Finally, a security camera that doesn’t scream "look at me"!
There is no shortage of home security camera options out there, and they range in price from well under $100 to well above it. Picking the right one can send you down a dark spiraling path trying to pick the right style, one that you can power easily, and one that is easy to manage.
After moving into a new construction home about a year ago, I set out to make it smarter and keep it more secure than I did my old house, and following Phil’s recommendations I ended up checking out Ring’s great options. After thoroughly enjoying the Ring Video Doorbell Pro for a while, it was time to add another camera to capture more video, so I checked out Ring’s offerings.
With not a ton of space to mount the camera, and no elegant way to power it, I ended up with the Ring Spotlight Battery camera.
There’s no denying that there are more affordable options out there, but it felt like home security wasn’t something worth skimping out on. After all, what good is having a camera mounted to help keep your home more secure if it doesn’t actually record anything, or worse yet it does and you can’t easily access it?
The builder of my home put in ample outside lighting, and we happen to have a street light that is in the yard between our home and our neighbor’s, so the spotlight feature wasn’t something that I exactly needed, but it is a benefit still.
Ring’s Spotlight cam has motion detection, two-way communication thanks to a built-in mic and speaker, an alarm, and more. All of these features are packed in a rather inconspicuous package that doesn’t scream "security camera right here".
Installing the battery version of the Spotlight camera is insanely easy. Since you don’t need to worry about its power source, the possibilities are just about endless. I mounted mine above the center of my garage because it gave me a good view of the front of my house and filled in an area that my Ring Doorbell Pro couldn’t see.
It comes with a mount, the screws, and everything else you need to install it. I simply took the mount and marked the holes, drilled small pilot holes in the wood, and then screwed the mount into the wood. Then, all you have to do is add the camera, tighten the bracket, and it’s good to go, the rest takes place in the app like any other Ring device.
My other outside lights require that I remember to turn a switch on and off daily, and I love the fact that I don’t have to worry about this one. The lights turn on in the evening with motion, and during the day they stay off. There’s nothing to think about, nothing to remember, just simply install it and use it.
I got pretty spoiled by the Ring Doorbell Pro and its ability to set custom motion zones, so once I opened up the Ring app and got this camera setup, I was a bit disappointed. There are still great controls which allow you to determine how many alerts you want to receive, how often, how far away, etc. It took a little more time to figure these out than it did to draw a custom motion zone, but once you get it locked in it’s pretty great.
Like other Ring hardware, the Spotlight camera offers two-way audio communication, allowing you to speak with people who are near the camera. When you have answered the motion alert on the camera, there is a blue light that turns on at the bottom of the camera. In addition, if you want to scare people off you can turn on an audible alarm. It gets pretty loud and lights up the bottom of the camera red. It’s certainly enough to startle anyone who is in a place they shouldn’t be, though not loud enough to wake your neighbors in their home.
One thing that I do wish I had the option to do would be to just leave the light on for a set period of time, but being battery powered I guess it’s better to save the charge for motion instead of using it to illuminate an area.
Speaking of battery life, Ring advertises that with normal usage it should get around 6 months of power per charge, but that’s not the results I’ve received. Mine is mounted out front, and there are days where kids are playing and it gets a bunch of motion alerts, but I’ve averaged around 5 weeks of battery life per charge. This isn’t terrible by any means, but it’s quite a bit different than 6 months.
This isn’t the end of the world, though. If you need more power than that, you have a few options. You can either add a solar panel to keep it charging at all times, or grab a second battery to put in the second slot inside the camera. Either option will work great, though if you go with the second battery you will still need to charge them at some point. The app shows the battery percentage, so there’s no guessing involved. When it starts getting low, simply take it out, charge it, and pop it back in.
When it comes to video quality, I’ve found the Spotlight camera to be hit or miss. Sometimes, the camera has trouble focusing or balancing the light in the shot. Occasionally, the videos will be so bright that it looks like a big white screen, and other times it looks like a movie shot with a professional camera. The Ring Doorbell Pro has a pre-roll feature which shows you what happened up to 3 seconds before the motion alert was sent, and I really wish that the Spotlight camera did the same.
For a security camera that installs in just a few minutes and requires very little thought after that, the Ring Spotlight camera is a great option for many people. It comes in three different varieties, so you aren’t forced to deal with charging batteries or worrying about how much power it has left. The wired camera has a 20-foot cord that you just plug into an outlet, which will work great for some and horribly for others.
Finally, the Spotlight Cam Mount is one that you hardwire, so you’ll need to have a power and ground cable run to where you want to mount it. It limits where you can install it, but if you are replacing an old light or are building a new structure, this may be the way to go.
If you worry about what happens outside your home when you aren’t there, this camera is a great way to put your mind at ease. I’d definitely recommend this camera to anyone looking for something quick and easy to install that offers a bunch of great features for daily usage.
May 10, 2018 at 07:05AM