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Ring Always Home Cam: Everything you need to know about the flying indoor camera

Yes, your voice assistant-powered smart home can provide plenty of ways for you and yours to manage your residence while you’re on the go. But sometimes what we need the most is an extension of our own two eyes. Security cameras go a long way in solving this problem, but no matter the degree of panning and tilting that your home surveillance gear can muster, a camera is a stationary product, relegated to only one room in your home unless you move it to another. If only there were a way to get eyes on the whole home without investing in a full-fledged security system.

Thanks to Ring, now there is. We caught our first glance of the Ring Always Home Cam last year, and we finally have word on a release date for the $250 security drone. Those interested in buying it can sign up for an early invitation right now, according to an announcement at Amazon’s annual fall September event, though it’s unclear when it’ll ship if you’re invitation is accepted. Here’s everything you need to know about the Ring Always Home Cam.

Design

Promotional still of the Ring Always Home Cam.

First revealed in fall 2020, the Ring Always Home Cam is a drone camera that you can program to follow preset flight paths throughout your home. You’ll get the most out of it when pairing it with a Ring Alarm subscription, although you can still watch via live view without a paid membership.

The Always Home Cam’s design is similar to that of leading quadcopter drones. The rotors of the Always Home Cam are encased in a protective basket, with the drone’s 1080p camera and battery housed below it. Worried about the Always Home smashing into your treasured heirlooms? Not to fear, for the Always Home is loaded with object-avoidance sensors that will ensure the drone remains away from walls, furniture, and other decor. Since it’s meant to follow preset flight paths, you won’t have to worry much about it veering off course.

While in flight, you can stream live video using the Ring app to follow along with your Always Home. When the Always Home finishes perambulating, it will automatically return to its charging base.

Security and privacy

When we think of Ring, one topic of concern that may come to mind is end-to-end privacy. While the company has experienced a few security setbacks over the last couple of years, Ring seems to be going above and beyond to ensure the Always Home takes care of all your home security needs while protecting the at-home privacy of you and yours.

Again, we have to reiterate that the Ring Always Home Cam will only fly along predesignated routes that you build for it during the initial device setup. When docked, the camera is physically blocked by the body of the charging base, so there’s no chance of catching a glimpse of your room when the drone isn’t flying. When the Always Home is airborne, the rotors are designed to give off an audible hum, letting everyone in the house know that the drone is up and about and the camera is recording.

Features

The Ring Always Home Camera is loaded with different sensors that allow it to navigate your home with ease. Avoidance sensors protect your shelves and knick-knacks from being knocked to the floor, while the built-in security camera gives you a great look around your home. As mentioned, the Ring Always Home Cam traverses predesignated routes. You set up these routes according to the layout of your home.

Many of the other details related to the Always Home Camera’s capabilities have been kept under wraps. There are several features we hope the camera has that haven’t specifically been listed, though, one of which is night vision. Almost every camera includes night vision, and it makes sense that the Ring Always Home Camera would include night vision, but Ring has not confirmed this yet.

Onboard storage would also be a great addition. The Ring Always Home Camera works on a charge, which means it can still fly even in power outages. If its route is predetermined and stored in its local memory, it can navigate throughout the home without Wi-Fi. Installing an SD card would allow it to record footage that can be reviewed later, even if the Wi-Fi is down while it’s patrolling.

Another possible feature is the ability to map out a room. The algorithms behind its navigation haven’t been revealed, but if it flies through the home using VSlam or lidar technology (similar to how robot vacuums work), then it might also be able to map out the spaces it navigates through.

Can hackers hack it?

Promotional still of the Ring Always Home Cam charging base.

The unfortunate truth about most web-connected devices is that if they’re online, there’s some percentage of a chance that a talented hacker can work their way into your hardware. But the Always Home has a few foundational design elements that will make it somewhat resistant any hacking attempts.

As mentioned above, when not in flight, the camera is physically blocked by the body of the charging base. Unlike a traditional home security camera that provides stationary views of the room it’s placed in, the Always Home doesn’t see a thing unless it’s airborne.

While Ring has yet to provide any details on the Always Home’s recording encryption, we assume the company will be implementing a number of advanced protocols to guard your user data. You can also check out this more detailed breakdown of Ring’s encryption practices.

Battery life

Ring has been fairly quiet regarding the battery life of the Ring Always Cam, but based on the product information page (which since has been taken down), its runtime is rated for five minutes. That’s pretty short and effectively limits how frequently it can be used. Naturally, dire emergency situation will warrant a scout, but other events may have to be overlooked in order to preserve its battery. Lastly, its battery requires two hours to fully recharge, which again is pretty excessive.

When will it come out?

As of right now, you can sign up as part of Ring’s invitation process to be among the first to buy the Always Home Cam. At the moment, though, there’s no indication on broader availability from other retail channels. For up-to-date information, you can sign up for email alerts through Ring’s site so you’ll be notified when the Always Home launches.

How much will it cost?

The Ring Always Home Cam is currently priced at $250.

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