Ring Spotlight Cam Battery Review 10 Months In Still The Best?

I have owned two Ring Spotlight Cam Batteries for almost one year. In this post, I will give a complete review. I will discuss pros, cons, and things Ring (Amazon) could do to make this product better than what it already is.

I was surprised how cheap I was able to buy the Ring Spotlight Camera from the listing on Amazon

My setup

Currently, I have two rings cameras, one facing a street, and the other facing our garage and front door. Both of these cameras have two batteries and a solar panel connected. Both solar panels are facing west

Note: This review is for the Ring Spotlight Cam Battery. There is a Ring Spotlight Camera Wired that is similar, but the power source is not a battery.

Pros

Here are some of the things I really enjoy about this security camera.

Wireless

This camera is actually wireless. I didn’t want to spend the time and energy to install a wired Power over Internet (PoE) system. Also, I didn’t want to drill, and fish for wires.

Installation

The installation took less than 15 minutes per camera. You just screw the wall mount to the location you want to place the camera, and push the camera in to the wall mount. Before installing the camera in its final position, you only need to press a button to connect the camera to the ring and your local network.

Connecting the camera was super easy. Just download the ring app, follow the directions, most of which is hands-off, and go.

Spotlight

This is one of the few wireless security cameras that actually have a spotlight. When motion is detected a 300 Lumens spotlight illuminates the area. This spotlight acts as an additional deterrent to potential criminals.

The light remains on for about 30 seconds before turning off. The light is bright enough to clearly show faces in the middle of the night. The spotlight has good distance, my only question: can the LED bulb be replaced when it goes out?

Push notifications

Through the Ring app, I receive a push notification when each of my cameras detects motion. I think this feature because it gives me a general idea of what is happening around my house.

For example, if I receive four notifications from the same camera within 2 minutes, I know there are people walking around my yard. I can simply push the notification, then the app quickly takes me to a live few of the camera.

Recently, Ring has updated the app to disable motion for a short period of time. This is a welcomed addition because I can disable the notifications while I’m working in the yard.

Cloud recording

I really like the cloud recording because I am able to see past recordings from any device that has an internet connection. I can login to the website from my work computer and view events that occurred years ago. 

Another benefit of cloud recording is I don’t have any equipment in my home. I don’t have to worry about the negative aspects of network video recorders, additional hard drives, or associated wires. One of my biggest concerns with a security camera is what happens when someone breaks in and steals your hard drives? All of the video recording of the crime goes with the criminal.

In addition, I’ve never deleted a recording in the time that I’ve had the cameras. Prior to purchasing these cameras, I’ve saved hundreds of recordings from my Ring Doorbell. 

I was surprised at some of the issues I found when I wrote about the Ring product line of security cameras

Mobile app

As I mentioned before, the app sends push notifications whenever the camera(s) detect motion. In addition, you can set up the camera, configure settings, review stored recordings, and live feeds within the app. 

The app is pretty responsive for all of the features that are included. 

Another awesome feature of the app is the ability to view and share video clips with your neighborhood called “Neighbors Feed.” This feature allows you to view, comment, and share recordings in real time.

A few weeks ago, a few of my neighbors sent out a recording of a few teenagers playing “ding-dong ditch” as it was happening. Someone reached out to the kids’ parents and stopped the game within a few minutes.

Easy set up

Each camera took less than 15 minutes to set up. Installation is very easy. Here are the installation steps:

  • Charge the battery
  • Install the app
  • Follow the steps of the app linking your camera to your Wifi
  • Find a ladder
  • Screw in the base
  • Attach the camera to the base
  • Configure the settings

Less than eight steps to a installed and working camera.

Solar power

I like the option of adding solar power to the camera. After installing the cameras I adjusted the sensitivity to the most sensitive, and my battery died in about two weeks. Part of the frustration was only having one battery means that you will not have video recordings while the battery is charging.

I would recharge my camera about every two weeks for a month, but eventually, I decided I should buy the solar panel. The good news is I haven’t been back on the ladder since it was installed.

The solar panel installation is also very easy. You simply connect the free end of the solar panel to an open port on the back of the camera. Once the solar panel is connected, screw the preinstalled screws into the back of the camera.

Extra battery slot

The camera comes with one rechargeable battery, but it has a slot for a second. This second battery does come with an additional cost, but I think it is a must if you are planning on installing the camera anywhere with any type of traffic.

The battery life of one battery, which is facing my garage door, lasted about two weeks. Adding the second battery is a minimum unless you don’t mind climbing ladders. 

Two way audio

Another feature missing from other security cameras is the ability to have a conversation with the person on the other side of the camera. You can speak with them via the mobile or desktop app. The best part is the person you are speaking to has no idea if you are home or in another state. In addition, the conversations are recorded and stored in cloud storage. 

Configure

There are a number of recordings you can configure with the mobile app. Some of those settings include:

  • Changing motion tones
  • Adjusting motion tone volume
  • Motion snooze: tuning off motion for a period of time
  • Adjust the distance and location of motion zones
  • Disable able motion based on day and time
  • Live view settings

This list is just a few of the settings you can configure for your camera.

Recordings consistent even with lower battery

Sometimes other devices reduce the quality to conserve battery life. The Ring Spotlight Cam is not one of these devices. You will receive consistent, high quality audio and video until the battery is completely dead.

Cons

As much as I enjoy this camera, this camera has a few flaws that can be fixed. Below are a few flaws that Ring should consider when coming out with the next generation of cameras.

Cloud costs

Currently, I pay about $120 per year for the cloud service. While this isn’t a large amount of money, Ring should consider reducing or eliminating the cost completely. The question is, what exactly does this cost cover? I know that it doesn’t cover the amount of cloud storage I use. If the cost of the storage was based on storage, that makes sense, but a random amount should be removed. 

Other wireless security cameras offer cloud storage at no additional fee. For example Blink (which is also owned by Amazon) offers cloud storage at no additional cost. For the most part, the only major difference between the Blink XT and Ring Spotlight Cam is that The Ring camera comes with a spotlight.

Slight delay

Occasionally, there is a slight delay between the time motion is sensed and when the recordings begin. Usually, this isn’t a major concern, but it is noticeable when a car is driving faster than 25 miles per hour. You will still be able to hear the car drive by the camera, but you will not see the camera.

In all fairness, this could be my internet connection, but I believe that it is the camera itself. Also, an argument could be made that this camera is best served watching for people lurking and not cars, but I think it should be able to do both.

If Ring can fix this minor issue, then this camera would be taken to the next level.

Add-ons add up

As I’ve mentioned, I’ve purchased two additional batteries and two solar panels. I consider these add-ons a must have if you want to use these cameras without extreme modifications. Altogether, I’ve spent more than $150 on additional accessories needed for this camera. 

Couple this with the fact I’m sending another $120 per year on cloud storage, and you start to see how this really adds up. In my first year of owning the camera, I will have paid almost $300 in just add-ons. This is a steep price when compared to other wireless and wired options. 

I think Ring should consider making the second battery standard, or figuring out a way to make one battery last longer than two weeks on a full charge. 

Not able to view multiple cameras

Currently, you only able to see one live feed at a time. For example, if you have two cameras and one doorbell the mobile app will only let you see one of the three. I think the app, and the website should provide the option to watch all of your cameras at the same time. They should show up in little squares with a label telling you the name of the camera. 

There are other wireless cameras that already provide this feature. Arlo Pro allows you to watch multiple cameras at one time. When I owned two Foscam cameras 4 years ago, I was able to view multiple cameras at the same time.

I think adding this feature would be a huge boost to the user experience. I think it’s cool to have a computer screen dedicated to watching multiple live feeds of your cameras at work.

Limited website

There is very limited functionality if you login to your user account on the Ring website. The only thing you can do is watch previous events and purchase more products. The only way to access all of the features is to download the desktop app. 

This is less than idea if you want to view your live steam at work. Some companies have restrictions on what you can and cannot download. 

Another simple fix is to add more functions to the user web page. The user page would be a perfect place to add live viewing and multiple camera viewing.

Spotlight could be brighter

The Spotlight Cam Battery is the least bright of the cameras in this product line. Of course is due to the fact that this camera runs on battery, and not wall outlet or electricity. I do think one of two things should happen:

I think you can still make the spotlight brighter and not lose battery life if you refer to my earlier suggestions of finding a way to increase battery life. 

Another option is if the camera detects that a solar panel is connected, adjust maximum brightness to the same as the other cameras. For reference, my solar panels have kept all of my batteries charged to at least 95 percent since I purchased them. I think the solar panels would have no problem with the higher energy consumption.

Option to “record all”

I think that Ring should add an option called “record all.” This option would allow the user to force all of the cameras in the network to record at the same time if motion is detected. While minor, I think it would be nice if the cameras were a little more proactive instead of reactive. 

Another option could be to stagger the recordings. Automatically stagger the records 5 – 10 seconds to make sure every angle is covered. 

If space is a concern, Ring could bundle them together and compress them like a zip drive.

Short recording time

My cameras only record for 30 seconds each. I think the recordings should be at least 1 minute. I think 1 minute should be the minimum because the event may take longer than one minute. Couple this with a delay in recording and it is possible to miss something important.

One possible concern is the negative effect a longer recording may have on battery life. I think security camera owners are more concerned with preventing and catching criminals, then they are with batter life.

I think this could be fixed with a simple firmware update. Push an update, change the recordings to one minute minimum and move on.

Doesn’t catch every motion

There have been a few occasions where I’ve walked in front of my camera and I did not receive a motion alert. When I checked later in the day, there wasn’t a recorded event.

This is one of my biggest concerns. Why are there times where motion isn’t being picked up? These misses aren’t happening because the camera is already recording. These misses are just happening, and appear to happen at random. I would expect the camera to work 99.99 percent of the time, and anything less than that is a complete failure.  

Batteries seem to drain quickly

As I’ve mentioned a few times in this post, the batteries seem to drain very quickly. After installing the camera, my first battery died about 2.5 weeks later. Every two weeks, I have to get the ladder out, and remove the battery to charge. 

This presents another problem, you have to remove the batteries from the camera to charge them. If the batteries are removed, then there is no camera, this negates the whole purpose of having the camera. 

One possible solution: add a feature where you can charge the batteries while they are still connected to the camera. Although you will still need to break out the ladder, at least you will still be able to record while the camera charges.

Overall

Overall, I think the features and benefits far outweigh the camera’s shortcomings. It is possible that they are working on some of the additional features as you read this. This is a newer product line and will go through additional changes since being purchased. 

I am so satisfied with this product that I am considering purchasing the Ring floodlight for my backyard. 

I was surprised how cheap I was able to buy the Ring Spotlight Camera from the listing on Amazon

Conclusion

As I mentioned, I really like this camera. The set up was easy, The configurations are helpful, and the best feature is the spotlight. When researching this camera, I was comparing the pros and cons to the Arlo Pro 2. I made a YouTube video on why I chose the Ring Camera over the Alro, check it out here.  

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