When we reviewed the Ring Video Doorbell last year we were impressed with its daytime video quality and how easy it was to install. The company's latest offering, the Stick Up Cam ($199), allows you to monitor areas outside your home other than your doorways, and it too delivers sharp daytime video and installs in minutes. It's the same price as our Editors' Choice for outdoor security cameras, the Nest Cam Outdoor, but it can't match the Nest Cam's 1080p video quality and feature set.
Design and Features
The Stick Up Cam looks similar to the Ring Doorbell. It shares the same dimensions (4.9 by 2.4 by 1.4 inches), but instead of a two-tone black-and-silver finish it is all black with a Ring logo. The upper half of the enclosure holds a 720p camera with a relatively narrow 80-degree field of view and a 3x digital zoom, a motion sensor, a Wi-Fi radio, and six infrared night vision LEDs. The lower half has a speaker and microphone array that supports two-way audio communications. The unit is rated IP54 for water resistance.
Around back is a mini USB charging port and a setup button, both of which are protected by rubber covers, and a small LED indicator that flashes during the setup procedure. There are three mounting holes (top, middle, and bottom) that allow you to hang the camera from a ceiling, mount it flat on a wall, or place it upright on a table or shelf.
As with Netgear's Arlo camera, the Stick Up Cam runs on battery power, is completely wireless, and sits idle until it detects motion or the Live View button is pressed. It offers push notifications when motion is detected, but doesn't support email alerts.
The camera uses a 5,200mAh lithium ion rechargeable battery that is rated to last between 6-12 months before requiring a charge. You can remove the camera and charge it indoors using the included cable, or you can purchase the Ring Solar Panel ($49) and mount it alongside the camera. The panel requires only a few hours of sunlight to keep the camera fully charged.
The camera comes with a quick release mounting base, a permanent security mount, a screwdriver with a removable reversible Philips head/Torx bit, a drill bit, a micro USB charging cable, mounting screws and anchors, and a setup and installation guide. It also comes with a 30-day trial period of Ring's cloud service, which allows you to view and share recorded video of motion-triggered events. You'll lose those abilities unless you spring for a relatively inexpensive $30 yearly subscription that gives you access to up to six months of video history.
The Stick Up Cam uses the same Android and iOS app as the Ring Doorbell. It opens to a My Devices page that displays all installed Ring devices and a list of recent alerts. Tapping the camera icon opens a page that displays the camera's battery status and contains a switch to enable motion alerts. The bottom half of the page has six buttons. The Recent Activity button takes you to a page that lists all motion-triggered video, as well as video recorded when the Live View feature is used. The Motion Settings button takes you to a page where you can assign specific motion-detection zones and choose one of three Smart Alerts including Light (fewer alerts), Standard, and Frequent. The Live View button opens a live landscape mode video stream with a Talk button for two-way audio and an End button that stops the stream and takes you back to the camera page.
The Shared Users button lets you add users by entering their email address, and the Ring+ Partners button lets you connect the camera to one of Ring's partner apps including LockState, Lockitron, Belkin's WeMo, and Kwikset's KeVo. For example, if the camera detects motion you can enter the KeVo app directly from the Ring app to lock or unlock a door. Finally, the Linked Chimes button lets you link your account to an external bell such as the Ring Chime ($29.95), which plugs into a wall outlet and sounds a chime when motion is detected.
Device settings allow you to configure Live View power options (USB, Solar, Battery), Location Settings, and edit the device name. Account Settings include cloud plan options, email and password settings, and a link to the Ring online store.
Installation and Performance
The Stick Up Cam is easy to install and configure. To start, I downloaded the mobile app and created an account. Once I logged in, I tapped Add Device and selected Stick Up Cam from the list. I was asked to choose a mounting location (Front, Backyard, Side, Custom) and confirm my address with the phone's location services. Next, I pressed and released the orange button on the back of the camera, selected the Ring SSID in my Wi-Fi settings, and returned to the Ring app. I selected my Wi-Fi network, entered my password, and the camera setup was complete. I was now ready for the physical installation.
The app offers an easy-to-follow install video to help you through the process. I used the included tools and mounting screws to attach the quick release base to a windowsill on the side of my house, connected the swivel arm to the camera, and snapped the camera into the base. The entire process took less than 15 minutes.
The Stick Up Cam delivers crisp 720p daytime video, with good color quality and contrast and no noticeable pincushion distortion. But image quality is not as sharp as what I saw with the Nest Cam Outdoor camera. Black-and-white night vision looks good out to around 25 feet, but the video has a slight purple tint to it (as you can see in the image above). Additionally, the 80-degree field of view doesn't let you see quite as much of what's going on as other cameras. Motion alerts arrived within seconds in testing, and recorded video quality is on par with the live feed. But as we saw with the Ring Doorbell, audio quality could be cleaner on the camera's end.
With the Ring Stick Up Cam you can monitor outdoor activity and view recorded video of events that are triggered by the camera's motion detector. It's completely wireless, takes minutes to install, and offers sharp and colorful 720p daytime video. Night vision video is also sharp, but exhibits a slight purple tint. It comes with a 30-day trial of Ring's cloud service, but once it expires you lose the ability to view and share recorded video unless you pay a (nominal) yearly subscription fee. The Stick Up Cam also supports IFTTT recipes and interacts with a handful of third-party connected devices, but not as many as our Editors' Choice for outdoor security cameras, the Nest Cam Outdoor. The Nest Cam also delivers better all-around video quality in 1080p, offers a 130-degree field of view, and is always recording so you can see what happened before and after a triggered event took place.