WiFi security cameras have been getting more and more popular in recent years, partly because they’re getting better and smarter – but also because they’ve been getting more and more affordable.
Ring’s Stick Up Cam is a good example of that: It offers great 1080p video quality (with night vision), a very wide field of view, smart motion detection with notifications to your smartphone, portability and easy mounting thanks to the battery (there’s also a wired version), two-way talking, and all at a very affordable price.
But along with the good points, there are also a few downsides – mainly the fact that you need an additional paid subscription if you want to save your videos to the cloud (there’s no local storage option at all).
With its ability to function both as an indoor and an outdoor camera, the Stick Up Cam is a very tempting security device. Having used it for several weeks – here’s what I’ve discovered…
Quick Look – Ring Stick Up Cam (Battery)
What is it: A versatile battery-powered security camera that you can place inside or outside, with real-time notifications and video on your smartphone.
Value For Money
- Excellent video quality
- Motion detection works well (but gets triggered too easily sometimes)
- Simple to set up
- Weather resistant
- Very portable
- Most features require a monthly subscription
- Two-way talk doesn’t always work well
- Most mounting options require drilling (so it’s problematic if you’re renting)
Features and Specs
- Size: 60 x 60 x 97 mm
- Video Quality: 1080p Full HD (With Night Vision)
- Battery Life: Up to several months between charges – but it depends on usage
- Field of View: 130° diagonal
- Connectivity: 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi connection – 2.4 GHz
- Operating Temperatures: -20°C to 50°C
- Extra Features: Works with Alexa and Google Home / Can view on your TV with a Fire TV Cube
The Ring Stick Up Cam (Battery) is an excellent security solution if you value versatility, as you can easily move it around the house or even place it outside. There are better options (even from Ring) for permanent outdoor cameras, but they’re not as affordable or as portable. But you also have to factor the monthly subscription into the total cost, as the camera is not very useful without it.
Table of Contents
Who Is The Ring Stick Up Cam For?
If you’ve heard the name Ring before, it’s most likely thanks to their very popular Ring Doorbell. But Ring, which is owned by Amazon, also manufactures “regular” security cameras and alarm systems.
The Stick Up Cam is probably their most versatile model – it’s rather small in size (and pretty light), it can last for months on a single charge (in theory, at least), it provides excellent 1080p video quality and decent infra-red night vision, you can use it indoors and outdoors – and it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.
But you’ll get the greatest benefit (or at least ease of use) if you’re already a part of Amazon’s Echo system.
You can always use Ring’s smartphone app to watch the cam’s live video feed, but if you have Echo Show devices scattered around your house – you can instantly ask Alexa to show you the video feed on the Echo’s screen, which is particularly useful if you have a device in the kitchen (such as the Echo Show 15) or the bedroom.
The Stick Up Cam is also best for those who want a portable security solution. As its name suggests, you can “stick” the camera almost anywhere, as it stands up on its own without having to use screws or wires. So you can place it in the kid’s room one day, then move it outside when you’re on holiday, or move it to the living room when you want to follow the cat.
That being said, for optimal angles, it’s still usually best to mount the cam to the wall – and while there are multiple mounting options, most of them do require screws and drilling, which is an issue if you’re renting. But thankfully, a high enough shelf can also do the trick, thanks to the camera’s wide 130° angle.
Lastly, while the camera itself is quite affordable (especially considering the excellent video quality) – the “optional” Ring Protect subscription is almost a must if you want to benefit from most of the camera’s useful features (such as saving videos to the cloud) – therefore you need to factor £3.49/month or £34.99/year into the total cost.
Setting Up The Ring Stick Up Cam
I remember the days when security devices and cameras were a real hassle to set up – but thankfully, Ring’s devices, including the Stick Up Cam, are anything but complicated to install – assuming nothing goes wrong in the process.
In the box, you get the camera itself, the Quick Release Ring battery, a Micro-USB charging cable, and screws/wall anchors for basic wall mounting.
The batteries on all Ring cameras and devices are interchangeable, which is a big plus if you intend to buy more than one Ring device, and you can buy extra batteries, so you can always have one charged and ready to go. The downside is that these batteries still use the old Micro-USB ports.
Before using the camera, you must fully charge the battery, which will take a few hours. When it’s ready, you just slip it into the camera – and you’re good to go.
Setting up the software entails downloading the smartphone app (which is available for iOS and Android), scanning a unique barcode on the bottom of the camera, and connecting it to your home’s WiFi.
Yes, you do need a WiFi connection wherever you plan to place the camera, so make sure the signal is strong enough if you’re thinking about putting it outside. Otherwise, the camera won’t be able to send its videos anywhere – as it doesn’t have any local storage (so some houses may need a WiFi signal booster).
And that’s it – at this point, you just need to find a suitable spot for the Stick Up Cam, and you can start using it.
Using The Ring Stick Up Cam
I’ve used the Stick Up Cam for several weeks, and was quite impressed with its video quality. Don’t expect videos that resemble the quality you get from your smartphone’s camera – but assuming your WiFi signal is strong enough, the videos are clear, and you can certainly make out faces and finer details – even outside.
The Night Vision mode uses infrared to show you what’s happening at night. It works pretty well indoors, but is a bit restricted outdoors – in complete darkness, the field of view and distance you can see is somewhat limited.
Most of your interaction with the camera will be via Ring’s smartphone app – it’s where you watch the live feeds, set up motion notifications and even power up the alarm siren.
The same app is used to control all of Ring’s devices – so if you have a Ring doorbell, or additional Ring cameras, you can view them all via the main app.
In the app, you can set up different modes (Disarmed/Home/Away) and control how the camera behaves in each of these modes: For example, you can tell it to stop motion tracking when you’re at home (so it won’t notify you and start filming whenever someone goes into the room), and reactivate the tracking when you’re in Away mode.
The app can use your phone’s GPS to know when you’re at home and when you’re leaving/coming back – and remind you to change the camera’s mode.
The Stick Up Cam’s motion tracking is pretty good, if a bit trigger-happy at times. If you’re subscribed to Ring Protect, the sensors can detect a person moving in the camera’s range, and only notify you when that happens (as opposed to your dog walking in the room, for example).
In practice, my cat certainly activated the Motion Notification at times – especially if he was close enough to the camera. Of course, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, as who doesn’t want to see their cat sniffing the camera? But of course, if you plan to get notifications at night, a wandering cat or dog might interfere with your sleep (but you can change the sensitivity of the motion sensor).
You can also use the app to define up to three “Motion Zones” – the boundaries of the camera’s motion detection. So if you don’t care about anything moving further away from your house (as it’s the public sidewalk, for example), you can exclude that area from the motion sensor.
When you’re watching the camera’s live feed, you can also initiate a two-way chat from within the app – so you can talk to your cat – or to the burglar standing in your kitchen.
I had some issues with this feature, though – while I could always hear the camera’s sound feed perfectly, the person in the room could not hear me clearly on multiple occasions – so don’t plan on using this as an intercom.
Watching the camera’s feeds on Amazon’s Echo devices is quite convenient, and, for you Amazon Fire TV fans out there – if you have the Fire TV Cube, you can even watch the camera’s feed on your TV.
The Stick Up Cam’s battery is supposed to last – officially – for several months. In practice, it really depends on your usage patterns. If you place the camera in a busy area with a lot of motion, and it starts recording video several times a day – the battery will likely last less than a month.
But if you only watch the feed (or record motion) once or twice a day – then several months aren’t that much of a stretch (After 3 weeks of low-to-moderate use, my cam’s battery is still at 94%. My Ring Doorbell, however, which uses an identical battery but is activated a lot more often – never lasts more than 3-4 weeks).
The Ring Protect Subscription
Once you buy the camera, you’re not done with paying Ring/Amazon, unfortunately – although the monthly subscription is officially optional, it’s pretty much a must for regular use.
Without this monthly addon, the only thing you can do with the Stick Up Cam is get basic motion notifications and look at the live video feed.
That’s helpful in some specific situations – but obviously, a security camera is meant to let you watch videos of things that happened when you weren’t watching – and you can only do that with the Ring Protect subscription.
When you start using the camera, you get a free 30-days trial. After that, it’s £3.49/month or £34.99/year for the Basic subscription, which covers one Ring device.
If you have multiple Ring devices (3 and up is the sweet spot) you can get the Plus subscription, at £8/month or £80/year – and it covers every Ring device in your home.
With the Ring Protect subscription (either Basic or Plus), you get video storage (in the cloud) for up to 180 days (per video).
That’s not storage of a 24/7 video feed from your camera, of course (as that would destroy the battery pretty quickly) – instead, a video file is created every time you watch a live feed, and every time the camera senses an “event” – even if you don’t act up on the notification and don’t watch it in real time.
So, every time the camera senses a motion – the video recording is triggered – either until that motion “ends”, or for a predefined set of seconds, which you can change.
Those videos are then stored on Ring’s cloud for up to 180 days – but you can download them from the cloud and save them locally. You can also share videos directly from the cloud, if you want to send them to family members, or, you know, for laughs.
You can also set up the camera to take photo snapshots at regular intervals (to see what happens even if there isn’t any motion) – and those snapshots are also stored online, if you have the subscription.
Additionally, the Person Alerts are only available if you’re subscribed (otherwise you can only use the general anything-that-moves motion alerts), as well as a few other smaller features – you can see the full list on Ring’s website.
As mentioned, while you don’t HAVE to get and keep this subscription – the camera’s most important features are placed behind that paywall, so there isn’t much point in buying the Stick Up Cam if you’re not planning to subscribe (there are other security cameras out there that do let you store videos locally without any online subscriptions).
Bottom Line: Is The Ring Stick Up Cam Worth It?
If you’re looking for the ultimate security camera, especially if you’re looking to use it outdoors – then the Stick Up Cam may not be robust enough for you.
But if you’re looking for a versatile camera that you can occasionally move around, or just a quick and low-cost – but high-quality – solution, then the Stick Up Cam has a lot going for it, especially with the impressive video quality and the useful app.
The app does get a bit confusing at times, and some of the more complicated features are a chore to set up (or to remember where to change them) – but the basic use scenarios (Someone’s walking in front of the camera, you get a notification, you watch the video) are pretty straightforward and easy to use.
If you’re already a part of Ring or Amazon Echo’s eco-systems, the Stick Up Cam will fit right in. Just remember the Ring Protect subscription that you have to subscribe to on top – and you’ll be getting a pretty decent, and flexible – security solution.
Note: The product was supplied by the manufacturer for this review. As always, this did not influence my unbiased opinion of it.