“Radar technology gives the Ring Spotlight Cam Pro motion-detecting superpowers.”
- Accurate radar motion detection
- Quality video footage
- Easy integration into Ring ecosystem
- Competitive price
- Average battery life
- Light is not super bright
- Can't connect to other smart home ecosystems
Ring’s new Spotlight Cam Pro is a new addition to its fall 2022 home security line of security cameras, alarm devices, and other smart home products. It comes in two flavors: the Spotlight Cam Pro and Spotlight Cam Plus, which share many features, but the top-level Pro that I tested includes radar.
Do you really need that feature? After weeks of testing it, I found that it was well worth the premium
Ring’s Spotlight Cam Pro comes in a compact package that includes the camera itself, a micro-USB charging cable, mounting screws, a screwdriver, and even stickers to alert onlookers that your home is protected by Ring.
I tested the battery-powered Spotlight Cam Pro, but it also comes in AC-powered and solar-powered versions. The battery model ships with a single battery, but has room to add a second for double the battery life. A USB-C port also means you can always decide to use it as a plug-in model later, or extend the battery life with add-on solar panels.
Ring’s mounting disc makes installing the camera super easy. Simply screw the disc onto your external wall first, add on the holding cone, and lastly, snap the camera into place. It takes less than 15 minutes.
You’ll want to make sure you place the camera low enough to easily reach it for battery swaps and troubleshooting. Luckily, the entire camera doesn’t need to be removed in order to charge the battery. You can twist off the bottom and eject the battery instead of removing the whole unit.
Once set up, you can loosen the mounting knob to change the angles of the camera. The more backyard you have, the more level the camera will need to be. I had it angled down quite a bit when using it on my apartment porch.
The Ring Spotlight Cam Pro is one of the very few cameras that uses radar to detect motion, not just changes in the camera image. This tech powers 3D motion detection, which we’ll get into below.
Otherwise, the specs largely mirror the cheaper Ring Spotlight Cam Plus. It records in color 1080p resolution, which, while not 4K, is excellent for home use and easy to save and share through the cloud. Two small spotlights housed within the body of the camera keep the dimensions compact, but if you need more light, Ring makes the Floodlight Cam Pro (that’s the main difference when you compare the Ring Spotlight Cam Pro versus the Ring Floodlight Cam Pro). The lights on the smaller unit were enough for my porch, but I could see someone with more land to cover opting for the larger Floodlight Cam Pro.
The camera’s field of view is 140 degrees horizontal and 80 degrees vertical. I’d love more vertical field of view to avoid needing to angle it so low to see the door. Two-way audio with noise cancellation allows you to communicate with guests, and a remote-activated siren lets you scare off intruders.
Three new features make the Spotlight Cam Pro stand out from its peers: bird’s eye view, 3D motion detection, and pre-roll.
Pre-roll is one of my favorite additions. Instead of getting an alert and seeing what’s happening, you get to view a few seconds of footage before the alert comes through. This feature can help you track the path an intruder took to get into your area and help you prevent it from happening again. In my neighborhood, I only have people walking their dogs or kids running around, but it was still cool to see the beforehand movements.
The Spotlight Cam Pro can discern people, animals, cars, and more.
Bird’s eye view allows you to see a trail of where a subject went in the motion zones during a time when you weren’t in live view. Like pre-roll, bird’s eye is a fantastic feature that helps you track intruders if needed. The only downside to this feature is that you can’t use it with pre-roll; you can only enable one or the other.
The last unique feature is 3D motion detection, which relies on the new radar technology built into the camera. It’s not something you enable and disable, so much as a feature that powers and improves all the motion detection in the camera. In the app, you can adjust all motion features, and you should notice more precision in your alerts.
Every environment is unique, and the Ring app allows you to adjust your camera for your property. For instance, every motion feature can be tuned for sensitivity, and if you only want one area covered, you can use shapes to define that in the map. The Spotlight Cam Pro can discern people, animals, cars, and more, allowing you to choose which you’d like to receive notifications about. Receiving notifications about all of them produced overwhelming notification spam for me, so I enabled notifications for only people and animals, and only for the area of my porch.
The Pro’s new radar-based motion-detection features are some of the most accurate I’ve tested.
The camera can also take a snapshot periodically to give you a quick view of your area. This helps you look at what has changed in your area over time in case you don’t want to use notifications.
After setting up one Ring smart home system, setting up new devices becomes much easier because details like Wi-Fi information will automatically carry over during the initial setup. I have the Ring Alarm security system and other Ring cameras, so adding this outdoor camera was a breeze. You can also link devices, so if one camera detects motion, another camera can start rolling, lights could turn on, or whatever action you define.
Worth the premium
The Spotlight Cam Pro retails for $230, only a $30 increase over the similar Plus model. For that price, the upgrade is a no-brainer. Either model is a great outdoor security camera, but the Pro’s new radar-based motion-detection features are some of the most accurate I’ve tested.
Just keep in mind that to properly take advantage of some of the best motion detection features, you’ll have to pay a subscription of $4 per month or $40 per year. And that price jumps if you have multiple Ring cameras at home. But compatibility between cameras and other devices is another strong reason to recommend this camera. Ring has a whole smart home suite of products to connect to one another, and the connectivity helps them work better.
Depending on your needs, you should consider several alternatives when looking at the Spotlight Cam Pro. For example, the Ring’s Floodlight Cam Pro works well if you need a stronger light and don’t mind less accurate motion detection features. If you want to connect your security camera to a smart home ecosystem other than Amazon, then the Arlo cameras also work well. Lastly, if you need more budget-conscious cameras, Blink makes models as affordable as $35.
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