The Ring brand, as its name suggests, became popular thanks to its video doorbell products. However, the company has been making a name for itself when it comes to home security products as well. Indeed, Ring makes some of the best outdoor security cameras and alarm systems, including the Stick Up Cam and Alarm.
Last month, Ring released a new product lineup with two models: the Spotlight Cam Plus and Pro. Both include very similar features, with the bulkier Pro version adding HDR video, high-quality echo-free Audio+, 3D radar-based motion detection, and dual-band 5GhZ Wi-Fi.
The Plus and Pro models are available in wired, solar, and battery-powered variants. In this review, we’re testing the battery-powered Ring Spotlight Cam Pro model, but keep in mind that the features are the same if you go for a solar or AC-powered model.
The Spotlight cameras are more versatile than Ring’s floodlight cameras because they reduce the overall bulk, produce decent light, and are slightly more affordable.
Ring's new Spotlight Cam Pro brings together a host of advanced features that are tough to find in any competitors. For example, extremely few cameras boast dual-band Wi-Fi support, which greatly increases range and ease of setup in most home wireless configurations. The Spotlight Cam Pro also utilizes a novel radar-based system for three-dimensional motion detection that's even more consistent than Ring's previous offerings.
There's also an interesting feature called Bird's Eye View that works with a satellite imaging service to provide an overview of your property and what's moving around on it (although some users will have better luck with it than others).
Ring's doorbell camera and Floodlight Cam Pro provided some of these same features, but the battery-powered Spotlight Pro is the first to offer them without requiring a wired connection. If you can afford it, this is one of the most powerful and unassuming outdoor cameras you'll find.
- Brand: Ring
- Resolution: 1080p HDR
- Connectivity: Dual-band Wi-Fi
- Night Vision: Yes, color night vision
- Internal or External: External
- Power Source: Battery, solar, plug-in, wired
- Axis Control: No
- Operating limits: -5°F to 120°F
- Measurements (camera): 3.1 in x 3.2 in x 5.7 in
- Integrations: Alexa, IFTT
- Hub Required: No
- Field of view: 140° horizontal, 80° vertical
- Colors: Black or white
- Two bright LED spotlights
- Video quality
- Overall integration with Ring products and Alarm
- 3D-based motion detection & bird's eye view
- No Google Assistant integration
- No local storage (unless you have a Ring Alarm Pro)
Ring Spotlight Cam Pro: Design, hardware, what's in the box
The first thing you'll notice when unboxing the Ring Spotlight Cam Pro is its massive size. When I replaced my Blink Outdoor camera with it, I was disappointed as it looks far less discreet and more easily noticeable for intruders. Thankfully, it's available in either black or white, so depending on the color of your walls, one of the two options should fit not too conspicuously with the rest of the building.
When it comes to the box and its contents, there’s the camera itself, the usual Ring stickers to shoo intruders away, a user guide, and some screws and anchors. The Ring Spotlight Cam Pro can connect directly to your Wi-Fi network and doesn’t require a hub or a sync module, so nothing else is required in the box.
As mentioned, the camera is big and somewhat noticeable, but it also looks polished and durable. Ring put the sensors and the shooter module together at the front of the camera in a dark area, surrounded by both spotlight LED strips, which can produce about 575 lumens.
The rest of the casing is all white or black, with the microphone array at the bottom. When opened, it reveals the camera’s battery slot, making it easy to take it out and charge it when needed without having to unmount the camera.
Unfortunately, the battery still uses an aging micro-USB connector to charge, which is hard to understand for a premium and modern camera. However, given it should last about two to three months with intensive usage according to our tests, you shouldn't have to plug it in too often. Also, there's a USB-C port on the back of the camera that you can use to power it up, but you'll have to use your own cable as only a micro-USB one is included in the box.
All the materials and plastics feel solid and durable, giving us hope the Ring Spotlight Cam Pro can last for a while outdoors under unkind weather. It can officially withstand temperatures between -5 °F to 120 °F and rain, so you should be safe mounting it outdoors. It may not work under freezing temperatures, but Ring's camera's operating range is even slightly better than most of its competitors. During our two-week review, it faced rough winds and pouring rain without the slightest problem.
When installing the camera, the process is relatively simple: screw the wall mount using the included screws and anchors and then latch and tighten the camera's "tail" to the wall mount.
Although simple, installing the Ring Spotlight Cam Pro is slightly more complicated than installing the Blink Outdoor. But this does ensure that intruders can't just snatch it off the mount, as the camera is fixed to the mount with a screw. Plus, you can make minor adjustments to have the best viewing angle possible without reaching for your toolbox. Similarly, you can twist the microphone array to reveal the battery without removing any screws or bolts.
After it's installed, all you need to do to connect the camera to your phone is to scan the QR code and follow the instructions to customize it.
Ring Spotlight Cam Pro: Software, features, video
Once installed, the Ring Spotlight Cam Pro integrates perfectly with the rest of the Ring ecosystem. As such, it can be armed automatically according to your other cameras' schedule or even with your smart home alarm system. Of course, the camera also works with Alexa and can be controlled using it. Sadly, though, there is no Google Assistant or Homekit support out of the box, but there's a timid integration with IFTTT that lets you use Ring's motion detection as a trigger.
When it comes to features, we're talking about one of Ring's most advanced products, so it's only normal for the Spotlight Cam Pro to have high-quality two-audio (thanks to Ring's Audio+ echo cancelation technology), a built-in 105db security siren, 1080p HDR video with color night vision, 3D radar-based motion detection with a bird's eye view mode, and 5Ghz dual-band Wi-Fi connectivity.
The Ring Spotlight Cam Pro is controlled using the Ring app, which looks nice and intuitive initially but can get confusing when looking for a specific setting. Luckily, the setup process is guided, and everyday usage is straightforward, with the home screen showing the various modes and cameras in your setup and a tap shortcut to control the lights. Also, while the card doesn't show a live view, it displays a snapshot that can be taken every 14 minutes or every hour. The snapshots can let you review a timeline of what happened during the day, even if there's no motion detected.
The camera's dashboard lets you access the live feed or turn on the lights, siren, motion detection, and alerts. There's a quick shortcut for the most frequently used settings, including mode sensitivity and zones, schedules, snoozing, power management, and more. You can go deeper in the menus to fiddle with HDR, color night vision, and light brightness settings.
When viewing the live feed, Ring also gives you access to quick controls for the lights, siren, and microphone.
Of course, what matters most is the image quality, which is particularly good during the day, allowing you to distinguish faces relatively clearly. It's disappointing at night, though, and we've found the Color Night Vision feature to be quite useless in our review. It ended up coloring half of the grass and trees green while the other half was just gray.
Thankfully, the spotlight feature makes things more visible at night, and you won't even need to worry about turning it on as Ring does it automatically when it senses motion. If you decide to get the hardwired model, you'll even be able to keep the light on during specific schedules. In any case, it's powerful enough to let you see around you when it's dark and allows the camera to record what's going on.
In addition, the camera's 140º field of view almost lets you forget it's not motorized, as the wide angle allows you to see what other cameras wouldn't capture.
The purpose of the Ring Spotlight Cam Pro is also to monitor your home when you're away. When armed, it provides reliable motion detection thanks to a built-in radar that can even create a bird's eye view of where people have been and place them on a map.
In addition, you can design motion and privacy zones to ignore activity or hide areas for added comfort.
While the bird's eye view feature sounds amazing, it has a major shortcoming: your house needs to be mapped thoroughly with clear satellite imagery. In my case, the satellite image was in such a low resolution that it served me almost no purpose at all. If that's your case, you can change the picture-in-picture option to show a pre-roll of what happened when the camera started recording motion and still see the live feed simultaneously, allowing you to review where the intruder came from.
Talking about motion, the camera can automatically distinguish people and only notify you if someone's in your yard, provided you get a Protect subscription that costs about $4 per month. While the feature is useful as it avoids unnecessary notifications, Ring's algorithms often think big dogs are people, so it might be worth experimenting during the 30-day trial before relying on it.
Thankfully, another great option of the Protect plan is the enriched notification, which allows you to see a snapshot directly in your notification tray or your smartwatch, helping you gauge whether you should dismiss it or not.
You can talk to your intruder through the camera if things get serious without any echo or background noise. If you can't convince them to leave, sound the 105-decibel siren and watch them run off! If you have the Protect Plan, you'll even be able to save these videos on the cloud for up to 180 days and potentially identify the trespasser. Even better, if you have a Ring Alarm Pro base station, you can save your recordings locally by plugging in a microSD card. However, remember that you will need a Ring Protect plan to save videos, as the camera won't save videos without a subscription.
Also, when used in conjunction with other Ring devices, if another Ring camera or the Alarm system detects motion, it can automatically launch the recording on the Spotlight Cam Pro and even turn on the lights if needed.
Ring Spotlight Cam Pro: Competition
With its $230 MSRP, the Ring Spotlight Cam Pro is a premium device. It should offer a flawless experience and score better than the competition at this price. It does indeed have person detection, motion zones, and good picture quality, but some other products are worth looking at.
The Arlo Pro 4 costs just under $200 and offers similar features, but it has 1440p video and a 160-degree viewing angle — both superior to the Ring camera's specs. It also provides better integration with third-party services, as it works seamlessly with Google Assistant, IFTTT, and HomeKit. However, its spotlight is less bright than Ring's, so you'll have to gauge whether you need a better image quality or a brighter spotlight. Also, it won't integrate as naturally with your security system if you already have a Ring Alarm. Finally, although Arlo's magnetic mount might look nicer, it's much easier for intruders to remove the camera from its mount than the Ring one.
Alternatively, it might be worth considering the Blink Outdoor + Floodlight bundle, which costs just $140 when not on sale (and much less when discounted), plus it works wirelessly and delivers a much brighter light. At this price, though, it doesn't have great image quality, especially at night, but it does let you save footage locally without a paid subscription. It also works with IFTTT and Alexa, making it a cheaper alternative worth considering if you don't want to spend a fortune on a security camera.
Ring Spotlight Cam Pro: Should you buy it?
The Ring Spotlight Cam Pro is an excellent option if you have a yard not well lit up, as it can serve two purposes in a single device. Admittedly, it's quite pricey, but you get one of the best outdoor cameras and a truckload of features. You'll have to consider whether you need them, though, as cheaper outdoor cameras on the market can do the trick if you don't need the literal bells and whistles.