If you’ve ever wanted to watch over your property, you know security systems can be complicated and expensive. But things are simplified with the arrival of the Ring Stick Up Camera.
If you’ve heard about Ring Video Doorbell, you’ll be familiar with the brand. For those who aren’t, Ring is a wireless Wi-Fi connected doorbell that lets you see and speak with visitors, delivery people or even just someone who approaches your door. It gives you a quick connection and clear HD video signal, letting you speak with whoever’s there.
Its big limitation has been that you can only enable that video uplink if someone pushes the doorbell, or if motion detection is picked up by the camera. (Read my review of the Ring Video Doorbell here.)
Ring has been listening. With the new Ring Stick Up Cam, you can watch over you home, yard or garage and access the video feed any time you want. Like the Video Doorbell, it’s crystal clear HD video with the ability to listen and speak.
I recently received samples of the camera and an optional solar panel to test and review. Here’s what I learned over several weeks of use.
How Ring Stick Up Cam works
The Ring Stick Up Cam is a wireless rechargeable camera that connects to your home’s Wi-Fi to give you a constant stream of video direct to your cell phone via the Ring app. The camera works day or night, providing a clear HD video signal or night vision view for round the clock security.
The Stick up camera is powered by a rechargeable (via mini USB) battery. With the doorbell unit, a single charge lasts about 3-4 months. With this device’s ability to produce live on-demand video streams, I expected minimal battery life, but Ring says the Stick Up Cam will last 6-12 months on a single charge. That wasn’t my experience, so read on for more. Nonetheless, Ring has developed a companion solar panel that can keep the camera fully charged at all times. By connecting a single cable and mounting the solar panel you can keep the unit fully charged.
Installation of Ring Stick Up Cam
Just like the Doorbell, the Stick Up Cam comes with all the tools and hardware that you need to do the installation. In this case, it’s a small double-headed screwdriver, some screws, and a mounting plate.
Installation was as simple as screwing a mounting bracket to the siding of my house for both the camera and the solar panel. The camera clips into its bracket and is secured with a small screw, making it difficult for anyone to steal.
You’ll need to download the Ring app and sign up for an account too, unless you already have one.
BEFORE you install!
You’ll want to fully charge the Stick Up Cam before installing it, since if the solar panel isn’t getting enough sunlight it won’t charge the device, and if it’s not pre-charged, you won’t get far before it dies.
You’ll also want to be sure you connect the camera to your home’s Wi-Fi before the installation, as you need to be able to press a small orange button on the rear of the device to get it connected — easier if it’s on the ground, not up on your siding. Plus, if you have trouble with the Wi-Fi connection, you’re working on it from the warmth and comfort of your home, not in the chilly outdoors.
With the camera installed, the app enabled, Ring will walk you through the set up process which is quick, easy and straightforward. Once your connection to Wi-Fi is established, you can access the feed instantly.
Assessing the video quality — Ring Stick Up Cam
The video provided by the Stick Up Cam is excellent quality. It’s an HD signal so you get excellent clarity. In all the time I was testing it, in weather from -20 to +5C the video was clear, and never foggy (more on the extreme temps in a moment though).
At night the video is just as clear. Equipped with Night Vision capabilities, the Stick Up Cam can monitor activity and save your videos to the cloud 24/7.
Motion alerts can be enabled on the camera, allowing you to get a notification to your cell phone each time the camera detects movement. I found this helpful because I wrongly assumed no one but my family accesses our yard. Thanks to motion alerts, I now know our neighbour’s snow clearing crew uses our yard to cross to his. I also know that the meter reader (who’s supposed to knock first) doesn’t. The Stick Up Cam’s two-way feed means I can also say good morning to my husband when he takes the dog out in the morning while I’m already at work!
How it works
When motion is detected, the camera sends an alert notification to my smartphone but it also records that activity for a period of about 30 seconds and stores it directly in the cloud. I can access those videos any time for later review. Motion events are stored by date and time for months. I was able to access video files as far back as the day I installed the camera (two and a half months) via the Ring app. Far more than I was expecting, particularly since some cameras make you pay lots extra for cloud recording for far shorter periods.
The video can be downloaded, saved or shared, or you can take screen captures too.
Weatherproof. But what does that mean?
The Stick Up Cam is said to be weather resistant. While that apparently means it repels some water, there are other factors to consider. Ring’s website says the camera operates in temperatures from -5 ºF to 120 ºF or -20ºC to 48ºC. For those living, as I do, in much colder climes, the weather definitely affects the Stick Up Cam.
A couple of weeks after installing the camera everything was working well, but I noticed the solar panel didn’t appear to be charging the camera, as the battery indicator was constantly dropping. After checking it was getting direct sunlight, I chalked it up to cloudy dismal winter weather.
Soon temperatures plummeted to -35C for about two weeks and the camera abruptly stopped working.
I think that because the temperatures before that extreme cold event were hovering around -20C, and because that’s the outer limits of the device’s ability to function, that the cold sapped the battery, and prevented the solar panel from recharging it. When temps dropped to -35, that did it in.
Getting back on track — Great customer service from Ring
Once I was able to remove the camera (after the worst of the cold spell was over) I brought it in to recharge. The camera wouldn’t connect to my home Wi-Fi network again, and basically ceased to function. Not knowing if the trouble was a faulty solar panel or a bum camera, I contacted Ring for support.
I got quick and straightforward help via email from Orlando, one of their customer service reps who was able to diagnose and fix the problem fast.
It turns out the camera needed a hard or factory reset, and to be restarted and reconnected to Wi-Fi; esentially set up from scratch again. Fortunately all my previous recordings were still accessible on my account.
How to do a factory reset or hard reset of Ring Stick Up Cam
Hold down the back orange button for 20 seconds, and then release it. You should see the lights on the front flash blue. Once it’s done flashing, complete the Wi-Fi setup once more which you can do by launching the app, Logging In and then choosing to Add a device. There is no need to remove your existing Ring first. Just tap Add Device, use the same settings, and the App will overwrite your Ring with the new settings. if it doesn’t do that (mine didn’t) just delete the extra camera.
After a few days of monitoring the camera and solar panel in my home, it seemed things were working great. The solar panel appeared to be keeping the camera fully charged, so it was re-installed outside where it continues to watch over my property.
Overall review of Ring Stick Up Cam
The video can be downloaded, saved or shared, or you can take screen captures too. Very handy if you ever experienced a break in or need proof of a tradesperson’s (or trespasser’s) comings or goings.
I also really like how easy Ring’s user interface is to set up and operate. The app is very intuitive too.
While I did experience problems with the camera due to extreme cold weather, that was short lived. Knowing that the camera does have cold weather limitations doesn’t mean I wouldn’t buy it, but it’s just something to be aware of. Plus, the excellent, responsive customer service from Ring gives me confidence that if anything major and irreversible was wrong, they’d take care of it no problem.
I’ll be keeping my eye on the thermometer through the rest of the winter. If the camera cuts out, I can now reset it. I don’t feel like the weather is a major strike against the camera, as most tech gadgets do have similar limitations when it comes to extreme temperatures. And given that extreme cold is only a factor for a couple of weeks at a time, a couple of months of the year, I’m ok with that.
I’d definitely buy a Ring Stick Up Cam for my home and would recommend it to others looking for a reliable outdoor security solution with free cloud recording.
Ring Stick Up Cam is available from Ring’s website, as well as Best Buy in Canada for $249 CAD ($199 USD).