When Ring was showing off its (then-) new Spotlight* Cam at last year’s CEDIA Expo, one of the questions installers asked was, “is there a hardwired version?” We asked the same question and suggested that they should consider one. Ring initially announced three versions of its Spotlight Cam: A battery version, a wired version, and a solar version.
The wired version sported a power cord simpler than but not entirely unlike the cable Nest took so many hits for on its outdoor camera product. Home tech pros seek out visually clean solutions without unsightly cables. Frankly, so do homeowners. For that, Ring pointed us to its Floodlight Cam, which is a hardwired fixture. From what Ring was telling folks at CEDIA, the Spotlight Cam was intended to replace the now-unavailable Stick-up Cam.
This week we discovered a relatively new Ring product that hasn’t received a whole lot of attention—the Ring Spotlight* Cam Mount. This version of the product is just what we asked for—a hardwired version of its Spotlight Cam. It comes with three different mounts for standard single-gang and 4″ round electrical fixture boxes.
Like the other Spotlight* Cam products, this one comes in black and white, and it is controlled by the Ring app. It offers all the same infrared, two-way audio, and live video features as its siblings. And like the Wired version of the product, you can control the onboard light manually. Ring’s documentation and support site for the product, however, don’t indicate whether you can also schedule the light to come on at specific times like you can with the Spotlight Cam Wired and Floodlight Cam products.
Professional installers may very well embrace this variant of the Spotlight* Cam. Like the Floodlight Cam, this hardwired security cam offers a clean look without unsightly cords and plugs. Without the additional plug, homeowners don’t have to worry about landscapers accidentally, or possibly thieves intentionally, unplugging the camera.
It also offers alternative wiring options, including the ability to connect other lights around the perimeter of a home to its sensor. This would make it possible to turn on multiple lights—of virtually any type—when this camera senses motion. It would also allow homeowners to control a series of exterior lights together, through the Ring app [more on that later].
Further, Ring includes instructions in the manual on how to replace the sensor of a standard, motion-sensing floodlight with the Spotlight Cam itself. This could be an interesting retrofit solution for some, though it would have some downsides.
The Spotlight* Cam Mount allows homeowners to control its onboard lights independently, but the options appear more limited than with Ring’s other wired products. Asked (via Twitter) about whether you can set timers for the lights in the app, Ring pointed to the support documents for the Spotlight Cam Wired—not the mounted version (though it’s easy to understand how one might confuse those by name alone). The manual for the mounted version does not mention the ability to set a timer for the lights.
Perhaps more important for professional installation is the option for integration. It’s our understanding that Ring’s API still doesn’t allow third-party services and integrators to control its lights outside of Ring’s app itself. Picture this: you hear a sound outside, but the lights didn’t go on. You need to locate your phone, find and open the Ring app, and select the right device and screen to flick on the outside lights. It obviously depends on the homeowner’s preference and intended use, but this is a non-starter for some.
Then there’s the price. The Spotlight* Cam Mount lists and sells for $249 US. That seems a little high, as it’s the same price as the Floodlight Cam. We would expect this to fall somewhere between its wired sibling ($199 US) and the Floodlight Cam. Of course that pricing may be less of an issue if this is truly targeted at professional installers—and Ring’s probably considered that.
We’ve been testing the Spotlight* Cam Battery, and we like it. It’s our belief that this hardwired security cam would be even better. But as much as we like the product, we can’t let go of the fact that this is not a spotlight.
a lamp projecting a narrow, intense beam of light directly onto a place or person
This is a light, plain and simple. It is not narrow, it is not focused, and it is not directed onto a particular spot. It is, however, quite bright and effective.
We hope Ring might take another suggestion to heart and someday rename this product line, simply, Light Cam.