Ring might be best known for its Video Doorbell lineup, but the company has also expanded into all sorts of other security cameras. For as low as $60, you can throw up security cameras around your house, capturing any movement both inside and out. You’ll have to pay a little more if running a power cable is a no-go.

Its latest Stick Up Cam is a fascinating mid-tier unit, combining the affordability of Ring’s Indoor Cameras with the flexibility and weatherproof status of its more expensive Floodlight and Spotlight devices. However, with a hefty subscription price all but required, where the Stick Up Cam lives in Ring’s product portfolio can feel a little confusing.

Ring’s latest Stick Up Cam is a solid security camera that comes in under $100, but it struggles to find a place between more affordable indoor-only cameras and more functional outdoor cameras.

Specifications
  • Brand: Ring
  • Resolution: 1080p
  • Connectivity: 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi
  • App Compatibility: Alexa
  • Night Vision: Yes, infrared
  • Power Source: Battery
  • Operating limits: -5°F to 122°F (-20°C to 50°C), Weather Resistant
  • Measurements (camera): 3.82 in. x 2.36 in. x 2.36 in. (without stand)
  • Hub Required: No
  • Field of view: 130°diagonal, 110° horizontal, 57° vertical
  • Power: Quick-release battery, microUSB, optional solar panel
  • Colors: White, black
Pros
  • Great battery life
  • Solid daytime video quality
  • Flexibility and portability of an indoor/outdoor device
Cons
  • Middling Assistant support
  • Color night mode drains battery faster
  • Requires a subscription for most functions
Buy This Product
Ring Stick Up Cam

Design, hardware, what’s in the box

Like its doorbells, Ring has settled on a consistent design for its security cameras. Its Floodlight and Spotlight Cams sport a boxier chassis while this Stick Up Cam and its little brother Indoor Camera model are curvier. Holding on in your hand is like holding a can of soda, only with a little stand sticking out of the bottom of it.

I wouldn’t call the Stick Up Cam svelte, but I do like its cylindrical design. The inclusion of a battery does mean the camera is larger than the indoor-only variant. It’s friendlier-looking than the Wyze Cams of the world, while nevertheless making its status as a security device known through the sizable black camera lens on the front. Below it, you’ll find a prominent speaker for two-way audio, with a microphone located near the top of the unit. By default, the base of the Stick Up Cam can be tilted and rotated, though if this placement doesn’t work for your preferred mounting location, it can be relocated to the back.

That’s where the camera’s two covered holes come into play. The first is a barrel port for hard-wiring the Stick Up Cam. It’s primarily meant for Ring’s optional solar panel — available as a separate $60 add-on — that makes manually recharging the battery a thing of the past. It won’t work with Ring’s charging cable from the Indoor Camera, though, as it’s not using a recessed microUSB port like that model. You can find third-party cables for this model on Amazon, though if you plan to plug it in inside, you’re better off getting the Indoor Cam instead — more on that below.

The second hole allows you to place the Stick Up Cam’s base on the back, rather than on the bottom. Just unscrew the Phillips head screw and replace it in this alternate placement to make wall mounting a reality. All told, it takes about 30 seconds, and shouldn’t be something most users do more than once.

If you’ve spent some time perusing Ring cameras on Amazon, the similarities between this and the most recent Indoor Camera will come as no surprise. The biggest difference between the two models — besides the $40 price increase — is the inclusion of a battery. Holding a rechargeable battery cell the size of those found in DSLRs requires a much larger body than the Indoor Cam. A quick twist pops the battery compartment door open, along with the QR code needed for setup. You can remove the cell with a single latch, revealing the dated microUSB port on the other side. It’s incredibly frustrating that Ring’s rechargeable gadgets remain stuck in the past like this.

In the box, you’ll find the camera, battery pack and archaic cable, screw and wall anchors for mounting, and the usual round of paperwork.

App support and setup

The Stick Up Cam uses the same app as all other Ring products, and aside from some clutter, it’s pretty reliable. The dashboard view lists all of the various cameras you have hooked up to your account, and you can quickly dive into the settings of each by tapping on their respective gear icons. Tapping on the image opens up the camera interface, where you can view live video, cycle through motion events, and filter content by type.

The app makes setting up the camera super simple, thanks to a pairing QR code hidden in the battery compartment. Hold up the QR code to your phone, type in your Wi-Fi password, and Ring does the rest.

As is expected with Ring at this point, the company’s cameras are a dream for Alexa users and a nightmare for those who prefer Assistant. The Alexa app on your smartphone pulls double-duty as a way to view your Ring cameras, and the entire ecosystem pairs well with an Echo Show. Unfortunately, Assistant users are stuck using a skill to access information about their device. It gets the job done, but you won’t be able to view a motion event through Assistant on Android, or by using a smart display like the Nest Hub.

The real setup for the Stick Up Cam comes from finding where you’d like to place it. The flexibility of the battery makes it ideal for moving around the house, both inside and outside. Obvious security features aside, if you want to keep an eye on your pet while she’s in the (fenced-in) backyard, or you don’t have a video doorbell but you’re expecting an expensive package — these are all reasons you might want to move the Stick Up Cam around.

That said, Ring suggests mounting the camera in a semi-permanent state, largely to protect against the device itself from being stolen. That makes sense, but it also renders the camera’s portability all but useless. Personally, I think anyone buying a Stick Up Cam is better off finding a hidden location for it, leaving it both portable and relatively safe from thieves.

Of course, keep in mind that Ring’s security cameras don’t have microSD card slots, and they aren’t recording locally if you don’t pony up for the Alarm Pro base station, an accessory that costs 2.5x as much as this particular camera, and while it also doubles as an Eero 6 router, that’s still one pretty penny.

You’ll also need to pay for a Ring Protect subscription on top of the cost of the gadget. When it comes to video doorbells, I think this is less of an issue. The Stick Up Cam, though, is made to be a security camera through and through. When cheaper gadgets exist with the option to record locally, it’s difficult to justify spending more for less. Likewise, the portability of this camera means it might not always have a strong internet connection, making local storage even more important.

Video quality and battery life

I’ve got little to complain about when it comes to video quality on Ring’s latest cameras. Much like on the company’s most recent Video Doorbells, recording during the day looks phenomenal, capturing color in accurate detail. Zooming in on a recorded event reveals some compression, but unless you’re using this to make your next TikTok, I don’t think anyone is going to be upset with what they see here.

For most of my testing, I had the camera positioned in my backyard, recording any time someone parked their vehicle or came walking into the back door. Pre-roll recordings helped capture coming and goings in low quality before eventually springing to life in 1080p. You’ll want to keep in mind how your event map is laid out depending on where you position it — hearing my phone buzz every time my significant other or I walked out to the garage wasn’t exactly helpful.

Both this Ring camera and the battery-powered Nest Cam capture full HD video with a 130-degree field of view, though in comparing the footage I captured to videos in our Nest review from last year, I think Ring’s is the better of the two. It’s not perfect — as mentioned above, the video is undoubtedly compressed — but I didn’t notice any strange flickering, nor did the camera ever fail to capture motion once triggered.

At night, the Stick Up Cam manages to capture adequate black-and-white video footage, certainly in high enough quality to monitor what’s going on inside and outside your home. Ring also added support for color night vision last year, though it’s disabled by default. Finding the setting can be difficult — it’s buried in the video menu — and once it’s turned on, you’ll be using more battery power. In my experience, it’s absolutely not worth the trade-off. My camera only picked up some color from my neighbors porch light beyond my backyard. Subjects approaching the lens still appeared in black and white.

With color night vision disabled, my camera dropped about 10% over nearly two weeks of testing, suggesting two months of battery is within my grasp.

Subscriptions and pricing

When I looked at Ring’s latest Video Doorbell, I found the subscription model frustrating, albeit only if you wanted it to function as a security device first and foremost. With the Stick Up Cam, it’s only a security device — there’s no doorbell functionality that makes it easy to ignore the monthly payments here. $99 might sound like a solid deal, but to actually make use of the product as a camera, you’ll have to pay at least $4 per month per camera. That can get expensive fast, especially if you’re buying multiple cameras.

So what happens if you don’t plan on paying for Ring Protect? You basically have a doorbell without a button, a camera capable of alerting you to motion but unable to save videos to your device or view playback history. Ring's plans are a little cheaper — as low as $4 per month, versus $6 for Nest — but either way, you're still looking at missing functionality without recurring charges hitting your credit card every month.

Likewise, the price point here might sound affordable, but if you’re planning on using this primarily indoors, I’d recommend looking long and hard at Ring’s Indoor Camera. It’s nearly half the price, it’s smaller, and it sports a slightly wider field-of-view compared to this model. It’s not weatherproof, and you’ll have to keep it plugged in at all times, but unless you need the portability, take that $40 and put it towards your first ten months of Ring Protect.

Should you buy it?

Maybe, as long as you have an idea for placement in mind before you buy. The Stick Up Cam is in a real strange spot. It’s the product in Ring’s portfolio that most clearly benefits from the addition of local recording, but adding that requires an expensive router and a top-tier subscription plan. The portability offered with the Stick Up Cam is only as powerful as your home network, while the company’s other outdoor-focused security cameras — the Floodlight and Spotlight cameras — have more utility outside a simple recording device.

Likewise, even more than the Ring Video Doorbell I recently reviewed, you really need to pony up for a subscription here. This is a security camera through and through, but without Ring Protect, it’s not worth much. Accessing recording history and downloading videos to your phone shouldn’t be locked behind a paywall, especially one that starts at $4 per month per camera. Without the option to rely on local recording, it’s a tough pill to swallow for anyone not already invested in Ring’s ecosystem. It’s also a problem facing Nest — Ring’s closest competitor — but when Wyze’s lineup of cameras feature built-in microSD card slots and cost less, these limitations are hard to ignore.

Overall, it’s not a bad camera by any means, but unless you can think of a specific situation, you’re probably better off with one of the company’s other devices.

FAQ

Q: How does the Ring Stick Up Cam compare to the Nest Cam Battery?

If you're stuck trying to make a choice between Ring and Nest, your decision really comes down to one simple factor: Alexa or Assistant. If you've already found yourself deep in the land of Echo speakers and smart displays, you'll find Ring's lineup of cameras — including the Stick Up Cam — fits right into your lifestyle. The same goes for fans of Nest's connected gadgets; both companies have done a great job of building up ecosystems that just so happen to be siloed perfectly from each other. If you aren't in a specific ecosystem yet, Ring's Stick Up Cam is the better buy. It's cheaper, has better video quality, and the required subscription costs are lower.

Q: How does the Ring Stick Up Cam compare to the Ring Indoor Cam?

If you plan on placing your camera indoors — and you don't absolutely need a battery — the Indoor Cam is the way to go. It's smaller and cheaper, perfect for mounting anywhere around the house where a wired connection is feasible. If you plan on placing your camera outside, you'll need to pick up the Stick Up Cam. It's weatherproofed — perfect for surviving the elements — and its pick-up-and-go style means you can move it indoors and outdoors as you see fit. Unless you need that portability, or the flexibiity offered by a recharagable battery pack — stick with the Indoor Cam.