so long as it is plugged in to the OBD port. The offered OBD adaptor homes a particular circuit board and firmware that ensures the digital camera is not going to draw extra energy out of your automotive’s battery than wanted, so you do not have to fret concerning the always-on digital camera negatively affecting it.

The digital camera additionally goes into “guard mode” when the automotive is off. This implies the digital camera is just not always recording however it’s allowed to stay able to file movies upon sensing movement or impression.


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