+ Thursday October 17th, 2019

Ring came to prominence not long after they were turned down by the US version of Shark Tank (clever business folks those) with their Ring Video Doorbell. Since then the company has gone from strength to strength, culminating in last year’s purchase by Amazon for a cool $1 billion.

Ring continues to make newer and better cameras each time and are pushing into different smart lighting areas as well as smart cameras — all without hindrance from Amazon. It is business as usual for Ring with their products continuing with the same design language and functionality.

We have reviewed a few different Ring camera products in the last few years at Ausdroid (1, 2, 3, and 4) and each time their products get even better and easier to use.

As I embark on the process of installing a heap of smart home connected devices at the new house I am building (well, I’m paying someone to build) I’m always on the lookout for new smart products that I may want to use. Ring has always been on my radar as they have one of the best, if not the best, connected doorbell in the business so this was a chance to test one of their products and their ecosystem out before committing to any major purchases.

I’ve now been using the new Stick Up Cam Battery for a few weeks and in the meantime have traveled internationally and have formed my opinion.

ProsCons
Mature ecosystemNot cheap
Good quality pictureNo on-board recording
Unobtrusive, no wires

What is it?

The new Stick Up Cam Battery is a camera that can be used indoors or outdoors thanks to its IPX5 rating. Available in black or white the Stick Up Cam Battery captures video at 1080P resolution through its 115 degree FOV wide-angled lens. The camera is capable of capturing 1080P video and has a field of view of 115 degrees horizontal and 65 degrees vertical (the wired version has 150 degrees horizontal and 85 degrees vertical)

The camera is not cheap at $319 but that is often not where the main costs of cameras lie – they lie in the ongoing recording subscription costs to get full functionality out of a camera.

The Stick Up Cam Battery consists of a mount that allows the camera to either be mounted to a wall or ceiling or sit on a bench/flat surface. The battery can be easily removed wherever it is mounted thanks to the swivel mount it sits upon — and then charged using any microUSB charger. For this reason if you were to buy one of these I’d recommend a second battery so you can still have video while charging the battery.

What’s in the box?

In the box is of course the camera and mount as well as everything Ring thinks you could need to set it up. There is a screwdriver, wall plugs and screws for mounting it and even a drill bit for the correct size for the wall plugs. Ring have of course included a microUSB charging cable which if you are like me will never even take out of the box.

Installation and setup

Hardware

I currently live in a rental property so I was unable to permanently mount the camera to a wall but that’s one of the best things about this camera. It looks at home no matter where you install it – a ceiling, a wall or on top of the buffet like I have.

Installation for me was simple – place it on the bench, scan the barcode on the camera within the Ring app and you are done. Piece of cake. For those wanting to mount the camera to a wall or ceiling (or eaves) Ring have included what is required and simple bit of handy DIY work and you’d be set to go.

I placed the camera pointing straight at the front door with the wide angle of the lens also providing a view of the front window and much of the lounge room where the garage door leads to.

Software

Setup on the app was not as simple as setting up the hardware but once setup was extremely basic to use.

Open the Ring app and you are greeted your dashboard showing your default home site. At the top is the location (you can have cameras in more than 1 location). Underneath is the cameras at that location as well as an icon to set up a new camera at that location.

Then there are tabs that show all your alerts, motion seen and various live view recordings. It is simple to jump to one of these, view the recording and download or share to various apps. A lot of this is based on you having a Ring Protect Plan as the free plan does not support video recording or Review, share, and save Ring videos.

You can see the various plans below to see where you may want to sit with your level of subscription. For users with multiple cameras Ring has one the best value plans available on the market.

Within the app you can also add users who can also see the live feed etc as Dan covered in a prior review.

Recording setup
You’re dealing with a cloud camera recording system with Ring, so you do have to pay for access to it. Ring offers two options for a single, or unlimited cameras.

If you have a single Ring camera such as this one then the single device costs you $40 per year, or $4 per month for the Protect Basic plan, allowing you to retain your videos for 60 days. If you’re adding more cameras, then the $150 per year/$15 per month plan with unlimited cameras is more for you. It’s expensive, but also worth it for peace of mind. It’s up to you to decide which you want.

Functionality

The Ring Stick Up Cam has everything in it. The picture produced by the camera was really good, one of the better I’ve seen in a security camera and for it to be on a battery powered one is impressive. The two way voice was great from the remote end but at time the person inside the house could hear an echo of what they were saying to me. It is unlikely a thief who has broken in will respond to you talking to them anyway so in real world uses that shouldn’t be an issue.

The night vision was good as most are these days. People were able to be made out easily, including any distinguishing features. See below for a pitch black screenshot.

The camera, being battery powered was able to be placed anywhere and as such the options are plentiful. This is why I chose to test out this camera and not the wired one. Ring say the battery should last 3 to 6 months and that is probably a bit ambitious in my opinion. I did have every service turned on, had all motion sensing zones on and only turned motion sensing off while we were home in the evening. After one month there is 40% left on the battery meaning it should last a tick under two months which is still relatively impressive.

I am sure that if I turned down the sensing and made a few other changes and didn’t push all the functions to the fullest you could squeeze a lot more battery life out of it.

Alexa integration

Amazon owns Ring now, you’ll be waiting a long time before Google integration with Assistant, but Alexa works.

You can enable the Amazon Alexa skill for the Ring devices, but the viewing ability is limited to the Echo Spot and Fire HD tablets. You simply ask your Echo Spot to show you ‘Living Room camera’ and it fires it up on the display (image below from Dan’s Ring Floodlight Cam review last year).

Should you buy one?

The Ring Stick Up Cam Battery is a great security camera. It has a good quality video camera that is easy to operate and two way voice — tell that dog to get off the couch! The battery life looks to be at least a couple of months by the time you tweak the settings but I would suggest you buy a second battery just in case.

The lack of cables running to or from the camera make it an unobtrusive device which can be placed wherever you want, no matter whether there is a power point there or not.

If you want recording of the camera you will need to subscribe to a Ring Protect Plan which will set you back $40 per year for a single camera but they do have a multiple camera plan which is $150 per year which covers “all Ring devices at one address”.

So the question remains, should you buy one? My answer is no — you should buy more than one! I will be buying more than one along with some floodlights when my house is ready to be fitted out.

You can purchase the Ring Stick Up Cam Battery from the Ring website for $319 or from a range of Australian retailers. Luckily for me, there is a discount if you buy more than one.

Scott Plowman   Editor

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Scott is our modding guru - he has his finger on the pulse of all things ‘moddable’, pointing us towards all the cutting edge mods hacks that are available. When he’s not gymming it up, or scanning the heck out of Nexus devices, you'll find him on the Ausdroid Podcast.

Outside of Ausdroid, Scott's a health care professional and lecturer at a well known Victorian university.

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Jamie S
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Jamie S

Good review Scott. I thought this camera had a fisheye lens. Can you change it in the settings?

Tibb So
Ausdroid Reader
Tibb So

Overpriced both upfront and ongoing.

Andrew Fisher
Ausdroid Reader

Yeh I thought the LogiTech one was expensive but this takes the cake

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