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Ring Stick Up Cam review: Ring's solar-powered security camera fails to outshine rivals

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The Good It's weatherproofed for outside use and you can power it via its built-in rechargeable battery, the included USB adapter or a neat solar panel accessory.

The Bad Audio quality was spotty during testing. You have to pay for event-based cloud storage. Its 80-degree field of view doesn't cover very much ground and the live video stream often looked grainy in testing.

The Bottom Line The Ring Stick Up Cam's flexible power sources give it real appeal, but other standalone DIY cameras offer more for less.

6.5 Overall
  • Features 6.5
  • Usability 7
  • Design 6
  • Performance 6.5

Editor's note (9/20/2018): Amazon, which acquired Ring in February 2018, announced a second generation Ring Stick Up Cam that ships to customers on October 14th, 2018.

Complete with 720p live video streaming, motion-sensing capabilities and an optional cloud storage service, Ring's $199 (£159) Stick Up Cam is strikingly similar to the smart home startup's Ring Video Doorbell, which comes at the same price. The only things that's missing is, you know, the whole doorbell part.

The main benefit to the Wi-Fi-enabled Stick Up Cam lies in its portable weatherproofed design. You can install this camera pretty much anywhere outside, and power it with a rechargeable battery, a power adapter or an add-on $49 (£40) solar panel accessory.

But there's a downside. Stick Up Cams were designed to complement Ring Video Doorbells. The idea is that you'll have Ring's buzzer watching over your front door and some Stick Up Cams covering any additional ground. And perhaps to ensure that you'll need or want both products, Ring skimped on some key DIY camera features that would allow it to act as a solid standalone security purchase.

The Stick Up Cam is fine, but the Nest Cam Outdoor and Netgear Arlo are stronger DIY security cameras.

Getting to know your Stick Up Cam

The Ring Stick Up Cam is a discreet outdoor-rated security camera with a black finish. It comes with a couple of different base attachments and related hardware. A screwdriver and a drill bit are included with your purchase, too, to help you with the install.

For simplicity and to avoid making permanent holes in the CNET Smart Home, I placed a Stick Up Cam on a flat surface during testing instead of attaching it to a wall or ceiling. You'll want to go with something more long-term if you buy one, since wind and other weather changes can easily knock an outdoor camera out of position. They're easier for someone to steal that way, too.

I wouldn't say the Stick Up Cam has an especially attractive design, but it did easily blend in with the surroundings. Its hardware felt durable as well, and it survived wind and snow flurries without complaint.

Take a look at the chart below to see how Ring's Stick Up Cam compares to other outdoor cameras:

Comparing outdoor security cameras


Ring Stick Up Cam Nest Cam Outdoor Netgear Arlo (Pro) Canary Flex
Price $199 $200 or £150 $180, £135 or AU$240 ($240) $199 or £159
Color finish Black White White Black, white
Power source Adapter, rechargeable batteries or solar panel accessory Adapter Four CR123 lithium 3-volt photo batteries (rechargeable batteries) Adapter or rechargeable batteries
Resolution 720-pixel HD 1080p HD 720-pixel HD 720-pixel HD
Live streaming Yes Yes Yes Yes
Continuous recording No Yes, with Nest Aware No No
Cloud storage $3 per month for six months of event-based cloud storage Free 3-hour event-based snapshots (Optional 10-day or 30-day continuous recording and storage with Nest Aware subscription for $10 or $30 per month) Free seven-day event-based video clip storage (Optional 30- or 60-day event-based video clip storage with Arlo subscription for $10 or $15 per month) Free 24-hour event-based cloud storage
Local storage No No No No
Mobile app Yes, Android and iPhone Yes, Android and iPhone Yes, Android and iPhone Yes, Android and iPhone
Web app Yes Yes Yes No
Night vision Yes Yes Yes Yes
Field of view 80 degrees 130 degrees 110 degrees (130 degrees) 116 degrees
Alerts Motion only Motion and sound (Person Alerts added with Nest Aware) Motion only Motion only
Activity zones Yes Yes, with Nest Aware No No
Operating temperature range -5 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit (-21 to 49 degrees Celsius) -4 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit (-20 to 40 degrees Celsius). 14 to 122 degrees Fahrenheit (-9 to 50 degree Celsius) -4 to 113 degrees Fahrenheit (-20 to 45 degrees Celsius)
Third-party integrations IFTTT, Belkin WeMo, Wink, Kevo, ADT IFTTT, Works with Nest IFTTT, Samsung SmartThings Wink

While the Stick Up Cam's specs may look roughly comparable to other outdoor security cameras, it falls short in a couple of key ways. First, you have to pay for cloud storage. While select DIY security companies do charge a monthly or yearly fee for cloud storage, more and more brands are offering some sort of free option.

Netgear's Arlo and Arlo Pro cameras, Canary's Flex and Nest Cam Outdoor all offer free cloud video clips or photos of activity, with the option of upgrading to a paid subscription as needed. Ring charges customers $3 per month or $30 per year for its event-based cloud service. $30 isn't a ton of money to spend, but I wish Ring could somehow include customers who either don't need or don't want to pay for six months of storage.

Second, the Stick Up Cam's 80-degree field of view is pretty narrow. The competition ranges from 110 to 130 degrees, which can make a significant difference in how much of your front yard, driveway or back yard the camera is able to see.

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