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Review: Ring Spotlight Cam Pro Battery

Review: Ring Spotlight Cam Pro Battery : a very responsive surveillance camera

The Spotlight Cam Pro represents an upgraded iteration of the Spotlight Cam series by Ring. Available with or without a battery option, this enhanced model brings new motion detection technologies to the table without completely reinventing the product line.

Introduction

Renowned for its smart doorbell offerings, Ring has also delved into the realm of cameras, including the recent introduction of the Spotlight Cam Pro Battery. This model, priced at €230, is also offered in a wired version and builds upon the foundation of the 2018 Spotlight Cam with several noteworthy enhancements.

The new features include the integration of 3D motion detection and an aerial view, akin to the premium Video Doorbells, along with a promise of improved audio quality. The camera maintains the 2-megapixel sensor from the original model, in addition to the LED spotlights that enable color night vision.

Design and Installation

The Spotlight Cam Pro boasts a revised design, retaining a cubic form measuring approximately 15 cm in height and 8 cm in width. Positioned between the LED spotlights, the lens remains a central feature, while the motion detection PIR sensor has been raised to make room for a sizable speaker grille beneath the camera. This speaker grille stands out as the primary design alteration compared to previous iterations.

Despite its extensive reliance on plastic materials, the construction quality is commendable. Additionally, the camera is equipped to withstand rain (IP65-rated). A thoughtful feature is the provision for a second battery, offering the user the ability to extend the camera’s autonomy; however, specific details about battery life extension aren’t provided.

Ergonomics and Connectivity

Although the inclusion of a USB-C port at the back is worth noting, the camera does not support battery recharging while it’s within the device. The batteries can be accessed easily by slightly turning the base. This design implies that continuous powering isn’t possible without purchasing a separate connection kit or opting for the wired versions available initially.

The camera’s attachment point on its back is height-adjustable, an advantageous feature. However, the locking mechanism might prove a bit tricky to handle, requiring a screwdriver to secure a metal collar that holds the camera in place within a hollow sphere.

As for connectivity, the Spotlight Cam Pro Battery can function without an Ethernet cable and lacks an ad hoc port. It supports 2.4/5 GHz Wi-Fi. The pairing process through the Android app proceeded smoothly during testing. The app also provides installation guidance, particularly for optimal mounting heights (recommended between 2.5 and 3.5 meters).

Application and Features

The camera’s functionalities are managed through the Ring app, consistent with the brand’s doorbell lineup. The app interface might require a bit of familiarization, but once acclimated, navigation becomes straightforward, bolstered by efficient shortcuts.

Apart from standard modes like Off, Home, and Away, which enable predefined device settings, the app offers customizable shortcuts for quick access to recordings or spotlight activation. The app also accommodates automation based on phone position, time slots, and scheduled lighting control.

The Pro version introduces aerial zones, a notable addition allowing users to designate specific motion detection areas through satellite view. This helps prevent unnecessary triggering caused by passing traffic. It’s unfortunate that outdoor space limitations prevented us from testing this feature.

The app prompts the importance of the Ring Protect subscription for video recording, considering the absence of an onboard microSD slot. Ring Protect entails two subscription tiers, priced at €3.99/month and €10/month, both offering 180-day video storage, connected and enriched notifications, with the latter including features like assisted monitoring and cellular connectivity for Ring Alarm systems.

Image and Audio Quality

The camera maintains a 2-megapixel sensor, yielding 1080p HD recordings with a 140° field of view. It’s worth mentioning that the camera’s competitors, like Google’s Nest Cam (battery), have also opted for 1080p resolution. The camera excels in both daytime and nighttime scenarios, producing identifiable elements even in challenging lighting conditions.

During night use, the camera provides infrared and color night vision, making nighttime imagery crisp and clear. The spotlight’s color night vision range is limited, favoring infrared vision for greater distance coverage.

Audio quality is enhanced through Audio+ technology, resulting in clear and powerful sound from the camera’s loudspeaker. The microphone captures sounds accurately from various distances.

Conclusion

The Ring Spotlight Cam Pro Battery offers a notable upgrade to its predecessor, integrating advanced features like 3D motion detection, aerial zones, and color night vision. It retains its predecessors’ 2-megapixel sensor and construction quality while improving audio performance. While the omission of higher-resolution imaging might be conspicuous in a market tending toward 2K and 4K, the camera’s performance in other aspects, like audio and motion detection, justifies its position. The camera’s compatibility with the Ring app, cloud storage, and Ring Protect subscription options add to its utility.