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Ring Spotlight Cam review

This outdoor camera features a powerful built-in light and siren to help deter intruders

Ring Spotlight Cam
(Image: © TechRadar)

Our Verdict

The Ring Spotlight Cam is a great option if you want to deter intruders but don’t have power nearby to hook up a mains-operated security camera? As soon as motion is detected, it will automatically record footage in full HD video and activate both bright lights and a loud siren should you choose. Simple to use, you will need to subscribe to Ring Protect for $3 / £2.50 / AU$4 per month to view the footage after it's been recorded, and the camera is bulky and slightly tricky to install.

For

  • Bright lights and loud siren
  • Excellent, easy to use app
  • Can view footage on the web

Against

  • Need to subscribe to watch recorded footage
  • Bulky design
  • Requires some DIY skill

Two-minute review

Ring is a name that most people will now be familiar with thanks to its range of some of the best video doorbells. However, it also produces a range of indoor and outdoor home security cameras that let you keep an eye on your home when you’re not around. 

First launched in 2017, the Spotlight Cam is an outdoor security camera is designed for mounting above a front door or on an outbuilding, and as well as alerting your smartphone when the camera detects motion, it’ll also illuminate the bright lights on either side and below the camera lens. Also on board is an extremely loud siren, which when coupled with the lights is ideal for scaring off unwanted intruders. 

It comes in both black and white and is available in two variants – one that uses mains power and one that is powered by a rechargeable 6000mAH battery. On top of that you can even purchase a solar panel as an optional extra for the battery-powered variant.

The Spotlight Cam offers a 140-degree horizontal viewing angle and 78-degree vertical angle which certainly isn’t the widest viewing angle around but should be more than enough to capture footage of anyone coming to your property.  

Like all Ring devices, if you want to review the footage recorded by the home security camera after it’s happened, you will need to subscribe to Ring Protect to ensure the videos are stored online for up to 30 days. It’ll cost you $3 / £2.50 / AU$4 per month or $30 / £24.99 / AU$40 for a year, but also offers a host of other features to reduce unwanted notifications. 

These include ‘customizable motion zones’ so you can, for example, tailor the areas where you want the Spotlight Cam to detect movement and ‘people only’ mode so it doesn’t capture unwanted footage of birds flying across the sky or squirrels climbing the fence. It’s also possible to use the Spotlight Cam as part of a network of Ring devices which can all be controlled via the app.

The Spotlight Cam is a versatile outdoor camera ideal for monitoring your property, and while it is a few years old now, the device’s software has been updated considerably to give you all the options you need to use as part of a comprehensive home security setup. It’s just a shame that Ring ties you into a monthly subscription to watch the footage from your camera, rather than allowing you to store it locally as you can with some devices such as the Yale Front Door WiFi Camera Light and Siren.

Ring Spotlight Cam price and availability

  •  List price: $199 / £179.99 / AU$329 

The Ring Spotlight Cam will set you back $199 / £179.99 / AU$329, and is available from Ring’s website, as well as Amazon and other electrical retailers. It’s available in two versions; Battery, which is of course powered by a rechargeable battery, and Wired that requires mains power - both are priced the same. A solar panel for the battery version is priced at $49 / £49 / AU$79. 

As we’ve already mentioned, if you want to review video after the camera has recorded it, you’ll need to subscribe to Ring Protect. The camera comes with a free 30-day trial, after this it’ll cost from $3 / £2.50 / AU$4 per month or $30 / £24.99 / AU$40 for a year.

Ring Spotlight Cam

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Design

  • Large and heavy model
  • Flexible mount for attaching to walls
  • Waterproof design

 

A chunky, rectangular-shaped outdoor camera, measuring 4.96 x 2.72 x 2.99 inches / 12.6 x 6.91 x 7.59 cm ( h x w x) and available in black or white, it’s fair to say the Ring Spotlight Cam is not a thing of beauty. However, what it lacks in looks it makes up for in terms of versatility, with a large two-way speaker underneath the main lens and two bright spotlights either side and one below.   

On the back of the unit is a mounting plate that can be turned around depending on how you want to install the security camera. Ring also provides a drill bit and raw plugs for drilling screws into the brick wall, as well as a double-headed screwdriver for attaching the bracket to the wall. Ring recommends placing the device around 10 ft / 3 m off the ground.

However, you will need to make sure that you use the right side of the screwdriver as the bracket the security camera connects to has an unusual Torx screw head rather than the more standard Phillips screw head used for the wall mount. Ring claims installation time is around five minutes but, in reality, it took us closer to an hour once it was angled properly. 

Open up the space underneath the camera where the sensor sits and you’ll find space for two batteries. The camera will work with only one battery installed - in fact only one is included in the box, you’ll need to purchase additional batteries if you want to prolong the time between charges. The batteries can easily be clipped into place or removed when they need charging. 

Ring Spotlight Cam

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Performance

  • High quality 1080p video resolution
  • Extremely bright lights
  • Clear two-way audio

When it comes to performance, we certainly didn’t have any complaints with the Spotlight Cam. During the day, the full HD footage was clear and detailed, although after dark the images weren’t the clearest we’ve seen.  

However, the two-way audio was very loud and clear (the Spotlight Cam has one of the best speakers we’ve seen on a security camera) and the lights powerful enough to illuminate the entire garden. What’s really good about the device is that it’s possible to switch the lights on manually, as well as automatically, so when you’re conversing with anyone in the field of view, you can clearly see whoever is there. 

As previously mentioned, when the camera detects motion you can either view a live feed from the camera or review the footage it stores at a later date. By default, 30 seconds of video is recorded when motion is detected, although this can be increased to up to 120 seconds, but this will deplete the battery quicker. It’s also easy to share them via text, social media or download to your devices too. 

Ring Spotlight Cam

(Image credit: TechRadar)

App

  • App set up via QR code inside battery compartment 
  • Completely customizable motion settings
  • Easy to integrate with other Ring products 

Where Ring certainly beats most of the opposition is with the smartphone app. It is quite simply the best we’ve ever seen on a security camera. Perhaps it’s the influence of Amazon, which bought Ring in 2018, but the user interface is extremely intuitive with clear options you can toggle on and off. 

As with most home security devices, the easiest way to set up the app is to scan the QR code inside the battery compartment. This brings up the model name within the app and, after inputting your address details and WiFi code, you should be ready to get started. Usefully, there are several options available, from viewing your event history (neatly divided into different sections such as Live Views and Motion Detection) to setting motion schedules so the camera only records at certain times of the day and light. You can also set the device’s lights to come on at specific times, such as overnight. 

Other useful options include power setting so you can see how much charge your battery has before it needs recharging and a new geofencing feature. This will automatically switch alerts off when you come home and switch them back on when you leave the house. 

Ring Spotlight

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Battery life

  • Ranges from between 3 and 12 months
  • Camera has space for an additional battery
  • Battery takes several hours to recharge

Ring claims a single battery in the Spotlight Cam will last for between three and six months, while dual batteries will prolong the life by a further six months,  although this will depend upon how often motion is detected, how many times the spotlights are illuminated and the frequency of the live feed being viewed from the app. Due to our making heavy use of the camera for this review we’re not able to give figures for ‘typical’ use. We found it took several hours  to recharge the battery using the bundled USB cable. 

Should I buy the Ring Spotlight Cam?

Buy it if...

You want to deter burglars
Thanks to a powerful light and siren you can put off unwanted intruders coming to your property

You’re tight on space
The Ring Spotlight Cam will save space as it combines two devices in one, making it ideal when there’s not much space. 

You haven’t got power nearby
This security camera is powered by rechargeable batteries so if you don't have a power outlet nearby, it’s not an issue. 

Don't buy it if...

You want to store recorded footage locally
Unfortunately, there’s no option with the Ring Spotlight Cam to store the videos it records on a micro SD card or another local source - the only option is to subscribe to Ring Protect and store the footage online. 

You just want to view footage
If you don’t need a camera with a light and siren, there are cheaper models available

You don’t have DIY skills
The Ring Spotlight Cam is a little trickier to install than most

First reviewed: June 2021

Chris Price

Over 25 years experience as a staff and freelance journalist. Currently working freelance for The Daily Telegraph, writing technology content for the newspaper as well as working with their clients (Vodafone Microsoft, Nokia, SAP, DXC, BAE Systems) on branded content.