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Tapo C120 vs. Ring Stick Up Cam Pro: is the expensive Ring security camera worth it?

The Tapo C120 and Ring Stick Up Cam Pro are both designed for use indoors and outdoors. Offering weatherproofing, impressive video resolution, and simple installation, the two products are great options for anyone seeking a versatile security camera. However, the two carry radically different price tags — with the Ring security cam inching close to $200 and the Tapo C120 priced at less than $50.

But will the affordable C120 work for your home? Or should you spring for the premium Ring Stick Up Cam Pro? Here’s a closer look at these two security cameras to help you decide.

Pricing and monthly fees

The Tapo C120 installed on a fence.

The Tapo C120 costs just $40 and is offered with a wired power supply. The Ring Stick Up Cam Pro costs $180 and is offered in both battery-powered and wired formats. You can sign up for a Tapo Care plan for $3.49 per month to get rich notifications and the ability to use Smart Sort to easily filter out your captured videos. Ring offers three subscription plans, with the Basic plan costing $4 per month and offering video history for up to 180 days, person alerts, and rich notifications. Two more plans are available, maxing out at $20 per month for the Ring Pro plan.

If you’re not interested in a monthly subscription, you’ll likely get more mileage out of the Tapo C120. Without a Tapo Care plan, you’ll still get access to crucial features like live view, instant notifications, activity zones, local storage, and more.

Design and installation

The Ring Stick Up Cam Pro on display the 2023 Amazon Fall Devices and Services event.
Phil Nickinson / Digital Trends

The Ring Stick Up Cam Pro is much easier to install than the Tapo C120. Opting for the battery-powered format makes it easy to get your security camera up and running in a matter of minutes. After downloading the smartphone app, you’ll need to follow a few basic steps to get your device synced to your phone. After that, you can dive into settings to customize its performance or simply let it run with its presets.

The Tapo C120 requires a wired connection, which offers continuous power, but can be cumbersome to install. We ran into trouble trying to sync it with our internet, as it wouldn’t locate the 2.4GHz network. The connection finally worked after swapping from an Android device to iPhone — though it sounds like running into connection issues isn’t an uncommon occurrence for Tapo users. Once connected to the proper network, the rest of the installation process works flawlessly and is highly intuitive.

Ring’s camera is much bigger than the C120, standing nearly twice as tall, but with a stand that’s only marginally larger. Both look and feel premium, though the large, imposing presence of the Ring Stick Up Cam Pro ensures would-be intruders know they’re being recorded. The Tapo C120, meanwhile, is a bit more discrete and unobtrusive.

Resolution and night vision

The Tapo C120 out in the rain.

The Tapo C120 captures 2K QHD footage and color night vision. The Ring Stick Up Cam Pro, meanwhile, offers 1080p HDR footage and color night vision. When tested side by side, both products offer impressive images, with the option to zoom in to capture more details. However, the Ring Stick Up Cam Pro offers a generous 155-degree viewing angle, which allows you to see more of your home or property than you can with the C120 and its 120-degree viewing angle.

Features and spec list

The Ring Birds Eye app showing how a person approached a door.

Both products offer two-way audio, weatherproofing, smart notifications, and robust smartphone apps to modify their performance. They also include all the equipment needed to mount the camera, if you’d rather fix it to one spot permanently.

Two features you’ll find exclusively on the Ring Stick Up Cam Pro are Bird’s Eye Zones and 3D Motion Detection. These features work together to create an aerial map of your property and give you detailed graphics of where motion (or sound) was detected and how it moved through your camera’s field of view.

The Tapo C120, meanwhile, offers a built-in microSD card slot for local data storage and a built-in spotlight for enhanced nighttime images.

Which is the better security camera?

The Ring Stick Up Cam Pro is the better security camera — as it should be, considering its larger price tag. With support for both battery or wired connections, a streamlined installation process, and the powerful 3D Motion Detection feature, it’s about as premium as security cameras get.

But the Ring Stick Up Cam Pro won’t be the right camera for every household. For example, if you plan to use the security camera indoors to monitor a small space (such as a living room or baby’s room), you won’t need all the bells and whistles it has to offer. Instead, the cheaper Tapo C120 will work just fine. Its resolution is surprisingly great, it features a built-in spotlight, and you don’t need a subscription. Consider giving it a look if you need something simple and affordable that doesn’t skimp on premium features.

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Jon Bitner
Jon Bitner is a writer covering consumer electronics, technology, and gaming. His work has been published on various websites…
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