Amazon Ring Spotlight Cam Tested

By Rob Kilpatrick, Published on Sep 17, 2018

Amazon's Ring has released their latest camera entry, the Spotlight Cam, which we bought and tested in our Consumer IP Camera Analytics Shootout.

In this report, we test the Spotlight Cam's other functions, including:

  • White light illumination coverage/range
  • White light illumination PIR detection issues
  • Integrated IR coverage/range
  • Day and night image quality
  • Physical form factor and features
  • Installation issues

*******

*** **** ********* ** the **** ********* *** is **********, **** ***** simply ******** ** **** an ****** ******* *** connecting ** ****, ***** most ***** ******** *** commercial ****** ****** ******* wall ************ *** *******. Other ****** ***** *** battery, *****, ** ******** light ***********, ** ****.

************, ********* ***'* "*********** Motion" ******** ****** ***** alarm ******* ** *********** ** ****** ********* Shootout, **** ** ***** animals, *******, *******, *** more, ****** **** **** commercial ****** (****** ** was ********* ** **** unlike **** ** ****).

*******, **** * *********** standpoint, *** ********* *** had ******* *********:

  • **** ***/***** ***** *******: *** ** *** camera's ***° ***** ** view, *** ** *** even ** ***** ***** (~35 ** **' ********), offering **** ***** ****** detail ** ***** *****, and ** ******* ** ~20'+.
  • **** ** ********:*** ********** ** ** the ****** ******** * bright **** ****** ****, leaving ******** ******* ** the **** ****** ********** dark.
  • *** ********* ** **** half ** *** ********* range:** *** *****, *** built-in *** **** ** trigger *** ******'* ***** light **** ******** ******** only ** ~**' ********, about **** ** ********* 30' *****.
  • **** ********* ***** ***:****** *******, ***** **** regularly ********* *** *** and ********* *** ***** light, ***** **** ********* a ****** *****.
  • ***** ******* **** *****, non-removable ***** *****: *** ********* *** ***** uses * *****-** ***** cable ***** *** ********* of * ***** ***** extension ****, ***** ***** may **** ********* ** conceal, ****** ** ** eyesore ** **** *********** installs.

*******

*** **** ********* *** Wired ** **** ******** on ******* ********** ~$*** ***, ******* lower **** ********/*** *********** such ** **** (~$***) and **** ** ******* (~$349).

** ********** ******* **** is ******** ** ****** video, ******** ** $** annually *** *** ****** or $*** ******** *** unlimited ******* ** *** address.

**** **** *** **** Spotlight *** ***** ** four ********* ******** ******** ***** ****. *** **** ****, we ********* *** **** Spotlight *** *****.

No ****** ******** ********

**** ********** ******** * lifetime ******** ** *** their ******** *** *** now******* ******** **** ** one ****. *******, **** ***** include ***** ******** ***** protection ****** *** **** replace *** **** ****** which ** ******.

Physical ********

*** ********* *** ** shaped **** * *-*" cube, ******* ** *** bottom ****** ******* ** Ring's********** *** (*** *** test), **** *** ****** added ** ****** **** of *** ****. ************ simply ******** ******** *** camera **, ******** ** onto *** *****, *** connecting ** ****, ****** compared ** **** *********** models.

** ****** *** ************ of *** ********* *** in **** *****:

Bulky ***** ***** 

*** **** ********* *** Wired ******** * ~**' long ***** *****, ***** the ********* ** * heavy ***** ********* ****, almost */*" ** ********. On *** ******** ****, this ********** ******** ***** users *** ****** **** the ****** **, ******* needing ** ***** ** locate * ******** ***** box (**** ** ******* ******* ******). *******, *** ** its ****, **** ***** may ** ********* ** conceal ** **** ********, and **** **** ***** may *** **** **** cable ****** ** ** the **** ** ***** house, **** ******.

bulky thick 20 power cord cannot be removed

Other ********* *** ********

**** **** ***** ******** of *** ********* *** are ********* ***** ** not **** **** ***** cable, *** **** **** their *** *********:

  • ********* *** *******: *** Battery ***** ** *** only ********** ****-**** ********* Cam, *** **** ********* users ** ********** ****** batteries ***** *-** ****** (claimed, ****** ** **** not ****** ******* ****).
  • ********* *** *****: *** Solar ***** ****** **** a ***** (~**") ***** panel ** *** ********* Cam *******, ***** *** eliminate *** **** ** charge *** ******. *******, this ******* *** ******** for **** ******** *** may ******* *** ***** to ** ******** *******, requiring *** ***** ** be *******/*********, ** *** simply *** ****.
  • ********* *** *****: *** Mount ******* ** ******* to *** ***** ******, but ******** ********* ************, such ** ********* ** outdoor *****. *** ***** cable ** ******** ** wires ******** ** ***** a ******** *** *** hardwiring.

PIR ********* **** *** **** ********* *****

** *** *******, *** Spotlight ***'* *** ****** detector (**** ** **** the ***** ***** **) only ******* ***** **** of *** **' ********* range, ~**'. **** *** despite *** ****** ***** mounted ~*' **** *** with *** *** ***** with *** ******, ** per ****'* ***************.

Rain ********* ***** *****

****** *******, ***** **** regularly ********* *** *** and ********* *** ***** light, ***** **** ********* a ****** *****. **** occurred ******** ***** ** every **** ***** ****** testing.

Poor ** ******** / ******* ******** ***** ***** ***

** ******** ** *** Ring ********* *** ** uneven, ******** *** ***** of **** ** ** oval ***** **** ** dispersion ******* ** **, leaving *** ***** *** corners ********** ****. *** white ***** *** ** moderately **** ****, *** did *** ***** ** far ** ** ************. The *** *** ***** below.

Low *** *** ** **** ***** ** ****

*** ** *** ********* Cam's **** ***° ***** of ****, *** ** relatively *** **** ** short ********. *** *******, at ~**' ********, *** is ~**, **** **** rough ******* ****** ****** available ****** *** ***. At ***** ***** *** white *** *** **, facial ******* *** ****. While ******* ** *** chart *** ******* ** the *** *** ***** LED ******, **** ***** IR ** *** **** distance, **** *** *** line ** *** ***** is *******.

weak daytime nighttime details at close range

****, ** ~**'/~** *** only ********* ** *** subject ** ********* ** the ***** *** *** IR ******, ****** *** day *** ******* ** still ************. ******* ** the ***** *** ******* both ** *** *** and ***** *** ****** and *** ***** ** not ******* ** *** IR *****.

weak daytime details no detection in color mode

*******, ** ~**' *** lines ** *** ***** are *** ******* ** each *****. ****** *** day *** ****** ******* are ****, *** ** image **** ******** ********* and *** ******* ** completely **** ***** *** White ***.

no day details detection barely possible at night

App *********

*** **** ****** *** be ******** *** *** Ring ***, *** ******* app, ** *** *******, though *** *** ******* does *** ******* **** viewing, **** ******.

*** ********** *** ********* to ***** **** ******** such ** ************* ***, *** **** *** new *******:

****** **** ******** ***** users ** ********* *** distance *** ****(*) ** the *** ***** ****** activate *** ***** ***** LEDs, ** **** ** how **** **** ****** remain **.

*** **** ********* *** also ******** *** ******* to ******** *** *** the ***** **** ** the ******, * ******* that *** **** ********** did *** **** **** we ******, ***** ****** overexposure.

Test **********

**** **** *** **** firmware ******* ** ***** app, *** ** **** publicly ******* * *********. Firmware *** ****** ***** as "** ** ****" at *** **** ** testing.

*** ********* *** ** marked ** **** ** China.

Comments (7)

Bottom line, of all the “smart home cameras” out there that I’ve personally tested long term, I have found the reliability of the Ring products to signify the antithesis of why a customer should, one, pay extra for a professionally installed device with localized recording, and two, the central selling point against cloud recording and push notification for folks with upload speeds <5Mbps.  “Reliability” not only means the physical hardware resilience, where I found myself replacing Ring Pro doorbells every three months when Ring tech support told me it was time (thank Baby Jesus for that warranty), but also innumerable cases where an event took place like (relevant) motion, or someone rang the doorbell, and I received ZERO notification.  

By the way, regardless of whether we’re talking a Ring Stick-Up, Spotlight, or Doorbell, when I find myself having to install a (2.4, because Ring devices suck on 5g) WAP within 10’ of a device in order to ensure its reliability because Ring tech supports says it’s necessary, only to then find it’s still unreliable, I should have just hard-wired a camera... and now you know why consumer-grade cameras aren’t found anywhere on my home anymore. 

great points and i do agree but i wonder how long it will be before RING gets to the pro quality we have today i think sooner than later... i know a lot of people buying it now and they mostly from what i can gather are happy with the perceived peace of mind

Thats interesting that you have had issues with the Ring Doorbell. We have several customers who use them and they always rave about their reliability. The only complaint they have is the resolution.

Nonetheless, Im actually concerned about Ring being a disruptor (more than they already are) If they do decide to expand on a pro line, i can see it being very successful. Their products arent really all that fancy, but they do make things that make sense that people want and are simple to use. If they can take this philosophy to the professional segment, hold on!

I find if you aren’t paying attention to these devices, you have no idea they aren’t working.  Ring products are unique among others I’ve tested in that they experience connectivity issues with QoS enabled, and have no audio or have audio feedback (2-way) with QoS disabled.  If you go on Ring’s social media feeds, like Instagram, there are a lot of people making similar QC complaints... until their comments are deleted.  

Last Halloween, when Ring servers were overloaded and went offline for six hours (reason three not to rely on push), in a tirade I ripped it off the house and popped on a SkyBell Trim.  The SkyBell was a little better with QoS disabled... until it wasn’t.  One day the SkyBell went offline, their tech support was MIA, so I tore it off the house and slapped it on eBay.  

Thus far, the best smart doorbell I’ve tested has been the Nest Hello.  Records 24/7, UI is robust (and integrated with my Nest thermostat), Familiar Faces analytics and Person Detection is reliable MOST of the time, and in three months the Hello hasn’t once needed a reboot or been offline when I tried connecting to it.  

Bar-none, Nest Hello is the best smart doorbell out there, and if I’m recommending consumer-grade video products, while they’re generally ugly, I’m a big fan of Nest.

I have three of these cams and no major issues like replacement. I replaced two  floodlights in the backyard.  One in the front yard I didn't have power running so I am using their solar panel and battery.  

Video quality is poor at night.  

Front solar powered cam initially detected motion every time I came home at night turning on the light.  It's been spotty lately.

 

I agree that the Ring products are hitting a popular niche with a price point that is hard to beat, with features that a lot of people like.  And they are very easy to install/configure - So long as the WiFi is strong enough.  We put together a demo kit where we have a Ring Spotlight Cam and 2 other pro-grade cameras mounted.  This is a self-contained unit with a WiFi/cellular router that we can place at a client location - Setup/adustment takes about 30-min.  This allows our client to visually see and 'play' with the UI for each before making a decision.  It's worked great.  Consumers don't know what they don't know.  They hear the marketing hype and brand name everywhere so they tend to go where the herd goes.  But then they see the results side-by-side and it's obvious which works better and why the higher price of a pro-grade product is justified.  Sure, for some folks, the limited features and functionality of the Ring/other consumer products are just what they are looking for - Basic simplicity.  They just have to realize that they are accepting a compromise in quality/reliability and functionality.  By doing the demo ahead of time, it also has helped us drastically reduce the after-sale calls about available features or settings - Which I believe helps the client overall feel better about their purchase decision.  They are better informed ahead of time.

I've been having a hard time trying to convince some of my clients to stay away from Ring or Nest (or whatever). They do a lot of looking things up on their own and tend to stick with what they know (or what they think they know). I'm wondering what you guys have done to get people away from Ring or what your alternatives may be. So far I go with IC Real Time to compete with the ease of use of wireless install and price point but the added benefit of a better camera.

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