With so many home security cameras on the market these days, it’s getting harder for new offerings to impress us. There are cameras that are battery powered, that work outdoors, that offer motion detection alerts, motion zones, two-way audio, sirens, high definition footage, and more. How do new cameras stand out when the shelf is crowded with existing excellent models?
Ring, the grandfather of do-it-yourself home security, has managed to bring a new offering to the table that takes the stress out of choosing by doing almost everything. The Ring Stick Up Cam ($180) can be used indoors or outdoors, and can be mounted to a ceiling, put on a table, or attached to a wall. And as we found out in testing, it’s as simple to use our favorite Ring devices.
Good looks, limitless options
The Stick Up Cam comes attractively packaged, and includes all the mounting hardware you’ll need to set it up. In the box is the camera itself, the base, two USB power supply options (indoor and outdoor), a Power over Ethernet cable if you choose to connect the camera that way, and all the anchors, mounting screws, and wire clips you need for setup.
The camera itself, available in black or white, is lightweight but still feels like a quality device. It stands almost 4 inches high, and the optional base adds another inch.
Like all Ring devices we’ve tested, getting set up via the app is a cinch. Start by downloading the Ring app, scan the barcode on the setup instructions, and then follow prompts from both the app and the camera itself. We had the device ready to go in minutes, although if you plan to mount the device on a wall or ceiling, more work will be required.
The Stick-Up cam offers 1080p video and an impressive 150-degree horizontal and 85-degree vertical field of view.
What’s unique about the Stick Up Cam is its versatility. Some cameras are designed for indoor use only, or to be placed on a table only, or to rely on Wi-Fi only. But the Stick-Up Cam gives you myriad options: indoor or outdoor, Wi-Fi or Ethernet, and the ability to mount on a ceiling, wall, or just place on a table. The base bends and moves with ease, somehow making the device both durable and pliable at the same time.
Testing, 1, 2, 3
We opted for the simplest form of installation by placing the device on a window sill facing inward in our test living room. It looked attractive and didn’t take up too much space. Here’s how it performed in a few key areas.
We always appreciate that Ring’s app is extremely easy to use. There are many things you can do via the app, including view live and recorded footage (for a subscription, more on that in a minute), set motion zones and adjust motion sensitivity, talk to others through the camera via the intercom feature, and set off a siren (more on that in a minute as well). The app is laid out in an intuitive, easy-to-use fashion.
The Stick-Up cam offers 1080p high definition video and an impressive 150-degree horizontal and 85-degree vertical field of view. In our living room, that meant that the view stretched all the way into the kitchen and the entryway of the home. Despite sitting a bit low on a window sill, the screen also captured activity from birds flying pretty high in the sky from windows across the way. Like with many cameras, there was a slight fisheye distortion, but it had no effect on our ability to see activity.
As for night vision, Ring shines here, too, at least in the foreground. Like with all cameras that feature night vision, the further away from the lenses, the grainier the image. But the Stick-Up Cam provides more than adequate identification in low light. Ring recently added color night vision for all its wired devices, allowing for clearer, better visibility for both live view and recorded motion. This feature works well, providing crisper images.
The Ring app makes setting up motion zones easy: Just use your finger to drag an eight-pointed shape around the space you want the camera to pay attention to motion in. That way you can eliminate places like the floor, where Fido is setting off the cameras by prancing around.
Motion detection sensitivity and alerts
Motion detection alerts hit our phones immediately, for the most part, with a second or two lag in a few cases. You’ll want to avoid setting motion sensitivity on high, as flashes of light and flies buzzing by set our phones abuzz with motion alerts after we dialed up sensitivity. One thing to consider if you’re setting the device up outside is that there can be lag with receiving motion alerts on Wi-Fi connected devices mounted outdoors.
This is one place where the Stick-Up Cam could use some improvement.
Sound quality of the intercom was patchy at best, with words sometimes coming in clipped or not at all. When we yelled “Get out of our house!” into our phone via the app, the command sounded choppy, with a couple words missing. We’re not sure whether it would intimidate a would-be burglar.
Keep in mind, too, that our device was set up in the living room, where the Wi-Fi connectivity is strong. If the device were to be set up outdoors where the connection is weaker, there may be some additional issues with the intercom feature.
When we tapped on the siren button in the Ring app, we were warned that “the siren is loud enough for your neighbors to hear it.” We proceeded with caution, planning to cover our ears to prevent damage. But when we turned it on, we were disappointed. While it would certainly be a scary thing for a burglar to hear, it’s not very loud. In fact, we were barely able to hear it upstairs behind a closed bedroom door. From there, it sounded like a car alarm a couple blocks away.
Sound does carry better outside, though, so we can see how turning it on after detecting someone lurking on a porch could make a bad guy bolt as far away as possible.
If we have one ongoing quibble about Ring, it’s those monthly subscription service costs. It’s true that you don’t have to pay for live camera views. But to view and access motion alert footage, you need to subscribe to Ring’s Protect plan, which starts at $3 per month. While that’s not a lot of money, there are competitors out there, namely Nest and Blink, that don’t make you pay to access footage.
With that said, if you have more than one Ring device, say a video doorbell or the Ring Alarm security system, paying extra for things like professional monthly monitoring and access to video footage could be worth the cost.
Ring offers a one year warranty on parts and workmanship for all products.
We love the versatility of the Ring Stick Up Cam. This device is one of the most versatile cameras on the market and gives you the ability to move it from the ceiling of your entryway to a hallway table as needed. It looks great and offers excellent high definition video. We do wish the two-way audio and siren worked better, and we hope that Ring will consider offering an extended basic free cloud storage service at some point.
Is there a better alternative?
There are lots of cameras on the market. If you’re looking for a basic wired indoor camera but don’t want to spend a lot, consider the Wyze Cam 2, which is only $20 and offers great coverage. Nest is one of the best options for both indoor and outdoor cameras, but the devices can be expensive. Arlo has a lineup of excellent outdoor cameras as well. If you’re in need of a wireless option, consider waiting for Ring to release the battery-powered version of this same camera, coming soon.
How long will it last?
Backed by Amazon and with a reputation as one of the best do-it-yourself home security companies, you can feel confident that Ring and its products will be around for awhile. We expect that regular firmware updates will keep Ring current, and more devices will be added down the line. Furthermore, the device is sturdy and well-made, as long as you don’t throw it across a room.
Should you buy it?
If you need a camera with great video quality that can work literally anywhere, then buy the Ring Stick Up Cam. If you’re looking for a battery-powered camera, consider looking into Blink cameras, or wait until Ring releases its battery-powered version of the Stick Up Cam.
Updated February 15, 2019 to note that the camera now has color night vision.