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This smart security camera impressed me in the most unexpected way

The battery-powered Ring Spotlight Cam Pro has a wide field of view and HDR video support. But there's an even better feature.
Written by Maria Diaz, Staff Writer
Ring Spotlight Cam Pro
Maria Diaz/ZDNET

ZDNET's key takeaways

  • The Ring Spotlight Cam Pro Battery is available at $230.
  • This Pro-level Ring camera has a removable rechargeable battery pack, top-of-the-line audio performance, and supports dual-band Wi-Fi, 2.4 and 5.0 GHz.
  • Unfortunately, the Ring Spotlight Cam Pro falls short on image quality, topping out at 1080p, the spotlights only reach 300 lumens in brightness, and the Pro features are only available with a subscription. 

The Ring Spotlight Cam Pro was released in 2022 as part of the company's high-end lineup of products. Ring cameras from the Pro line tend to support more advanced video qualities, dual-band Wi-Fi and offer bonus app features, like Bird's Eye View and 3D Motion Detection. 

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On top of these features, the Ring Spotlight Cam Pro also has Audio+, 1080p HDR video quality, and two LED panels on either side of the camera lens that light up when motion is detected. 

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Setting up the Spotlight Cam Pro is as easy as finding a spot for it. Because it's battery-powered, you don't need to install it near a power source or a place with direct sunlight access – though you can get a separate solar panel for it. The included removable Quick-Release Battery Pack ensures you don't have to take down the camera when it's time to recharge, making that process easier compared to other brands.

I set up the Ring Spotlight Cam Pro on the back fence to look over one-half of my backyard. My backyard is very dark and only has a light fixture on one side, where I have a floodlight camera, so I appreciate any extra light I can get when taking the dog out before bed. 

Ring Spotlight Cam Pro on a fence
Maria Diaz/ZDNET

I already had an Arlo Pro 5S covering this area but decided to swap it out for the Ring Spotlight Cam Pro to get more light on that side. I also have a Blink Outdoor 4 Floodlight Camera covering a large part of this side of the yard, but the area where I installed the Ring Spotlight Cam Pro is further back and one that the Blink doesn't reach.

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The spotlight on the Spotlight Cam Pro has two small LED panels flanking the camera that come on when motion is detected. I prefer a stronger spotlight feature for the price, but this isn't a floodlight camera, so I can't complain about 375 lumens as a secondary feature on a battery-powered device. The lights on this Ring Spotlight Cam Pro cover no more than 30 feet of area during the night.

Ring Spotlight Cam Pro
Maria Diaz/ZDNET

This Ring Spotlight Cam Pro also shines a light on the warmer side, at 3000° Kelvin, an equivalent of a warm white tint. I prefer the warmer color for outdoor illumination, but if you prefer daylight or cool white outdoor lights, much like traditional floodlights, this Ring Spotlight Cam is probably not the best choice for you. Unfortunately, you can't adjust the color of the lights, though you can adjust brightness and set a schedule for the lights to turn on. 

Also: A battery-powered floodlight camera was exactly what my dark backyard needed

The spot where I set up this Ring Spotlight Cam Pro is a good 50-60 feet from my back door, so I was worried the camera wouldn't be close enough to maintain a stable Wi-Fi connection, but that hasn't been the case. The camera remains responsive and connected, and is quick to notify when motion is detected. 

Ring Spotlight Cam Pro
Maria Diaz/ZDNET

The high-quality audio is one of this camera's best features, bar none. I used it to talk to my husband from 40 feet away and could have a normal conversation without yelling or struggling to hear him, with no background noise interruptions. 

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Some Ring Spotlight Cam Pro features are only available with a Ring Protect plan, which you can't get around by using your own microSD card like you can with other brands. The Ring Protect subscription gives users access to cloud storage to view and share recorded video clips and past events, along with additional features such as color pre-roll video, Bird's Eye View, and 3D Motion detection. 

Ring Spotlight Cam Pro
Maria Diaz/ZDNET

The Ring Protect plan ranges from $5-$20 monthly, and aside from the mentioned features, it includes person alerts, the ability to arm and disarm the Ring system digitally, rich notifications, snapshot capture, and video history stored in the cloud for up to six months.

ZDNET's buying advice

After using the Ring Spotlight Cam Pro for a few weeks, I found it to be a reliable home security camera with all the extra features worth the price. The two-way talk audio quality was the most impressive I've ever tried, delivering crystal clear audio without echo. 

However, I was slightly disappointed by the video quality, which only goes up to 1080p. 

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A security camera of that resolution is not disappointing on its own, but it's a noticeable difference compared to the 2K-resolution Arlo Pro 5S that I previously had overlooking that area of my yard, though the Arlo is a little pricier, at $250. To top it off, the floodlight camera on the other side of my yard can go up to 3K resolution and is $10 cheaper than this Ring camera. 

Additionally, many smart home users aren't prepared to pay monthly subscription fees to access plan-exclusive features, but there are plenty of users who prefer the convenience of not having to worry about local storage and who enjoy the extra perks a paid plan offers. 

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