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Editors' note, May 1, 2020: After removing Ring products from recommendation at the end of 2019, we are satisfied with the steps the company has taken to improve customer account security. We are reinstating our recommendations for Ring products that still apply. You can read more on that discussion in this commentary. The original review, published on December 19, 2019, follows.
This isn't Ring's first Stick Up Cam -- the first one I tested back in 2016 had some performance issues and the one after that cost too much for what you got. Ring's latest Stick Up Cam is priced at $100. Considering there are great cameras for just 20 bucks, $100 isn't particularly exciting. But it is a positive step for Ring, which also recently introduced an affordable Indoor Cam.
Ring's latest indoor/outdoor Stick Up Cam is available in plug-in and battery versions (I tested the battery model), as well as a $149 model bundled with a solar panel accessory. Interestingly, the Stick Up Cam Battery has optional compatibility with Ring's $39 power adapter and its $49 solar panel accessory through a hidden port in the back of the camera.
Ring, which Amazon bought in February 2018, has been in the news for its partnerships with over 600 police departments through RIng's Neighbors program in the US. The Neighbors program, available through the Ring app or Ring's standalone Neighbors app, lets users share security footage and receive security alerts in their area. Police can also request access to Ring footage in certain areas within specific time frames.
The Neighbors program is optional for Ring users, but advocacy nonprofits have raised concerns about privacy and racial profiling. If you're concerned about this partnership, Ring products probably aren't for you. Read more about what you can do if you're worried about Ring's Neighbors program.
Otherwise, the Ring Stick Up Cam Battery is easy to recommend for its versatility, solid performance and reasonable price.
First, let's talk setup. Download the Ring app and create an account if you don't already have one; login if you do. Select "set up a device" on the home screen and pick "security cams." Your Ring Stick Up Cam has a OR code both on the camera and on a set up guide sheet that comes in the box.
The Ring app then walks you through each step, including asking if you're installing the camera inside or outside, what name you'd like to assign it and if you're powering it via battery or adapter.
Next you'll be asked to fully charge the battery (a USB charging cable is included). I skipped that step and installed the battery in the camera at 35% charged.
Once the battery is installed, the camera will tell you it's in set up mode and ask you to connect to your local Wi-Fi network. The camera is connected and ready to use at this point, but the app makes a point to continue to walk you through customizing some of your Ring camera's unique features. Here's an overview:
I also created a motion detection zone to send me alerts when activity happened in the yard closest to the house, but to ignore the tree branches swaying in the breeze just past them. Again, this feature worked well. I even connected an optional solar accessory to the port in the back of the camera. It's been gray and gloomy here in Kentucky, but the solar panel is helping the camera hold pretty steady so far.
Like other Ring devices, the Stick Up Cam battery works with Alexa (but not with Google Assistant or Siri). I was able to ask an Echo Show 5 to show me the Backyard camera and it pulled up the live video feed.
Overall, the Stick Up Cam Battery worked well throughout testing. I had no major issues, although I'll always lament that Ring doesn't offer a free cloud storage option. Instead, you have to pay $3 per month (or $30 per year) for Ring Protect to get 60 days of saved video history.
I like the Stick Up Cam Battery. No, Ring still doesn't offer a free cloud storage option, and it isn't compatible with Google Assistant or Siri. But, this camera is solid and much more affordable than Ring's previous Stick Up Cam.
This camera's live feed was crisp and alerts arrived quickly after a motion event. The privacy zones and motion detection zones were easy to set up and effectively controlled the areas where motion was detected. Its optional compatibility with a power adapter or the solar panel accessory adds another layer of flexibility, as well as the "Linked devices" feature that allows for automations between Ring devices.
It isn't a perfect device, but it's a good choice if you're on the hunt for a reliable outdoor camera at a reasonable price. And if you're concerned about Ring's partnerships with law enforcement, give this a read.