Wired vs Wireless Security Camera – The Complete Comparison

In previous posts I’ve discussed the benefits of using IP camera systems over CCTV, what is CCTV, and the like. In this post, I wanted to compare IP security cameras, but I’m comparing a Wireless system vs a wired system. I will compare the Ring Spotlight Cam Batter to the ZOSI PoE Home Security Camera System.

I am going to compare price, install time, setup difficulty, features, pictures during the day as well as at night, recording capability, mobile app, and lie viewing. At the end I will reveal the winner of this competition.

Continue reading to see a full comparison

Ring overview

Click here to check the current price of the Ring Spotlight Cam on Amazon

The first contestant is the Ring Spotlight Cam Battery. This camera is completely wireless and is powered by two batteries and a solar panel. One batter is included with the battery. I quickly upgraded to add an additional battery and a solar panel. This camera sends and receives audio and video through your wifi connection.

The features that are standard with this camera are cloud recording, motion activation, two-way audio, and a “spotlight.” The spotlight consists of two strips of light on the outside of the camera lens. For full disclosure, this is my current camera step up.

Additional technical specs:

  • 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi
  • Adjustable Motion Sensors
  • 140-degree field of view
  • Weather: -5F to 120F

Why I chose this camera

I chose the Ring camera because of the features included and the east of installation. I wanted a camera that I could install without needing to search for wires.

Going forward the Ring Spotlight Cam will be called Ring.

ZOSI overview

Click here to check the current price on the Zosi Security Camera System on Amazon

The second contestant is the ZOSI 1080P Home Security Camera 8 channel system. This camera system is powered by Power or Ethernet. In this system, the ethernet cable provides both the power source and how audio/ video is transmitted.

This camera features plug and play technology, motion alerts, remote and local viewing, and the ability to customize cameras individually. Also, while this system comes with 4 cameras, you can add 4 for cameras, for a total of 8 cameras.

Why I chose this camera

I chose this camera simply based on price and the included features. It appears that many other PoE cameras have similar features but for a much higher price.

Going forward the Ring Spotlight Cam will be called ZOSI.

Price

Price is defined as what I paid per camera. The price does not include any additional accessories needed to optimize the systems.

Ring

At the time of purchase, a new individual Ring camera could be purchased for $199.99. A four pack of Ring cameras will cost $599.00, or $149.75 per camera. Because ZOSI has four cameras, we’re going to use this number to compare.

Included is this price is:

  • 4 rechargeable battery packs
  • 4 spotlight cameras:
    • 4 Spotlights
  • 4 mounting brackets

ZOSI

At the time of this purchase, you could purchase a brand new 4 camera system for $231.99. If you only factor the cameras, each camera costs $58. If we factor in the NVR and storage, that number only decreases, so for the purposes of this comparison, we are going to use $58.

Included with this price is:

  • 4 cameras
  • 1 Network video recorder (NVR) with 1 terabyte of storage
  • 2 60 feet Ethernet cables
  • 2 100 feet ethernet cables
  • 1 power supply
  • 1 USB mouse
  • 4 mounting brackets.

Winner (Price)

The clear winner is the ZOSI camera. Each ZOSI camera is about one-third of the cost of each Ring camera. This price doesn’t factor in the cost of the ethernet cables, the NVR, hard drive or USB mouse. To further illustrate how much better this camera system is I looked up the cost of the Ethernet cables and 1 terabyte hard drive (NOTE: prices can and will change by the time you read this post).

  • 60-foot Ethernet cable: $9.99 per cable
  • 100-foot ethernet cable: $12.99 per cable
  • 1 terabyte external hard drive: $45.99

As you can see, the ZOSI camera could add another $100 to the price and still be a better deal. It is possible to argue that the above wires are a requirement and that the system will not work without the additional wires and hard drive. The only reason I included the individual prices on the cables is to illustrate how good of a price this system is.

ZOSI: 1, Ring: 0

Now that I have figured out the price, lets compare the installation time

Installation

For the purposes of this comparison, I will define the installation as how quickly it will take me to place the camera in a fixed location. In the next section, I will discuss the setup, which includes the steps necessary to see a picture, configure settings etc.

Ring

The Ring install was very easy. In addition to the ring camera, provided screws and mounting bracket, you just need a drill. The recommended height is about 9 feet and can be placed almost anywhere. Once you find a suitable location drill in the mounting packet, with the provided screws.

Once the bracket is installed, do a slight pull test, if it doesn’t come out, it should support your camera. I installed my camera in a metal overhang or soffit with the provided screws.

Before installing the camera, I recommend inserting a fully charged battery into one of the battery slots. It does not matter which slot you use as the camera will automatically detect which slot is in use. Now that the battery is installed, install the camera into the mounting bracket.

The mounting bracket may need a little force. A little push and a tightening of one last screw and we are done with installation. Before tightening the screw, adjust the camera for the viewing area. I recommend installing and configuring the Ring app before installing the camera.

In total, the install took less than 15 minutes. I would have installed it faster, but I kept moving the camera to get the right field of view. Also, I wasn’t pushing the camera into the mounting bracket hard enough. Then once I got it in, I stood next to it thinking it was going to fall out.

ZOSI 

I did not complete a full installation when I set up the ZOSI system. I “installed” the system by setting up a table in my garage and placing the NVR, and TV on the table.

Overall the installation is very easy. The camera and mounting bracket are preassembled and can be adjusted by loosening a screw and adjusting the angle. Once I, the angle I found the three screws needed and began to install the camera.

The was easy to install as it was just three screws into the mounting bracket through the soffit. Before I was able to screw all three screws,  I had to loosen the angle screw. Once I drilled the third screw in I retightened the angle screw.

The next step was to connect the Ethernet cord to the cameras ethernet port. , is really easy, just push the supplied ethernet cord into the port until you hear a click. Next, cover the connection with the supplied weatherproof shield.

The final step is to connect the Ethernet port to the back of the NVR. Like connecting the camera to the ethernet cord, push in until you hear a click. You will know this worked because you will see lights blinking on the NVR, and a green light on the camera wire.

Altogether, it took about 20 minutes to complete the necessary installation. It took me a bit longer to adjust the angle screw as needed. Also, the step to confirm the camera was connected and could display a picture took a little longer than expected.

Winner (installation) 

This is very close, it took me about 15 minutes to install the Ring camera. It could have taken less time, but I wanted to make sure i didn’t wake up to the camera on the ground. The installation was straight forward and didn’t require me to refer to a youTube video.

While the ZOSI camera did take me a little longer, I think is due to me installing cameras in the past. I had to play with the preinstalled screws to figure out which one was the angle screw. Also, connected the camera to the Ethernet cable, and NVR did take time.

The winner of this section is the Ring camera. The Ring is the winner because it would have taken me far longer to install the ZOSI system if I didn’t complete a normal installation. As I mentioned, installing the camera is very easy, it is the other steps required for a wired installation.

If I was completing a normal wired installation I would need to complete the following:

  • Fish wires
  • Install the NVR
  • Install the camera
  • Create holes in siding/ drywall
  • Connect cameras to Ethernet
  • Connect NVR to Ethernet
  • Connect NVR to the router

RIng: 1, ZOSI: 1

Setup time/ easy

This section discusses how easy the camera was to step up and become operational. I will discuss how easy it is to go from no live view, to live viewing basic settings.

Ring

The install of the Ring camera is very easy. First, download the ring app. It is available for all major app stores. Once installed, walk through the steps if creating an account. NOTE: you may need a credit or debit card for this step.

Once you have the account set up, go to your dashboard and press set up device. Next select security cams, then point your phones’ camera at the QR code. The QR code will be in the documentation included with the camera (It will not be on the camera). The App and camera will work together for the next 5 minutes to get set up. For this step, your phone will need to be connected to the Wi-Fi you are placing the camera.

NOTE: you may need to press a button on the camera a few times, so keep it close by.

Once the app has connected the camera to your Wi-fi, you should see it listed as one of your camera, press the camera, and it will open a host of option including battery level, ring alerts, motion alerts. Click on the “Live View” button.

This set-up process was completed in less than 15 minutes. This process may take you longer if you have a slower internet connection.

ZOSI 

To setup the ZOSI system you need the following:

  • Monitor/ TV
  • HDMI cable (provided)
  • NVR (provided)
  • Router/ hub/ switch
  • 1 IP camera
  • Ethernet cable (provided)

I connected the monitor (HDTV) to the NVR using an HDMI cable. Then I connected the camera to one end of the Ethernet port and connected the other end to the back of the NVR. Next, I connected the NVR to my router with the supplied ethernet cable. Finally, I connected the provided UBS mouse and powered on the TV and NVR.

After I powered up everything I saw a welcome screen with a QR code. The QR code simply copies what I assume is the product number. After hitting the next button, the NVR asks me to create a password.

Next, I came to a screen with 9 squares, 8 for the cameras and 1 blank square. To add a camera, you must plug in the camera to the ethernet port, then right click on the mouse. Then you select “IPC channel config.” 

After entering in your password, find and select a button called “Auto Add.” This will add the connected cameras to the empty boxes on the previous screen. Once you’ve added all of your cameras, close the menu.

If done correctly, you will see the cameras that you’ve connected. 

In total it took over 30 minutes to complete the setup of the first camera. It took a while for a few reasons, first, the directions aren’t as clear as should be. I was expecting a “plug and play” type device where I plug in the camera and it would just work.

I was not expecting to navigate a settings menu to get my camera to appear on the monitor. 

Winner (setup time/ ease) 

The winner of this section is the Ring camera. The setup for the Ring is very straight forward. You just point your phone at the QR code, follow a few steps, then you’re done.

The ZOSI system has a slightly more difficult installation process. First, you need a monitor/ HDTV to install the camera. Once you have the monitor and NVR connected, you have to follow a series of steps for the NVR to find the camera and make sure it’s working.

You need a moderate level of knowledge in networking to understand how to set up this system. You can set up this system with a beginner level knowledge, it will just take you longer.

Ring: 2, ZOSI: 1

Features

In this section, I will highlight all the features that come with the cameras. Also, I will detail how well they work, and who wins the feature battle. The winner will be based on the number of features, and how well they work.

RIng

The Ring camera has the following features and a brief description.

Additional battery slot

The additional battery slot holds an additional battery. The battery can be purchased as an add on.

This battery/ battery slot is almost a requirement if you do not purchase the solar panel. At a moderate setting, the battery will last about one month in a high traffic area. While Ring claims that a single battery charge can last up to six months, this may only be true if the camera is set to low alerts in a low traffic area.

Both of my camera are located in a subdivision, on a corner, near a main entrance. To me, it seems that this is a moderate traffic area, but an argument could be made that this is a high traffic area.

Solar panel

The Ring cameras also have a spot to add a solar panel. If you are considering this camera skip buying the additional battery and just by the solar panel. Without the solar panel, I was climbing the ladder to charge the batteries once a month. With the solar panel, I have not needed to charge the battery once. In fact, with the panel installed, my cameras haven’t dropped below 80%.

With direct sunlight, a battery can fully recharge in less that 3 hours. Currently both of my solar panels face West.

Motion alerts

Motion alerts provide the ability to receive push notifications through the mobile app. If you have the sound enabled, you will receive a sound (the default is a wind chime) as well as a push notification

Event history

Event history allows you to look back at all of the motion events captured over time. Motion events are captured in 30 second clips and saved to the cloud. 

Within the event history you have the option to download the clip, send it to social media, or send it to neighbors who also have the Ring app. 

To the best of my knowledge, all events are stored until they are deleted by the account holder.

Device health

Device health provides an up-to-the-minute overview of your camera. By going to this section you can find the following information:

  • Remaining battery power (as a percent)
  • Network information (network name, signal strength)
  • Device details (Firmware information, mac ID)
  • Additional tools
Linked chimes

Another Ring add-on is called a “Chime” Chimes are Wi-Fi connected devices that allow you to hear motion alerts throughout the house. You plug these chimes into a wall outlet and whenever an event occurs, the chime rings. You can adjust the volume, and turn them off. 

Motion snooze

Motion snooze is the ability to turn off event notifications for an extended period of time. You may want to enable motion snooze if you are working in that area for an extended period. For example, you should enable motion snooze if you are cutting grass in the field of view of the camera. 

you can enable motion snooze for 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 1 hour or 2 hours. 

Motion settings

Within the motion settings, you have the ability to configure the motion zones, motion schedule, and smart alerts.

Motion zones allow you to adjust the size of the areas where the Spotlight cam looks for motion. There are three motion zones in which you can turn on and off. Also, you can adjust the distance that triggers the motion zones. Finally, you can enable or disable the ability to turn on the spotlight when the camera detects motion.

Motion scheduling allows you to schedule when to disable motion alerts. With motion scheduling, you can create rules to disable motion alerts for a specific day and time.

App alert tones

In this section, you can adjust the volume as well as change the sound your camera makes when motion is detected. There are about 14 different tones you can choose from. 

Live view settings

In this setting, you can enable or disable the ability to watch a live view from this camera. If you enable this setting, it is keeping the camera in a “semi wake” state. 

NOTE: all of the above features are configured per camera, within each individual camera icon in the mobile application

ZOSI

The ZOSI camera has the following features and a brief description of each

Night vision

ZOSI cameras provide a black and white night vision recording. This recording includes both audio and video. 

One-way audio

The ZOSI camera system has the ability to listen to what is happening in the range of the camera. This is included in the camera system and does not require an additional microphone

Single view

This feature gives users the ability to watch just one of the cameras connected to the NVR. The selected camera is a full-screen view.

Multi view

Multi-view provides viewers the ability to watch multiple cameras at one time. The number of cameras that can be viewed can change from 4 to 18.

Zoom

Each camera has the ability to zoom within its field of view. The zooming capabilities vary on camera and model.

Color adjust

This camera features the ability to adjust the color of one or more of the connected cameras. The colors can be adjusted automatically or manually. 

Picture capture

Picture capture gives you the ability to take a snapshot of a live or recorded video. This capture is saved on the hard drive.

Winner (Features) 

This section is a tie. While these features are specific to these camera systems, you can find a variety of cameras that will meet your needs. For the most part, the cameras will have similar features. Also, the importance of features is a personal preference. 

Ring: 2, ZOSI: 1

Picture (daytime)

In this section, I will compare pictures captured with the Ring (left) camera and the ZOIS (right) camera taken during the day. These pictures were captured around 9:00 am.

As you can see, both cameras provide a high-quality 1080P picture during the day. The Ring camera has a wider field of view, but that is manufacture specific and not a fault of PoE systems. Also, the ZOSI picture appears to be stretched, that is because of my attempt to have a similar image. 

Winner (picture daytime) 

This section is also a draw. As you can see by the above picture, there is no difference between the Ring and ZOSI pictures. 

Ring: 2, ZOSI: 1

Picture (nighttime)

In this section, I will compare the pictures taken at night between the two cameras. For the purposes of this comparison, I will compare the Ring camera without the benefit of the spotlight to the ZOSI camera.

Ring 

Ring has the ability to take pictures with or without the assistance of a spotlight. The picture without the spotlight is a black and white picture taken in 1080P. This picture is similar to many other night vision pictures captured.

As I mentioned, Ring has the added ability to capture recordings with a spotlight. Because of this light, the Ring camera has the ability to take these pictures in color. Like the day pictures, these are also in 1080P.

ZOSI 

The ZOSI camera records a black and white 1080P picture. The black and white picture is standard for night vision cameras. The only way to add color is to add a light source in and around the camera.

Winner (picture nighttime) 

This is another tie. Both cameras offer 1080P high definition recordings. You could not tell the pictures apart without assistance. If I were considering additional features, the Ring camera would win in a landslide.  

Ring: 2, ZOSI: 1

Recording

This section will discuss the recording capabilities of the two cameras. 

Ring 

The Ring camera only records when a motion is detected. When it does record it only records in 20-second clips. Once the recording is completed, there is a reset period where the Ring camera doesn’t record the next motion.

The Ring camera does have the ability to adjust the recording sensitivity, but that will have an impact on battery life. The recordings are only accessible through the Ring apps.

ZOSI 

The ZOSI system has the ability picture. The default recording segment is 30 minutes but can be adjusted up to 1 hour. The recordings can be accessed through the NVR or application.

Winner (Recording) 

The clear winner is the ZOSI system. Because of the continuous recording, it will never miss and event. As I’ve mentioned in other posts there have been times where my Ring camera misses an event. This usually happens if a second event occurs right after the first. 

Another benefit of continuous recording is the ability to see what is happening before the event. The ZOSI camera was able to view everything before and after, while the Ring catches milliseconds after the event has occurred.

Ring: 2, ZOSI: 2

App

In this section, I will give a brief review of the mobile application. I will complete this review using an iPhone 7 plus. Once I make the comparison I will declare a winner.

Ring

The Ring is required to use the camera. You must download the app in order to install the camera. The app is the hub for the cameras. With this app, you can view live and recorded events, and adjust settings. 

Overall this app is very easy to use and has a clear, modern look. It appears that this app was heavily considered when creating the cameras. When viewing a live or recorded video, the field of view takes up the whole screen, which is a good thing.

One consideration with the Ring app is that each camera is treated independently of each other. Instead of being able to live view all of the cameras at the same time, you can only live view one camera at a time. This appears to be unique to Ring as other wireless cameras have this feature.

ZOSI 

The ZOSI app is not required to view ZOSI live or recorded events. It does, however, provide me the ability to view events remotely. 

Overall, it seems like this app was an afterthought for this system. The app does what its supposed to do (watch live and recorded clips) but it isn’t as easy to use as it could be.

Winner (App) 

Ring is the winner of this section because of its easy of use. The app integrates very nicely with other modern apps. There is no learning curve required to learn the Ring app.

The ZOSI app was a bit “clunky.” As I mentioned the app feels like an afterthought used to compete with wireless cameras. You are able to view live and recorded events, it may take longer than expected to get there. This problem could be specific to this model, but it should be taken into account.

Ring: 3, ZOSI:2

Live viewing

In this Section I will compare the live viewing of each of these cameras. Once I’ve compared them, I will declare a winner. 

Ring

In order to view a camera live, you must log into the app, go to the camera, then select live view. Once you have selected live view the camera has to “activate.” The activation process varies based on a number of factors. 

These factors include:

  • Internet connection
  • Signal strength
  • Wireless network
  • Camera battery percent

I have encountered situations in which my camera would not connected because one or more of the above issues. For example, if your camera is less than 10%, you are unable to view the camera live. 

In addition, you can only view one camera at a time. You are unable to view multiple cameras live at the same time. 

ZOSI

The ZOSI system provides a few options when attempting to view your cameras live. You can view the cameras through the app, the PC/ Mac client, or through the connected monitor. 

Another benefit of the ZOSI system is the cameras are always on. There is no activation process, you can just log in to the system in one of three ways listed and watch live. 

In addition, an added benefit is the ability to watch multiple cameras at the same time. You can watch any of the cameras that are connected to the ZOSI system without delay or hesitation. 

Winner (Live viewing)

ZOIS systems with the live viewing section. They are the winners because the live viewing is always on. ZOSI provided multiple ways to view the cameras live. 

Ring: 3, ZOSI: 3

Conclusion

Winner

Although it was close, I believe that wired (ZOSI) camera systems are slightly better that wireless (RING) camera systems. Below are the reasons why I believe wired is better than wireless

  • More secure
  • Live viewing is better
  • More ways to view live and recorded events
  • Longer event capture
  • Can be used offline

While I personally use a wireless camera as my daily driver, if it weren’t for the drawbacks of installing a PoE system, that would have been my first choice.

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