Solar-powered Smart Camera – the Ring Stick Up Cam
As we have discussed before, we have been hesitant to add a lot cameras into our smart home, especially inside, since we are a little sensitive to being watched and recorded.
Outside cameras seem like a great idea but powering the cameras can be a hassle – you either need to find a place to mount it that has a power outlet, or you need to use a battery powered camera and hope the batteries are charged when you need them.
We have the Stick Up Cam in our backyard, near our back doors, so that we can see and record any motion that is detected. With the Ring App, we can easily customize the motion zones and see the videos it captures within the app. Whenever the camera detects motion, the app notifies us so we can see what is going on. The camera also includes a two-way speaker so we can talk to whomever caused the motion. So far, it has been mostly each other and the occasional feline visitor.
Since the camera is in our backyard, at first it detected motion constantly, as we spend a lot of time outside. Recently Ring added a new feature that allows us to customize the time of day, so it will only notify us when we aren’t regularly outside. Ring also integrates with IFTTT and Wink, so we can further automate the camera to interact with our other devices. We set up a Wink Robot to turn on our lights inside if the camera detects motion, which would certainly help to scare away burglars, though not sure it would bother the cats.
We pay $3 a month for the optional cloud recording service which includes six months of recordings that we can access at any time, share with others, and delete as needed. For one device this seems like a great value, it is per device though so if we added a few more cameras and a doorbell that could add up pretty fast.
We also using the optional solar charging panel with the Stick Up Cam. We are really pleased with panel which makes the camera worry free. Our only complaint is that it is fairly large, around twice the size of the camera itself, so it’s another piece of equipment that takes up additional space. It would be nice if it had additional features, perhaps adding some other kind of sensor, temperature perhaps, or was smaller and more tightly integrated with the camera.
In addition to doorbells and cameras, Ring has a program that creates a virtual neighborhood watch in the community. Currently in beta, Ring Neighborhoods allows you to connect with other local cameras and share video within your local community. We belong to NextDoor, a private social network for our neighbors, and one of our neighbors has been working with Ring to offer a discount on doorbells and cameras so that folks can participate and promoting it through the NextDoor service. We haven’t connected yet but seems like a great use of both technologies.
Essentially, the Ring Stick Up Cam operates just like our mom’s Ring Pro Doorbell, only without the button. It detects motion, records video, and allows us to interact with people at our back door all through the same app interface. At $199 for the Stick Up Cam and $49 for the solar charger, it’s also virtually the same price as the Ring Pro, since the doorbell is powered through the existing doorbell power source and doesn’t need the charger. It’s more expensive than other smart cameras on the market, but we have been pleased with the overall value of the camera and the great customer support Ring provides. We would definitely recommend checking it out.