Ring Floodlight Cam Review: A smart security device that pulls double duty | Popular Science
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Ring Floodlight Cam Review: A smart security device that pulls double duty

This device goes beyond simple surveillance

Ring Floodlight Review

The Ring Floodlight costs $249, but you may want to budget a little extra for an electrician to install it.

Ring

This outdoor floodlight doubles as a motion-activated security camera and comes with a built-in siren, two-way audio, and the ability to set up customizable motion alert zones.

Testing

Most people actively considering the Ring Floodlight will be looking to replace an existing fixture, not install it in an entirely new location. If you happen to fall into the latter category, do yourself a favor and call an electrician. Setting up a new junction box and rewiring anything around your home can be complicated. Leave it to professionals unless you're feeling extremely confident.

Replacing an existing floodlight, on the other hand, is surprisingly simple. We swapped out the dumb floodlight on our back patio with the Floodlight Cam in a little over 30 minutes. Here are the basic steps: First, shut off power to your existing floodlight at the breaker, remove the current light from the junction box, and disconnect the wires. Next, you'll need to install the included mounting bracket and run the disconnected wires through the center of it. Ring provides a convenient hook with the Floodlight Cam, and you can use it to hang the unit from the bracket while you reconnect its ground, neutral, and hot wires.

Once everything is connected, you push the wires back through the opening in the bracket, align the mounting posts with the screw holes, and attach the Floodlight Cam. After switching power back on, the only thing left to do is download the Ring app, create an account, and connect it to your Wi-Fi network.

Observations

Combining a security camera with outdoor lighting fixtures isn't a new idea. For some reason though, Ring's Floodlight Cam remains one of the only "smart" floodlights you can buy at the moment. While that may eventually change, the good news for those who currently see the utility in such a marriage is that the Ring Floodlight Cam is pretty fantastic.

We've reviewed other Ring products, including the Ring Doorbell and Ring Doorbell 2, and this is by far our favorite device the company makes. In large part that's because many of the problems associated with the video doorbells are absent in the Floodlight Cam.

During the two weeks we tested the floodlight, we didn't experience any glitchy or indecipherable motion-triggered video recordings. There weren't any timing issues, either. Instead, the Floodlight Cam recognized motion and began recording immediately.

Any worthwhile floodlight needs a wide field of view, and this one provides exactly that. At 270 degrees, the Floodlight Cam is able to detect motion in spots that seem far beyond its gaze and subsequently lights up the area with its bright, 3,000 Kelvin lamps. And while the actual camera lens doesn't have quite the same range (140-degrees), it's still plenty to capture and record movement in crisp, 1080p resolution.

Like most standalone Wi-Fi security cameras, the Floodlight Cam has night vision, a live view option, and two-way audio. Unlike many, it also has a 110-decibel alarm that you can activate remotely if you see something suspicious happening. It's not exactly ear piercing, but it's plenty to alert the neighbors.

There are a few minor annoyances. Calling up a live view often takes a frustratingly long time (10 seconds or more). And for those looking to avoid additional ongoing home security costs, Ring still doesn't offer a free tier of cloud storage beyond the complimentary 30 days you get after purchasing a new devices. Overall though, the Floodlight Cam is an extremely useful, well-designed product that can tackle two important home security tasks better than most of the standalone devices it replaces.

Conclusion

It's not cheap, but Ring's Floodlight Cam is a great option for anyone who wants to upgrade an existing outdoor floodlight with one that offers significantly more home security options.

Details

Price: $249

Power: hardwired

Connectivity: 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi @2.4GHz

Two-way audio

Video: 1080p

Field of view: 270 degrees

Lights: two 3,000 Kelvin floodlights

Siren: 110-decibel alarm

Colors: White or black

Grade: 4/5

Buy it here.

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