Ring Spotlight Cam Battery review: goes anywhere, lights up anything

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You’ve got plenty of Ring security cameras to choose from if you want this particular brand of device to keep an eye on your property, and the Ring Spotlight Cam Battery has two key selling points: it can go just about anywhere, and it features a bright spotlight on the front.

Besides that, you get the same slick and intuitive Ring app that comes with all the other products from the brand, plus an impressive list of features: two-way audio, a 110-decibel siren, and 1080p HD video footage that looks crisp both in the day and during the night.

Buy a Ring camera and you get access to the premium subscription service for free for 30 days – after that it’ll cost £2.50 a month or £25 a year. Without it you can only view motion events and a live feed, rather than go back in time through archived video recordings.

Whether or not you decide to fork out money for the optional Ring subscription service, on paper the Ring Spotlight Cam Battery is an impressive bit of kit… but does the reality match up? We’ve been testing the camera at home for a few weeks to try and find out.

Ring Spotlight Cam Battery review: set up and design

(Image credit: Future)

You’re unlikely to have any problems setting up the Ring Spotlight Cam Battery – it only takes a few minutes and just involves following a few instructions via the Ring app. You don’t need to connect the camera to a hub or anything like that, as it’s able to get online through a direct connection to your router (the closer the two devices are, the better).

Design-wise, it’s not the most attractive bit of kit we’ve ever come across, but it does the job. There’s room for two battery packs inside the camera (one comes supplied), so you can be recharging one battery while you’re using another, making sure that video coverage never gets interrupted.

Everything you need for installation comes in the box with the Ring Spotlight Cam Battery, even a screwdriver and screws. It’s fair to say the mounting plate is a little awkward to manage, but you shouldn’t have too much difficulty attaching it to a wall or fence post or wherever it is that you need it to be.

The device is listed as “weather resistant”, which sounds more vague than you might hope, but Ring does market this as an outdoor camera and we can confirm that it survives rain showers unharmed. As home security cameras go, this one earns top marks in terms of the ease of setup, and a middling score for the overall design.

Ring Spotlight Cam Battery review: features and performance

(Image credit: Future)

The main job of the Ring Spotlight Cam is to ping your phone whenever motion is detected, as well as letting you tap into a live video feed through the app whenever you want to. We found it managed this with aplomb, managing to strike a good balance in terms of ignoring passing clouds and passing squirrels, but sending alerts once actual people were spotted.

You can adjust the motion detection sensitivity, and get the camera to focus on a narrower or wider field of view if you need to – so even if you are getting hit with more notifications than you’d like, you can quickly tone them down. The night vision, meanwhile, isn’t a game changer but is enough for a large-ish room or small-ish back garden.

(Image credit: Future)

(Image credit: Future)

Some of the Ring Spotlight Cam Battery’s competitors film in 4K: extra video quality is always welcome of course, but it’s debatable whether you actually need that sort of higher resolution for a security camera. Certainly in our tests we found that the 1080p HD video footage was crisp and clear enough for our needs.

We like the way you can get the spotlight to come on automatically when motion is detected or operate it manually from your phone (two-way audio can be enabled manually too). As for battery life, Ring says you’re good for 6-12 months or 1,000 notifications, and we noticed a drop of about a percentage point a day while we were using it.

Ring Spotlight Cam Battery review: verdict

(Image credit: Ring)

The big selling points of the Ring Spotlight Cam Battery – in a crowded home security camera market – are in the name. It’s battery powered, so you can put it just about anywhere you like, and it has a spotlight, for whenever you need to illuminate the scene the camera is looking at.

Add those features to the very polished app that Ring develops for all its cameras and it’s an impressive overall package. With Ring now an Amazon brand, the device works with Alexa too of course – you can use a voice command to beam the video feed to an Echo with a display or a Fire TV device, look up a past event (if you subscribe to a Ring cloud package), and get motion alerts sent to Alexa.

If you need a battery-powered camera, or a spotlight, or you already have a lot of devices that work with the Ring app and/or Alexa, these are all good reasons to get the Ring Spotlight Cam Battery. It works well, offers plenty of customisation options, and isn’t difficult to get set up. If those selling points don’t matter to you so much though, there are some better designed, more fully featured options out there.

We do like the dual battery pack option, which means you can keep monitoring even while you’re recharging, but don’t forget you’re going to have to pay money to keep your recordings available in the cloud (which is true of most home security cameras, to be fair). Definitely worth your consideration, but not best-in-class.

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