Editors' note, Dec 14: You can find all of our coverage about Ring on this aggregation page, including our reporting about Ring's privacy and security policies. covers how we factor those issues into our product recommendations.
Ring's $199 Spotlight Cam (£199/AU$329) beats out, the (now called Maximus) -- and even Ring's own -- for my favorite outdoor camera with integrated lights.
That's partially due to its comparatively easy installation. Screw in the baseplate, attach the camera and plug it into a nearby outlet -- no hardwiring required. Its 1080p HD resolution and integrated motion sensor, LEDs and siren make it competitive in terms of specs. And, bonus: It works with Alexa and Google Assistant.
The Spotlight Cam is a strong option if you want a motion-activated outdoor light with a built-in high-definition camera. Just be prepared to pay $3 per month for cloud storage; you can't view saved video clips otherwise.
A better Ring?
The Spotlight Cam performed well throughout testing. I received swift motion alerts when I walked in view of the camera, and the built-in LEDs turned on as well. Its motion zones feature allowed me to customize exactly where I wanted it to detect activity -- and it successfully ignored everything else.
I like that you can adjust the brightness of the LEDs and even how long the lights should remain on after a motion event. You can "snooze" the motion sensor from 15 minutes to up to 2 hours if you want to it to stop tracking activity for a short time. But you can also adjust the motion sensitivity if you're receiving too many alerts -- or create a specific motion schedule to specify exactly when throughout the week you want the camera to monitor activity and send you alerts.
Ring's Spotlight Cam comes in a black and a white finish, as well as in wired and battery-powered models (both cost $199). I tested the wired option in black, which comes with mounting hardware and a 20-foot weatherproof cord. The Spotlight Cam is a streamlined version of the pricier Floodlight Cam. It basically takes the main camera body from the Floodlight Cam and adds LED panels on either side -- and leaves out the two awkward-looking floodlights.
Download the Ring app for Android, iOS or Windows and follow the step-by-step tutorial to set up your Spotlight Cam. It prompts you to plug in your camera, press the button on the top (if the bottom of the camera isn't already flashing). Search for and select the Ring Wi-Fi network on your phone, navigate back to the app and enter your home's Wi-Fi info. The app will ask you to confirm your camera's location and then you're done.
Installing it is easy, too. It isn't a hardwired model, so you only have to mount it with the included hardware and slide the camera over the baseplate to attach it. If you don't like the look of the power cord, Ring provides clamps so you can try to hide it out of view.