Ring is perhaps best known for its video calls, which not only allows you to talk to anyone at your front door when you're not around, but can even be used to help catch any unwanted visitors to your home.
It makes sense that the company has carried out its motion sensing cameras through security cameras that can provide a wider field of view outside of your home. That's exactly what's on the review here: Camera Annular Light, a camera with a spotlight attached that lights up when motion is detected.
Ring is not the only connected outdoor security camera market though, so what can it do enough to offer complete protection for your home?
Installation & Setup
- Wired mains only (100-240V)
- Requires professional installation
- In-band WiFi required (2.4GHz only)
- Weather-resistance (-28C to 48C operation)
Unlike some other outdoor security cameras - Arlo, for example - the spotlight ring cam only works on mains power and doesn't have a wired battery option. Therefore, you must make sure that you are a qualified electrician, or can get someone who is around to install it for you.
Installation Whichever route you take, for a simple installation you will need to make sure you have access to an outlet nearby which will determine, to some extent, where you will place the camera on your property. It wouldn't be impossible to put it on the appropriate line, of course, but it might start to add a score.
If you're going to install the camera yourself, then you'll want to download the ring app (available for both iOS and Android) to help guide you through the installation process. It has some short installation help videos to help you with getting the spotlight eccentric fixed and mounted on your wall. Note that in the UK, a network electrician requires the official signature of a qualified person to be safe and legal. You should check the rules and regulations in other countries.
Once the camera is connected, you can use the app to install and connect it to your home network. Click the "Device Settings" button and the app will then ask you to select which product rings you want to add - you may already have existing ones, or are about to buy more - then to confirm your location. The app will search your home network so you can connect it to the internet.
It only works on 2.4 GHz because it gives you a wider and more-range range - a must since your home router will be inside, probably on TV. You don't have to worry about it constantly using up your bandwidth as it only uses data when it detects motion or when watching live streams. If the spotlight cam is too far away from the router, it may struggle, in which case you might want to think about a mesh network setup.
Design and features: the light is fantastic
- 12cm mounting plate diameter
- Adjustable positioning mount
- Dual LED spotlights (3000K color temp.)
Despite including a camera and two lights, the ring camera has a relatively small mounting plate, so you're sure you can mount it to a wall with relative ease. The camera module itself is quite large and sits at the bottom of the mounting plate. It is surrounded by spotlights that output at 3000 Kelvin, putting the beam in the "warm" lighting category, so it's ideal for outdoor use. Although, if you're a burglar, nothing will be "warm" about it!
Both cameras and lights can have their positions adjusted so you can make sure you get the best field of view. The ring also says that the entire device can withstand temperatures from -20C to 48C, so it will be more than capable of adjusting as the weather changes. In the UK, where we checked, we don't have those extremes, of course.
Motion Zones: track individual movements
- iOS and Android app for notifications, viewing and chatting
The main reason you are going to get a spotlight camera is for motion detection. It has two levels of detection, which means that it can distinguish between objects and people, just like other products, including the camera socket. The passive infrared sensors on the ring are more sensitive to objects such as cars and animals, but you can change the settings so that it is less sensitive and only notifies you when it detects people.
As with Ring Video Doorbell 2, you can set the motion zones for the spotlight of the camera. This is achieved within the app and allows you to set zones for the camera to look out for any movement. It also lets you reduce the default zone so it stays on all the time and sends you notifications every time a car drives past your house or regular dog walkers walk in the early morning. We decided in our zone only on our road, so we were only notified when family members came home or, say, a door-to-door delivery driver arrived.
You can also set a traffic schedule from within the app, which can be used to turn off traffic alerts for a specific period of time and on specific days. If you know you're going to be home all day, on Wednesday, for example, as you've been opening the door around, you can set the camera to turn off motion for the entire day, saving you the trouble of manually turning off alerts.
Live video streaming and recording
- 270 degree viewing angle from ultra-wide lenses
- Captures 1080p (full HD) recording on detection
- Save clips to the cloud for the future
Ring Light Cam records full HD 1080p video - both live and when it detects motion - and saves the clip to the cloud for later use.
The quality is very good: the colors are natural and the movements are smooth. The field of view is too generous, and one of the widest-angles we've seen on an open camera. However, it only has digital zoom, so when you pinch-to-zoom on a smartphone, the quality isn't a significant knock.
Night-time doesn't bathe in quality again, but the addition of two bright spotlights makes it possible to light up most of it so you can still see what's going on. Depending on where you set your cameras will determine how much area you can see at night. For us, this meant only a small area of our house.
Stop! Who goes?
- Two-way communication via app
- 110 dB siren
Similar to Video Doorbell 2, Spotlight Cam allows you to speak to any visitors to your home, either let them know you are away or tell them where they can go if they are unwanted.
The sound quality from the camera is really very good and loud. When we spoke through him to a member of our family, they were convinced that the rest of the streets could hear us.
The built-in microphone can pick up sound from visitors from far away too. The distance between the camera and our front door is quite far, but we were able to hear people when talking to them through the app.
If you're away from home and you spot pesky intruders, not only will they be illuminated by spotlights, but you can make the rest of your neighbors aware of their presence by activating the built-in siren. This is a must to scare intruders and wake up neighbors so they can see what's going on. You can show how sorry you are with flowers, chocolates and a bottle of wine later.
- £2.50/month or £25/year (£8/£80 respectively for multiple customization products)
- Features without a subscription, minus clouds-save
Whenever Spotlight Cam detects motion, it will send a notification to your phone so you can immediately click on the video and see what caused it. In addition, the camera will record the clip in motion and save it to the cloud for access through your ring account - through the app or on your computer.
You will need to pay a subscription in order to use the cloud-save feature however. If you just have one ring of goods, then you can pay £2.50/€3/$3 per month or £25/€30/$30 per year. Also, if you are planning to purchase multiple ring devices, then you can pay £8/€10/$10 per month or £80/€100/$99 per year to have them all covered.