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Ring Spotlight Cam review: One of the simplest ways to watch over your yard

Comparing outdoor security cameras


Ring Spotlight Cam Ring Floodlight Cam Netatmo Presence Kuna
Price $199/£199/AU$$329 $249/£195/AU$330 $300/£235/AU$400 $199/£155/AU265
Color finish Black or white Black or white Black Black or bronze
Power source Plug-in or battery-powered Hardwired Hardwired Hardwired
Resolution 1080p HD 1080p HD 1080p HD 720p HD
Live streaming Yes Yes Yes Yes
Continuous recording No No No No
Cloud storage Yes Yes No Yes
Local storage No No Internal microSD card No
Mobile app Android, iPhone and Windows Android, iPhone and Windows Android and iPhone Android and iPhone
Web app No Yes Yes No
Night vision Yes Yes Yes No
Alerts Motion Motion Motion (person, car or animal) Motion
Activity zones Yes Yes Yes No
Third-party integrations Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT Apple HomeKit, IFTTT Amazon Alexa

The Spotlight Cam is priced the same as the Kuna/Maximus, but Ring's camera has a better resolution, night vision, activity zones and more smart home integrations. Enable the Ring skill and you can ask Alexa to show you your camera's feed on your screen-equipped Amazon speaker or on a Fire TV

Netatmo's Presence camera has local storage, person alerts (the Spotlight Cam doesn't offer person alerts) and works with Apple's Siri-powered HomeKit smart home platform, but it also costs 100 bucks more than the Spotlight Cam. The Spotlight Cam and the Floodlight Cam are essentially identical when it comes to features, with the exception of their lumen outputs. 

The Spotlight Cam puts out 700 lumens of lighting (roughly comparable to a 60W replacement LED bulb). It is designed to cover a smaller space and only turn on the LEDs when it detects motion. The Floodlight Cam, in contrast, puts out 1,800 lumens (roughly comparable to a 100W LED replacement, but a little brighter) and can cover more ground than the Spotlight Cam. The Floodlight Cam's LEDs can also be used continuously -- not just when it picks up motion. It's the difference between a motion light and a true floodlight, as the names suggest.

Ring, annoyingly, doesn't offer a free cloud storage option. Instead, you have to sign up for one of Ring's "optional" Protect plans to view saved motion-related video clips. Otherwise you're stuck watching the live feed 24-7 or being ready to click on motion alerts ASAP to make sure you catch whatever activity is taking place. 

Ring charges either $3 or $10 per month for 60 days of saved footage. The pricier plan includes additional features, like a lifetime warranty and 10 percent off future Ring product purchases. Read more about Ring's Protect subscription plans.

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Ring's Spotlight Cam by day -- and night.

Screenshots by Megan Wollerton/CNET

Conclusion

The Spotlight Cam's simple installation, solid performance and easy-to-use app make it a favorite among the outdoor security camera-light fixture hybrid devices I've tested. I don't like that you need to pay for the monthly service to access any saved video clips, but $30 per year isn't bad. 

Keep in mind that a spotty Wi-Fi connection can cause interruptions in your live feed or cause it not to work at all; test out the quality of your network where you plan to install your camera beforehand. The Ring app has a "Device Health" section, too, where you can check in on the status of your Spotlight Cam's connection at-a-glance. 

Overall, Ring's $199 Spotlight Cam is a great option if you're looking for a reliable outdoor camera with integrated motion-activated LEDs. 

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