This next-generation dash cam is unexpectedly sexy

Looking into front car windshield.
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The iQ is a rarity in the gadget world: a dash cam that doesn’t look embarrassing.

Used to record driving behavior inside and outside a car, the dash cams we’re used to seeing in Uber and Lyft rides are, generally speaking, boxy. In fact, they’re often hidden behind — or built into — the rear-view mirror. Out of sight, out of mind… until you need to review the footage, that is.

Dash cam maker Nextbase has gone in a different direction by introducing a revamped aesthetic for the modern camera built for the car, and they’ve filled it with next-generation features to match the look. At the CES tech convention Tuesday, Nextbase unleashed its updated creation packed with similar features to those found in the more traditional-looking Owlcam or SmarterAI cam.

Looking into front car windshield.

A better-looking car accessory.
Credit: Nextbase

With a new, more vertical and rounded design (previous cams from the company have that more traditional, boxy look ), the iQ also has three cameras built in, including a 4K resolution forward-facing camera, and two lower-resolution cabin and rear-view cameras. 

The most recent version of Nextbase’s camera, the Series 2, was only forward-facing, and had a completely different visual profile. Compared to the Series 2, the new camera has been flipped vertically and rounded out with the traditional display removed. It still hangs from the front windshield, but with a less obtrusive mount. 

The iQ is more than just a camera. As Nextbase’s head of marketing and sales Richard Browning said in a call last month, the AI overlays are intended to make the iQ future-proof. It monitors other cars on the road to track their trajectories and speeds, which are displayed on an accompanying phone app. Audio alerts will go off if your iQ thinks you’re going to hit someone. 

Also with the smartphone app you can control the camera in real time, and get notifications if anything happens to your car while you’re away. You can also get a snapshot from the scene.

This allows you to take advantage of what Browning calls “spatial awareness” around the car, so it can send an audible alert to drivers about cars and pedestrians in your blind spot or while speeding ahead. While parked, the camera stays “aware,” sending alerts that provide the same sense of security as Tesla’s Sentry Mode, but without the Tesla.

Browning likened the iQ to “low-tech vehicle security.” It’s for when cars are parked, for road rage incidents, or for other situations that turn unsafe. 

The new iQ is expected to be released in September with pricing information coming out later this year. The most feature-filled dash cam available now is $400, so expect something closer to that for this new — somehow sexy — update.

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