Ring Spotlight Cam full review

While Ring initially produced smart doorbells, the company has since expanded and now produce a range of smart security products, from the Ring Doorbell 2 to the Floodlight Cam and more recently, the Spotlight Cam. But while Ring is one of few companies that offer smart doorbells in the UK, there are plenty of well-established smart camera manufacturers – and it’ll have to do a lot to impress.

So, does the Ring Spotlight Cam have what it takes to be one of the best smart security cameras on the market? Find out in our review.  

Ring Spotlight Cam: Pricing and availability

You can pick up the battery-powered Ring Spotlight Cam for £199 in the UK, or $199 in the US. It’s available directly from Ring, but also from the likes of Amazon, Argos and Best Buy. The price tag puts the Spotlight Cam at the top-end of the smart camera market, so it’ll really have to offer something unique to best the likes of the Reolink Argus 2 and Logi Circle 2.

While we discuss the battery-powered option here, you can also buy the £199/$199 Spotlight Cam Wired, or £229/$229 Spotlight Cam Solar.

Compact design

Ring’s Spotlight Cam is more compact than the Floodlight Cam and the Stick Up Cam, but don’t let the small form factor fool you – the 12.6 x 6.91 x 7.59 cm camera is packed full of smart security tech to protect your home.

The Spotlight Cam comes in black and white, which should help it blend relatively easy into both light and dark environments, and features an integrated mounting base with an adjustable ball joint. This allows you to place the Spotlight cam pretty much anywhere, as you can simply adjust the angle of the camera as required.

The camera features a quick-release battery mechanism that allows you to switch out the battery with ease, although securing the outer casing can be a rather fiddly job. It’s certainly easier than removing the camera from the base for charging, as is required by other cameras on the market.

The Spotlight Cam actually houses two battery compartments, but the standard kit comes with a single battery. To take advantage and extend the battery life of the Spotlight Cam, you’ll have to pay out an additional £19.95 for a second battery.

The Spotlight Cam, as the name suggests, also features twin LED strips to illuminate the environment – but we’ll talk a little more about that below.

Lights, camera, action

The Spotlight Cam features a 140-degree wide-angle 1080p HD camera that, as well as featuring twin LED strips, boasts infrared night vision. The video, in general, is clear and crisp, and the night vision is capable of illuminating a decent-sized area – around 20-30ft (aka the size of our garden) in our experience.

Of course, the twin LED strips are the star of the Spotlight Cam. Although the light produced isn’t as bright as that produced by the larger Floodlight Cam, it’s bright enough to illuminate small-to-medium areas.

It provides a much clearer view than the infrared night vision, and can prove invaluable when deterring potential intruders. The lights are motion-activated by default, although this can be disabled and manually controlled via the Ring app for iOS, Android, Mac and PC.

Whenever the camera detects motion, a notification is sent to your smartphone. You can then access a live feed of the camera and, if necessary, trigger the built-in 110db siren to scare off anybody that isn’t supposed to be there. There’s also two-way talk available via the app, thanks to a built-in microphone and speaker.  

You can also use the Ring app to browse previous motion alerts. While it was once presented in a clunky list format, a fairly recent update to the app now provides a more intuitive timeline view. You can now scroll between events to get a quick glance at past recordings without having to tap and load each individual clip. As long-time Ring users, we welcome this change with open arms.

Though there is a subscription to access past recordings, it’s nowhere near as pricy as others on the market at only £2.50 per device per month.

But while that all sounds great, there’s one flaw with the Spotlight Cam – and it’s a big one.

The camera is marketed as weather resistant and not waterproof, so water droplets and moisture can get on the inside of the camera casing, completely obscuring the view. There’s not much you can do about it either, apart from making sure that it’s mounted somewhere that has some kind of shelter from the elements.

It’s surprising and disappointing for an outdoor camera, especially at this price and because it’s not an issue we’ve seen with other outdoor Ring products like the Stick Up Cam.

Time to charge… again

As mentioned, the Spotlight Cam features space for two batteries, and that’s because the LED strips drain battery noticeably quicker than other cameras in the Ring family. Though Ring claims you can get up to six months of battery life, we’ve found that with a single battery, we could get around 4-6 weeks with what we’d class as average use before requiring a charge.

As well as opting for a second battery, you’ve got the option of picking up Ring’s £49.99 Solar Panel to provide constant power to the Spotlight Cam and negate the need to charge the battery altogether. While we haven’t had a chance to test it out for ourselves, logic dictates that it’d be a worthy purchase unless you’re planning on installing the Spotlight Cam somewhere that rarely sees movement.

If that all seems a little long-winded, you’ve always got the wired Spotlight Cam, but that may require professional installation.   

Verdict

The Spotlight Cam is impressive on paper. It’s compact, easy to install and boasts a range of smart security features including motion-activated LED strips, a 110db siren, two-way talk and night vision. The Ring app is well designed too, and a recent update to the UI makes it easier than ever to view past motion events.

But while the technology is strong, it’s let down by the fact that rain and wet weather can cause moisture on the inside of the camera that can completely obscure the view. And what is a smart security camera without reliable video?

Specs

Ring Spotlight Cam: Specs

  • 1080p HD camera
  • Infrared night vision
  • Twin LED strip lights
  • Battery-powered
  • 12.6 x 6.91 x 7.59 cm
  • Two-way talk
  • 110db siren
  • Space for second battery (sold seperately)