"The raccoons are back," I frustratingly said to my wife the night after installing the Ring Stick Up Cam in our backyard.?
You see, last summer we had a mommy raccoon and her three babies coming into our backyard and ravaging through bins, looking for every morsel of cat food they could find.?
We made some changes. We started storing the food inside and assumed we had gotten rid of them once and for all. We were wrong, and now I have the video to prove it.?
SEE ALSO: There’s finally a Nest Cam for outdoors
Ring first broke into home security with its Ring Video Doorbell. When someone rings the doorbell, an alert is sent to your smartphone and you can view and talk to whoever's at your door. Alternatively, the doorbell can begin recording when it detects motion at your door and send alerts to your phone. And thanks to its built-in infrared LEDs, the camera works at night.?
The $199 Ring Stick Up Cam works in a similar fashion, save for the doorbell part. Ring’s goal is to help ease your security fears by providing multiple products that complement one another instead of forcing you to buy a doorbell from Ring and an outdoor security camera from another company.
With the Stick Up Cam, Ring basically took its doorbell design, changed the housing color to all black and removed the doorbell button.?
The two of them look nearly identical. That’s a bit disappointing, especially when you take into consideration the company’s Video Doorbell Pro, which is smaller and far more stylish.
Recycled design aside, the Stick Up Cam isn’t necessarily ugly. Its black housing is unassuming, albeit a little mundane — a welcome trait for a security camera you want to draw as little attention to as possible.?
Set-up is simple?
Ring uses its Android or iOS app to complete initial setup of the Stick Up Cam, something you’ll want to do before mounting it to an outside wall.
Using the provided Micro USB cable, you charge the camera and then follow instructions in the app. The process involves pressing a button on the back of the camera, searching and connecting to its temporary Wi-Fi network and connecting it to your personal Wi-Fi network.?
Installation, on the other hand, can be a bit more involved depending on your comfort level with a screwdriver and putting holes into your house’s exterior. Inside the box you’ll find screws, a screwdriver, a drill bit, and two different mounts.?
Using any combination of the provided tools, you can do everything from mount the cam to an overhang or directly to an outside wall.?
Because I have to return the product after the review period ends, I didn’t want to put any holes in my home. But after looking through the instructions it was clear that installing the camera is a straightforward process that shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes.?
Don’t worry about placing it somewhere rain or snow can’t reach; the camera is weather resistant and should be able to withstand some moisture. My review sample survived three heavy rainstorms in as many weeks without any issues.
Solar power is optional?
Ring states the battery in the Stick Up Cam should last six to 12 months on a single charge, depending on activity and use of its Live View feature. Alternatively, you can provide constant power to the camera through a Micro USB cable and a smartphone charger. Or you can spring for the $50 Solar Panel to provide consistent power to the Stick Up Cam.?
The Solar Panel comes with a 5-foot Micro USB cable and a weather-resistant sleeve to help protect the charging port when connected to the camera.?
Ring advises users to place the panel in an area where it will receive direct sunlight for two or three hours every day. Naturally, Ring includes all appropriate mounting supplies in the box along with the Solar Panel.?
I used the panel during my time with the Stick Up Cam, and found the battery to maintain a charge of 65 to 70 percent.?
Motion detection still needs some work?
Having used the Ring Video Doorbell for the past year, I’ve grown accustomed to its finicky motion alerts. I’ve gone through troubleshooting with customer care, turned off motion detection altogether, turned off only particular sections the camera monitors, turned it back on, and everything in between.?
I’ve come to live with the fact that it’s not perfect and that I have to deal with the random motion alerts pushed to my phone.?
As much as I wanted to believe things would be different with the Stick Up Cam, they weren't. I received several alerts during testing in which I was unable to see any movement at all in the recorded video. I don’t know if something quickly passed by the camera and it didn’t start recording fast enough or if there was a bug that flew by and set off the motion sensor. Look at this video and see if you can find what triggered it. I sure can’t see anything.?
For its part, Ring tells me the company is constantly working on improving motion detection for the Doorbell and the Stick Up Cam through software updates (installed without you having to do a thing), and that the Pro version of its Doorbell has "more advanced motion features." Why that same technology wasn’t brought over to the Stick Up Cam is a mystery to me.
Live view and cloud recording?
All Stick Up Cam users have access to the company’s Live View feature. Using Live View, you don’t have to wait for a motion alert to view your camera’s stream. You can open the app, tap a button and watch.?
In testing the feature before launch, I never had an issue with the amount of time it took to establish a connection (both on Wi-Fi and a cellular connection), nor did I experience any issues with stream quality. The Stick Up Cam captures 720p video, by the way.?
Ring offers a cloud recording plan at a cost of $3 a month or $30 per year for each camera connected to your Ring account. With an active subscription, you can go back and view old videos captured during a motion or live view event, complete with audio from both involved parties.?
Peace of mind is worth the price?
Thankfully, the highlight of my time with the Stick Up Cam was it capturing the raccoon helping itself to dinner.?
The Stick Up Cam did provide peace of mind. Knowing if anything was moving around on the side of my house, be it an animal or would-be bad guy, I would at least have video proof.?
The overall design is boring and the fact that motion alerts arrive when there’s no motion is annoying. Hopefully, Ring is able to figure out the second of these frustrations through future software updates.?
Spending $200 on a camera, plus another $50 for the solar panel, is an investment. But it's an easily justifiable one if you live in an area where added serenity will help you and your family sleep better at night.?
Ring Stick Cam
Quick, easy installation and setup ? Provides peace of mind and extra security ? Can view a live stream from camera, from anywhere on your phone or computer
Boring design ? Too many false motion alerts
The Bottom Line
The Ring Stick Up Cam with an attached Solar Panel is a truly wireless security camera for those looking to monitor more than just a front door.